Bienvenue à Madame Neumann!

Allison Lillestol, Copy- Editor

New school year, new teachers! This year we get to welcome Madame Neumann. She teaches all levels of French, and you probably see her walking the halls in her fabulous outfits.

I got the opportunity to interview her and get to know more about what makes her who she is today.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about Rosary so far? 

A: My favorite thing about Rosary so far is the students! I am lucky that I really enjoy the people I see all day at work!

Q: What are you most excited about for this school year?

A: There are far too many things that I am excited about to list them all.  Sometimes, my students are excited about the same things, and that is magical.  But sometimes it is just me who is excited about parts of speech and verb tenses and making consonant and vowel sounds in French that we do not make in English. I am okay with that though; you can’t win them all!  I am also excited about sharing things about French and francophone culture.

Q: Where did you go to college and what did you major in?

A: For my B.A., I majored in Geography and minored in Geology at The University of Texas at Austin.  My M.A. is in Bicultural – Bilingual Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Q: I remember you talking about your time in the Peace Corp. Can you share about your time there?

A: I lived in a mud hut in the Sahel region, just south of the Sahara Desert, in West Africa, in the Republic of Niger. My village was tiny and to leave it, I would walk or ride a Yamaha 125 cc dirt bike through the sand to get to the main road running through the country from east to west. For longer distances, I would ride in a bush taxi, usually filled with a lot of other people and their small livestock. I was an agroforestry – environmental protection volunteer there. There is no doubt in my mind, based on my experience, that the people who are most affected by climate change are people in poor countries, who contribute very little to waste or carbon emissions. Also, I realized what an incredible privilege it is to live in the United States, on many levels.

Q: What would students be surprised to find out about you? 

A: I was born on a tiny island in the Bering Sea called St. Paul Island, Alaska.  It is geographically closer to Russia than the U.S. mainland, and the fur seal population is greater than its human population.  (We moved to the mainland when I was a year old.) I have also lived more than a quarter of my life outside of the U.S.  In addition to the two years I spent in West Africa while I was in the Peace Corps, I lived in Mexico for thirteen years.  All three of my children were born there. I have traveled to many other places, but my favorite country is the U.S.

Q: If you could give your students some advice, what would it be?

A: Give yourself a chance to figure out who you are.  Also, be kind to your peers while they figure out who they are. Keep an open mind while you are doing both.  It will be an ongoing process throughout life.

(Photo Provided by Madame Neumann)


Q: What is your favorite memory from high school?

A: Some of my favorite memories involve being outside for Cross Country and Track practice. My high school was in Corvallis, Oregon, in the Willamette Valley, in an area that is green, full of trees, and beautiful.  For practice, we would do trail runs, road runs, and sometimes mud runs.  We would travel to meets in our team van and would talk, laugh, and listen to the radio and sing along the whole way.


Q: If you were in a zombie apocalypse, how long do you think you would survive? 

A: Honestly, I am not sure how long would I survive in a zombie apocalypse.  I could not just stay in my house, because I would need to walk my dog at some point. My dad taught me a lot of survival and self-defense skills growing up, but that was a long time ago and I do not know if what I still remember would help me and my squad stand up to twenty-first-century zombies!

We are all so excited to welcome Madame Neumann to the Rosary Family!