Teachers from Afar


Simone Hoagland, Reporter

Burroughs faculty and staff have a variety of different backgrounds.  Interviews with teachers Allegra Clement-Bayard, Diana Wood, and Holly Lorencz revealed how connections to other countries continue to influence their lives.

Ms. Clement-Bayard, the Modern Language Department chair, was born in France to an American mother and French father, which gave her dual citizenship at birth. She can vote in both countries and has always had a French passport.

At age seven, Ms. Clement-Bayard moved from France to St. Louis with only basic skills in English. She recalls, “[My school] put me in 2nd grade, and…it was challenging academically. It took a couple years for me to really get it together.”

When engaged to fellow Burroughs faculty member Andrew Newman, the couple decided to be wed in both France and America because having paperwork in both would make their future easier. When their sons, Nicholas and Xander, were born, the family traveled to Chicago to register them in a Livret de Famille, a family booklet in France that includes the marriage certificate, birth certificate of children, and death certificates. As a result, both sons not only qualified for French citizenship, but they also now carry French passports.

The family often travels to France to visit her family, most of whom live in Paris. “I love seeing my family, and of course the food. It’s fresher,” Clement-Bayard said. However, she notes that during her time in France, she misses “that Midwestern friendliness.”

Ms. Wood, a Spanish and German teacher, has Ecuadorian, American and German citizenship, and is trilingual.  Her grandparents’ journey to America began when Hitler rose to power, prompting her grandparents to flee from their home in Germany to Italy, where their son was born.

Soon after, they escaped from Italy to Ecuador via boat, and in fact, were on the last boat that was not checked by the Nazis.

When Sra. Wood married an American and had kids of her own, they spoke Spanish in their household but learned English from the outside world. Mia (‘23) and Max (‘23) have citizenship in Germany and America and are registered in the Ecuadorian government as well to be able to acquire citizenship status if they desire.

Mia and Max have traveled to northern Germany where their grandparents once lived, but Sra. Wood wishes to show them much more. “We have family in Argentina that the kids have not visited. We have friends of the family in Germany, but we haven’t visited them,” Wood said. She wants them to see more of Ecuador as well, including the Galapagos Islands.

Ms. Lorencz, a history teacher, was born in Canada and has lived in America for nineteen years. She had a Canadian passport and citizenship before acquiring a green card to the U.S. While her entire family is still in Canada, she decided to come to America to experiment with teaching. “I didn’t really put down roots here. I always intended to go back.” Her five cats provide plenty of companionship.

The Burroughs community also helped her immensely when she first arrived. One family had her over for Thanksgiving for many years, and Dr. Sandler really took her under his wing to aid her transition to the US. When it comes to teaching, her “Canadian perspective” can help teach classes, especially in eighth-grade government.  She also commented on her dialect: “I don’t sound quite American enough, but I don’t sound quite Canadian. Then when I go home, they say I sound American, and when I come back, my significant other will say I sound Canadian. Certain words will always sound Canadian. I’m kind of in between two worlds.”

She does not currently hold American citizenship, but is considering becoming naturalized.

In the meantime, while in the US, she relies on subscription boxes to help with homesickness. “I get one monthly of Canadian treats, ketchup chips, ketchup Doritos, the good smarties. We like ketchup on everything. I cannot win the significant other over to that.”