For most, public speaking can be a frightening experience of nervousness and fear, but if those same people had to do it in a language other than their mother tongue, it would be a near impossible task.
That's not the case for a handful of local students who will be competing next week in a French public speaking competition to earn the honour to go on to a provincial competition later in April.
Anne Chatel, French immersion teacher at Mamquam Elementary, said students at her school competed Thursday (March 30) in the school's gymnasium to qualify for the District Finals on April 5.
"Each grade level from grades 5, 6 and 7 had eight representatives compete," she said. "About 24 students did their speeches in front of judges."
The Concours d'art oratoire (or Art of public speaking contest) is sponsored by Canadian Parents for French (CPF) and gives children a chance to show off their French-speaking skills for fun, recognition and prizes.
"They have to pick a subject and write a speech in French," said Chatel. "Students could choose any subject they wanted, and the speeches last anywhere from one minute to about four minutes."
Judges at Mamquam chose five students from each grade class to compete alongside kids in the high school French program April 5 at Eagle Eye Theatre from 7 to 9 p.m.
"The first place winners in grades 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 from the District Finals then go on to the Provincials at the end of April at Kwantlen University," she said.
The winners from that competition move on to national finals later in the year.
Prizes at the provincial level include university scholarships, books and cash.
Students are judged on their pronunciation, posture, body language, quality of language, organization of ideas and choice of subject.
For more information click to www.cpf.bc.ca.