took field trips to French restaurants.
The stories he told of French and Canadian
history made me appreciate these cultures, but
his enthusiasm did not stop at stories and recipes.
Each year, Monsieur Gurulé sponsored two international trips for French students, one to Montréal
and one to Paris. I was fortunate enough to go
on the class trip to Montréal. The whole trip was
perfectly choreographed from our plane flights to
our hotel, food arrangements, and sight-seeing.
Monsieur Gurulé reveled in
showing us his hometown—
museums, cathedrals, art galleries, and historical sights.
I couldn’t understand
my teacher’s excitement for
a city he knew so well, a
language he had spoken for
decades, and a student trip
he had led for 10 consecutive
years. But I will never forget
how infectious his enthusiasm was.
That enthusiasm was part
of Monsieur Gurulé’s character. So those who knew
him well noticed when he
began to look tired in the
spring of 2012. People commented that he had lost a lot of weight. I too thought
he seemed a little off—not his usual high-energy
self—but I wasn’t worried. He rarely missed a day
of work and still came to all of our club functions. I
thought he would soon be back to his old self. What
I didn’t know, because he didn’t tell me until a year
later, was that in April he had been diagnosed with
The following academic year—my last year at the
high school—Monsieur Gurulé continued to be a
mentor to me as well as my teacher. I would stop
in to see him during lunch, and we would talk and
laugh. He gave me insight about myself and told me
not to worry so much. He also helped me to understand others and look at things from their point of
I talked to Monsieur Gurulé about my plans
to attend the University of Arizona and major in
speech-language pathology with a minor in French.
He was always thoughtful and deliberate in his
comments about my plans, but he was never judgmental. I now realize that during this last year as his
student, I never fully grasped how bad his health
In the weeks before he passed away, Monsieur
Gurulé took time to call or write letters to many of
his family and friends.
He doled out words of
updates on his condition.
I was lucky enough to
receive one of those calls.
He sounded weak and
worn down—he had
just stopped driving and
realized he would have
to give up his job—but I
sensed that he wanted to
talk for a while. He asked
how my French class
was going and seemed
genuinely interested in
how I was surviving in
college. We made plans to
meet when I came home
for Christmas break. I was excited at the thought of
seeing him again. As always, he ended our conver-
sation with a miaou, and I mimicked his miaou right
That was the last time I spoke to Monsieur Sid
Gurulé. That November, he passed away after a
hard-fought battle with cancer. Even now, I can’t
believe Monsieur Gurulé—such a big part of my
high school memories—is gone. I had dreamed of
visiting him after I graduated from college with a
minor in French linguistics, and telling him—in
perfect French—how much he had influenced me
and changed my life. Monsieur Gurulé wasn’t just an
incredible French teacher; he was an incredible
mentor and friend. EL
Amanda Christine Brady is a rising sophomore at the
University of Arizona in Tucson.
“Monsieur Gurulé’s policies were a little
they made French
class hum like a