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North Vancouver Students Win Top Awards At French Public Speaking Competition

June 06, 2017
10,000 students from across British Columbia competed, 264 made the provincial finals, and 8 students from North Vancouver took home top awards in this year's pan-provincial French public speaking competition, Concours d'art oratoire.

"Through participation in Concours, students develop confidence and improve their French, but as well their skills in time management, listening and critical thinking. Ultimately they become more effective as communicators, capable of inspiring others," said Diane Tijman, President of Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon.

"We are so proud of all our Concours participants. Bravo à vous tous et toutes pour votre belle participation!" she added.

This year marked the 34th anniversary of the Canadian Parents for French BC & Yukon sponsored Concours d'art oratoire. The provincial finals were hosted Saturday, May 6, 2017 at SFU Surrey.

Matthew Wilson, a grade 12 student from Handsworth Secondary, took first place in the Grade 12 French Immersion category. As a result, he represented BC in the national competition in Ottawa - and he won!

​On June 3, 2017, 38 of Canada’s best and brightest French second language students from grades 11 and 12 met in the National Capital region to compete in the Canadian Parents for French 15th annual National Concours d’art oratoire finals.

The event, which offers over $500,000 in scholarships from the University of Ottawa, Université de Moncton, Université Sainte-Anne and Université de Saint-Boniface, is a reminder that year after year Canadian youth want to be bilingual and that access to quality French second language programs is an important means to attaining this goal.

As the top 38 contestants from a total of 62,000 participants nationwide, the students competed in five categories ranging from Core French to Francophone. They spoke on topics such as the preservation of Indigenous languages, the qualities that make a good leader as well as the importance of French as a second language in Canada and abroad.

The winners of the 2017 edition of the CPF National Concours d’art oratoire are:

Level 1 [Basic French]
1st Place: Ayaan Virani (Markham, ON)
2nd Place: Ethan Edstrom (Moores Mills, NB)
3rd Place: Gabriella Niemczyk (Winnipeg, MB)

Level 2 [Core French Extended]
1st Place: Katherine Gotovsky (Thornhill, ON)
2nd Place: Mariia Nevoit (Winnipeg, MB)
3rd Place: Gavriel Arganosa (Saskatoon, SK)

Level 3 [Late French Immersion]      
1st Place: Seong Gyu Jang (Richmond, BC)
2nd Place: Anna Gaudet (White Lake, NS)
3rd Place: Gabriel Avendano (Winnipeg, MB)

Level 4 [Early French Immersion]
1st Place: Matthew Wilson (North Vancouver, BC)
2nd Place: Elizabeth Hua (Rosemere, QC)
3rd Place: Paul Bellerive (Regina, SK)

Level 5 [Francophone]
1st Place: Raphael Faiola (Toronto, ON)
2nd Place: Charlène Golsteyn (Lethbridge, AB)
3rd Place: Coralie Tcheune (Surrey, BC)

Participants spent two nights in the National Capital region, and participated in excursions to commemorate Canada’s 150, including a bilingual tour of Parliament Hill as well as a scavenger hunt throughout Ottawa’s downtown core.


BC Provincial Winners from North Vancouver:


John Underhill
Grade 6 Early Immersion
“Les trous noirs”

Cleveland Elementary

1st Place


Kiana Delsouz 
Grade 6 Early Immersion 
“Le Potentiel des Douches Froides”
Argyle Secondary School

2nd Place

Jonah Lee

Grade 6 Francophone 

“L'histoire du chocolat”  

Braemar Elementary 

3rd Place



Arvin Madhi

Grade 9 Immersion 

“Le transport à l'avenir”

Handsworth Secondary School

1st Place



Shana Edalat

Grade 11/12 Francophone 

“Le minimalisme”  

Handsworth Secondary School

2nd Place


Geneviève McKay

Grade 10 Francophone

“La liberté de presse”

Handsworth Secondary School

3rd Place


Sophia Ocana

Grade 8 Francophone 

“La place du Canada dans le monde d'aujourd'hui”

Handsworth Secondary School

2nd Place



Matthew Wilson

Grade 12 Early Immersion

“C'est quoi un leader?”

Handsworth Secondary School

1st Place

*Matthew also won the national championship in Ottawa on June 3, 2017!