Mitch Conover, Eddie Richard, Woody Hebert and Johnny Comeaux look over a
flag from Quebec that was sent along with 24,000 books for French
immersion students across Southwest Louisiana. Truck driver John
Dugas, unloading truck along with James Bourque (inside truck) brought the
books down and dropped them off for storage in Maurice, La. where they
will be sorted and handed out to teachers. Not shown-Loubert Trahan on
May 17, 2002
French books arrived at Prairie
Elementary en masse Thursday-24,000 of them-and will provide reading
material for French immersion students throughout Southwest Louisiana.
"It is exciting to see so many books," said Dana
Schmersahl, principal at Prairie Elementary." About 100 Prairie
Elementary French students sorted through the truckload of textbooks and
workbooks in French.
The books were donated by schools in Quebec and the
Council for French Life in North America, said Eddie Richard, vice
president of the Confederation of Associatins of Acadian Families.
The confederation is distributing the books.
The group is based in Lafayette and works to preserve
Acadian culture and the French language, Richard said.
Richard's son, Cajun musician Zachery Richard, spends a
lot of time in Canada and foud out the school system in Quebec was
changing its textbooks.
With help from some contacts with the Council for
French Life, Zachary Richard was able to get the books donated to the
state, his father said. The books were shipped by truck to
"They told us there were 24,000 of them, and most of
them are brand new," Eddie Richard said. "They will be distributed
to all of the schools that have French Immersion Programs in Southwest
Schmersahl, whose school has more French immersion
students than any other in the parish, said it is often difficult to find
books in French to use for the classes.
"It is so hard to get children's literature in French,"
she said. "This is really a gift, and we are excited about it."
The books will be placed in the library of the French
classes to use in lessons, the principal said.
"This will be a great benefit to the immersion programs
which have suffered constantly from a lack of standardization of textbooks
and a general lack of materials," said Zachary Richard."