Local Student Spent First Lockdown in France

Focus on Youth, By Phill Potter

Name: Kiara Hartnell                      

Age: 17

Address: Barrhaven

School: Longfields Davidson Heights Secondary

Grade: 12

Parents: Sharon and Chad Hartnell

Brother: Calum Hartnell (14), grade 9 student at LDHSS

Pet Peeves: “My two biggest pet peeves are people who walk slowly and take up the whole sidewalk, and people who are constantly late.”

Part-time Work: “I work part-time as a hostess at Vittoria Trattoria.”

Favourite Subjects: “I generally enjoy math and science classes. This year I’m taking biology, chemistry, physics, advanced functions, and calculus, as well as English and French.”

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure? “I really enjoy reading. A lot of my spare time is dedicated to reading and finding new series and authors that I love. I am open to reading most genres, but my favourites have to be historical fiction, romance, mystery and fantasy.”

Who is your favourite author?

“One of my favourites is Canadian author Elle Kennedy. Her most well-known series, the Off-Campus series, is one of my all-time favourites.”

What is your greatest accomplishment?

“I would say that my greatest accomplishment is my exchange trip to France. From January-June 2020, I studied and lived with my host family in a small town in the southern part of France called Gap. It was the first time I had traveled alone, I was without my parents in a foreign country and I had to meet and communicate with so many new people in French (which is not my first language). But what made my experience extra challenging but also so unique, is the fact that the pandemic hit right in the middle of my exchange. France was also in lockdown from March to around mid-May, so I spent two months in lockdown in a new country, having to speak a language I was not totally comfortable with, and staying with people I had only known for around two months. It was a challenge at times to stay busy during lockdown to try and stop myself from being homesick, but my two host brothers and my host sister kept me busy by showing me how to cook some traditional French meals, playing board games, watching movies and TV shows, and overall just making me feel like I was part of their family. And although I did experience some homesickness, I was able to overcome it and all the other challenges that came with the pandemic, (including having to wear a mask for 18 hours when I traveled to come home), and that is something I am really proud of myself for achieving. My time in France is something I’ll never forget, because of all of the memories I made, but also because of everything I accomplished (overcoming all of the challenges, spending six months without my parents in a foreign country, meeting and creating lifetime bonds with so many new people) and all of the lessons I learned during my time away.”

Activities/Interests: “Some interests I have include fashion and keeping up with the latest trends. I also love to travel. I have a long list of countries I’d love to visit, so hopefully, soon we’ll be able to travel again, and I’ll be able to start crossing off some of the places on my list.”

Career Goals: “Next year, I plan to go to university. I haven’t decided which schools or programs I want to apply to, but I’m leaning towards either a health science or biochemistry program. I would love to study in a city other than Ottawa, such as Toronto or Montreal, or potentially even somewhere in Europe. Career-wise, I am currently really interested in studying to become a doctor as I really enjoy my science classes and also love helping people.”