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Celebrating Languages with Experiences to Remember

The Festival of Languages, a weeklong celebration of French, Spanish, and Latin, has been going on at Gilman since Middle School Modern Languages Coordinator Jessica Nelson can remember. She first taught at Gilman for a decade beginning in 2007 and then returned in 2022 after exploring a different career path for a few years. “It’s sort of a launch of various activities for our students to celebrate the beauty of learning a language,” she said.

The event includes days where each language is celebrated and students dress in the colors of the appropriate flag — Francophone colors for French Day and Argentina for Spanish Day (selected this year to honor its World Cup win). For Latin Day, the boys were encouraged to get in the spirit with a makeshift toga and red accents. A food festival featured not only cuisine from cultures studied but also from students’ own family traditions and heritage.

The festival was held January 23 through the 27; however, the foundation for the celebration really began months earlier with related projects and assignments that encompassed research, writing, and speaking skills. There was also a poster contest featuring artwork that the boys selected, researched, and recreated.

“The festival infuses a sense of community and an appreciation for diversity,” Nelson said. “The boys aren’t going to remember how many verbs they conjugated or the quizzes they took. But they are going to remember these experiences.”


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