Graduates in the North: completing an education in French

At École des Trois-Soleils in Nunavut, there were six this year, and four of these graduates had completed their entire education in French.

This is an exceptional cohort, exclaims the president of the Commission scolaire francophone du Nunavut (CSFN), Judy Romaric Sessua Kuengou. He says he is particularly proud to see these Franco-Nunavois, born in Iqaluit, complete this page of their education in the language of Molière.

Judy Romaric Sessua Kuengou is the president of the CSFN.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Matisse Harvey

It is a great pleasure, a source of pride for the CSFNand we hope in the future to have even more Franco-Nunavois students who will have attended kindergarten to grade 12 in our school..

Further west, in the Yukon, the second cohort of graduates is even larger. If last year there were only three, there are 12 in 2022. Here too, education in French has accompanied them throughout their schooling, from daycare to obtaining their diploma.

It’s really crazy! recognizes Julianne Girouard, for whom inevitably, the separation is more difficult. It sure breaks my heart since we really created connections and friendships that we will never forget, adventures that we have lived through the years, it will always be memorable. […] I can’t wait to see how everyone will go in this new world.

Julianne Girouard is one of 12 graduates from École CSSC Mercier in Whitehorse.

Photo: provided

Julianne spent the last two years of her schooling at CSSC Mercier, a school she and her cohort had been calling for since grade 7. It represents that we finally have our secondary francophone community, then we really created this separation […] I’m really proud and happy, to have created this division to be truly independent as a Franco-Yukonnais teenager.

In Yellowknife, Étienne Marcoux never thought of leaving the French school system. He measures the chance of having been able to benefit from it: Canada is a bilingual country, but it’s mostly English-speaking, so we’re still lucky in a community likewise to have a French-language school and not just immersion.

This year, the majority of the eight graduates arrived in grades 4-5, but he says some of his classmates left before the end. There are many people who come to our school, but leave in grades 9-10, he says.

Shelby Martin and Étienne Marcoux complete high school in the NWT.

Photo: provided

In this context, for Shelby Martin, also a graduate, there is particular pride in being a graduate of the Francophone system: Its not always easy. It’s not an accomplishment that everyone can say they accomplished.

In a minority context, each graduate is a source of pride and a victory. Judy Romaric Sessua Kuengou sees in these graduating students the future of her community.

Our goal is to expand the Francophone community. We would be all the more proud if the students who graduated from École des Trois-Soleils returned after completing their post-secondary education in the community to take over. We need it. »

A quote from Judy Romaric Sessua Kuengou, President of the Commission scolaire francophone du Nunavut

He thus hopes to see some of them integrate the various governments, because this representation will be an asset for the Francophonie. This allows a better integration, it allows a better valorization of the French language and also to provide services in French at several levels. As it grows, this community could thus expand and make it possible to open another school in other communities in the territory, according to the president.

Raymonde Talekang Lonla and Gianni Rocco Canil pose with their diplomas.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Matisse Harvey

Among the graduates of the 2022 cohort of the École des Trois-Soleils, Gianni Rocco Canil and Raymonde Talekang Lonla have every intention of returning to the territory at the end of their studies.

After my baccalaureate studies in science, I will apply to medical school. After that, I think I plan to come back to give back to the community that gave me so much, to live in my hometown. »

A quote from Gianni Rocco Canil, graduate

As for Raymonde Talekang Lonla, it was even the needs of her territory that guided her choice. I intend to come back because what made me choose social sciences at university is the lack of French-speaking social workers in Nunavut..

With information from Claudiane Samson and Matisse Harvey.

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