Conquering Concours

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Middle School students put their language skills to work last week by participating in a long established French-speaking competition. Below, one of our students writes about the event, where she went on to win the Core French 8 category, and shares her speech en francais.

For the last six weeks, students at the Middle School have been busy writing French speeches for the concours d’art oratoire. Everyone was encouraged to write about topics that are of interest to them. The speeches can be funny, serious, informative or a combination of all three. After the speeches were written, we had the opportunity to meet with our French teachers, Senior School students, parent volunteers, and French teachers from UVic and other schools. The volunteers helped us edit and put the finishing touches on our speeches. I had a chance to work with Emmanuel Hérique, a Professor of Linguistics and Phonetics at UVic. It was a bit daunting to work one-on-one with him, but I gained some great ideas on ways to improve my speech, especially time to practice those darn French vowels. Memorizing the speech and practicing the pronunciation of the French words were the next steps.

Read Madison’s Speech: Ma Vie comme Chaussette

On February 12, 13, and 14, each student presented his or her speech to classmates, Mme Pike, Monsieur Hollingworth and Mrs. Haydock in the Copeland Lecture Theatre. This was a great way to get used to speaking in front of a crowd in a more formal setting. After all the speeches had been heard, the French teachers chose finalists from each grade level and from three categories (Core French, French Immersion and Francophone) to present their speeches at the next round of the competition.

On February 19th, the finalists presented their speeches to parents and to a panel of judges. After listening to each student’s speech the judges asked questions based on the content in the speech. The questions were asked in French, and the student answered in French as well. This is also a bit nerve-racking but I had such sense of relief and of accomplishment when it was over. When all speeches had been heard, everyone met in the Copeland Lecture Theatre to sing songs and to hear the names of winners from each category.

Indeed, participating in the concours d’art oratoire has been an exciting and educational experience. A special thank you to Mme. Pike for all her work in organizing this event!

For more pictures, visit the SMUS photo gallery.

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