Trotro a no-show

French movie posters hang all across the walls. Curious Pez dispensers line up across three sides of the classroom. And with one glance to the West side of the room, students see towering 10-foot windows that give an iconic look over OPRF’s athletic fields and Cheney Mansion.

Many freshman French students, like myself three years ago, first connect with the spirit of OPRF in Betsy Farley’s classroom. Madame Farley was an OPRF varsity cheerleader back in her day, and the quirks of her room encourage more students to buy into OPRF culture.

But in early April, one of these quirks was stolen. Trotro, who is from a French cartoon show, is a stuffed donkey sitting beneath one of the windows in Farley’s classroom, right next to phone chargers she has for her students. In my freshman year, playing with Trotro was an excuse to check my phone during class or to talk to a girl who sat on the other side of the classroom.

In following weeks, “Trotro missing” posters were hung around the French classrooms. “Où est Trotro?” Where is Trotro?

Who could do such a thing? Kidnapping is no joke, especially when it’s kidnapping a stuffed donkey.

With the ledge against the window sitting empty, I appreciate my time with Trotro more. But this kidnapping shows more than a funny mystery.

OPRF has gone through a series of recent renovations that will no doubt improve standards of education here, but we shouldn’t lose sight of how to maximize these spaces: with Trotros.

Maybe not literal stuffed donkeys, but how can we add quirks or little details of culture to our building? No renovation or policy can account for that.

A Trotro could be a classroom pet you add to your science classroom. Or a board game you play with your advisory class. Or a goofy poster you convince your teacher to let you hang up in a classroom.

We’ve always had these types of things in our classrooms, but with the pandemic limiting in-person learning, we have no doubt lost some of the traditions in our building. And if this year’s upperclassmen were able to pass the torch of OPRF culture to the younger students, I think Trotro would be sitting on his ledge.

Trotro has been kidnapped, and it doesn’t look like he will return. So let’s replace him. Let’s add sparks of school spirit to our classrooms in whatever quirky ways possible.

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