As Shaker High School students Chat Perera, Katie Walters, and Helene Ryu watched the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks unfold on television, they felt disbelief. They all said they knew their French teacher, Kate Palanza, had friends in Paris.
“It was really close to me,” said Palanza. “After it happened, I pulled some images from social media and I showed the students in class.”
Perera, Walters and Ryu said they could tell how upset Palanza was. That’s when they knew they wanted to do something to help the victims.
“It put into perspective that someone in our Shaker community has ties to France,” said sophomore Helene Ryu. “It’s important that we do what we can to make people feel better.”
As a result, more than 35 Shaker High School students came together to organize “Café Français”, held in Shaker’s Lafollette Dining Hall. The students volunteered to bake and bring in food, and worked the event as waiters and chefs. $400 was raised, and will go directly to the families of the victims.
“These students are tremendous. It’s so heartwarming,” said Palanza.
“France will never be the same,” said junior Chat Perera. “The entire world stopped when 9/11 happened, and I feel we should take a moment and think about what happened and show compassion, letting the victims and their families know that we are with them in sharing their pain.”