Remarks by Consul General of France on the occasion of the presentation of the City of Paris Medal and the Palmes Académiques to Mary-Enda Tookey
Medal of Paris and Palmes Académiques for Mme Mary-Enda Tookey
Ecole Franco Américaine de Chicago – Saturday, June 6 2015
It is a great pleasure to be with you today to celebrate the French American School of Chicago, also known as the Ecole Franco-Américaine de Chicago or EFAC.
The activities of the French American School are very important to me. One of my first visits, about 9 months ago, when I became Consul of France for the Midwest, was to see this school. I was amazed to see the young students speaking French with ease and speaking English just as easily. What an asset for their future!
Ms Isabelle David, the accomplished head of EFAC, described her work and her cooperation with Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and Lincoln Park High School. Since then, I have met several times with Isabelle David and have had the opportunity and the pleasure to come back to the school.
On several occasions, I met with the teachers and professors who contribute to the excellence of EFAC. I would like to thank each of them for their dedication.
I had the pleasure to meet with Mr. Michael Boraz, principal of Lincoln Park High School. I would like to tell him how grateful we are for his continued support and commitment to education and fostering French culture in his school.
There is one person, in particular, whom I would like to honor today.
This is Ms. Mary-Enda Tookey.
Her deeds are so great, that two French personalities awarded her medals.
First an award from Ms Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
This is a recognition of Ms Tookey’s efforts to put together an exchange program between 2 prestigious high schools, Lincoln Park High School in Chicago and Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris.
This started in 2003 on a limited scale.
Professors from both high schools realized that the Lincoln Park and Louis-Le-Grand students had the same interests for in-depth work, research and reflection.
In October 2006 a group of 25 students from Louis-Le-Grand arrived in Chicago, spent two weeks here and had a wonderful experience. In April 2007, a similar group from Lincoln Park went to Paris with equal success. The exchange has continued every year since.
This allows students from Paris and from Chicago to discover a wonderful city on the other side of the Atlantic, to learn our different educational systems, our different family relations,
Many of the students and families as well as the staff have remained in touch and involved in the exchange.
The Sister Cities are also very helpful. And would like to thank Ms Robinson for being here with us today.
Ms Tookey works relentlessly to make this program a success, despite her many other tasks at Lincoln High and in other regional and national committees. She helps find solutions to finance the exchange for some students and involves the professors and the parents.
Ms Mary-Enda Tookey, on behalf the Mayor of Paris, Ms Anne Hidalgo, I’m delighted to award you the medal of the City of Paris and a diploma from the City of Paris.
There is a second award, from Ms Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, Minister for Education, Higher Education and Research.
For more than 30 years, Ms Mary-Enda Tookey has been a pillar of the teaching of the French language and culture at Lincoln Park High School.
Ms Tookey, you initiated the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Lincoln Park, back in 1991, almost a quarter of a century ago. You are the coordinator of this program.
In 1995, you brought EFAC, the French American School, into Lincoln Park High School as an integral part of students’ daily schedules.
This program allows motivated students to take an additional 50 minute French language and literature class each day for 4 years to prepare for the French part of the French baccalaureate and further their knowledge of the French language.
In 2010, the Diplome d’Etudes en Langue Française (DELF) was added to EFAC.
The success of these programs owes a lot to you, Ms Tookey.
Also, I should mention that you enjoy a worldwide recognition as a professor of the Theory of Knowledge and of Psychology.
For all these reasons, the French Minister of Education decided to award you their most prestigious medal and to make you Chevalier des Palmes Académiques.
Madame Mary-Enda Tookey, au nom de la ministre de l’Education, je vous fais Chevalier des Palmes académiques./.