Awards Towards Excellence Scholarship Ceremony 2017

On May 18th, the Alliance Française de Chicago and Consul General of France Vincent Floreani honored the students laureates of the Educational Outreach Program “Award Towards Excellence”. The program is a partnership between the Alliance Française and the Chicago Public School and serves 50 students a year from six public high schools throughout Chicago.

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Remarks by Consul general of France Vincent Floreani.
Chicago, May 18th, 2017.

Dear students and parents, staff and members of Alliance of Chicago, and – of course - Dear Francine Saltoun

I’m very happy to be with you this afternoon for the 2017 Award towards Excellence Scholarship ceremony. I come every year and would not miss it for the world!

First of all, I would like to congratulate the students:
This evening is yours. You have worked hard to learn and overcome the complexities of the French language. Week after week, you choose to come to the Alliance Française because you are committed to making a difference in your own future. Tonight, with the team of the Alliance Française, your families and friends, we are celebrating your accomplishment and your perseverance. You can be proud of yourselves, and I commend you for that.

French is a beautiful language and you made the right choice. You know, I’m almost unbiased, when I say this.

French is not only a beautiful language, it can help you in many ways:
- It will open opportunities for you to get new friends! Close to 300 million people speak French across the world. By 2050, this figure should grow to 750 million;
- It will further your career prospects. Students who speak several languages multiply their chances in the job market. France is the world’s fifth economic power, so the ability to speak French is an asset for finding work;
- It acts as a confidence booster. When learning a foreign language, you get to overcome some of your fears and doubts, learn more about yourself. Students who study foreign languages tend to score better than their monolingual peers;
- Not to forget that you can enjoy the French goûter when you come here, tasting cheese, madeleines and different French pastries. My wife Christine often prepares cakes and when I ask if I could have a taste she tells me it’s not for me but for you. I must say I’ve been tempted to join you.

So, my message is simple, congratulations and keep up the good work.
And my thanks to your parents for seeing the incredible value of learning French and encouraging you to continue.

Now, I would like to express my deep thanks to Francine Saltoun.
Dear Francine, who is the driving force of this program. Year after year you have dedicated so much time and energy to this program. You were officially recognized by the French Government for your commitment and for the quality of the program and were awarded one of France’s most coveted distinction, the Medal of Merit.

Better than my words of congratulations and my thanks to you, the fact that all the students in your program are speaking good French and are ambassadors of our language and culture is the best possible award.

Francine, you have my gratitude and appreciation for all you have done for this wonderful and very successful program.

Finally, I would like to thank the Alliance Française.
Merci Hervé de la Vauvre, merci Jack McCord, Merci board members, the staff and of course the great teachers for making this program possible.

I see you working hard, day after day, for this program and many others. This Alliance française is the most dynamic in the US with the one in New York.

Every day, with your commitment and professionalism, you give hundreds of people access to the French language and culture in your magnificent building. By doing so, you contribute to building bridges between Chicago and France.

You are one of the top partners of the consulate general. We cherish the relations we have with you.

Merci beaucoup./.

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Last modified on 19/05/2017

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