On 28 February, the French Embassy awarded the Montclair State University Cercle Français (French Club), a France on Campus award. Katrin Gebhard, Higher Education Attaché at the French Embassy, traveled to campus to document the award-winning project and to present students Evrans Dangervil, John Mentor, Dante Sterling, Gerry Plinio, and Noah Johnston with a certificate during the annual Montclair State University French Day.
For the France on Campus award, MSU students created hands on workshops (conducted in French) to help nearly 300 secondary school French students practice their language skills while “traveling the French-speaking world” to celebrate “Carnaval” (Mardi Gras). Visitors to Montclair State presented their “airline tickets” to travel to the different “countries” where they could stamp their passports, participate in cultural activities, and taste foods from Nice (France), Bâle (Switzerland), Fort-de-France (Martinique, France), Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Québec (Canada), and La Nouvelle Orléans (Louisiana).
Photographs here, courtesy of the French Embassy and participants who posted on social media (#FrenchDay2020), document the fun of replicating the “bataille de fleurs” characteristic of Carnaval in Nice, dressing in costumes as they would in Guadeloupe, or donning the red ribbon of Québec’s Bonhomme du Carnaval. The Embassy created an interactive Instagram story to document their experience of the Montclair campus and the Montclair students’ vision in action. Visiting students also put their French skills to good use in the other workshops featured in the French Day program: they traveled to Togo, Corsica, Côte d’Ivoire, and Senegal to explore fashion, music, and tourist attractions.
Many participating secondary schools submitted student-produced videos as part of the “Poetic License” film competition. The grand-prize winning submission from Creskill High School centered around the painting of a bird as part of their adaptation of Jacques Prévert’s “Pour faire le portrait d’un oiseau.” The student artist in this prize-winning film presented his painting to the French Embassy during the award ceremony. Mahwah High School was awarded second place and Mary Helper of Christians Academy won third place for their films. Montville High School, Millburn High School, and Pascack Hills High School received honorable mentions for creativity.
Félicitations à tous!