Photo: MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver (left), MFIS Principal Gina Bianchi (center) and Cultural Attaché to the French Consulate Denis Quenelle (right).
In front of an assembly of students, parents and local dignitaries, Milwaukee French Immersion School Principal Gina Bianchi was officially recognized as Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques—Knight in the Order of Academic Palms. The honor was conferred by Denis Quenelle, Cultural Attaché to the French Consulate, and included remarks by Anne Leplae, Executive Director of Alliance Française de Milwaukee, who nominated Bianchi.
The Order of Academic Palms is a national order of France for distinguished academics and figures in the world of culture and education. It was established in 1808 by Emperor Napoleon to honor persons who make major contributions to the expansion of French language and culture.
The ceremony, held in the MFIS library, included presentation of a proclamation by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett declaring the day Gina Bianchi Day in the City of Milwaukee and presentation of a Citation by the Assembly of the State of Wisconsin. MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver was also present to offer her appreciation and congratulations for Bianchi’s work with MPS students.
In Bianchi’s nomination, she was credited for her passion for French language and culture and her passion for teaching, along with her near-flawless spoken French. The award recognized Bianchi’s energy and commitment to her students—children who would not otherwise be exposed to French language and culture.