35-25-10 is not a locker combination! These numbers signify three special milestones in CPF BC&Yukon history.
While Canadian Parents for French is 35 years strong and counting, this year the New Westminster Chapter is celebrating 25 years of Late French Immersion and 10 years of Early French Immersion. It all started in 1988 with one Gr. 6 LFI class and it has grown to three EFI streams plus two to three fully subscribed Gr. 6 LFI classes every fall.
It was in 2003 when after almost two years of advocacy from local parents with huge support from CPF BC&Yukon, Early French Immersion was introduced at two schools, Écoles Herbert Spencer and Lord Tweedsmuir. This included two K and two Gr. 1 classes.
It got better! Due to such a high demand for EFI in SD40 with a wait list almost 100 students long, the New West Chapter was able to establish a third stream of EFI in 2007 at École John Robson. Attempts by the Chapter have been made to add a fourth K class but plans to move forward by the district have been tabled until the long awaited three new schools are built. This will enable a shifting of students in the district to hopefully allow opening up more EFI classes.
I came onto the scene in 2000 when I called the school district to inquire about signing up my daughter for EFI and was surprised to find out there was no EFI in New Westminster. Then I made a call to CPF BC&Yukon and asked “how can we make this happen?”. Well, as you have all experienced, it snowballed from there. I put the word out in the community about building a campaign, joined forces with the existing New West Chapter made up of LFI parents and other parents wanting EFI, then after a very long emotional adventure – success! (Chilliwack – we know what you are going through!)
My involvement with CPF over the past 12 years has been the most amazing experience. Getting to work with such dedicated, tireless parents as well as our school administrators, FSL teachers, school staff, French Language Co-ordinators, trustees, board and staff at BC/Yukon has been a pleasure. Everyone has played such an important role in providing our students with the opportunity to learn French and none of what we have accomplished was done without the support of each and every one of us. Of course, being able to see the students succeed in French and English and how it can change their lives has been the most rewarding part of this entire venture!
Some of our Chapter highlights have included establishing a French Advisory Committee, member email list and a monthly member newsletter as well as our yearly Bonjour Bonne Nuit (annual French Story time for all new K EFI classes), Marché français, Parent Survival Night, French Movie Night, MAX French Book Subscriptions in all our schools and initiating the Summer Fun in French at our local Community Centre. We have also worked very hard in providing many varied French Socio-Cultural experiences for all FSL students with a focus on including our Core French students as well.
I was presented with the Bouquet de merci award at the CPF BC/Yukon banquet on Nov. 2 in Richmond and was very happy to accept this special award on behalf of everyone who has played a part in FSL in New Westminster. Our current executive is very strong which makes it that much easier to step back at this time. Thank you!
Our Chapter is very excited as we make plans to celebrate our 25 and 10 year milestones. Doubly excited since we received a $1000.00 bursary from the Mary Jane Booth Endowment Fund to use for our event! Details to be announced soon about this special community event taking place in Feb 2014.
Merci milles fois,
Past-Chair CPF-New Westminster