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Berth Mouchette Poetry Finals 2019

The Year 7 and 8 Finalists participated for a second time, reciting their poem at Alliance Française de Melbourne in St Kilda on Sunday 9 August. Here is some anecdotes of their personal experiences:


Ulyana Biaroza  “The French poem competition was a very new experience for me. It was cool to see students from different schools and to see fluent French speaking people. I’m glad I went and got to experience a new environment.”


Jordan Shenouda: “On Sunday 4 August, I was invited to the Berthe Mouchette Competition finals at Alliance Française de Melbourne. I have participated in this competition since Grade 3 and have made it through to the finals numerous times. In 2017, I was fortunate enough to be awarded 2nd Place Laureate out of all Grade 6 students in Victoria. This year was another great opportunity to see if I could secure a place. On the day of the finals, I was not that nervous as I had my friend Ulyana also reciting the poem before me. I was happy with the way I recited my poem and got a chocolate croissant after. It is always an awesome experience to participate in the Berthe Mouchette Competition. I wish all our finalists ‘bonne chance’ in getting a Laureate place this year! ”


Lana Selthofer: “We had arrived a bit early so we waited a couple of minutes in the hall before I had to go in this room and wait. There were exactly 10 chairs, 5 for Year 7 and 5 for Year 8. Soon, all the chairs filled up with others who were competing. The wait in the room seemed like forever, and there was complete silence, so I kept reciting the poem in my head.

Then suddenly, a lady entered the room and asked us, just the Year 8 people, for our names and times for the recitation of the poem. She ticked us off and escorted us up the stairs to a room with a sign that read, “Année 8. Berthe Mouchette poem. Bonne Chance!”, which translates into, “Year 8. Berthe Mouchette poem. Good luck!”

She asked us to take a seat in front of the room and told us the order of our recitations. I was third. She led the first person into the room and then went downstairs. It seemed to take forever as we waited outside the door. Then the person who was in came out suddenly and quickly shuffled off downstairs leaving the rest of us to wait. We waited in silence until another lady came out and took away the next person, and I knew I would be next.

I waited patiently until the person in front of me was done and waited for the assessor to come out. She greeted me in French and asked which poem I was going to recite. I responded and the two ladies in the room told me to start. I started calmly, like I learned and had soon reached the end. They told me I may leave and I said bye. I made my way downstairs to my mum and away we went. Now that I think about it, it passed so quickly.“


Charlotte Kerr: “It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it.”


Caitlyn Ford: “Competing in the French poetry competition helped me to practise the way I pronounce certain French words and continue expanding my French vocabulary.”


Isabelle Furtado: “For the French poem I think I did pretty good, although I may have spoken a little too fast. But overall I think I it was a great experience.“




Year 10 French Immersion Day at the Alliance Française de Melbourne, St Kilda Campus


Four of our Year 10 students (Natalie, Fasika, George and Charlotte) were kindly offered a subsidy by the DET languages department to take part in this wonderful event and they found the day very beneficial.


Natalie: “On 11 August, 3 other students and I participated in a French Immersion Day at Alliance Française de Melbourne in St Kilda.  Personally, I found it incredibly beneficial. After just one full day of speaking and hearing only French, I felt more confident in my speaking and listening skills. At first, it was a huge surprise to me when I found out that the teachers as well as students were to speak only in French. Initially, I was really struggling to keep up, as the teachers’ speaking pace was fast. Nevertheless, as time went on, I started to fully understand what was being said - it was a big surprise! The day was incredibly fun, the classes were small and I felt comfortable presenting in front of the class. I would definitely go again and recommend it to anyone doing French.”


Fasika: “I took part in the French Immersion organised by Alliance Française with a few other students. We were immersed in the target language, and the teachers only communicated to us through French.  We tried our hardest to use minimal English. The day was very beneficial, as I gained a better knowledge of how French is used outside of a classroom setting, and became much more confident in speaking and listening to French. Besides the French work, we had the opportunity to indulge with some French food (namely ‘des croissants, des pains au chocolat, des quiches, la baguette et du fromage’). Obviously the croissants we had were significantly more authentic and delicious than the ones you‘d buy in supermarkets. Moving away from the food, we were also encouraged to interact with French students from other schools. For me, I found it rather interesting talking to French students who were not one of the other eleven students in my Year 10 French class. Quelle journée inoubliable!” 


Charlotte: “C’était formidable! It was an amazing experience and I am glad I was able to take part in the day. It was different from what I normally do and I gained a lot of insight into the French culture and language, including the other people, the same age as me, who are also learning French.”


George: “On August 11, Alliance Française held a Year 10 immersion day that I was fortunate enough to attend with a few other students. Throughout the day, we attended four classes where the teachers only spoke in French and therefore encouraged the students to contribute, using the language. The activities that we did gave us all opportunities to use our listening, comprehension, writing and speaking skills, one activity designed around each. After the day I felt more confident in speaking and mostly all the language skills.


Berthe Mouchette Y9-10 Poetry Finals 2019:


The Year 9 and 10 Finalists participated for a second time by reciting their poem at Alliance Française de Melbourne in St Kilda on Sunday 25 August. Here is what they said of their personal experience:


Thorunn: “Last Sunday we went to the Alliance Française for the second round of the Berthe Mouchette competition. I performed both in the poetry and written test. It was pretty nerve wracking to go and do this, especially after performing in the School Production all week prior. I feel I did okay, but I could have done better - the fifty minutes assigned to the writing task went by so quickly!”


Our experience at Alliance Française was rewarding. There was a little cafeteria full of French pastries (that you could buy if you wished), and all of the adults were very nice. When our turn to recite the poem got closer, we were called upstairs and had to make our way to a little waiting area with some couches where we nervously waited. We recited the poem together as a way to make sure we were prepared before they called us each individually inside the room. Overall, it was an insightful experience and we are eager to hear how we did!

Group contribution by Hannah, Fasika and Andres – Year 10 French students