CRESTVIEW — Among fans in the bleachers for the big Friday night football game against Niceville were visitors from Noirmoutier, Crestview’s French sister city, including 21 students attending with their local host families. Before the kickoff and to the roar of appreciation from the crowd, René Relandeau, president of the Noirmoutier Sister City Committee, and Crestview High Principal Bob Jones took a moment to exchange gifts of appreciation.


CRESTVIEW — Among fans in the bleachers for the big Friday night football game against Niceville were visitors from Noirmoutier, Crestview’s French sister city, including 21 students attending with their local host families. Before the kickoff and to the roar of appreciation from the crowd, René Relandeau, president of the Noirmoutier Sister City Committee, and Crestview High Principal Bob Jones took a moment to exchange gifts of appreciation.



Relandeau presented a plaque bearing the people of Noirmoutier’s “grateful appreciation for many years of friendship, hospitality and support for our young people,” while Jones presented the French guests with a bronze Bulldog sculpture.



“I thank the people of Crestview, particularly the host families and everyone who’s taking care of us,” Relandeau said through Crestview High French teacher Chris Lanoue, who interpreted his remarks.



“Without all these people helping us, we couldn’t do what we’re doing now: to bring 21 young people from France to be immersed in American family life, language and culture,” Relandeau said. “It is a discovery and a dream come true. It is not a superficial trip like a tourist. It is living like an American. We hope our American friends from Crestview have the same experience in Noirmoutier.



“We give this plaque to Crestview High School in the hopes that the students here will think of their friends across the Atlantic. Since the days of Lafayette and through two world wars, Franco-American friendship continues through our young people of both nations.”



In addition to the host families sharing in their French guests’ experience, it was a special evening for members of the Crestview High Junior ROTC color guard. Jessica Falls proudly held aloft the Tricolor, the blue, white and red French flag, during the playing of both countries’ national anthems.



“I think holding the French flag is sharing the culture of the United States with our visitors, because we’re a big melting pot,” Jessica said. “We are all from different backgrounds.”