I’ve been in French immersion since kindergarten and in Canada, most French immersion kids participate in (or have at least heard of) a competition called the “Concours d’Art Oratoire” run by an organization called Canadian Parents for French. I started writing speeches and participating in the competition in grade 2 and in grade 4 I won the best speech in my class and presented in front of the school. My Middle School also participated in the Concours and in grade 6, I won not only in my class, but also in the competition out of my whole school, and went on to place first at districts. With that, I made it to provincials.
I had to practice every single day, and by the end of it, I could rehearse my speech completely by memory, in any way I wanted. I knew my speech so well, that for a year and a half after the whole competition was over, I could still recite it almost entirely! As well as this, the middle school competitions also involved being able to answer one or two questions about your topic afterward, which meant that I knew far more about bilingualism (which was my topic) than what I actually presented. However, none of that made any of the rounds of competition any less stressful. I didn’t place at provincials, unfortunately, but my loss only made my resolve to make it back the next year greater.
In grade 7, I settled on the topic of dangerous beauty fads and techniques used around the world in the past. I researched everything from arsenic powder makeup in England to foot binding in China. I had my speech completely memorized for my in-class presentation and won. I went on to win out of my school and at districts, finally going, once again, to provincials. This time around, I knew what to expect but it didn’t make me less nervous. In fact, if anything, knowing what to expect made me MORE nervous because I knew how good the competition was going to be. After so much stress, my hard work paid off and I placed third.
I know it happened a while ago (it has almost been 2 years) but it definitely was one of my proudest academic moments. Our grade eight classes didn’t participate in the Concours, and it’s not mandatory for high school so I probably won’t ever do it again, but the speech competitions absolutely taught me a lot and were amazing experiences!
I am proud of the amount of effort and dedication I put into my speeches — both writing and memorizing them — and of how much they taught me about my own learning. I am also proud of how well I handled the stress of the competitions because although they didn’t matter for my grades, it always felt as though my teachers and peers were counting on me to succeed.
I’m excited to read what everyone else writes about their education experience, and thanks so much for reading mine!
on December 4, 2019 at 2:21 pm said:
Am happy to read your comment on education. I see that you loved writing speeches which was fun and interesting .Congratulations Ellen.
on December 4, 2019 at 2:56 am said:
I’ve been in your class from grade 2 to grade 8 and I can surely say that you are a confident presenter. Whenever you start talking about something you know lots about, you become very into whatever you’re saying and so it makes sense that you would win the Concours d’Art Oratoire. I just want to congratulate you even more because I went up against you in elementary school (I think) and it’s a very difficult thing to win. You’ve shown your presenting skills in other ways too, like the slam poem in grade 7 and the socials inca project last year.
on December 4, 2019 at 1:28 am said:
Congratulations! The amount of times you won competition for your class and the fact that you were able to not only go to the district level but place at the provincial level is quite impressive. I have also been in French Immersion since the beginning, so I also needed to make a speech in french and perform it in front of my class almost every year until high school. In grade 2, I was chosen to perform in front of the school, and in grade 5, I was not only chosen to perform it in front of the school, but I also made it to the district level. I never did go beyond that, however. From what I can remember, the people I was up against seemed to be incredibly passionate about their topics, and I think that when you’re really passionate about something and you keep on persevering, you can go a long way.
on December 3, 2019 at 3:14 am said:
It was amazing to read your comment, and it’s impressive how you placed third in the provincials of the Concours d’Art Oratoire. Congratulations! There’s no doubt that you’ve demonstrated a lot of dedication and perseverance. In grade 7, I participated in the same competition and made it to the districts. From this similar experience, it helps me connect and understand first-hand the amount of hard work is needed to do these speeches. I know that, at Charles Best, we have a Poetry in Voice competition. If you are interested, I definitely recommend you to try it out! I believe that you can choose between either presenting all your poems in English, or having half of your poems in French.