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Vernon students talk their way to podium at French-speaking competition

Two youth won gold and another won bronze at the Provincial Concours D’art Oratoire

Vernon students showed off their French speaking ability and took home awards at the 2023 Canadian Parents for French B.C. and Yukon Provincial Concours D’art Oratoire.

A total of five Vernon students competed at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus earlier this month. In all, more than 150 students from across B.C. and the Yukon competed at the provincial level.

Juliette Rowe, a Grade 7 Francophone student from Beairsto Elementary, took home gold, as did schoolmate Sophia Silchenko, a Grade 7 early French Immersion student.

Hannah Gordon, a Grade 7 late French Immersion student from Harwood Elementary, snagged a bronze medal.

“We are so proud of all our Concours participants,” said Jason Howe, executive director for Canadian Parents for French B.C. and Yukon. “It is a big win to compete and be able to speak in front of people. We strongly encourage all eligible students to keep up the great work and consider being with us again during the next Concours. We are so excited to see all that you achieve!

Moira Manthorne, Beairsto principal, said students work on the Concours d’art oratoire from Grades 1 to 7.

“We see value in being able to stand in front of people and share an idea or thoughts. At the younger level it looks very different than in Grade 6-7. At the older level, students think through an idea and go through quite a process to arrive at the speech,” Manthorne said.

“There are always different ways of presenting for students but the ones who feel they would like to go on to share their idea at a higher level are able to have this venue to continue to grow their public speaking repertoire. Teachers help grow this ability in our students from Grade 1 to Grade 7. They nurture them, guide them, and encourage them along the way. Sharing in French and growing the courage to speak in front of others about ideas that are important is foundational to French Immersion.”

Vernon School District winners were awarded certificates, pencils and gift cards to Coles bookstore. Provincial winners were awarded medals, certificates, cash and gift cards for Cineplex.

“I have been involved in organizing Concours for almost 10 years, I am never surprised when Vernon students come home with provincial medals – every year they do very well,” said Cheryl Dowler, vice president for Canadian Parents for French Vernon. “The French program in this district has some incredible educators who are passionate about what they do, and it shows. Congratulations to all!”

Canadian Parents for French B.C. and Yukon is a parent-led registered non-profit dedicated to creating quality and accessible French second language opportunities for youth.

An estimated 85,000 students participate in the Concours d-art oratoire annually across Canada. The provincial competition is open to all students Grades 6 through 12 who are learning French through programs such as French Immersion and core French.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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