Branksome students talk their way to top at French public-speaking contest
Quick, look at this photo, then present a five-minute “persuasive speech” in French on that topic. Undaunted, Senior School students Christine and Dalia placed first and second respectively, in the new Impromptu category at the 36th annual Concours d’art oratoire at Havergal College on February 28.
They were just two members of the senior French public-speaking group who represented Branksome well at the annual competition. They’d been working on their speeches and public speaking skills since last fall as part of the Club d'art oratoire, led by Katherine and Margery.
The Concours, for Grades 9 to 12, promotes language fluency with public-speaking events. It’s co-organized by the Ontario Modern Language Teachers' Association and Canadian Parents for French.
“[It was great that] we had two students this year willing to try something new, the Impromptu category,” says French teacher Nicole Hallett.
Deputy Principal Karrie Weinstock agrees: “I was especially pleased to hear about the Impromptu category because this takes a lot of courage and risk-taking.”
Additionally, participating in the traditional category, Grade 10 student Audrey wrote and presented a compelling speech entitled ''La pression scolaire,'' which explored the idea of redefining conventional notions of success. Grade 11 student Naya’s speech, ''La technologie et l'apprentissage des langues,'' examined the impact of technology on language learning, with conviction. And Grade 12 student Zeta delivered a humorous and touching story of culture and self-discovery entitled ''Le riz.''
“All students performed admirably in a large hall in front of judges, teachers, parents and students from about a dozen other schools,” says Hallett.
First-place winner Christine now advances to the provincial competition at York University’s Glendon Campus at Glendon College on May 2.