Explore 'French in Our Region' At Catamount Arts

COURTESY PHOTO

Les français à St Johnsbury? Mais bien sûr! All are welcome — a morning to explore French In Our Region, a community event hosted by St. Johnsbury Academy French 2 students, will take place on Nov. 22 at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury. Above, St. Johnsbury resident Andy Dussault reads about what the students have written about him, with SJA senior and French 2 student Alex Wang.

St. Johnsbury Academy and the Northeast Kingdom Travel and Tourism Association (NEKTTA), in conjunction with Catamount Arts and funding from Northern Borders Regional Commission, will be hosting "French In Our Region" at Catamount Arts on Friday, Nov. 22 from 8-11:30 a.m. Catamount is located at 115 Eastern Ave. in St. Johnsbury.

The event is free and open to Francophile community members, those with Franco-American or French heritages, and those interested in Canadian culture. About 35 of Cathy Miles Grant's French 2 students from St. Johnsbury Academy will share what they learned from interviewing close to 20 community members, many of whom have Franco-American heritage and others who have a deep appreciation for the language and cultures of the Francophone world.

Guests can enjoy live French-Canadian folk music by Patrick Ross and Jean Théroux, sample French-Canadian refreshments, and engage in small-group French-and-English conversations. Guests are invited, but not required, to bring contributions of French-Canadian dishes.

The event in intended to:

â?¢ Expand our collective appreciation of the French heritage in our region.

â?¢ Extend the learning opportunities that our francophone history and proximity to French-speaking regions of Canada provide for us.

â?¢ Expand our understanding of how we might better welcome francophone visitors to our region.

"This project provides a wonderful opportunity for our French students to move their own language learning out of the classroom and into the wider world," said Miles Grant. "As they listen deeply to the stories of those community members they interview, they develop a greater appreciation for the interconnections of French language, culture and identity right here in our community. They come to recognize the wealth of French resources that surround us. And they are motivated to embrace the opportunities that come with learning the French language -- for the present and for the future. We are profoundly grateful for the thoughtfulness and generosity with which our friends from the community have shared their stories, for the benefit for all of our learning."

"We, in the Northeast Kingdom, have traditionally shared strong family, historical and economical connections with our neighboring Canadian communities," said Gloria Bruce of NEKTTA. "It is our hope, in partnering in this wonderful event, to provide people with an opportunity to form a deeper understanding and appreciation of those long standing relations."

Two subsequent related movie showings, with follow-up discussions, are planned and also free and open to the community:

â?¢ Dec. 4 at 3:15 p.m. at Catamount Arts -- Maurice Richard: The Rocket -- a story about Quebec's most famous hockey player, Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, focusing on the struggles of a French-Canadian in the National Hockey League dominated by Anglophones. "A well-made, inspirational effort that beautifully conveys its period and milieu," a review read.

� Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at Catamount Arts -- Réveil: Waking Up French -- a powerful documentary that explores the struggle for cultural survival of the French ... and cultural renaissance and heritage preservation.

"The film captures the heart and soul of what we feel like inside when we rediscover ourselves ... when we wake up French," read a review.

For more information, contact Miles Grant at St. Johnsbury Academy, CMilesGrant@stjacademy.org or 751-2803; or Gloria Bruce, executive director, Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism Association, director@travelthekingdom.com, or 626-8511.

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