Beneficial program

Dear sir:
This letter is in response to the article in last Thursday’s Daily Bulletin, “Low numbers threaten French Immersion.”
Twenty years ago, through a lot of hard work by interested parents, my son was part of the first class of French Immersion at St. Francis School. My two daughters soon followed.
It was a challenging program that required a commitment by parents to support and encourage their children. Actually, I think it was harder on the parents (most of whom did not speak French) than on the students!
But I never doubted the benefits of our program. Their minds were challenged from day one and they developed great working habits.
While learning this new language, they also were exposed to French culture and customs. They grew to appreciate and have an open mind towards these differences.
They also benefited by understanding and embracing not only Canada’s diversity, but the world’s, too.
My children, who all are presently in university, learned to speak French with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Last summer, my son did a work co-op for a company in Ontario, where English was the official working language but French was the language of choice in casual conversation and in the community.
My oldest daughter will be graduating this spring with a double major, one of which is French. She hopes to teach. Both daughters work at La Place Rendez-Vous here in the summer and they often encounter French-speaking guests.
Being able to speak French may open new career opportunities for my children, or it may simply enhance their ability to enjoy life’s differences and celebrate the fact they can speak another person’s language.
At the very least, they will get a warm feeling when they put a Francophone at ease by entering his or her linguistic world.
It all began with the first kindergarten class of 18 English students and one French teacher. Now, hundreds of local students stand proud as bilingual, young adults.
If you are considering enrolling your child in kindergarten French Immersion, now is the time.
Thank you,
Diane Noonan
Fort Frances, Ont.