CRESTVIEW — Chris Lanoue is the latest recipient of the Medal of Noirmoutier, which recognizes her efforts to strengthen ties between the youth of Crestview and its French sister city.
Receiving the island's highest honor came as a surprise, the Crestview High School French teacher said.
“I couldn’t believe it!”Lanoue said. “I was in Europe for five weeks, but only in Noirmoutier for three days.”
Lanoue was in Noirmoutier making plans for a group of French students' fall 2015 trip to Florida, and for CHS French Club members who plan a summer 2016 visit to their sister city.
Fundraising for the visit will begin in earnest when the school year starts next month, Lanoue said, and will include some ideas she gleaned from teachers and students in Noimoutier.
“She learned how we do many different activities to earn some money to pay for our trips to Crestview,” said RenéRelandeau, president of the Noirmoutier Sister City Committee.
Lanoue deserved recognition for her many years of arranging hospitality for Noirmoutrin students visiting Crestview, Relandeau said.
While in Noirmoutier, Lanoue met with some French students who came here in 2009 and 2011 and with students coming to Crestview next year.
“I got to see what they really look like and not just what they look like on their dossier,” Lanoue said.
“It was interesting hearing from the first group who came to Crestview,” Lanoue said. “They’re in upper-level studies now, and one is married and joined the army.”
Lanoue and the French students weren’t the only ones who benefited from her visit.
“For the parents, it was a great pleasure to meet Chris,” Relandeau said. “They had many questions for her.”
THE MEDAL OF NOIRMOUTIER
The administration of Crestview’s sister city established the Medal of Noirmoutier to recognize people instrumental in forging relationships with the island and France. It is the community’s highest recognition.
Recipients are as follows.
● July 2014: Chris Lanoue, Crestview High School French teacher, who arranges host families and activities for visiting Noirmoutrin students and is CHS French Club adviser.
● June 2013: News Bulletin writer Brian Hughes, president of the Crestview Sister City Program, who expanded regional program awareness and whose efforts helped boost local members and host families' participation
● May 2013: Dr. Cliff Herron, retired head of Northwest Florida State College's Division of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts, who biennially brought the school’s show choirs to Noirmoutier for student performances and initiated the academic exchange relationship between NWFSC and the University of Nantes.