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Berks’ Best 2024 world languages winner: Meghan Cramer has a passion for all things French

When Meghan Cramer was just 8 years old, her favorite top was a hot-pink tank printed with an image of the Eiffel Tower.

“Even when I was a kid, I was obsessed with French culture,” she said.

During a family trip to Walt Disney World, Cramer wandered wide-eyed through the EPCOT World Showcase’s French-themed pavilion and was thrilled to chat with the natives of France working there.

So when it was time for her to select a required foreign language course in eighth grade, naturally she chose French.

Cramer, 18, a Wilson High School senior, is the winner of the Berks’ Best 2024 award in world languages.

“Meg is an enthusiastic and motivated language student who always strives to do her best,” said Jamie Wonder Piersol, Cramer’s high school French teacher, in a recommendation letter.

Piersol said she is highly impressed with Cramer’s dedication, commitment to learn and growth in the language during her high school years.

“She has the self-confidence to use the French language consistently, and she has an excellent work ethic,” Piersol said. “She demonstrates admirable interpersonal skills in the language and is able to confidently speak on a variety of topics in front of her peers.”

Cramer’s honors and awards include the 10th Grade World Language Award, World Language Scholars Association; Willis Rapp Percussion Scholarship, second place, Reading Musical Foundation (2019-23); Bynden Wood Youth Performer (2023); Reading Musical Foundation Young Music Makers Award (2022-23); PMEA District 10 Band Scholarship Recipient; and National Honors Society.

Her high school activities include participation in school, county, district and regional choir, orchestra and band events; West Chester University High School Honors Ensemble; associate principal percussion, Reading Symphony Youth Orchestra; and assistant director, Berks Youth Chorus.

A highlight of Cramer’s high school French studies was a school trip to France last summer. The group of Wilson juniors and seniors spent a week exploring Paris and visited the Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, the Louvre and other well-known sites.

“It was just one of the most amazing experiences to be in another country and get to immerse myself in the culture,” she said.

With five years of French under her belt, Cramer was able to understand the natives and make herself understood, despite her American accent.

“We had moments where, you know, sometimes it was a little shaky,” she said, “but we were able to get through pretty much. We could order our way through a restaurant and get basic directions.”

Earlier in her studies, Cramer practiced her fluency with a French pen pal, using social media and other communication apps. Speaking the language with a native was intimidating, she said, so they often chatted in English, which her pen pal had mastered.

“But that was really the first time I got to try using any French,” she said, “which was really cool.”

Cramer’s study of all things French is exceeded only by her interest in music.

A talented percussionist, she was selected as a section leader for Wilson’s marching band. Her caring demeanor and stalwart support of the student musicians in her charge earned her the affectionate title “Mom of the Band.”

Cramer plans to attend West Chester University to study music education. She hopes to return to Berks County to teach general music in a local elementary school. She also plans to set up a home studio and teach private lessons to young percussionists.

Language study taught her discipline and focus, she said, which can be applied to her future studies and career plans.

“The study of French has helped me grow as a student and a person so much, even if I’m not going to major in it in college,” she said.

Source: Berkshire mont

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