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

Graduation Of Students Of PS 58 & PS 84

On June 21, 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 in the French Dual Language Progam at PS 58 and PS 84. He commended the students for their efforts and thanked the schools' teachers and administration for creating such a strong program.

Thank you Fabrice for this introduction. Hello everyone! Welcome dear parents, teachers and students, all pioneers in French dual language education. A warm welcome also to Katie DelloStritto, Annique Leman, and Evelyn Lolis. Thank you for being here with us this morning.

Today marks a very important moment indeed. We celebrate a new graduating class in PS 58 and PS 84’s French Dual Language Program.

We also celebrate the belief that multilingualism is key to a successful 21st century education. Bilingualism the best gift you can offer your children, a gift that keeps on giving. By mastering both French and English at such a high level, students are given not one but two passports to the world.

All of you students now possess the ability to learn other languages more easily, to assess the world with multiple perspectives, to understand others and to apprehend the challenges that tomorrow will bring. You have opened yourselves to a number of new possibilities.

This reminds me of the lyrics of a song from one of my favorite movies of last year: Moana

“See the line where the sky meets the sea?

It calls me

And no one knows

How far it goes

If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me

One day I’ll know

How far I’ll go”

The wind is your teachers; the sea is your bilingual education.

This song has a clear message behind it, continue to sail on the sea of knowledge as the wind of bilingualism pushes you forth onto new adventures. 

So I want to congratulate everyone for what you have accomplished. You are the heirs and defenders of the French Bilingual Revolution. You’re an example for numerous students to come, who’ll follow the path you have widened for them.

For us at the French Embassy, creating these opportunities for all children has become so central to our mission that we have created a new fund to support more schools in the United States, and encourage others to embrace this education. In New York alone, there are 22,000 children who speak French at home. This is enough to open 60 new schools!

Thanks to the dedication of students, parents, teachers and principals, we’ve been able to prove that this education is the best education. Together, we’ve created a strong community, one that cares for the future of our public schools. Thanks to our joint efforts, our dual language programs now serve over 1500 students in 10 New York City schools. And we plan to open many more in the years to come, as Fabrice keeps on reminding me!

So I want to thank you, teachers, principals, parents and students, for making all of this possible. Without you, none of these programs would have ever existed. Thank you 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.