Powell River École Côte-du-Soleil grade six student Cléo Bergeron won second prize in a provincial French public speaking competition.
Bergeron was one of 10,000 students from across British Columbia who competed for the honour. A total of 209 students from across the province made it to the finals in this year's provincial French public speaking competition, Concours d'art oratoire. Participants in the competition prepare and present a three- to five-minute speech on a subject of their choosing, in French.
Bergeron was one of four students from École Côte-du-Soleil to attend the provincial competition at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on Saturday, May 4.
Bergeron wrote his speech, entitled L' escargot d'eau douce, which was about 300 words in length, on the freshwater snail. He outlined how dangerous these snails are. The snails carry a deadly parasite that can be fatal to human beings.
“It’s dangerous and can kill people,” said Bergeron. “It causes a lot of deaths each year. I gave a speech about how dangerous it was and what it can do to you.”
The road to the provincial championship began in his classroom, where Bergeron first presented his speech. Having won at the school level, he qualified for the provincial championship.
When it came time to present his speech at the provincials, Bergeron said he was not that nervous while waiting for his opportunity to speak, but when he entered the room, he said: “Oh, this is lot of people. When I got on stage this was way scarier than I thought.”
Bergeron said he likes writing in French but is not as good in English because it’s his second language.
“In speeches, I’m okay at it. I like it,” said Bergeron.
According to Greer Cummings, president of Canadian Parents for French BC and Yukon, Concours is an outstanding showcase and celebration of excellence in French language education.
"Through participation in Concours, students develop their public speaking and relationship building skills in French, and ultimately the confidence to express their ideas clearly,” said Cummings. “These capacities are highly valued in today's global society, making these students more adaptable and employable in a dynamic and competitive landscape. As effective communicators, these students will become the leaders of tomorrow. We are so proud of all our Concours participants.”
This year marked the 36th anniversary of the Canadian Parents for French BC and Yukon-sponsored Concours d'art oratoire.