SHREWSBURY – Saint John’s High School faculty member Benjamin Lizotte has been selected for induction into the French Republic’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of the French Academic Palms) at the grade of chevalier (Knight).
The Palmes Académiques was founded by Napoleon in 1808 to honor educators, and it is the oldest non-military French decoration. It recognizes significant contributions of educators through their teaching, scholarship and leadership over the course of their careers.
The Palmes Académiques is awarded by the prime minister of France, upon the recommendation of the minister of education.
The ceremony took place on Feb. 8, in the Remillard Atrium (Founder Hall) at St. John’s, and it was presided over by the French consul in Boston, Mustafa Soykurt.
Lizotte is in his 26th year at St. John’s, and he serves as the Paul M. Jourcin chair of French studies, the school’s first endowed chair position. During his tenure, enrollment in French classes has increased with 88% of those students completing four years of French studies.
According to school administrators, Lizotte has transformed the nature of student travel by running exchange programs with Le Collège Stanislas in Paris as well as immersion experiences to the French Caribbean. They describe Lizotte as a beloved teacher whose classroom fosters a spirit of fraternité where purposeful learning, humor and joy exist side by side.