When I came to Graland, the study of French was synonymous with the name Colette Guiberteau, a legend worthy of that name. However, there were others whom I fondly remember: Charlotte Harper, Colette Reynders, not to mention, Judi Chayet and Patti Krumholz, sterling Spanish teachers. Mrs. Gorham also taught two levels of French, but I always identified her with seventh grade English. The Foreign Language Department was in my young mind the hallmark of excellence to which I aspired.
In my mind, the paragraphs Ruth wrote on foreign language are a testament to a department she deeply loved:
“The study of a foreign language opens a door to a wealth of knowledge and appreciation of different cultures. It awakens an interest in literature, music, art, history, science, and philosophy and fosters a broad outlook, an open-minded attitude towards others, and a sympathy with the values of different ways of life. It is also one of the best academic disciplines possible.
“Graland parents recognized the worth of such study for their children, and thus French was offered from the beginning. It was introduced in kindergarten and first grade through games and songs. Our Mrs. Nunn, who was then Miss Barbara Kobler, taught the French classes in 1928.
“Another of the early French teachers was Mlle.Lucy Gay from Cannes, France. Anyone who knew her would never forget her little dramatic classroom routines, her songs, and plays. If one of her assemblies lacked the tempo she desired, she would suddenly appear from the wings of the stage and shout, ‘Sing!’ She would join the students until the children were shocked into carrying on alone.
“In the fall of 1934, a new French teacher came. Mary Dart was twenty-one years old and had just finished a year’s study in France. She was employed to teach French to all the students-- kindergarten through grade seven. It was a part-time job, and the salary was fifty dollars a month. . . When Mary Dary became a full-time teacher in 1950, she taught a combined class of seventh and eighth graders, in addition to (her other responsibilities).
“In the 50’s, Mme. Avaert taught French . . . on a much reduced schedule -- only in the Upper School because of illness. When Mme. Avaert died in 1957, our Colette Guiberteau came and is still with us. Under her skilled guidance, French reinstated in the Middle School became a very important part of the curriculum.
“Mr. Kent brought Latin to Graland in 1950. . . Graland added Spanish to the curriculum in 1969. Four years later, all foreign language instruction was dropped from grade four; both French and Spanish. . . (instruction) began at the fifth-grade level.
“It is a matter of great pride that Graland students so often place very high in the National and Regional Annual Contests. The Language Festival at the University of Denver is always the occasion for Graland students to gain statewide attention for the number of prizes won. Here the children experience the joy of a job well-done, and they see the results of striving for excellence.”