Months of hard work by nearly 200 French-speaking Middle School students culminated in the first two rounds of the recent Concours d’Art Oratoire. For the past eight years, every Grade 6-8 student at our Middle School enrolled in French participates in the French language public speaking competition by selecting the topic of their choosing, writing a speech and practicing it over and over until they’ve memorized it and they’re comfortable presenting it.
“We feel strongly that the experience of speaking in public is valuable. We encourage them to explore a topic that interests them; we provide them support along the way, if necessary, to tell their story so that we can make it really personal,” says Middle School French teacher Ms. Valerie Pike. “It improves fluency, it improves confidence, and at the end of the day, every student has tremendous growth and they feel supported and successful in being able to achieve what seemed impossible at the beginning of the year.”
The first round of speeches was held last week, while the second round – the highest-judged students – competed this past Wednesday to earn a spot on the team that SMUS will send to the provincial competition in Vancouver in May. The school has seen great success in years past at the provincial Concours d’Art Oratoire competition, and after hearing the wonderful speeches over the past two weeks, we’re optimistic this year will be another great year!
“It’s so wonderful to see the students share their stories with such pride,” Valerie says. “My husband, who doesn’t understand a word of French, was so impressed with how the students presented themselves, spoke so well delivering their speeches, and were calm under scrutiny. The biggest sense of pride, for me, is seeing how they progress as presenters and improve their French fluency along the way.”
After Wednesday night’s fantastic second round of speeches, the following students earned Awards of Excellence for their presentations:
Elliott B. – Ma vie en tant que chien
John D. – Mon chien
Ava G. – Le chocolat
Samuel K. – Mes vacances au Mexique
Vienna W. – Deuxième place
Cole A. – L’évolution informatique
Tori F. – La maltraitance des animaux
Divyesh N. – Le Parti Libéral
Stefan S. – Les Pyrénées
Amalia M. – Jean de La Fontaine
Sienna P. – Ma dépendance
Claire P. – La pauvreté
Amira E. – La rage de l’emballage
Nadine R. – Les années 80
Angelina S. – Les voyages
Max B. – Pourquoi je n’aime pas le Concours
Gosha I. – Rick Astley
Sophia J. – Un voyage mémorable
Grade 7 student Divyesh’s speech can be watched below, while Grade 8 student Amira’s speech is at the top of this post.