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French Immersion students are Proud to be Francophone

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September 26, 2012 - On September 25th, students from the French immersion program at St. Charles Catholic Elementary School took to the streets of Chelmsford to share in their Franco-Ontarian pride. September 25th is celebrated across Ontario by many Francophones to show pride and support for their language and to honour the contributions of French speaking Ontarians to society. It is known as 'La journée du drapeau Franco-Ontarien' because on this date in 1975, the official Franco-Ontarian flag was raised for the first time to show that the French language is still very alive in this province. The students from grade 2-8 walked throughout their neighbourhood and visited local businesses along the way. They had previously contacted these businesses to inquire as to how many Francophone employees each one employed so that they could present them with necklaces with the words “'Je parle Français” on them – allowing them to let their customers be aware that they speak French. As well as the necklaces, the students also gifted flags to the different businesses. The students plan to also deliver the necklaces and flags to businesses in the neighbouring communities of Azilda, Dowling, Onaping and Levack. Along their route, the students could be heard singing and cheering French songs. According to the Grade 7 and 8 French Immersion teacher, Francois Viau, the goal of this campaign is to help French language learners feel comfortable speaking French in their community. “As the classroom teacher, I am extremely proud of the way the students embraced the opportunity to spread their message,” Viau stated. “Each one of my students has been learning French for 9 or 10 years. They are by all accounts bilingual. I thought it was important for them to spread the word that they too are part of the Franco-Ontarien community. This title is not only reserved for students in French-only schools. Most of my students have at least one parent with French-Canadian roots. This campaign allows them to express themselves and have fun with their second language.”

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