The first group of École des Glaciers Grade 7 grads have said “au revoir” to their francophone elementary as they prepare to transition to Revelstoke Secondary School this fall.
The four graduates from École des Glacier will be the first group to complete the program since the school’s opening in 2012.
Principal Hugo Desnoyers, who has been with the school for the past two years, says the first group have left an impact on the school as they worked along with staff to guide the program forward.
“The school opened in 2012, and the staff who has been there since 2012 has guided them, and we’ve also learned a lot from them,” says Desnoyers. “When you’re working with students, they learn from you and you learn from them.”
While the four graduates, Alexandra Luxmoore, Rubu Serrouya, Morgan Stefura and Tyson Whitty, may be leaving their francophone-centric program at Ecole des Glacier, they will continue their bilingual education at RSS.
The group will be joined by a fifth student in the program who recently moved from Quebec, according to Desnoyers.
Two classes will be offered to the students in french at RSS, making up 25 per cent of their total education.
While this is a drop from the 100 per cent French curriculum from Kindergarten to Grade 3 and the approximately 90 per cent from Grade 4 to 7 offered at Ecole des Glaciers, Desnoyers says having a continuation of the program is overall a very positive prospect for francophone students.
“It gives the best to the students – they keep their French, their family culture, while being part of their local community,” says Desnoyer.
École des Glaciers is one of 40 schools that are part of B.C.’s francophone School District 93, the Conseil Scolaire Francophone de la Colombie-Britannique.
As students transition into RSS, they will also become part of School District 19, ultimately resulting in a possibility of two diplomas come graduation.
Desnoyer says École des Glaciers has worked closely with RSS in ensuring a smooth transition for the five students who will be joining the Secondary School in fall.
“It could be tricky, but the feeling I have is that we’re all looking for the best for the students, so it’s a very positive collaboration with RSS and myself and the teacher that will be coming in,” says Desnoyer. “It seems very positive before it’s even started.”
RSS principal Greg Kenyon says the most challenging aspect of the process has been making the added classes fit into schedules, however the transition has been a natural one overall.
“It was a really seamless transition for us. We already consider them ours. The fact that they are doing francophone studies through School District 93 and also working in School District 19, that’s just a funding thing for the most part,” says Kenyon. “It’s not like we have these strangers walking into our school, these are our students.”
As the first group of students carry on to RSS, Desnoyer says he has already seen the benefits of a francophone education option in Revelstoke.
“It’s huge,” says Desnoyer. “There is a very strong French community in Revelstoke—very active.”
“For all these people, it’s important for their kids to keep their heritage.”