Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit a dungeon? Well, for my Parisian Monuments project in French 1, I did just that. I chose La Conciergerie, a French castle turned French Revolutionary prison, for my project piece because I thought that the building was beautiful and I wanted to encourage people to go to this amazing overseen part of French history. The assignment required me to make a packet, model, and presentation for a Parisian monument of my choice. We were given almost a month to complete the whole project, and it took me about two weekends just to complete the 3D model. Throughout the project, I learned a lot of amazing and interesting facts about La Conciergerie, but I also learned some important life skills, such as grit, creativity, and confidence.
While progressing through my project, I faced many challenges, mostly through my 3D model portion of the project. I hot glued most of my model together to make the structure out of cardboard. I had to cut the cardboard, fit it together, add extra pieces to make it fit correctly, and hot glue it all in place. Throughout this process, there were many glue-gun burns, I ran out of hot glue, and my fingers were so sore I could not make the glue come out anymore. This was the hardest part and it honestly hurt, but in the end, I kept on going and made it all stay together.
Creativity has typically been a strength of mine, but this project really challenged even my known skills. I wanted to have a boat, a door, and caverns inside, but I had to tone down my vision while still being creative. I had to improvise and find ways to make the model look as realistic as possible, including designing a brick facade. I also had to become innovative with the gothic windows, and I used a paper stamper and glued a few pieces together. Though I had never struggled with imagination, projects were different than stories, so I really had to come up with creative ideas on the spot. I loved being creative in the project and surprisingly, all of my ideas came together to make an end result I was proud of.
Confidence has never been a strong suit of mine. When I am in class, I have to push myself to say anything. Presenting the project was a struggle, as it was my first presentation in this class. It took courage to present and to simply ask for help. Because I worked hard, I felt good about my project, which led me to feel confident in presenting it. Altogether, I gained confidence, overcame a challenge and got better at presenting.
When I become an adult, I know all of these skills that I am gaining will be important. Grit is needed if you want to accomplish anything significant. There will always be difficulties that require continuing on despite the challenge. Creativity is important for working in the arts, imagining new ideas, or simply having fun. Confidence is important for interviews, mentoring, and being a good role model for the next generation or your own. All of these skills are important to life, so thanks French class for teaching me more than just French.
Samantha Scurry is an eighth-grader at Evansville Day School. She loves choir, French, and art. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, volunteering, and working as a Dino Ranger.