30th birthday fête
BY MARGARET CALDBICK
Staff Primary tongue education helps people connect to their culture and heritage, and with proficiency, helps individuals engage easily and successfully in learning tasks.
This was the thinking behind an initiative launched in 1987 by “Les Trois p’tits points,” Alexandria’s French language cultural centre, to create a literacy program for francophones in Glengarry.
By 1989, the new Centre A La P.A.G.E’s winter session welcomed nine students who attended two three-hour French language workshops per week. The organization’s literacy and computer courses gained popularity and it soon became apparent that night classes needed to be added.
In 2013, the training centre’s name was changed to Carrefour de formation pour adultes inc, a new logo was created, and after many moves over the years, in 2017, the school ended up in its permanent location at 624 Main St. in Alexandria.
To celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary, on Saturday, October 21, 100 people attended a both funny and poignant birthday party at Maggie's Restaurant in Alexandria.
It was a lively evening with tributes to teachers and heartfelt testimonials from past students about how the education centre had helped them with their goals, but also seemed like a big family.
The master of ceremony was Rachel Anne Normand, a former French language teacher at Carrefour de formation pour adults who moved on to become the program director at not-forprofit La Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA) dedicated to promoting Frenchlanguage adult education.
Members of Alexandria’s business and cultural community attended and individuals thanked the organization for its contribution to French culture in Glengarry.
Among the speakers was Danielle Duranceau, executive director of Community Living, who acknowledged the benefit of an adult French language adult learning centre for her clients.
The soirée included a fine buffet supper with wonderful musical entertainment by chansonnier and comedian André Thériault of Montreal, known for his homage to the great Félix Leclerc, the Québec singer-songwriter.
There were accolades from students for their teachers and several testimonials about how polishing up their first language made it easier to learn how to use and understand computer programs in French.
Among the Carrefour de formation teachers attending was French teacher Nicole Bombardier who has been with the organization for 26 years and last May was awarded the COFA top teacher merit award for 2018.
The regional unemployment rate rose from 5.3 to 5.8 per cent in the last month, according to Statistics Canada. The jobless rate remains below the November, 2017 figure of 7.4 per cent. The numbers are for a region that encompasses Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds and Grenville and Renfrew counties.
FRENCH LITERACY: At a party celebrating the 30th anniversary of Carrefour de formation pour adults inc, Alexandria branch SD&G librarian Sylvie Juteau expresses her gratitude to the teachers and staff of the training program in Alexandria where she was able to study computer programs in her mother tongue with greater comprehension. Sitting beside her is Carrefour instructor Joanne McCarthy who has been with the organization for 18 years. Seated at left is the Master of Ceremony for the evening, former Carrefour French teacher, Rachel Anne Normand, who is now the program director at La Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA) that promotes French-language adult education.