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The Los Angeles’ French high school

December 15, 2017

In Los Angeles, there is one special high school, nicknamed “  the celebrities high school”. Every international and French celebrity wants their children to study there. Consequently, it is the most popular high school in the world. It is seen as an exceptional high school and among these ‘very important kids’,we can find the children of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Bob Sinclar, Johnny Halliday, Gad Elmaleh and Madonna.

This high school was founded in 1964 by Raymond and Esther Cabaz. They had a dream: they longed for giving lessons in French. Yet, the State authorized only English teaching. So, they decided to fight against the California law. They achieved their dream with the first enrolment of the famous Agnes Moorehead’s son. ( from the series Bewitched ). Then, the success was immediate.

The school is divided in 5 campus. There are 900 students and among them, 56 nationalities. It welcomes students from primary school to high school. As it is a prestigious school, parents have to pay from 16 000 to 22 000 euros  each year. Nothing has changed since the creation of the school;  students still wear a uniform for example. It is not just as a symbol of the school but also as a way to show that everyone is equal and that students have to distinguish themselves by their intelligence and their soul.

It is really another mentality:

First of all, the high school looks like a big hotel with the cars’ parade,  and of course prestigious cars, which drop the children off at the bebining of the day. There are also some men, kind of bodyguards in charge of the security with talkie walkies. The school is highly secured, with lots of cameras which trigger calm and tranquility. Indeed, at the death of Elvis Presley, lots of paparazzis had wanted to photograph his daughter, who studied in the school at that time. Consequently they strengthened the security. We can talk about the investment of Brad Pitt’s family in screens, kind of thick fabrics to protect the grids, so that journalists cannot take picture through them. As we can see the high school is nonstandard.

Secondly, the school system is not traditional:  there are only 15 students per class, which prompts a proximity between students and teachers. For example the director knows every student by his name.  The French class is obligatory, of course. There are homework and tests but it is more flexible: they want students not to feel under pressure. Yet, they have 100% success at the bacalauréat and the students have the opportunity to acquire a French or American diploma.

They want the students to learn the values of  sharing and wasting. They even have an organic garden. Indeed, most of the time, the students do not even know the name of vegetables.
Moreover, they aim to instruct them on an art of living they don’t know: they have the possibility in the CE2 class to learn how to cook baguettes and croissants.
They have  some things in common with French schools, for example the election of the class representatives. However, it looks like an American show, like the Oscar ceremony: they usually emphasize their ideas to be more convincing. They learn how to speak in front of an assembly.

Finally, the school proposes lots of other activities, not only for students like a choir or a swimming pool and a football team, but also for parents: Dany Boon had for example participated in  an interview game, Johnny Hallyday had a concert and Angelina Jolie attended the last dinner of the year.

Camille

 

 

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