The following information was provided by Kristen Purdy Russett:
On April 3, 14 lucky French students from Marblehead Veterans Middle School attended the Boston Bruins game at the TD Garden as Patrice Bergeron's special guests.
Ms. Kristen Purdy Russett, the middle school's French teacher, selected these 14 students for this once-in-a-lifetime event through an essay contest. The winning students enjoyed the game from Patrice's personal luxury suite, appeared in a group shot on the scoreboard, but best of all, were invited to meet the Bruins' star forward after the game.
The young fans spoke with Bergeron in French, asking him thoughtful questions about his illustrious hockey career that includes an Olympic Gold Medal and, of course, the 2011 Stanley Cup. They also discussed his charity work and the challenges of learning a second language.
Bergeron stressed the importance and advantages of being bilingual.
He was clearly impressed when a student asked him, "When you are on the ice, do you think in French or in English?"
He replied that it depends on the situation, but sometimes in French and sometimes in English. For most of the students, this was their first time using their new language skills outside of the classroom. What a thrill and an honor to speak French with their favorite athlete!
During the meet and greet, he was also gracious enough to sign autographs and take photos with the group.
Russett worked with the Bruins last summer on their I.C.E. School Curriculum Committee and developed French lesson plans that incorporate a hockey theme.
In addition to French, the program includes curriculum materials for many subjects such as geography, math, English language arts, physical education and science. The lesson plans are available on the Boston Bruins website to teachers throughout Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Activities for the French program include worksheets, puzzles, a song, games, and more.
French students at Marblehead Veterans Middle School have been using these lesson plans all year, culminating in the essay contest and invitation to visit with Patrice Bergeron at the TD Garden.
Merci Patrice Bergeron et les Bruins!