This article is one of a series of posts dedicated to our latest project, Humans of La Tour. Inspired by the successful Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton, Humans of La Tour is comprised of a series of journalistic portraits created by the Journalism students at La Tour. They seek to highlight a few of the many people who make up the La Tour community: those we see every day as our professors and classmates, as well as those whose hard work and dedication keep the school running smoothly on a daily basis.
Each portrait was created by an Anglophone Section student in Ms. Temple’s Journalism Elective as part of their final project for the Spring Semester 2021.
By Garance de Riberolles (2EA)
Every year, La Tour welcomes many new students from all around the world. This year in Seconde, a new student arrived just after the Christmas holidays. We were all very surprised since we did not know that a new student would arrive. Michel has had a very positive impact on us and quickly integrated into the class. Behind his smile and good vibes, Michel carries with him a unique story.
Michel Abou Jaoudé is from Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. After the semi-nuclear blast of August 4th, 2020, the port of Beirut was destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people were killed. His family decided to move to Paris to be safe and allow Michel and his siblings to pursue a secure education. With his mother working for a French multinational company, Paris was the best choice. Michel really felt welcomed when he arrived at La Tourand adapted himself very quickly. He was in a French school before arriving, which enabled him to fit right in and understand the functioning of the school easily. For a long time, Beirut has been called the “Paris of the Middle East” as many similarities exist between the two cities in terms of culture, languages and history. Moreover, a large majority of Lebanese people speak French, making Michel’s move even more simple. For Michel, the only differences between Paris and Beirut are the cities themselves: on one hand there is Paris, a very cosmopolitan and busy city, and on the other, there is Beirut, a peaceful and tranquil city.
Michel is always very optimistic, but, according to him, his biggest weaknesses are his stubbornness and his perfectionism. However, Michel prefers to call these “areas of development,” he considers them as characteristics that he can work on and extract their good aspects. In five years, Michel sees himself either in a preparatory school, or at an English university abroad, studying architecture or engineering. In his free time in Lebanon before the pandemic, Michel used to play tennis. He is also a scout. Scouts taught him moral values such as teamwork, leadership and solidarity. Passionate about sports, he developed many capacities that guide him every day; for instance, he gained in maturity and respect through team sports. His main goal in life is to enjoy and live his life to its fullest. His favorite quote is “life is too short, don’t waste your time being pessimistic.”
Overall, even if Michel’s move to Paris was only just four months ago, it has only made him stronger, and he is learning from this once in a lifetime experience. He is also very grateful to be able to live in Paris. However, he misses his family and friends and his only wish is to make sure they are safe and come back to see them and his native city because he grew up there with them. Indeed, Michel says he feels as if he left half of himself in Beirut even if he deeply enjoys the enriching experience of living in Paris.