Toby Freeman receives France’s Highest Honor - Ordre des Palmes Académiques
After having emceed and presented student awards at this year’s Texas French Symposium, Toby Freeman returned home to find an award certificate of his own in the mail – France’s highest honor: the Ordre des palmes académiques (Order of Academic Palms).
“It’s quite an honor,” said Freeman, who now has the title of Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. “It’s one of the world’s highest and oldest civil awards.”
Originally, the palmes académiques were only given to teachers or professors. In 1866, the scope of the award was widened to include major contributions to French national education made by anybody, including foreigners. It was also made available to French nationals outside of France who had made major contributions to the expansion of French culture in the rest of the world.
“Dating from the time of Napoleon, this is one of the highest honors that the nation of France can bestow on someone, one of the absolute highest orders for an academic who’s not a French citizen (thought it’s also awarded to French citizens),” said Georges Detiveaux, French instructor and language lab coordinator at Lone Star College-CyFair. “For decades, Toby has been the driving force of the Texas French Symposium, a state wide multi-category contest for high school French students, and we are now honored to have him as one of our instructors.”
Freeman joined LSC-CyFair in January as an adjunct faculty member teaching beginning and intermediate French and will be teaching a summer session in June.
“As a child I decided I wanted to teach French and I never changed my mind,” said Freeman, who retired after 30 years teaching French at Eisenhower High School in the Aldine Independent School District.
In addition to a three-decade teaching career, Freeman has been involved with the Texas French Symposium for more than two decades. In 1988, he became a board member and has served as president since 1991. The symposium draws 1,000 students representing 50 schools across the state to compete in 28 different categories such as prose, drama, music, sports and more.
Freeman said he just wants to make a difference in people’s lives and expose them to a different culture.
“Many don’t know that 45 percent of the English language comes from French and there are French aspects in our history and development,” he said. “With 300 French companies with offices here in Houston, there’s an economic advantage for students to major or minor in business French.”
Students taking French at LSC-CyFair also have the added benefit of access to the college’s state-of-the-art language labs, said Detiveaux. Text-specific software, digital audio and video materials, and many popular language learning programs such as Tell Me More and Rosetta Stone are all just a click away to students enrolled in language study at the college.
For information on French at LSC-CyFair, e-mail cffren@LoneStar.edu or call 281-290-5975. For assistance with being placed into a French class, visit CyFair.LoneStar.edu/frenchplacement.
Summer and fall registration is under way at the Barker Cypress campus, 9191 Barker Cypress and the Fairbanks Center location, 14955 Northwest Freeway. For information, call 281-290-3200 or 832-782-5000 or go to CyFair.LoneStar.edu.
Six honored as 2008 Adjunct Faculty Excellence Award winners
At the recent Lone Star College-CyFair awards ceremony, Deana Shepherd, Executive Director and Dean of LSC-Fairbanks Center and Dr. Diane Troyer, LSC-CyFair President congratulate this year’s recipients including:
Division V’s Joy Ezekiel, who teaches ESOL,;
Division IV’s Charles Hines, who teaches sociology;
Division III’s Huay Ming Ng, who teaches music;
Division II’s Leslie Wang, who teaches biology/environmental science;
Division I’s William Grimble, who teaches English;
and LSC-Fairbanks Center's Shazia Ashraf, who teaches transitional math.