Francofest 2018


Francofest 2018 is the first language festival of its kind in Northern Ireland. It offers the opportunity for Year 10 pupils of French to explore and develop their linguistic skills in a safe yet realistic environment.

The journey in our school began by holding a competition to decide who the lucky four pupils would be to represent Dominican College, Portstewart. After a painstaking deliberation process, Miss Ellis finally arrived at the final list of candidates with the help of Mrs O’Connor.

Pupils Michèle Riche, Jessie Riché, Romali Williamson and Enya Skye Hamilton were chosen, and began their preparations at lunchtime with Miss Ellis. Both Year 10 French classes assisted with the ideas and due to the popularity of the competition with our pupils, we ran our own ‘DCP Francofest 2018’ with prizes for the following categories:

-Most creative
-Best marketing / sales
-Best customer service
-Best French
-WOW! Factor

The final four decided to go with ‘Macron’s Macaroons’ as their Trade Stall product. They developed a brand, logo and concept for their product – to honour French presidents past and present. After much deliberation, the final flavours were:

• Sarkozy Rosé – a strawberry flavoured macaroon inspired by Nicholas Sarkozy
• Chirac Attaque – a pistachio flavoured treat named after Jacques Chirac
• François Framboise – a raspberry flavoured macaroon to honour François Hollande

Our day began with a slightly earlier than usual journey to the train station. As we travelled, we rehearsed our role-plays and got into the French zone! When we arrived, it was go time! We had to set up our stall and get ready to face the judges. As the teachers were whisked away, the pupils had to rely on their own skills to promote and sell their products. After a long 45 minutes, the teachers were allowed to return to their pupils and deconstruct the stall.

We then had lunch in the South Dining Hall, and had the opportunity to catch up with some of the other candidates from schools all over Northern Ireland. Following this, we heard from Benoit Le Devedec from the Institut Français (IF) in London – the official body of the French government responsible for promoting French language and culture in the UK. He told us about the many benefits of learning French, and how it could boost your career prospects if you study it at GCSE, A-Level and beyond.

To end the day in style, we received a guided tour of the Queen’s University campus by current PGCE Modern Languages Students. We were able to pose at the famous Lanyon Building, and even slipped through the wardrobe doors to Narnia in the C.S Lewis Room at the library.

Overall, it was a brilliant day, and we at DCP are very proud of our pupils for their creativity, skills and passion for languages. Well done Year 10! Here’s what our pupils thought about Francofest 2018:

“When I went to Francofest in Queen’s on the train I enjoyed going. When we got off the train we went straight to Queens. All of the assistants were very friendly and made us feel very welcome. Although we didn’t win any prizes at our stand it was fun to role play and set up the stand. After all the judges came round we had a talk about languages which was very good. After the talk we had a tour of Queen’s which we all enjoyed a lot. Overall Francofest went very well. I would recommend future pupils to go as it was very enjoyable.”
-Jessie 10-3

“I thought Francofest was an amazing experience for socialising and commercialising. I really enjoyed the experience and the people there. The judges were lovely and the other schools had amazing ideas. I had an incredible time and the whole trip was so packed with fun surprises. I really hope the next group to go has such an awesome time as I had.”
-Enya 10-3

“I really enjoyed Francofest as I feel it was a very enjoyable learning experience that gave us information on how French can influence your life and provides you with life experiences and jobs you wouldn’t get otherwise. When we did the actual French speaking stall it gave us an amazing opportunity to meet new schools and people while improving our French language. We were given a tour of Queen’s University which I feel was necessary as it gave us an insight on our future lives and showed us what our lives would be like if we went there. I hope Francofest continues and our school goes next year as I think it is a brilliant chance to learn new things.
C’était excellent!!!”
-Romali 10-1

Article written by Miss Ellis.