Over the weekend of March 1st, twenty-four Jesuit students competed for the first time in the Fête Française, a French competition hosted by Plano Senior High. Winning four awards*, Jesuit’s first attendance can be deemed a success, especially considering the competition. With over five hundred students coming from thirty different schools, the newcomers were up against plenty of seasoned veterans. Now that they have a firm grasp of how the tournament works and what to expect, the students look to build upon their success next year.
Much like other academic competitions, the students competed in a variety of different subjects. Ranging from the nuances of the French language to the vast expanse of French culture, there were enough subjects to suit anyone and everyone that attended. Because of this, tests ranged from ten in the morning until three in the afternoon, leaving all the students with a day full of French.
Coming from the largest Jesuit class in attendance, sophomores Sebastian Tran and Patrick Bender competed in the event. Sebastian cited “Meeting new people…who had a common relationship with French” as his favorite part of the experience. In addition to this, he was also able to get to know other Jesuit students better that he would normally not see on a daily bases. Sebastian thought that the competition definitely helped him grow as a French student, saying he “got to see how well he did against others,” which leads to self-improvement. Testing both his vocabulary and grammar skills and performing a piano piece by a French composer, Sebastian applauded the organization and planning of the different events as he went from one testing environment to the next. However, he criticized the award ceremony due its excessive length and general waste of time. Speaking of awards, Sebastian believes that, even though they are newcomers, Jesuit “came up stronger than…quite a few schools” mostly due to the fact that many schools did not place in any competitions. As for next year, he is excited to go back.
Patrick particularly liked how the competition showed him “at what level [he] should be at” compared to the other students from different schools. It gave him more of an idea what people from other schools are doing in their French classes and how Jesuit ranked among them. Agreeing with Sebastian, Patrick thinks that the organizers could have done a better job planning the time tables of the event. He disliked how, even though he could have a test at ten o’ clock, he would have to wait around campus until another classmate finished his test at two o’ clock. As part of the first year of Jesuit’s attendance, though, he understands these issues and is “definitely going to go regardless” next year. Again, the announcement of the awards was the biggest problem that he had with the event but, in view of everything, it is an overall minor grievance. The laid back atmosphere, excluding the few that take the tests very seriously, contributes to why Patrick thinks the competition is a great experience. In all, he thinks Jesuit has a lot of potential in becoming a stronger player and it should become a yearly occurrence.
While it might not have been a perfectly smooth experience, the Fête Française will hopefully become an annual outing the French classes of Jesuit have to look forward to. Despite going in blind, Jesuit has shown that it can impress and holds potential for being a powerhouse in the future. For now, however, the French students of Jesuit will just have to wait until next year.
*Jack Matthews ’17
Grammar Test Level 1
Andrew Arraj ’16
Vocabulary Test Level 2
Grammar Test Level 2
Alejandro Rey Hipolito ’16, Bruno Brenes ’16, Marshall Baird ’15