PUTNEY -- The Grammar School’s fifth, sixth, and seventh grade French students visited Montreal over the Martin Luther King long weekend. For the fourth consecutive year, the trip was organized and led by French teacher Johanna Gardner (Madame Jo to her students).

The Montreal trip affords many TGS students their first opportunity to travel outside the United States and experience a different language and culture first hand. Students ate, slept, and went to school with their French speaking pen pals, with who whom they had been corresponding throughout the school year.

The Grammar School students and their Quebec peers from Collège Stanislas in Montreal were eager and open to learn about each other. Gardner says, "The Montreal families were wonderful hosts, taking one or two TGS students into their homes, and showing them their beautiful city. The families, teachers, and head of Collège Stanislas were incredibly generous, going out of their way to welcome our students and open their homes and lives to us."

The trip was rewarding for both the children and parents who helped chaperone. As one parent commented, it was such a great cultural and interpersonal experience that it was hard to come back to Vermont.

Gardner noted the lasting bonds that were created between pen pals and the feelings of goodwill generated by the trip. She said, "Some of these families will stay in touch and continue to visit each other, forming life long friendships."