Brooklyn Student Wins French Heritage ’allons En France 2012’ Contest

Every year, many students of French around the world get the chance to take part in the Allons en France contest, which offers a 10-day educational trip to France to its winners thanks to the Institut Français. The French Heritage language Program is grateful to be part of this great event, which has already allowed many of our students to display their excellent French skills and discover France over the last few years.

For the 2012 edition of Allons en France, the French Heritage Language Program launched an essay-writing contest based on this year’s theme: “Human rights in the 21st century: new challenges?” More than 100 participants from our partner high schools in New York and Florida worked on the topic with their French teachers with 26 students qualifying to take part in the final run-off. The compositions were then anonymously evaluated by an independent jury that awarded 10 prizes.

One student of the International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, Christelle Bissainthe, 17, was unanimously selected by the jury to win the 1st prize.

Christelle’s essay focused on women’s rights as well as the protection of children. Of Haitian descent, Christelle drew many of her examples from the current situation in Haiti, her own experience of the country, and showed excellent arguments and French writing skills. Born in the United States of Haitian parents, Christelle quickly moved to Haiti and attended school there until the earthquake devastated the country in early 2010. Her parents then decided to send her back to the US to stay with her aunt in Brooklyn where she now pursues her studies within the Internationals Network for Public Schools.

As for her motivation to join Allons en France, Christelle declares: “J’ai hâte d’aller en France, de pouvoir rencontrer d’autres jeunes venus du monde entier et de travailler sur les droits de l’homme. La situation de mon pays, l’insécurité et la pauvreté, fait que de nombreuses femmes et beaucoup d’enfants sont en danger et n’ont plus leurs droits respectés. En tant que femme et jeune fille d’origine haïtienne, ce sujet me touche beaucoup.”

Christelle will join Tyler Keegan, another American student, who won the other Allons en France grant awarded as part of the France-Atlanta humanitarian contest. Both will be part of the 120 students selected around the world to enjoy this great educational stay in France!

Benoît Le DévédecCoordinator for the French Heritage Language Program

French Heritage Language Program