Gavin Reedman and Conner Edwards competed in the French Language Speak Off in Surrey on May 6.
Known in French as Concours d’art oratoire, the contest sees competitors come from across B.C. and the Yukon who are francophones, in French immersion, or in core French classes in Grades 7-12. There were 156 students in Surrey for the event.
Both Gavin and Conner are French Immersion students in Colin O’Keefe’s class at Lake City Secondary School – Columneetza campus. Gavin is in Grade 7 of the immersion program and Conner is in Grade 8.
Students at the competition were performing three to five minute speeches in French and with no restrictions on topics, they were on a broad range of subjects, from one student who O’Keefe said “took us on a ride about dust” to artificial intelligence, immigration, and why one student likes hockey.
Conner spoke on Nintendo consoles, their history and evolution, and Gavin spoke about the benefits of walking in nature.
“They both did incredibly well,” said O’Keefe, noting he was surprised they did not place in the top three of their divisions.
Both students enjoyed the competition and said they would to it again.
“It was fun,” said Conner, adding “the anticipation to do it is a lot worse than actually doing it.”
He said he had been very, very nervous going in.
“Speaking publicly is fun but also very difficult,” said Gavin of the experience.
It was the 40th year of the contest, which is hosted by Canadian Parents for French.
Students in O’Keefe’s classes competed within their own grades to win the opportunity to go, but because it was short notice, not all of the winners could attend the competition in Surrey.
O’Keefe said now the event will be on his radar and he hopes to take even more students next year.