• Events
May 29
The Barbarity of World-Cities ONLINE EVENT Columbia University, Maison Française

Graduation of Students from MS 256, MS 51 & SIS

On June 20, Deputy Cultural Counselor Thomas Michelon gave a commencement address at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York on the occasion of the graduation of the students in the French Dual Language Program at MS 51, MS 256, and the Boerum Hill School for International Studies. He encouraged the students to continue their pursuit of the language and praised their dedication to the program.

Thank you Fabrice for this introduction and welcome dear parents, teachers and students, all pioneers of the French Bilingual Revolution. A warm welcome also to Principal Berner, Principal Juman, and Principal Zager. Thank you for being here with us.

We are here to celebrate a great accomplishment: the graduation of “our” students at MS. 51, MS. 256 and the Boerum Hill School for International Studies. Tonight we honor you, the students. We celebrate your success, and your ability to communicate, read, write, and function in several languages.

French is the second most widely taught foreign language in the world. It is the only language, other than English, that is spoken on all continents. History is also happening in French. It will be spoken by seven hundred and fifty million people by 2050, to become one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.

By then, you will be almost as old as I am now. You will be in leadership positions; I have no doubt about that. And you will have the great advantage of mastering both French and English. I’m sure you’ll remember by then the very special relationship that unites France and the United States. Remember that you are the living pioneers of this great friendship. And never forget that your world will need you.

You’re shining examples for numerous students to come, who’ll follow the path you have widened for them. From now on, you are the ambassadors of the French language. You are taking our mission to the next level.

Next year we will celebrate our 10th anniversary. Yes, 10 years ago, the first French dual language programs were created in New York. They have grown tremendously since then, and now serve over 1500 students in 10 schools. And we plan to open many more, as Fabrice keeps reminding me.

When we began this work at the French Embassy, we wanted to create opportunities for all children. We believed passionately in the great advantages that bilingual education can bring. Recently, we even created a special fund to help support more dual language programs in the United States.

So I want to thank you, teachers, principals, parents and students, for making all of this possible, for sharing our vision, and for choosing the French language. We feel extremely honored to play a part in the education of your children. Of our children! Thank you