Students Compete in City-Wide French Oratory Contest
On November 17, 2018, a team of Newman students in the Upper School French program competed in the annual city-wide French Oratory Contest. The event was sponsored by the Andry, LeBlanc, and Stafford/Rathle families and hosted by the Council of French Societies, which serves as an umbrella organization for all non-profit organizations devoted to the promotion and preservation of the French language and culture in New Orleans.
Students must select a poem, an excerpt of prose, a dramatic monologue, or something similar to recite before a panel of native-speaker judges, focusing on fluidity of expression, pronunciation, and interpretation of the passage. After the recitation, students are interviewed by the judges to test their extemporaneous speaking skills. Competitor schools ranged from independent schools such as McGehee and Country Day to public and charter schools such as Ben Franklin.
This year, Newman brought home two awards that included cash prizes. Olivia Miller '21, a student of Lisa Mauthe, won third place for the Level III category. (Last year, Olivia won the “Rookie of the Year” award for the Level 1 category.) Nithya Ramcharan '21, a student of Dr. Katherine Zell, won second place for the Level IV and above category. Nithya also placed in the top 3 last year.
Students were honored at a reception on Sunday, December 2 at the Degas House, where they received their awards from Monsieur Nicolas Torres, Attaché of Cooperation for French at the French Consulate in New Orleans. In his speech, M. Torres expressed his respect for the hard work of these students and the dedication of French teachers around the city. He impressed upon his audience the importance of linguistic and cultural fluency in French in a broader context of international law, business, and diplomacy.