Regine Whittlesey

Born and educated in Nantes, France, in a large family, I arrived in Maine in 1974, as the first Amity Aide at Mt Ararat School in Topsham. There, I met my husband, David Whittlesey, an English teacher. We went back to live in Nantes where I finished my literary diploma and where we got married. From there began a long life of partnership that continues, more than 45 years later, after four children and three grandchildren. I started teaching French as a Foreign Language Teacher at Mt Ararat High School, under the tutelage of Nancy Thompson, an inspiring mentor who shared with me her joy of teaching. In 1980, my husband joined the Foreign Service, which started our international life. Throughout our diplomatic posts around the world (Iceland, Morocco, Washington DC, Bangladesh, Switzerland…), I have always taught, according to local needs.

Teaching has been my passion, and it still is, even after my retirement in 2020! After raising four bilingual children, I am particularly interested in helping children and adults become bilingual or keep up with their French heritage, hence my interest in this young Alliance Française du Maine.

We are fortunate to be in an environment where French is very present, initially because of the historical presence of Franco-Canadian families, who came to Maine at the end of the 19th century, early 20th century. Then, more recently, the large presence of immigrants from francophone Africa, and finally a smaller population of French-speaking European immigrants have contributed to enrich and give a new vitality to Maine francophonie.

So French is alive and well in Maine ! Our Alliance Française supports and encourages rich exchanges between all these communities who share, if not the same culture, at least the same language. I am most happy and honored to help, in any capacity, to build a place for Francophone exchanges, based on fraternity and tolerance.