PHOTO/ Zachary Hanoyan Sr.
By Julia Metraux
While the rest of the junior class will be soaking in the final sun-filled days on the beach this August, sophomore Zach Hanoyan will be packing his bags to depart for a year in Rombas, France. Hanoyan has been selected to study abroad during the 2015-2016 school year through the Weston-Rombas foreign exchange program.
Hanoyan said what attracted him to apply for the program was the unique opportunity it offered of immersion in France for a full year.
“I love the French language and culture, so that made me interested,” said Hanoyan. “It’s crazy, but I’m crazy.”
According to Dr. Cortland Mathers, world language department head, deciding between the two applicants was difficult. Both Hanoyan and sophomore Aleka Agre applied with an essay and letter of recommendation and were interviewed before a committee.
Hanoyan was selected to be next year’s exchange student because of his French background and his capacity to take both French and Spanish, showing his dedication to languages, according to Dr. Mathers.
In 2014, Hanoyan was awarded the Departmental Award for Excellence in French Novice. Mathers said this proves his strong academic skills in reading and writing.
Hanoyan has also had experience with French in and around his home.
“My mother taught me a little bit of the language when I was younger,” said Hanoyan. “I also have a lot of French relatives, so I want to speak to them [in French].”
The Weston-Rombas foreign exchange program has allowed WHS students to experience French culture and language for a course of an entire school year for over 60 years. According to Dr. Mathers, this program is the oldest of its kind in the United States.
The world language department selected juniors for the exchange two years in a row, current exchange student Hannah Hardiman and now Hanoyan. But the Weston-Rombas exchange program encourages current freshmen to apply to the program because most juniors would miss required courses and experiences while abroad. Despite the challenges he faces academically, Hanoyan said he is determined to not fall behind.
“I am taking Pre-Calculus and Spanish in France, and I am taking an American history course online,” said Hanoyan. “I am also taking the ACT this spring because I want to focus on being immersed in the French culture without being distracted.”
Even with his preparation, there is one event that Hanoyan will be forced to miss.
“I am not happy about missing prom, but I do have this amazing opportunity available to me,” said Hanoyan.
Hanoyan said he knows he will have no regrets in taking this opportunity.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I know I will happily look back at this experience,” said Hanoyan.