O Pioneers

A year and a half ago my husband and I moved our ever growing family from Belgium, where we lived as graduate students, to France. We came to live at a Catholic boarding school located in the idyllic French countryside. Prior to our arrival we were asked if we were in possession of “pioneering spirit” to which we both answered in the affirmative. Nearly two years into our new adventure I’d say that we are all fully enjoying it as well. Our house, “the cottage”, is located on the campus of the International College and our daily interactions with it are vast and varied. The campus buildings are lovely and the grounds are breathtaking. The house is what one might call a bit of a “fixer-upper”, (think It’s a Wonderful Life house…only not as big) incredibly charming, and constantly unfolding it’s potential with our steady and constant improvements both inside and out. The house has also become a place where the students of the College can come to visit, relax and feel like they are home away from home. The students enjoy the occasional home cooked meal, tea and muffins in the afternoon, cookies during the holidays, watching American football games, and playing with our dog and cats, among other things. Sadly most of our first year has gone undocumented so we thought it might be interesting to blog about our little adventures, mostly with the students, here at the International College. Our pioneering American spirit has brought us, here, to France, to an English boarding school and while life here is probably not as hard as it was on the American frontier we have our own little adventures living with our children, in close proximity to our fellow teachers and, of course,  the students.

About thechavagnesexperience

Philip Gonzales, BA, MA, Mphil is a full time teacher at Chavagnes International College and that includes all the tasks involved in living at a boarding school: being on rotation for early morning wake-ups, nighttime dorm duties, supervising study halls, participating in daily communal meals, and the like. He teaches philosophy, classical civilization, religion and boxing mostly to the senior students in the upper school. He has earned a four year baccalaureate degree in Philosophy from Ave Maria University, an advanced Masters degree as well as an MPhil degree from the Institute of Philosophy at the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven in Belgium and is now actively pursuing his doctorate. His travels in pursuit of his PhD have taken him to Poland to the University of Warclow and to the University of Maynooth in Ireland. Throughout his academic career he has been award an Academic Merit Scholarship at Ave Maria University, the Roby Scholarship from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts to study for a semester in Rome, as well as another Academic Merit Scholarship from KU Leuven to complete his MPhil degree. He has taught at the American College of Louvain in Leuven Belgium. He also has membership as a Junior Member of the International Hermeneutics Society and is a member of the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein. His PhD dissertation is concerned with the philosophy of Edith Stein and Eric Przywara and their reinterpretation of the analogy of being. Sarah Gonzales, BA MA is a part time English teacher at Chavagnes International College. She also contributes to the pastoral support of the College and her students. Having transferred from Thomas More College of Liberal Arts to Ave Maria University she earned a four year baccalaureate degree in Literature. Her thesis pertained to Virginia Woolf’s work and the language of images and time as presented in the form of the modern novel. She also received an advanced Master’s degree in European Studies from the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven writing her thesis on the concept of the Nation and the Nation State with the specific case study of Northern Ireland. She has been awarded a Rotary Club Scholarship for her excellence in community service, as well as the Roby Scholarship awarded to aid her studies in Rome. Sarah also has experience teaching religious education as well as figure skating to students of varying ages. She currently enjoys living in France where she raises her children and is free to pursue a variety of interests at her leisure.
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