“All of France felt the terror of the Paris attacks. My students wanted to express their sadness for the victims and their families. They wanted to do something. They wanted to say that America cares. Creating a poster covered with well-wishes and sharing it with students in Saint Nazaire just seemed the right gesture” noted LaVerne Flowers, the student’s French Teacher at Warwick High.
For the past two years, Madame Flowers (as she is referred to by students and colleagues) has been active in the local Sister Cities program, working to build the relationship between Newport News and the French city. Last April, Flowers traveled to the harbor city in the Pays de la Loire region of France to meet with local officials and school representatives to see first-hand if Saint Nazaire was a good match for Newport News. As it turns out, in addition to shipbuilding and aviation assets, Saint Nazaire has an old connection to Newport News. It was the designated port of debarkation for many of the US Army’s supplies, especially horses, shipped out of Newport News to Europe in World War I.
Sister Cities’ mission is to promote peace, one individual, one community at a time. These young people knew innately what needed to be done and took the initiative to reach out and share a message of unity with our French friendship city. I give them great credit for understanding that terror has no foothold in places where peace and hope reside. KZH