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Sister Mary Helen Kashuba


ACTFL/PSMLA: SUCCESS STORIES Philadelphia Convention Center and the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown were alive with enthusiasm as attendees, exhibitors and workshop presenters showed their commitment to the success of foreign language study. The annual ACTFL conference 2012 was held in November, as usual, this year in conjunction with PSMLA. Several Philadelphia Chapter members attended, contributing to the success and excitement of the conference and sharing the joy and satisfaction of seeing well-deserved honors awarded to our beloved leader and new National President of AATF, Sister Mary Helen Kashuba of Chestnut Hill College. At the PSMLA Awards ceremony, all stood in moving tribute as Sister received the Frank Mulhern Leadership Award. This legacy in Frank Mulhern’s memory keeps his loyalty to PSMLA alive through Sister, who works tirelessly to inspire us and to further the goals of foreign language education. During this Philadelphia conference, in the French Quarter’s Sofitel Hotel, His Excellency François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, decorated Sister Mary Helen Kashuba as Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques, a promotion from her rank of Chevalier. The Academic Palmes, established by Napoleon Bonaparte, is the most prestigious award of the French Government, for academic achievement and promotion of French language and culture. As Sister begins her tenure as National President of the AATF, there is even further cause for celebration, as this is her 35th anniversary as French Contest Administrator for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter. Thirty-five years ago, the chapter had 300 students enrolled in the Grand Concours. This year, we approach our goal to enroll 3,000 students. The American Association of Teachers of French, Philadelphia Chapter celebrates with Sister Mary Helen Kashuba as she continues leading foreign language education to even further success in the future!


Joanne S. Silver


As prizes for the 2011 Outstanding Chapter Officer award, Joanne Silver received a free year’s membership in the AATF and a French immersion week in CERAN Provence. She states: “I have wonderful memories of this impressive program, and I would recommend it to beginners as well as advanced students of French. The teachers, experts in pedagogy and very sympas, ‘customized’ each student’s program of language and culture. The food was great, the rooms comfortable, and the setting peaceful and lovely – yet within walking distance from the small town of Morières-lès-Avignon. A truly terrific experience; thank you, AATF!”


At a reception at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Joanne Shoestock Silver was decorated Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by His Excellency Pierre Vimont, Ambassador of France to the United States. Ambassador Vimont was accompanied by Attachée Éducative Catherine Pétillon. Guests included the Honorary Consul of France to Philadelphia, Michael Scullin; AATF Regional Representative Alice Cataldi; Director of France-Philadelphie, Danièle Thomas Easton; President Diana Regan and Executive Director Martine Chauvet of the Alliance Française de Philadelphie; Beach Lloyd Publishers’ authors from France, Canada and Pennsylvania.

A retired French teacher, Joanne is active in numerous Franco-American organizations and founded Beach Lloyd Publishers, LLC, whose mission is to recognize the ties between France and the U.S., and to view those shared ideals globally. BLP memoirs of World War II and the books Philadelphie à la française: La présence culturelle et historique des Français dans la vallée du Delaware and its English edition bear witness to these tie.


Barbara Barnett


Barbara P. Barnett, Head of Modern Languages at the Agnes Irwin School in Philadelphia, has received the Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award, Secondary Level, from the American Association of Teachers of French. The award recognizes teachers for excellence and commitment in the teaching of French language and Francophone cultures and literatures.

An official presentation will be made at the Awards Banquet in San Jose, California, in July 2009 at the Annual AATF conference. Madame Barnett will receive a framed certificate, a complimentary membership in the AATF for 2010 and a one-year subscription to Le Français dans le monde.

Mme Barnett, a teacher of French at Agnes Irwin for over thirty years, authored the book Visages de la Shoah: Marcel Jabelot (published in both French and English) and co-directed two award-winning documentaries dealing with collaboration and resistance in Vichy France. She was decorated Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques in May 2007.


Rodney Gérard Taylor


Congratulations to Rodney Taylor, Middle School recipient of AATF’s Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award, 2009. Monsieur Taylor says that he is glad to be able to serve his community and help expand the global and cultural perspectives of students. He credits a “phenomenal group of students and supportive parents and colleagues.”

He has taught for about 15 years, in Lower Merion School District and Cherry Hill public schools. Previously, he spent four years teaching French to socio-economically disadvantaged students in the Mississippi Teacher Corps. Currently, he serves on the Montgomery County Association of Teachers of Foreign Language executive board.

“I hope that this great honor is an encouragement to my fellow world language teachers and also to African-American educators everywhere,” Taylor said.

Taylor created a French cinema club at the school and restored their annual language immersion trip to Quebec. Recently, Bala Cynwyd’s students scored the highest public school scores to date on the national French exam.


Yvonne McFadden


Yvonne McFadden, teacher of French at Downingtown East High School, has been named the school’s Teacher of the Year (2008-2009), a “first” for a World Language teacher in the Downingtown Area School District.

Madame McFadden has excelled in promoting French language and culture in multiple ways, including participation in the Grand Concours, escorting students to France and sponsoring an active French Club. This year she established a high school exchange program: students from France and their English teacher came to the Downingtown area for 2 weeks in the fall, and 12 Downingtown students went to France in the spring, to reside in the French homes and attend school.


Emily Wagner


In 2008, Emily Z. Wagner of Germantown Academy in Fort Washington was awarded the title of NECTFL Teacher of the Year by the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She then became one of five regional candidates nominated for the National Teacher of the Year Award sponsored by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. In 2007, Wagner was named Educator of the Year by the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association. The award honors distinguished teaching in world languages. She was recognized during the association’s annual conference held in October 2007 in King of Prussia.

Wagner says that more than 91 percent of GA students continue their world language study through graduation and often pick up a second or third language in college. Wagner says, “Being able to communicate, linguistically and culturally, in another language, is a valuable tool in the increasingly global workplace.”

She said that working with children helps her grow personally and professionally, every day. According to Richard House, Head of Middle School at GA, “The award bestowed upon her is most fitting as her knowledge and passion for the Francophone world are the result of a lifetime’s devotion to France and to the French language.”


Marilyn Conwell


We meet Marilyn Conwell at countless activities—she has hosted many language events at Rosemont College, and we have been captivated by her brilliant wit and personal charm. It was no surprise in 2004 when she received the coveted Dorothy S. Ludwig Excellence in Teaching Award for Post-Secondary Education. The award was presented at the joint meeting of the AATF and International Federation of French Teachers in Atlanta Georgia, at a special luncheon on July 20, 2004.

Marilyn chairs the Foreign Language Department and offers training in Foreign Language Methods. She has trained some of the best teachers in our area. Marilyn also serves Rosemont on search committees, advisory councils, and in countless other ways.

Marilyn established the Conwell Learning Center at Rosemont, extending its services to neighboring colleges and high schools. When Washington proposed eliminating the DELF/DALF French Government examinations, Marilyn took the case to Paris—so American students continue to profit from this experience, with an active center established at Rosemont College.

Professor Conwell specializes in contemporary theater, and constantly updates her research by attending the newest productions in Paris.

In 2006, Professor Conwell was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by the French Ministry.