Festival International is known for its role in helping preserve Acadiana’s French culture, and this year festival is honoring a Lafayette school for its efforts to keep the French language alive.
On Friday, Myrtle Place Elementary School will receive the Seal of Quality Bilingual Education in French from the French Consulate. The school’s principal says she’s proud of her students and excited for their involvement in festival activities.
"I feel completely honored which means that we are doing as a team as a community, everything we can to contribute to the French language and the French culture in Lafayette, Louisiana," says Principal Catherine Bricelj.
Myrtle Place Elementary is one of only about 200 schools in the world to receive this award from the French government.
Schools seeking the award must fully immerse their students in the French culture, and that’s exactly what Myrtle Place will do this weekend during festival.
"Every Friday of festival, every year all the French immersion schools are invited to watch and listen to a band and we are going this Friday to listen to a band," says Bricelj.
This year’s field trip will be extra special for one student in particular. Fifth-grader Lucinda Royer-Stokes has been attending festival for as long as she can remember, and on Friday, she’ll get to experience festival from the stage, introducing one of the bands.
"My mom is really excited and proud of me, and my dad is really excited and proud of me," says Lucinda.
For all of the students at Myrtle Place, French immersion is more than just a class; it’s part of their mission to preserve the French language and culture in Acadiana.
"You have to bring it back or else it’s just going to disappear," says Lucinda.
Other French immersion students from across the state will join Myrtle Place students in the crowd during Friday’s concert. Students and teachers say they look forward to speaking the language with a much bigger group than they’re used to.