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Graduation of Students of New York French American Charter School

On June 19, Deputy Cultural Counselor Thomas Michelon gave a commencement speech at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York on the occasion of the graduation of the students of the New York French American Charter School. He praised their work as "pioneers of the French Bilingual Revolution" and commended the teachers for their dedication to the students.


Good evening everyone! Welcome to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. I am so glad to be welcoming you tonight to celebrate such an important moment: the graduation of the students of the New York French American Charter School!

You should all be very proud of yourselves. You’ve accomplished something that not everyone can accomplish: you have reached such a high level of biliteracy in English and French, at such a young age, that you are well on your way of becoming masters in these two languages.

That is something that I believe will help you throughout your life. Not only because you’ll be able to communicate in two languages. You’ll be able to understand others in new ways, to assess the world with different perspectives, to apprehend the challenges that the future will bring… In my view, bilingual education is a key to success in our globalized and interconnected world.

But the students are not the only ones who should be proud of themselves. I also want to congratulate the parents, the teachers, Mr. Maurice and his team, as well as Mr. Ortoli and the Board for all the work and dedication you’ve put into this school. I particularly want to congratulate Marc and Richard for their leadership in the charter's renewal. This was great news for all of us, and a true sign of the good work you've put in. You are all pioneers of the French Bilingual Revolution. It is thanks to you that we stand here today. Together, we have created, and are still creating, incredible opportunities for all children.  

For us at the French Embassy, creating these opportunities for all children has become central to our mission. Today, there are 22,000 children in the city who speak French at home. Thanks to all of you, we serve more than 1500 students today in 10 schools. But more is to be done to serve the thousands of children who could benefit from our programs. Hopefully it’s only the beginning and more schools will follow in your footsteps.

So let’s give a round of applause to all of you, students, parents, teachers and principals. Children, you are the heirs and defenders of the French language and its culture. You’re an example for numerous students to come, who’ll follow the path you have widened for them. Your skills are great and your minds are sharp. Don’t be afraid to dream big!