Here is a heart warming story of two school students of a reputed school of Gurgaon who persuaded their principal to join French Spell Bee 2016 despite the school opting for French Olympiad which is part of their revolving strategy to have only one French competition per year so that the parents are not burdened with too much on paid competitions in one calendar year & the teacher informed us of the same and promised to join next year.
While Le Frehindi has nothing against the French Olympiad which is a good initiative to promote French in India & we welcome all competitions which seek to promote French language & culture to foster people to people contact among the people of our two great nations.
However; we feel we must tell the story which allows us to carry on spreading the fragrance of French language in India against all odds & problems created by some vested interests.
The story unfolded few days back when a reputed school of Gurgaon decided to opt out of the National French Spell Bee contest & go for French Olympiad for the 2016.
Apparently; the schools participated in the last year contest where over 70 students registered & one of them qualified for the finals too but did not win the contest.
However; when this year the word went around the school that their school is not participating, two students of 8th class namely Rishabh & Shreya got together and tried to persuade their HOD to go for French Spell Bee this year too. When the French teacher refused and asked them to go for the French Olympiad tears swelled in their eyes and they returned back to their class and informed others about it.
Soon the word spread all over the school especially in the classes having French as 3rd language and students started talking about the same in small groups.
Many of them took the news back home and informed their parents who called at the mobile numbers given on the French Spell Bee site www.frenchspellbee.org requesting the organisers to take their ward as an independent candidate for which they where willing to pay even double the fees but the same was flatly turned down by the organisers as under the format of the National French Spell Bee a student can apply only through their respective schools via an online registration platform open only to all the schools in India.
Some of the parents started talking to each other and even wrote a diary note to the French teacher to allow their ward to participate in National French Spell Bee 2016.
However; two days passed and nothing happened forcing two gusty and courageous students namely Rishabh & Shreya of 8th class to start forming a group of 40 students who went to the HOD of French and asked for an appointment with the principal on this issue.
Looking at the mood of the students, the HOD had no option but to approach the principal who was quick enough to read the situation and ask the two students to meet her in the Principal’s room the same after noon.
Once inside the Principal’s room the students were asked some straight questions by the Principal to which the students gave some straight answers after listening to them and their passion for the contest the Principal decided to allow the school to register for the French Spell Bee 2016. This led to a huge cheering among many students waiting to hear the news back in their classes with bated breath.
But one must be wondering what questions the Principal may have asked and what made her change her mind about participating in National French Spell Bee 2016 :
Here; are some of the questions & their response :
Q: Why you are insisting on French Spell Bee ?
Answer : Mam; We like this contest because it helps us to increase our vocabulary and pronunciation and moreover we did very well last year and Rishabh even qualified for the finals and there he saw many students competing with each other live in an excting on the stage contest and mam we think that we have a very good chance to make it this year as many of us downloaded the previous year booklet in our summer vacations and we are already half prepared for the same.
Q: What was your experience in the finals last year ( turning to Rishabh ) ?
Answer : Mam; it was just awesome because there I realised that what actually learning French was all about as I saw so many students like me from all over India who were so good in their pronunciation and I was amazed by their memory and the practice they had put in it. It was a stage contest among the best from India and only those who could stay calm; hold their nerve and had put in hard work could only progress to the next round. I met this guy there who came all the way from a school in Kutch in Gujarat & he even did not have French tuitions and he put in so much self effort that he won the beginner level beating the best schools from Delhi & Mumbai. It was not a question of knowledge of french and vocabulary but of patience; courage & holding your nerve before the audiences. I think every one must attend to see it to believe it.
Answer 2 ( By Shreay ) : And mam one of my cousins who just came from America said that they have the same styled spell bee in US in English and that the spell bee in english has not only helped her to win a zonal level prize there but also helped her to increase her vocabulary & pronunciation skills. Mam; similarly in French I have more vocabulary now then ever before all because of the French spell Bee.
Q: Have you spoken to your parents ?
Answer : Yes mam; my parents even called the organisers and offered them to pay double the registration amount to take individual registrations but they refused saying that we can come only through the school.
Q: But you have Olympiad too ?
Answer : Yes mam Olympiad is good too but you cannot compare both as French spell bee is an experience all together different as it selects the best from all schools and zones and then bring them together for a live contest which is not possible in Olympiad. Also in this contest they test our listening skills too in the school itself which is not there in olympiad. Mam; you must visit the finals once to see it to believe it; I cannot express in words. Moreover; this year I read on the site of Spell Bee that they will stream it live in our school & homes.
Q: Ok; Ok I got it but listen I will allow only if you help me with a french word I know which I use in English often, so are you ready ?
Answer : Yes mam please tell us the word.
Q: The word is “avant-garde”?
Answer : Shreya quickly had a look towards Rishabh and then nodded her head & said ” Innovative; something new or unique”.
The principal rose from her seat clapped and allowed the students to participate.
This is one of the many similar real life stories that we heard not from one school but two schools in the past two weeks.
We salute all such students who are the real flag bearers of the National French Spell Bee in India.