French club continues after Monye’s departure


Shay Bowman

Last year’s French Club was advised by former French teacher Theresa Monye. This year, the club has continued under the supervision of new French teacher Anne Holzhausen.

Shay Bowman

The French Club is back this year to start a new chapter, offering students a deep dive into French culture and customs.

Last year, longtime French teacher, Theresa Monye, retired. Several students and the new French teacher, Anne Holzhausen, rebooted the club. 

Senior Jonas Loesel, French Club president, was surprised at how quickly the club came together. 

“I thought initially it was going to be difficult to convince a new teacher at Midtown who doesn’t really know anything to sponsor this club, but, to my surprise, Madame Holzhausen has been very eager to work with us and help us make it happen by organizing, getting payments, getting all the food for the club and helping us organize these activities,” Loesel said. 

Senior Dean Barry, co-vice president, was also determined to keep French Club alive.

“I really wanted to ensure that French Club would still go on after Madame Monye’s departure this year, so, Jonas and I were trying to make sure that it got rebooted, but fortunately, when we met Madame Holzhausen, she was very enthusiastic about starting a club, too,” Barry said. “It was a very smooth process, and she made it very easy to get the club back into full swing.”

Monye’s retirement was tough for many French students since she had been overseeing the program for so long, but the club has been able to keep its spirit and attract newcomers. 

“Madame Monye was really the bedrock of French Club,” Loesel said. “She would bring home-cooked meals and she was the driving force behind the club. I was worried that one, we wouldn’t have the turnout at the club meetings anymore, but French at Midtown has been declining, so it’s great that people are still participating.” 

The club has had a few meetings so far celebrating French culture by watching a French movie and eating French cuisine. French food plays a large role in the club’s activities. 

“Everyone says that the food is always the best part,” Loesel said. “I kind of agree, but not for the reason everyone thinks. Obviously, the food is very tasty and something I look forward to, but it’s also such a great element of the club that everyone can share and something that I feel like is really unique. It’s part of the actual experience to engage in this French food alongside other parts of French culture, such as playing a French game or watching a French movie.”

In December, the club will make the traditional French cake Buche du Noel, also known as a Yule log. 

Senior Gabby Berger, secretary, is looking forward to all of the upcoming meetings.

“The club is really student-led and everyone knows each other pretty well since the club is smaller,” Berger said. “It’s a really fun club so far, and we have some really fun things planned ahead. We are planning to go see movies in French together as a club, which sounds really fun.”

Loesel and Barry have completed the French courses at Midtown; so, they view French Club as an opportunity to stay immersed in the language and culture while being around friends. Barry seems pleased the club has remained lively throughout the years.

“The nice thing about the club is that although it’s changed a bit every year, the spirit is always the same,” Barry said. “I took AP French my sophomore year, so coming to French Club helps me stay connected by listening to French songs and eating French food. I feel like French Club has kept me interested in French, even as I’ve phased out of the academic portion.”

The club’s leaders hope to interest students and introduce them to the ins and outs of French culture. 

“The club is filled with lots of great food and great people,” Loesel said. “The club is laid back, but I think everyone engages with each other. I like to see it as a place that’s like a small community where people can really engage with each other on this common interest that we all have.”