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Grade 8 student Bella and Grade 11 student Jacqueline participated at the annual Concours et festival d’art oratoire.
May 15, 2018
Students Shine at French Festival
Earlier this month at the annual Concours et festival d’art oratoire, Grade 11 student Jacqueline placed third at the competitive event and Grade 8 student Bella performed a persuasive speech on the benefits of vegetarianism in the non-competitive morning festival.

The French public speaking festival, which took place on York University’s picturesque Glendon College campus, invited students from Grades 4 through 12, studying French as a Second Language in Ontario, to demonstrate their public speaking skills through a series of competitive and non-competitive events in both impromptu and traditional categories.

“My speech explored the benefits of vegetarianism through reducing animal cruelty, improving human health and helping the environment by decreasing waste and energy usage,” said Bella. On what piqued her interest in the event, she added, “I have always enjoyed public speaking and when I heard about past experiences at the competition I was immediately excited to participate.”

During the afternoon competitive category for Grade 11 and 12 extended French, Jacqueline finished third among a strong field of talented students.

Winners from the Grade 11 and 12 categories move on to represent Ontario at a national competition held in Ottawa.

For both girls, the experience is one they won’t soon forget. Participating alongside students ranging in language levels from core to francophone, Bella left with an optimistic outlook. “The biggest highlight at the event was being able to hear other people in my category perform their speeches,” she said. “It allowed me to learn about many different issues, solutions, beliefs and finally, different perspectives.”

Founded in 1975, the Concours et festival d’art oratoire is an opportunity to integrate public speaking into regular classroom activity. The annual event tends to attract applications from hundreds of keen students from across the province. The competition begins in individual schools, with pre-contest winners going on to compete at the school board level. Only the first-place winner from each school board is invited to compete in the provincial event held at Glendon.

Ms Hallett, a French teacher, who accompanied the girls to the event, said both students are looking forward to writing new speeches to compete again next year.

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