Nous Vous Aimons Madame!

Nous Vous Aimons Madame!

By Rachel Richter


For over 20 years, students roaming these halls have called Mrs. Hafertepen by her well-known and popular name, Madame.  Even to students who don’t take her French classes, she adds a sense of creative French energy to Seton High School.  She gives off a wonderfully elegant and welcoming aura wherever she goes, encompassing all the greatest aspects of French society and culture.

When you ask a student to think of Madame, she will most likely think of her as a loving authority figure who is more like a close friend than a distant disciplinary. She chats with the girls in her classes like she is our best friend.  Students love and cherish the close bond they are able to easily form with Madame after spending just a small amount of time with her.  After my first few weeks of my freshman year, I knew without a doubt that French was my favorite class, and this has remained true throughout my entire high school career.  If it weren’t for Madame, many students including myself would not have maintained such a strong passion for learning.  Madame has continued to successfully add creativity and excitement to my school day on a daily basis. She is a great teacher on so many levels.

Something that students truly love and appreciate about Madame is the warm and open environment she provides in her classes.  Students feel comfortable to share almost anything with her, and the best part is that she will join in the conversation with loving support, insightful comments, and shared emotions.  Madame is very supportive to her students and is often willing to talk with us about life because she truly cares about getting to know us as individuals.  You can always count on her to provide insight and wisdom about a variety of subjects.  She realizes the importance of bettering her students as people as well as French students.

A unique aspect of Madame’s teaching style is that she incorporates modern media and trends into her subject matters.  It is impossible not to notice her beautifully decorated classroom with French decorations, maps, and Ratatouille posters.  She will even occasionally show a movie such as Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables, or The Hunchback of the Notre Dame in French to enhance our learning in a fun and engaging way!  And who can forget when she holds cultural experience days in which she selflessly bakes and brings in various French foods for her classes.  She makes memories and provides her students with great experiences that we will surely never forget.  Students love the days when Madame’s teaching is creative and out of the ordinary.

She has a wonderful sense of humor as well.  She is constantly slipping in funny and sarcastic comments into her conversation.  If you pay attention and catch her funny remarks, you cannot help but crack a smile. Something that many people may not know about her is that she is an exceptional singer.  She has a great singing voice which she graces her students with every once and a while.  This always proves for a special treat.

Perhaps the most important and prominent characteristic of Madame’s is her inspirational strength and bravery.  During the 2012-2013 school year, Madame was diagnosed with cancer.  As she is loved by many, this was very upsetting news to Seton High School.  While there was never any doubt that Madame was tough enough to get through this, she still had to deal with a whirlwind of unimaginable difficulties.  Nobody should ever have to deal with the stress of cancer and treatments, and our hearts went out to Madame who even continued to work much of the year.  She inspired and continues to inspire the entire body of Seton.  Her immaculate strength motivates us all to keep moving forward and make the most out of life.  We love her very much, and I personally don’t know where I would be without her.

The students at Seton adore Madame:

“I’ve been in Madame’s French class for four years now, and her class has helped to make each year great!  I will definitely miss our in-depth discussions about French culture, French food, and life in general.  Merci beaucoup, Madame!”

-Senior Quinn Scheiner

“Unlike the rest of my teachers at Seton, I have had Madame all four years, and in those four years she has not only taught me French, but life lessons. Madame is such an interesting person and I could never get bored talking to her. She loves history and I am very confident that if she wasn’t teaching French, she could be a history teacher. I know that Madame really cares about all of her students and looks out for us. My favorite classes with her are when she teaches us how to make crepes. Thanks for four great years Madame!”

-Senior Loretta Blaut

“Madame has inspired me to learn more about the French culture as well as learning to speak French. I am thankful that I had Madame as a teacher because she has opened my eyes to new things and has increased my love of French tremendously! Thanks for being there for all your students and helping us grow as young adults!”

-Senior Julia Kohler

“I have had Madame as a teacher for six years now because she taught me at St. William. She has seen me grow up and has been an influential part in that. Being together for six years, she is more than a teacher. She is someone I can always rely on. I know she is there if I need anything school related or not. She is so smart, she has taught me more than just French. I feel like she has been an additional English and History teacher, along with teaching me life lessons that I am sure will help me in the future. I honestly can’t imagine having a high school experience without her and I am so blessed to having this incredible mentor and teacher in my life for the past six years.”

-Senior Taylor Hirth

One thought on “Nous Vous Aimons Madame!”

  1. Great review of Madame’s 21 years at Seton! Besides being an inspiration to her students, Madame has been spot on with her advice to me in her role as department chairperson for 20 years. Her thoughts and ideas continue to be worth their weight in gold. The students are 150% correct when they say that Madame not only conveys a love of the French language, but also a love of what makes up the whole person in this journey that we call life. May students always appreciate her wisdom and enthusiasm.

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