Mrs. Wilson’s Advanced French 4 and 5 classes and Miss Cholewa’s French 2 classes went to Old Fort Niagara to participate in the French Heritage Day celebration at the Fort on Friday, Nov. 7.
Students learned about the influence the French had in the construction of the Fort, the weaponry used during the French occupation at Fort Niagara and were informed about various aspects of life at the Fort during that time period.
Students carried wooden muskets and marched on the parade grounds following orders barked out at them in French by commanders wearing authentic uniforms, tri-cornered hats and sporting bayonet musket rifles. They also learned the many steps involved in loading and ultimately firing a musket (all commands were spoken in French!).
Other activities that the French students took part in were relay races carrying bales that soldiers would have carried up from the river, learning about the role of the fife and drum during war times of that period, the importance of a blacksmith and how to fire a canon. Students also learned about the types of foods prepared at the fort and the supreme importance of the fur trade.
We also identified many influences that our region still carries today dating back from the French occupation at the Fort. (For example, Porter Road is the path that the French used to bring goods from the Fort at Lake Ontario around the waterfalls at Niagara to traders in Buffalo. The French word “porter” means “to carry”.)
We would like to extend our thanks to administration for recognizing the educational value of an experience like this and allowing us to participate! Merci beaucoup!
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