Everyday, students learn the French language in a comfortable environment. However, 30 French Honor Society members were able to put their French speaking skills to the test at the competitive Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride (The State of Florida French Competition) March 8-10 at the DoubleTree Universal Orlando Hotel. The Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride is an annual event that allows students interested in the French language, literature and civilization to partake in a variety of competitions, including plays and speeches. Around 30 schools participate every year. Every year has a theme; this year’s theme was the FIFA World Cup. Some competition pieces must relate to the theme.
Students performed in two plays, one for the lower level, French 1, and a more complicated play for the upper levels, French 2-5. The upper level group performed “Rhinoceros,” a French play by Eugene Lonesco about Fascism and Nazism. The lower level group performed “Tout le Monde Peut Jouer,” a play about soccer and sexism.
“While we rehearsed for the play, we always made some kind of mistake, but when we performed it in front of the judges, when we felt the most nervous, we performed it perfectly,” said freshman Emily Stouch, who performed with the lower level group.
Students also made a project and scrapbook which took two months to make. The project was crafted by junior Juanita Castenada and senior Sabrina Obando. Their project consisted of a handmade goal post decorated with jerseys of Francophone countries and a World Cup. Senior Brianna Dessa constructed the scrapbook which was based on the FIFA World Cup theme and involved students’ stories and photos.
Besides group events, students also performed a reading, speech or recitation of a poem. Students took a multiple choice reading comprehension test in the reading category. In the speech category, students picked three cards at random upon entering the preparation room and were given five minutes to prepare a speech in French based on their selected cards. Students then presented a speech or began a conversation depending on the level. Judges were permitted to ask questions and students had to answer immediately. For the recitation of a poem category, students were given a list of poems of which they could choose from prior to the competition. Once at the competition, they presented their memorized poem to a panel of judges. Each individual and group event received a rating of poor through superior.
After two days of competitions, students were invited to dinner and a dance by the Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride. The awards ceremony took place on Saturday. Heritage placed second in their size division and third overall. Several students received a perfect score, including sophomores Emilia Akhundova in speech and Lauren Prieto in reading. The upper level play also received a perfect score.
“When I found out that I had gotten a superior, I was already satisfied with myself but then finding out that I had gotten 10/10 made me feel really proud of myself. It makes me feel like the past 5 years that I’ve spent in French classes have been worth it. I’m really excited to go next year and hopefully do well again,” said Prieto.
Play: Superior (Perfect score): Ekabouna Joseph, Elias Levy, Jennifer Olaya, Carolina Figueiredo, Emilia Akhundova, Felix Romier, Caroline Greengrass, Maria Mortari
Play (1st level): Superior: Emily Stouch, Regina Orozco, Melina Marin, Daniel Paz, Ananya Balaji, Kushi Chawda
Level 1: Emily Stouch: Superior
Level 1: Regina Orozco: Excellent
Level 2: Shelcia Lelis: Superior (Perfect score)
Level 2: Alexander Divoux: Excellent
Level 3: Lauren Prieto: Superior (Perfect score)
Level 3: Elias Levy: Superior
Level 4: Carolina Figeiredo: Superior
Level 4:Maria Mortari: Superior
Level 5: Sabrina Obando: Superior
Level 1: Melina Marin: Superior
Level 2: Noah Ledee: Superior
Level 3: Emily Gutierrez: Good
Level 4: Emilia Akhundova: Superior (Perfect score)
Level 5: Felix Romier: Excellent
Level 1: Ananya Balaji: Superior
Level 1: Kushi Chawda: Excellent
Level 2: Daniella Fuertes: Excellent
Level 2: Sarah McDonald: Good
Level 3: Myla Allaf: Superior
Level 3: Jennifer Olaya: Excellent
Level 4: Svetoslav Karagueorguiev: Superior
Level 4: Brianna Dessa: Excellent
Level 5: Julie Soussan: Superior (Perfect score)
Level 5: Avi Soussan: Superior