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French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario Visits St. Benedict

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French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario, Francois Boileau, speaks to the French Immersion students at St. Benedict.

March 22, 2013 - On Wednesday, March 20th, all Sudbury Catholic Schools celebrated Franco-Fun day, which is a day dedicated to celebrating French language and culture. As part of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School's Franco-Fun Day activities, grade 11 and 12 French Immersion students were honoured to welcome Francois Boileau, the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario to their school. Francois Boileau is currently pursuing his third mandate as the French Language Services Commissioner of Ontario and his role is to receive complaints from members of the public and present recommendations regarding the application of the French Language Services Act. Currently, Mr. Boileau reports directly to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur, and has the power to make recommendations on matters pertaining to the application of the French Language Services Act. Since his appointment, Commissioner Boileau has worked diligently to improve the quality of French-language services in Ontario, and to ensure its full development and preserve its culture.

Introducing Mr. Boileau to the students was Sudbury Catholic consultant Lianne Perreault-Raymond, who was thrilled about the opportunity for the students to interact with the Commissioner. "It was wonderful to see our French Immersion (F.I.) students participating in an open discussion with M. Boileau, completely in French. We were honoured that he recognized both the students and staff for speaking the language so fluently, and he encouraged them to continue their journey even after leaving high school," Perreault-Raymond stated. "I was very proud of our students, as well as the teaching staff, as they demonstrated such skill and confidence during the entire discussion, which is strong evidence that our French Immersion program is very successful!"

The students spoke with the Commissioner for approximately an hour, and discussed the importance of carrying on with the language after graduation, as well as how French can play a great role in one's career and contribute to personal and cultural growth. "To take on a new language, is to take on new thinking," Boileau told the students. "To take on new thinking is to take on a new world and new possibilities!"

Catherine McCullough, Director of Education for the board echoed Mr. Boileau's sentiments. "We are so honoured that Commissioner Boileau spoke to our students about the importance of bilingualism in today's society as part of the board's Franco-fun day," McCullough said. "At Sudbury Catholic, we recognize that French language skills can certainly improve a student's career options later on in life and the Commissioner's visit reinforced this message for the students."

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