Vernon student wins top award

Canadian Parents for French congratulates Grade 9 Seaton student Alexis Gauvin-Nice

With her speech on self-esteem in sports, Seaton French immersion student Alexis Gauvin-Nice placed second at this year’s Concours d’Art Oratoire, hosted by Canadian Parents for French, B.C. and Yukon.

Entered in the Grade 9 Francophone category, Gauvin-Nice’s speech, “L’estime de soi dans le context sportif — “Self-Esteem in Sports” — earned her a silver medal. Participants choose, develop and present a three-to-five-minute speech, in French, on a subject or theme that interests them. Students participate in their local classroom; top students move on to the school district competition; top students move on to the provincial competition; top students in Grade 12 move on to the national competition.

“Alexis’ first-language is French but it wasn’t until Grade 7, when the family moved to Vernon, did they have access to a French immersion school,” said CPF Vernon vice-president Cheryl Dowler.

“I was told by her mother that Alexis had to put in a lot of effort to catch up on academic French. She has had tremendous support from her teachers, especially Seaton teacher Stephanie Hewson, who encouraged her to pursue public speaking.

“Not only have Vernon students won at the provincial level seven years in a row but they have done so in every category: Late French Immersion, Early French Immersion, Secondary French Immersion and now Francophone. Vernon’s record at provincials is quite an accomplishment and a testament to the quality of our French immersion program.We are really proud of everyone who stands up and presents a speech in their second language – obviously Vernon students are doing it very well.”

More than 10,000 students in Grades 6 through 12 participated in the Concours in communities throughout B.C., with almost 300 students participating in the provincial Concours. This year marked the 34th anniversary of the Concours, with the provincial finals held May 7 at SFU Surrey.

“Through participation in Concours, students develop confidence and improve their French, but also their skills in time management, listening and critical thinking. Ultimately, they become more effective as communicators, capable of inspiring others,” said Diane Tijman, president of CPF B.C. and Yukon.

“We are so proud of all our Concours participants — bravo à vous tous et toutes pour votre belle participation.”

Provincial finalists from Vernon included Quinn Tobin, Grade 7 early immersion at Beairsto; Logan Stewart, Grade 6, early immersion, Beairsto; Noah Gabel, Grade 7 early immersion, Beairsto; J’Lee Howitt, Grade 6 late immersion, Harwood; Kaiden Sherwood, Grade 7, late immersion, Harwood; Lucas Newman, Grade 11; Delaney O’Brien, Grade 8; Brookner Tobin, Grade 10; Emilia Vlahos, Grade 9; all W.L. Seaton secondary school.

French immersion enrolment in B.C. has increased every year for the past 16 years. As of 2015/16, there were 52,545 students in the program.