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Students Excel in Annual French Competition

For the second year in a row, a group of St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) students showcased their French language proficiency at the Concours d’Art Oratoire, Canada’s largest annual French public speaking competition organized by Canadian Parents for French (CPF).

The Concours d’Art Oratoire draws thousands of Grades 9-12 students from across the country who are currently enrolled in French courses.

“This competition celebrates the time, energy, and dedication of our students,” says Jennifer Lee, teacher and co-moderator of the French Club. “In particular, our goal is to inspire students’ passion for French and provide them with an experiential education opportunity focused on developing and showcasing their French public speaking skills.”

SMCS French students participate in the Concours d'Art Oratoire.

The competition starts at the regional level, with successful students advancing to the provincial stage. Grades 11-12 students also have an opportunity to advance further on to nationals in Ottawa. In addition to testing their French proficiency against the best of the best, awards are also given to top students in the form of monetary prizes and university scholarships. The top prize for first-place winners at the national competition is a $20,000 scholarship to the University of Ottawa.

Students compete in core French, extended, immersion, or Francophone categories depending on the number of French schooling hours they’ve had. They also must choose between a traditional or impromptu speech format and speak for two to five minutes, depending on their category. For traditional speeches, students select any topic of interest and fully memorize their presentations, while for the impromptu format, they receive a question 15 minutes beforehand and are then tasked with preparing a two-to-five-minute response followed by answering two questions from judges.

SMCS French students participate in the Concours d'Art Oratoire. SMCS French students participate in the Concours d'Art Oratoire.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our students. They showcased what they have learned in their French language studies over the years,” says Lee.

Overall, SMCS students won three of the six categories they competed in, with Alexandre Choquet, Nathan Girma-Kesete, and Ronan Zhong winning their respective categories and advancing to represent SMCS at the provincials on May 4 at York University, Glendon Campus.


Impromptu format:
Nathan Girma-Kesete, Grade 9-10, Core French Category
Ronan Zhong, Grade 9-10, Immersion French Category
Alexandre Choquet, Grade 9-10, Francophone French Category

Traditional format:
Edmond Mao, Grade 9-10, Core French Category
Anderson Fisher, Grade 9-10, Francophone Category
Calvin Vanderkooy, Grade 11-12, Francophone Category

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