Why were the elders of the village sitting in the classroom?

The elders of the village were sitting in the classroom as they had come to know about the orders from Berlin that they would not be taught French anymore. They were sitting there to thank the teacher, Mr. Hamel, for his forty years of service and to show their respect for their language and the country.

OR

The elders of the village were sitting in the classroom to attend the last French lesson by M. Hamel. They were there not only to pay their respect to M. Hamel, but also to their country and mother tongue that was perhaps being taught for the last time in the village.

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