Three teachers receive Palmes Académiques
Three French teachers in the U.S. Southeast were awarded the Ordre des Palmes Académiques in May in recognition of their excellence in teaching and promotion of the French language and culture.
Dr. Svetoslava Dimova, Rhonda Archer and Moira Judas Smith, the latter of whom received her medal posthumously, were granted the title of chevalier in the order, during a ceremony by French Consul General Louis de Corail;
The distinction of Ordre des Palmes académiques, created by Napoleon in 1808, is awarded to distinguished educators for their contributions and promotion of the French language and culture. The Council of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, chaired by the French Minister of Education, bestows these titles.
For Dimova, who is a French teacher and the foreign language department chair at Campbell High School (Smyrna, Ga.), French is much more than a professional language. At her induction ceremony, she called it “the language of another birth.”
Dimova not only teaches but also coordinates an exchange program with Lycée Charles Jully in Saint-Avold, France, and beyond, as treasurer of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF). She and her students also partner with Seeds of Knowledge to create French language books that are sent to schools in Benin and Côte d’Ivoire.
Rhonda Archer, a French educator for almost 25 years, teaches at Mountain View High School (Lawrenceville, Ga.). She created multiple partnerships between her school and schools in France under a memorandum of understanding between the Georgia Department of Education and the Académie Nancy-Metz.
Moira Judas Smith passed away before she could receive her medal. The award was instead presented to her family and close colleagues in recognition of her work at The Webb School (Bell Buckle, TN) as the director of foreign languages.
The medal was given to her daughter, who became bilingual at a young age thanks to her mother’s constant use of French.