The winners of the first Concours de Poésie sponsored by the Northern California chapter of the French Heritage Society (FHS) were recently announced at an awards ceremony.
There were 177 winners ranging in age from preschool to high school. The Concours de Poésie, which will become an annual contest, is open to students in French classes from pre-school to high school in both US-based French and American schools.
The contest was created by Thomas Celerier and Guillaume de Pracomtal at the 40th anniversary of the Northern California FHS in 2022. Both men were discussing their love of poetry and created the idea of a poetry contest. The idea grew from being Northern California-based to allowing students nationwide to participate, plus students from the Pacific islands under American jurisdiction, Guam and Samoa, as well as Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna. Participation in the contest was free and prizes were awarded not only to students but to teachers as well.
The awards ceremony was held on October 6, 2023 at the Résidence de France in San Francisco and hosted by French Consul General Frédéric Jung. In attendance were laureates, teachers and parents along with French Heritage Society members. Supporters of the Concours de Poésie included French diplomats, educators, schools and French-owned businesses including the Association of the Members of the Order of Palmes Academiques.
“We strongly support this Poetry Competition which promotes French as a living language, poetry and all that it allows and which extends over a vast area of the west coast of the USA as far as Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna,” said Consul General Jung. “Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to the organizing team of this competition.”
All winning poems will be published by the FHS in an upcoming book.
“We are very happy with the great success of this first edition of the 2023 Poetry Competition,” said Thomas Celerier. “The smiles and laughter, the good humor and the talent of the children, as well as the unanimous support of parents and teachers are sources of motivation great to continue our momentum in 2024.”
According to Selma and Adrian, students who were in the competition, “Thank you to the Poetry Competition, which motivated us and continues to motivate us to write poems and learn French.”
The French Heritage Society is dedicated to protecting the French architectural and cultural legacy both in France and the United States, with emphasis on raising funds for preservation, restoration and education.
Lead photo credit : A group of winners receiving their prize during the ceremony in San Francisco © French Heritage Society
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