Student uses her native language to help and connect students


Senior Adeline Leferve helps students of all ages with learning the french language.

“Bonjour,” says Adeline Lefevre as she picks up the baby, though she is in Portland, not Paris. In fact, Lefevre is a Lincoln student of many talents. While she dances tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet, and is an IB diploma candidate, her favorite activity is working at the Atlas French Immersion Academy. She cares for children ranging from infants and toddlers, and teaches them how to speak French.

“I was born in Paris,” says Lefevre, a senior. Her family  came to America when she was 1, so she grew up learning French and English. “Both of my parents are French, so I learned the language informally and spoke it at home. I didn’t learn how to read or write it until my freshman year.”

As Lefevre mastered the language, she decided she was ready for a challenge.

“Last year, French teacher Mr. Segel told us about an internship opportunity at a local French immersion school. I was interested, so I applied and got accepted.”

Atlas co-owner Jarod Hobbs opened the academy out of his family’s own need. Apparently, other families needed it, too.

“We started this school to give our children childcare and education, and it quickly gained in members as people found out more about it.”

For some students at Atlas, French is their first language, and for others, parents just want their children to learn another language and culture.

Atlas partners with local high schools for internships and job opportunities.

“We typically reach out to French teachers who advertise for their students,” Hobbs says. “Adeline came with high recommendations and easily integrated herself with the kids.”

Even the children themselves enjoy Lefevre’s company. Ask any of her students, and they will tell you how fun she is to play with – though they say, “Elle est amusant de jouer avec.”  

After volunteering over the summer at the academy, Lefevre became a part-time employee. She works one day a week for two hours and on weekends for five.

“It’s nice because I get to teach other people French while also practicing and refining my own abilities.” Lefevre also tutors Lincoln language students.

Lefevre’s family is from all over France, namely Paris, Angers, St. Malo and et Rennes. She visits them every summer, or at least tries to despite a busy schedule. This summer, in particular, reconnecting will be especially precious to her.

In the wake of the Paris bombings last month, Lefevre realized how much her French family and friends mean to her.  “I am thankful that my family and friends who live in Paris are safe,” she says. “At the same time, I think that hating and fearing the terrorists is only giving them power they don’t deserve.”

Instead, she empowers the next generation at the French Academy as she nurtures and educates them about her culture. As kids slowly pick up the language, Lefevre sees them light up when it clicks.

“It’s really cute because when they finally succeed, they start smiling really big.”