“Having the French baccalauréat and the US High School Diploma allows you to study everywhere in the world”, says Nicolas. Now a Senior Gr 12 at LFSF High, Nicolas is glad he opted to complete his education at Lycée Français de San Francisco. With their dual diploma, LFSF students can choose to pursue their undergraduate education anywhere in Europe or in the U.S. And even for students like August, who already know they will only apply to American universities, having the French baccalaureate is also a way to stand apart from candidates from other high schools.” “We have been working with the College Counseling department since Gr 8”, he says. Indeed, last year, 60% of his senior schoolmates also made the choice to go to an American college or university when 19% chose to go to Canada and only 6.5% in France. All of them got accepted to at least one of their three first educational establishment of their choice.
Naya, a Lifer (at LFSF since K), at her graduation ceremony in June 2022
The results of the rigorous French Baccalauréat exam are indeed excellent at LFSF. For the Class of 2022 for example : 100% passed the exam including close to 80% with honors, high honors or jury’s congratulations. This is one of the reasons why alumni keep close ties with their school. Lucas and Emma graduated last year and just started respectively at Yale and UC Berkeley. Recently, they came back to LFSF to share their experience with current students. Both explain how very grateful they are for the support they received. At LFSF, students work hard, support each other and see their efforts pay off.
At LFSF, students start their bilingual education at the age of 2.
Bilingualism and biculturalism as key factors to success
Bilingualism plays an interesting part in their success. It allows them to stand out but also to learn and apprehend complex concepts more easily. Séo, Gr 9, is fluent in both languages : “I usually speak English with my friends. But a few years ago, a new friend was coming from France, so we switched to French until she learned to speak English, which happened in no time”... Séo also speaks Korean that he picked up from his mom. This multilingualism is common and cherished at LFSF where about 900 students from at least 48 nationalities collectively speak 32 different languages. So when we ask them what distinguishes LFSF from another school, there is no surprise when Séraphine and Blanche answer “the open-mindedness”.
At LFSF, students not only learn different languages but also become familiar with different cultures, starting with the French and the American ones. They sell French croissants to organize the Senior Prom but have student assemblies like American students. They participate in many events and competitions with other French Schools in France or worldwide (through the AEFE network) like Math en jean, the public speaking and debate challenge of Ambassadeurs en herbe, international youth sport competitions or the Orchestra of French Schools that reunites young musicians from across the globe.
Students decorate their sugar skulls for Día de Muertos.
For Noa, a Gr 12 student, “being at LFSF allows you to have a US High School experience and learn the French curriculum at the same time”. “In France, there’s no Spirit Week or Pyjama Day. And we can get dressed the way we want to feel at ease, which is great”, adds Lucie (Gr11).
The LFSF program : the best of both worlds
Besides the environment and the diversity of people they meet, LFSF students fully grasp both cultures through the program itself. For example, at the end of High School, they know both countries’ history. “It helps us understand different perspectives of the same historic event. We study the French Revolution in French History and the American one in US History but also the way the first one influenced the second”, explains Samantha, a junior. “We learn both ways of doing things : we know how to write an essay à la Française AND the American way and it’s the same for Math”, she explains. “We often see the link between the two classes and that helps”, Blanche adds.
Students see plays on a regular basis in the school theater.
“French culture is also passed on through all the books, movies and plays we have access to”, says Zara, Gr 11 (who is also the President of the LEAF club, a student group whose objective is to raise awareness of environmental issues). “The TLF brings us plays that are renowned and successful in France”, her classmate Rebecca adds. “Just the fact that we are able to see so many shows and meet the actors is amazing and pretty rare in a school”, Lucie notes.
Thanks to their bilingualism and biculturalism, students are accepted to some of the best universities in North America and Europe. And inspire the next generations of LFSF High students…