What advice would you give to an
To an incoming student, I would encourage
them to follow their interests and passions.
French American and International offers so
many opportunities in academics, community service, athletics, the arts, etc. Anyone
can find a home here. When you follow
what you love and what you believe in, you
become the best person you can be, which
will not only help you get into a great college, but also become the person you want
to be in life. With the rigorous academics, it can sometimes
feel hard to keep up but when you dedicate yourself to what
you love and take advantage of what you can learn at this
school, you will be successful.
What was your most memorable experience at French
My most memorable experience here was during my trip to
Senegal in 10th grade. Since the project started, I had heard
a lot about what was being done to help raise money for
École Natangue and when I came into high school I enjoyed
being involved in the project. When I got to visit M’Bour, the
small town where the school is located, I was given an incredible opportunity to experience a community I had never
seen before. Before leaving for Senegal, I had in my mind
images of extreme poverty and sadness that we often associate with Africa. Though poverty does exist in Senegal and
many people there have trouble providing for their families,
they had such a strong sense of community that they are able
to live happily and thrive.
On one occasion, we visited fields where the mothers of
children studying at École Natangue are given the chance
to work and out of nowhere, they decided to turn over their
buckets and put on a dance and music performance for
us. This moment was so special to me because I saw how
these people who are living off much less than what we do
are happy simply by being together and enjoying their life
amongst their friends and families.
Were you a “Lifer” or did you transfer
I was a Lifer, attending the school from Pre-K through the French Baccalaureate track.
How do you think bilingualism has
impacted your future?
I think one of the most important aspects
of bilingualism is the way it enables us to
view the world from different perspectives.
Learning in both English and French, we are
able to gain insight from the American and
French cultures and thus view the world in a more critical
way. Being bilingual opens our doors to more of what the
world has to offer by teaching us more about the cultures
and opinions that exist outside of our homes. Since I also
took Mandarin during middle and high school, I was given
a third perspective and learned more about the Chinese culture, adding yet another dimension to the way I view the
What part of your experience at French American was the
most instrumental to get you to Stanford University?
I feel that the rigor of our school’s academics played a major
part in getting me to Stanford. Throughout the 4 years, I was
in the French section of the high school, which means that
at the end of 9th grade, I passed the Brevet exam, which
marks the end of middle school in France, and at the end of
11th and 12th grade, I passed the Baccalauréat exams. Being part of the French track taught me a lot about maintaining a strong work ethic and developing good organizational
and time management skills. Because of all the exams that
constitute the Bac it is important to spread my studying out,
studying lessons in advance and completing work assignments ahead of time, so as to achieve the best results possible. Studying at French American and International gave
me a passion for learning that I am sure will be a good asset
through college and the rest of my life. All the community
service opportunities that I was introduced to at school was
also a major plus for me, especially since Stanford’s founders built the school as a way to benefit the community and
generations to come.
Five Questions for Alumna Soumeya Kerrar, Class of 2013