Students shine at ‘Concours’

Students from across the district had the opportunity to show off their French language skills last Thursday evening during the annual Concours d’art oratoire at St. Michael’s School here.
Some 16 students from four schools in Grades 7-12 participated in the event, with prizes awarded in three divisions.
“I’ve probably been doing this for about 13 years,” said emcee Kim Anderson, curriculum co-ordinator for the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
“It’s a real honour because I get to watch my former students,” she added.
The Concours is jointly presented by the NCDSB and the Fort Frances chapter of Canadian Parents for French.
“On behalf of Canadian Parents for French, I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight,” said chapter president Marie Brady.
“It’s just an awesome experience to speak in a second language in front of people. Kudos to all the kids for a job well-done,” she added.
There were seven speakers in the Core French division, Grades 7 and 8.
Rebecca Armit (St. Francis School) took first place for her speech about volleyball, Erin Sieders (St. Francis) took second for her speech about the history of St. Valentine’s Day, and Audrey Chojko-Bolec (Our Lady of the Way School) took third for her speech on the band “Bayside.”
The other participants were Alexis Sharp (Our Lady of the Way), Jessie Bourre and Madison Boisvert (Riverview School), and Jessica Lowey (St. Francis).
Joshua Zimmerman of Fort High was the lone participant in the Core French division, Grade 9. He took top honours for his speech comparing the leadership qualities of Stephen Harper and Stéphane Dion.
Zimmerman concluded that Harper was the better leader.
In the French Immersion division, Grades 7/8, Emily Drouin took first for her speech about self-esteem. She encouraged young women to be proud of who they are—and not to be influenced by models and actors.
Marina Jewell took second for her speech about dancing. She felt more boys should participate in dance classes, and that the boys who do take dance be recognized for their efforts.
Rikki Kellar took third for her speech in the benefits of French Immersion, and whether or not the local Catholic board made the right decision in phasing out the program.
She looked at both sides of the issue, and concluded the board should try to bring the program back.
All three students attend St. Francis School.
In French Immersion, Grade 9/10, Jillian Kellar took first place for her speech about the crash of Flight 932 and its effect on the people of Huntington, W. Va. in 1970.
The crash was the subject of the recent film “We are Marshall.”
Kaila Elders took second place for her speech about self-respect while Hailey Keast took third for her speech on films.
And Elizabeth Black was the lone competitor in the French Immersion, Grade 11/12 division, taking first for her speech on dancing.
All four students attend Fort Frances High School.
As a former student of the French school that used to run here, Robert Stevens was the lone participant in the French Immersion, Grade 7/8 (extra hours) division.
Earning first for his speech on smoking. Stevens took a strong stand on the issue—calling for the criminalization of tobacco.
Judges for the evening were teacher John Cousineau and Melanie Béchard of the Fort Frances Times. Bridgitte Schulzki acted as questioner while Erika Handberg fulfilled the role of timekeeper.
Each student received a set of French/English dictionaries for their participation while the first-, second-, and third-place winners also received cash prizes donated by the CPF.