Students translating French training into opportunityPosted May 3, 2012 By Stacey Roy
EMC Business - Parlez-vous Français?
A growing number of local students are saying "oui" to this question, including two local high school students who will be taking it to the next level this fall and learning French in post-secondary.
Lindsay Fleming and Lindsay O'Neill decided in elementary school to transfer from Lombardy Public School to Chimo so they could take part in the French Immersion program.
"I knew even at that age that having French would help me get a job later on," O'Neill said.
This has proven true for the local teen, who last year was hired to work part-time at Winterlude - the nation capital's premier event - due to her bilingualism.
Both she and Fleming are planning to make French an integral part of their training to become teachers. This focus has resulted in a $1,000 scholarship for O'Neill in recognition of her desire to speak both official languages.
Setting the foundation for this exciting new stage in their life was four years of hard work in the high school's extended French program. Lucie Lefebvre, one of two French instructors at SFDCI, said the local school offers two language programs: core French and the extended option. In extended students learn a variety of subjects in French as the language is spoken for a half day all year long.
"These have varied through the years," says Lefebvre. "Traditionally they were geography, history and sociology but our school is trying to reach the interest of the students so other courses in French have been offered such as phys-ed, civics and careers."
In addition to the in-class sessions, students are offered an exchange opportunity to Quebec or France. O'Neill accepted this offer in Grade 10 and learned a lot about herself while in La Belle Province.
"You're forced to speak the language," O'Neill recalls, adding of the confidence the experience instilled in her. "I didn't know I was good at French until I went there."
The programming is a challenge, but the results open a door of opportunity. Many parents and students are beginning to acknowledge this and investigate the benefits of French as a second language.
Both O'Neill and Fleming encourage all high school students to consider adding French to their Grade 10 schedule. Fleming's decision to do so was not an easy one. At first she didn't know if she would like it, but once she jumped in she realized she loved the challenge of learning another language. Now in her senior year, Fleming has many friends who didn't join her in the class.
"Some of them are completely regretting it now," she said.
For more information on French language training at the school please call the office at 613-283-0288.
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