Madame Annie Hilmes has joined SLUH’s Foreign Language Department as the new, and only, French teacher, teaching all grade levels of French.
Hilmes earned a B.A. in political science at Missouri State University, where she minored in French, and then went on to study in France at Université Lyon III.
Hilmes originally wanted to be a lawyer specializing in international law, hence the international studies, but while in France, she fell in love with French language and culture. She returned to the United States and studied at SLU, earning a Master's Degree in French and Education—and has been utilizing her educational abilities at both the college and high school level for the past 20 years.
“Going to France and realizing how many more people I could communicate with by speaking French changed my life, and I wanted to share that.” Said Hilmes.
Madam Hilmes had known Russian teacher Rob Chura for a while before considering SLUH, and until recently the two lived in the same neighborhood in South Hampton. Hilmes had always heard that SLUH is a great place to work, so when the open position presented itself, she saw it as a great opportunity.
Hilmes enjoyed learning about the Jesuit tradition during her new teacher orientation.
“The Jesuit way of learning and looking at the world … I feel very close to it, and the idea of seeing God in all things,” said Hilmes.
Hilmes will also be working as part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team this year, especially focusing on gender equality.
So far, Hilmes says she has loved SLUH, she loves her colleagues, being part of a team, and all the faculty, her students have been very welcoming, and she looks forward to coming to work every day. While having attended SLU, teaching here at SLU High has been the first time Madam Hilmes has been exposed to Jesuit thought, and already she has learned a lot about the Jesuits, and has begun to appreciate the Jesuit tradition. One of her favorite parts is the examen.
“It helps you forget about anything in the moment that can be stressful and it really settles you.” She said.
French has opened doors for her. She said that speaking French has made it easier to express ideas or expressions that are difficult or complicated to say in English, especially descriptive things. Hilmes said that she finds the French language beautiful, not to mention the cuisine. Some of her favorite French foods are steamed espresso or a fresh chocolate croissant.
“The joy of teaching for me is that I get to meet students where they are and I get to be a part of their journey,” said Hilmes.
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