Win­ning pupil to make French con­nec­tion on is­land

Otago Daily Times - - GENERAL - JOHN LEWIS john.lewis@odt.co.nz

SPEND­ING two weeks on a trop­i­cal is­land in the South Pa­cific sounds like a great prize for win­ning a na­tional French lan­guage speech com­pe­ti­tion.

But for Abby Bow­mar, it will be far from a hol­i­day.

The 15­year­old Columba Col­lege pupil re­cently won the New Zealand Con­cours Oral French com­pe­ti­tion, and has re­ceived a trip to New Cale­do­nia as part of the prize.

‘‘It’s a lit­tle bit in­tim­i­dat­ing. ‘‘English is not the pre­dom­i­nant lan­guage there.

‘‘My French will need to be pretty good if I want to eat good food or find out where a bath­room is,’’ she joked.

‘‘It won’t be all sun­bathing on sandy beaches. There will be a lot of learn­ing go­ing on all the time.

‘‘It’ll be quite ex­haust­ing, but fun and ex­cit­ing.’’

While there, she will stay with a host fam­ily and will be to­tally im­mersed in the cul­ture and lan­guage.

Abby’s skill in French is such that she is study­ing NCEA level 2 French when she should be study­ing level 1.

As a re­sult, the year 11 pupil com­peted against year 12 pupils in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Ear­lier in the year, she won the Otago re­gional com­pe­ti­tion which in­volved in­tro­duc­ing her­self in French, giv­ing a short speech in French and then hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion in French.

Her pre­sen­ta­tions were recorded and sent to a na­tional panel of judges, who com­pared her skill with oth­ers around the coun­try be­fore nam­ing her the year 12 na­tional win­ner.

‘‘When I re­ceived the email, it was right in the mid­dle of my mock ex­ams for NCEA.

‘‘I was just about to go into my his­tory exam, so I was re­ally ex­cited and it was hard to con­cen­trate on the exam or ap­pre­ci­ate the award.’’

Abby plans to take the trip to New Cale­do­nia over the sum­mer hol­i­days.

PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON

Quelle sur­prise . . . Columba Col­lege pupil Abby Bow­mar is off to New Cale­do­nia af­ter win­ning the New Zealand Con­cours Oral French com­pe­ti­tion.

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