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French to the fore at Our Lady of the Way Bastille Day celebrations

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Our Lady of the Way Catholic Primary School, in Wallan East, took part in Bastille Day festivities on Friday to extend the school’s language curriculum of French.

Bastille Day, the National Day of France, is celebrated on July 14 as the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille, which started the French Revolution in the 1790s.

All of the school’s students, teachers and staff, participated in a range of activities, including decorating the French flag, creative writing and designing replicas of the Eiffel Tower.

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Throughout the day, each year level experienced dancing and drumming with creative company Melbourne Djembe, who offered students the opportunity to take part in their ‘The Francophonie in Africa’ class, where students discovered the extent of the French language across Africa.

While the day was to celebrate the national day of France, French teacher Sonia Cook said the incursion was also for students to recognise the language in other countries.

“We’re trying to foster a love of learning for French, and really instill in the kids that French is part of our school, and that’s part of their learning,” she said.

“The world that we live in, noting that French is not just spoken in France but around the world, and then also see the potential for them to use it as well, and by using the drums – I think it’s a way to really engage the children.”

In addition to the celebrations, 19 grade four and five students competed in the Alliance Française Berthe Mouchette Competition last month and recited a French poem over a video conference call as part of this year’s competition.

Two finalists – grade four and five students Alyssa and George – were selected in this year’s finals, as both students received a perfect score out of 20, while more than five students received just below 20. The finals will be next month.

Ms Cook said the competition helped endorse other strengths alongside sport and academics.

“Sometimes you have your sporty kids that get acknowledged for sport, athletics and all that, you have your students who get amazing scores for maths competitions,” she said.

“It’s really nice to see students who have other strengths like French, and be acknowledged as well, so that’s why I feel it’s important.”

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