ST Patrick’s Primary School year five student, Gabriella Luci, is a finalist in the Alliance Française’s Berthe Mouchette Competition.
The statewide poetry recital competition is open to all student from years three to 10 who study French.
More than 582 students in year five entered the competition, and Gabriella was one of the 65 students to progress to the finals.
Each year level had the choice of two poems to learn. Gabriella learnt ‘Coq’ – translated to Rooster – a poem that describes an older time in France and the qualities of being a good French person.
With the support of her parents and grandmother, Gabriella spent several hours at home reciting her poem, making sure she had it perfect.
“I practised a lot at home, we even practised over Zoom calls because for the finals, they called on Zoom so me and my mum practised like that to get a feel of it,” she said.
St Patrick’s Primary School French teacher Quentin Berlatier commended Gabriella and her family for their noticeable work in helping Gabriella learn the poem.
“Gabriella really ran with it and put in a lot of effort back home, and at school too, and her family really helped out a lot,” he said.
“And it paid off, she sounded fantastic.”
Gabriella said the competition had helped her gain confidence in speaking French.
“It definitely helped build my confidence especially when I was in front of the judges and Mr Berlatier couldn’t be there, it was more stressful,” she said.
French is the only language taught at St Patricks, with Mr Berlatier adding the importance of teaching children another language, especially at a young age.
“The school’s really put in some effort this year, the principal is really into it, and the head office is really trying to push languages,” he said.
“We’re really lifting the profile of French at the school this year, and the kids are really loving it and progressing really well.
“I think it’s really helpful not just for speaking French, but also understanding English and how languages are put together and learning a little bit more about the world.”
The winners of the competition will be announced on October 6 via the competition’s website afmelbourne.com.au/schools-and-teachers/bmc/info/.