Youth learned and laughed in French during Charlottetown Local Forum

CHARLOTTETOWN – May 4, 2017 – More than 200 PEI high school students, all from French first-language or French immersion programs, had the opportunity to learn, speak, laugh and be entertained in a social context, completely in French, May 3 in Charlottetown.

The Charlottetown French for the Future Local Forum showed them clearly that French is not just a school subject but also a living language and culture that can open countless doors for them, in life in general as well as for future jobs.

Organizers were overjoyed to see the youth participating actively in all of the day’s events, held on the joint campus of the Collège de l’Île and Holland College in downtown Charlottetown. Even those who were a bit less confident in their French abilities made a real effort to speak the language throughout the day.

The hosts of the day each spoke of the importance of continuing to practice their French outside the classroom as well as after completing high school and their postsecondary studies.


In his humorous yet serious and inspiring presentation, guest speaker Hughie Batherson from Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia explained how he began learning French at age 19 when his hockey coach suggested it to him.

He noted that after learning this new language, he gained the ability to potentially communicate with 250 million Francophones around the world. He also noted that he often meets people who express deep regret at having not learned French or not maintaining their French. He considers himself to be extremely lucky.

Batherson reminded the youth that they are at an age where they can choose their music, their friends and their studies but also their “life culture”. He therefore encouraged them to choose to pursue their learning and use of the French “culture”.

After also sharing their experience with learning the French language, Donald DesRoches, president of the Collège de l’Île, and Charlottetown-Brighton MLA Jordan Brown both stressed the importance of maintaining their use of the “little jewel” that is the French language.


The students then had the opportunity to use their French in interactive workshops focusing on official languages, hip hop dancing, postsecondary studies, journalism, health, theatre, improvisation, painting, self-affirmation, playing, public speaking, social innovation and a last one on the topic “Let’s Talk”.

Participants also visited a series of booths offering information on postsecondary studies and summer employment programs.

After lunch, the youth were treated to a laugh-filled comedy show performed by four improv actors from Productions L’Entrepôt in New Brunswick. Using themes and suggestions from the youth in the audience, the actors presented hilarious improvised skits in the style seen on the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway”.

The youth indicated in their evaluations that they had truly appreciated the workshops, the conferences and the performances.

The Forum was organized jointly by various partners and sponsors, including the Collège de l’Île, the University of Moncton, the University of Sainte Anne, the Consortium national de formation en santé, the Fédération culturelle de l’Î.-P.-É., the University of Prince Edward Island and RDÉE Prince Edward Island.

Major sponsors of the local forums are Canadian Heritage, BMO Financial Group, RBC Foundation and the TD Bank.


CUTLINE: Seen at the end of the Charlottetown “French for the Future” Local Forum May 30 are, from left, guest speaker Hughie Batherson, participants Sydney Jesso and Leigha Crandall from La-Belle-Cloche School, and event coordinator Maxime Bourgeois.
For more information:
Maxime Bourgeois
French for the Future Local Forums