The University of Victoria hosts five Greater Victoria schools on Monday, April 29, as part of French for the Future’s annual local forum.
Over 300 students from Parkland, Stelly’s, St. Andrew’s, Oak Bay High and Sentinel schools will attend the free forum, where activities and workshops will be held exclusively in French. The forum lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and is geared towards students in Grades 9 to 12.
French for the Future is a group advocating the value of learning French and the conference receives funding from UVic, the Ministry of Education, the Francophone School Board, and Canadian Parents for French.
The organizers hope to offer a fun day of learning about the advantages of bilingualism in Canada, providing an opportunity for the participants to show off their French skills through interactive and educational workshops. The students will also be able to meet peers from other schools in the area.
“The forum is a celebration of French culture that allows French as a second language students from different school boards to build relationships in a positive environment,” explains Gabrielle F. Fortin, French for the Future’s Executive Director.
“In addition, we are proud to offer fun and interactive workshops, created just for these students.”
This year’s guest speakers are Casey Edmunds, Lisa Surridge, Catherine Caws and Marc Labelle. Labelle is from the Ministry of Education and Edmunds is the Victoria 2020 Canadian Francophone Games’ Executive Director. UVic representatives Surridge and Caws are the Associate Dean in the Faculty of Humanities and Chair in the French Department, respectively.
The speakers are expected to talk about their journey learning the French language and how their bilingualism has been an asset in their careers.
French for the Future has organized around 15 local forums across Canada every year for the last two decades. They say they try to make every event unique and take into account the particular characteristics of each city. The forums are developed with the support of a committee of local volunteers.
As well as the chance to network and listen to presentations from the speakers, the event will also give the students the opportunity to visit information booths and take part in a talent show.