By Stephanie Drummond/Journal Pioneer
KENSINGTON - Ghislaine Duplain, a late immersion teacher at Kensington Intermediate Senior High School, was presented the Canadian Parents for French Educator of the Year award last week.
Duplain was instrumental in the school’s late French immersion program and has been teaching this program since its inception six years ago.
When late immersion started at KISH, it was the only program of this type in the then Western School Board, noted Gail Lecky, provincial executive director of Canadian Parents for French.
“Madame Duplain and her students were starting from scratch.”
That first late French immersion class will be graduating in June.
Lecky said Duplain’s award is a little different from the others presented in previous years.
“So many of her students sent in letters. There’s not a whole lot of student submissions usually. Usually it’s teachers nominating teachers. The students led this submission. It’s very unusual.”
Johanna Jorgensen, a Grade 12 student, said, “I was lucky to have been given the opportunity to learn the French language by someone like Madame Duplain, and I can honestly say KISH is very fortunate to have her on their staff.”
Duplain got teary-eyed when accepting the award, which came as a complete surprise when the CPF representatives and Minister of Education Alan McIsaac showed up in her classroom.
“I thought it was an award for the program. Then I find out it’s me,” added Duplain.
“Such an amazing group. They work so hard,” she said of her students. “I don’t feel like I have ever been exposed to a more amazing group. They just continue to work harder.”
McIsaac noted that, “A second language is something you will always use. It’s very easy to carry in your back pocket. It opens the doors to the world for you.”
Duplain said she hopes other parents in Kensington will encourage their children to join the late French immersion class.
“It’s a great opportunity. I’m seeing first hand how amazing it is.”
Along with the flowers and the trophy, Duplain also received over $1,000 in prizes including a $100 gift certificate, a $200 allowance for her classroom for further education, an interactive teaching device for her classroom and an Educator of the Year banner to hang for a year.
The CPF Educator of the Year Award is presented annually to a person who has shown exceptional support and dedication to the quality and availability of French language programs in P.E.I. schools.