Arlington high school recognized for French program

French course in session at Wakefield High School in Arlington, Va., Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (ABC7 photo)

High marks for the French program at Wakefield High School. 17-year-old Jake Karton appreciates the teachers. "They always make time to help you if you need help. They're involved," he shared.

Katy Wheelock, the World Language Department Chair, told ABC 7 News enrollment is up. "Since 2011 our program has doubled in terms of numbers," she said. It's part of the reason the American Association of Teachers of French is taking notice. The organization has awarded the school with Exemplary Program Honors. Wakefield is one of only 10 schools around the country to receive the award.

"We're not really textbook teachers where we pull out the book and say these are the pages we're doing for the next several days, but rather, we're trying to find ways for them to have opportunities to use the language in more real life situations," she explained.

Karton is president of Wakefield's French National Honor Society. He benefits from creative teaching and cultural activities that extend outside the classroom. "When you enjoy what you do, you tend to work harder at it. You tend to improve," he said. 18-year-old Emily Reyes thought about quitting French but changed her mind when she started attending Wakefield. "In middle school, I didn't think I would continue on with the language and then, I got here freshman year and I met Madam Wheelock and from then on, it definitely sparked an interest in me," she said.

Plenty of other students are interested too. 200 are signed up to take French at Wakefield next school year.

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