Allons, enfants de la Patrie
Le jour de gloire est arrivé!
Contre nous, de la tyrannie
L’étendard sanglant est levé…
‘La Marseillaise’ (Part of French National Anthem)
Last Friday the French celebrated ” The Bastille day” (July 14th of 1789), It was the day people started to fight for their rights and the beginning of ” The French Revolution.”
This celebration reminded me of my school years when I studied at Colégio Sion in Rio de Janeiro, my beloved French teacher Madame Simonne along with the other ones that taught me unforgettable lessons. And I am sharing some of these memories with you during this post.
I am very proud of my education; my father always taught me the importance of being well educated in life and thanks to him I could have access to the best schools. For all my life until college I studied in traditional Catholic schools, They were always the best option in Brazil for a good education at the time. Learning is a process that never ends, and our school teachers are the most important part of this.
My work took me to places that I never imagined I could be. I had the opportunity to be around celebrities and even meet some of my idols. A few weeks ago I participated in The One Night Only Event paying homage to Alec Baldwin’s career, and some of his fellow actor’s colleagues, including Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore, and former president Bill Clinton were there. Bill’s speech was the one that caught my attention. He spoke about how Alec started his acting career, he wanted to go to Law School, but was not able to afford his studies and then to support himself. He began to work in Soap Operas and the rest is history. Later, he went back to college to finish his Law studies at NYU.
Sion – Rio de Janeiro
A few weeks ago I got the news about Madame Simone. She was going through tough times in Brazil and a group of her past students from my school, started to collect donations to help her and her sister, Madame Odette, using a Closed Facebook group called “Somos Todos Simonne & Odette” composed most of past students of both teachers and close friends. The action spread it out in such a proportion that Madames Simonne and Odette story took over the news. It was featured in a newspaper and a national TV show in Brazil. It is so nice to see old friends getting together in this beautiful gesture of gratitude to whose dedicated their whole life in teaching us and many others. Especially during these difficult times, Brazil is passing by, where the most typical news it is about corrupted politicians.
I am wearing two different looks to revive Madame’s impeccable style and the old school days.
For the school girl look, I put together a pleated skirt paired with a white blouse with a bow detail and velvet navy jacket accessorized with long knee boots and a classic handbag.
For the Madame Simone look, I am wearing a classic dress from Karl Lagerfeld. I still remember when She walked around the long school halls, dressed in her classic wardrobe pieces, pumps, pearls, and makeup was done with perfection emphasizing lipsticks in the colors pink or red.
I remember the first classes I had with Madame when I came to study at Colégio Sion, at the same time she was a strict teacher she was a sweet lady. She only spoke French to us, which helps to accelerate the learning process since you are forced to adapt yourself to the language.
While learning how to sing La Marseillaise (French National Anthem), memorizing the verbs etrê and avoir (to be) and listening to the words “Taisez -Vous” (Be quiet ) and “zéro,” a common grade gave to the students during the classes. I started to learn the French language.
The first time I went to France, the French I learned with Madame Simonne helped me to communicate, and when I finished high school, I continued my studies at the French Institute ( Alliance Française).
Central Park- NY
The students constantly remember her; She is a true icon that influenced generation after generation with her French lessons. She taught at Sion from the 60’s until her retirement in 2001. Now Madame is 95 years old and lives with her sister, Madame Odette, which was also a well known French teacher for traditional schools in Rio de Janeiro.
Traditions are not old fashioned my dear friends, and they are more present than ever. While writing this post, I came across to the movie “To Sir with love” inspiring me in picking the title. Sidney Poitier played the role of a school teacher teaching principles that the students carried on with them along their lives.
I am very thankful to all the teachers I had at Sion. I keep each one of them in my memories with love. From Madame Simonne with her French classes to the English teacher Inês Helena, always sharing stories about her school trips to England, which I was so fascinated by it that I ended up going and I have the best memories ever. I can never forget about the history lessons taught by the teacher Celina Rosa teaching us about Egyptians, The Ancient Greek, The Roman Empire. History and languages were my favorite subjects in school thanks to these great teachers.
This action in towards helping Madame Simonne and Madame Odette shows We all stand by the same principles. And that’s all it matters!
I am sure We all have great memories of our school days. What are your best memories? Use the comment box to leave your thoughts and the buttons to share this post with your friends.
Happy Bastille Day my friends!
Madame Simonne and Odette site for donations: somostodossimonneeodette