There are more P.E.I. students enrolled in the French Language School system than ever before.
La commission scolaire de langue francaise (CSLF) announced this week that the number of students at its six P.E.I. schools this year topped 1,000 for the first time ever.
Numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the year, but there were at least 937 students in the system last year. When classes started this year there were 1,008 students.
Morgan Gaudet is one of them.
The St. Nicholas resident attended French immersion at Summerside Intermediate School for Grade 7 last year, but switched to École-sur-Mer and the French language system for Grade 8 this year.
She decided to do that because she believes it’s in her long-term best interest.
“This school has better French,” she said.
“If I stay in French throughout, to Grade 12, I will have a better future and job prospects.”
Morgan’s father, Cory Adams, said he has three children in the French system and two in the English system. The older two started their educations in English because the family was living in Alberta at the time and had no other options.
But when they moved back to P.E.I., they enrolled Morgan in French immersion in the English system, while youngest two children went right into the French system.
Adams said he was happy when he finally managed to convince Morgan to switch to the French system as well.
He has witnessed first-hand the difference a complete schooling in the language can have on a child’s ability to retain it into adulthood. He wanted as many of his children to retain that part of their heritage as possible.
“I was scared she was going to lose (the language) by the time she got to Three Oaks,” said Adams.
CSLF Chairman Emile Gallant said this year’s bump in enrolment continues several years of successive increases. He said there has been a 22.5 per cent increase in enrolment over the past five years.
He attributed those increases to more promotional and recruitment efforts by the CSLF, greater awareness by parents of what French language education resources are available on P.E.I. and the close ties between those resources and the French cultural centres in each community.
“Our promotion efforts are bearing fruits despite our limited means,” said Gallant.
He added that the CSLF has set a goal of 1,500 student enrolments and hopes to reach it within the next few years.
For more information about the CSLF, visit its website at www.cslfipe.wordpress.com.