Concours Oral NZAngela Fu - winner of 2020 National French Speaking Competition for Year 12 by Andrew Moore



The fun activities that students did at home, are probably some of the most memorable highlights of the year. Year 9 and 10 students were challenged to a cooking competition, which would have benefited many parents. Stories of parents being treated to breakfast by our Instagram-worthy crêpes helped bring some cheer to lockdown. The cooking disasters hopefully added some hilarity too. Year 11-13 had weekly fun Friday challenges. We started with a French breakfast, where some students dressed up and put together delicious food. The Top Chef creations were most memorable, as were their photo recreations. Exercise tutorial videos were less popular, but Mme Gardiner got into it, and learned how to belly dance!

There were 13 Columba students who sat the International French Diploma, DELF, in August. The results for this prestigious examination were very high and some did exceedingly well. There were entries at every level, with our biggest group, to date, at B1 (intermediate).

In addition, 10 students entered into the regional Concours Oral Competition, where they proved to be strong competitors thanks to their hard work and practice. Clara Ballantyne (Y9 ), Lucy Dong (Y10), and Angela Fu (Y12) all placed first in their divisions. Hanin Taha (Y13) also came first, by default. As Angela and Hanin won the Year 12 and 13 divisions, they will go on to compete at the National level in September. If successful, they could win some enticing prizes in lieu of the usual trip to New Caledonia.


Learning language through play and meaningful activity is a top priority in French class. Year 12 and 13 students imagined a holiday in Tahiti and held a Polynesian banquet. Both Gemma O’Donnell and Emma McDonald were voted captains of the ship. The Year 11 paintball outing was unforgettable and generated many stories to be told in assessment interactions. Year 11 also started a new tradition of French baking on a Monday. Year 10 put on a fashion show, helped by student teacher, Helen Navarro. It was great fun and a highlight to many. Year 9 got competitive playing the online game Gimkit, as well as learning how to play pétanque.

Nothing can replace the Columba-CIV exchange to France, that, over the decades, has been a highlight to all. However, senior students got to plan their very own trip to ‘French’ Akaroa. In April, a group of 20 students, along with Mme Gardiner and parent helpers, immersed themselves on the quieter side of the Akaroa Peninsula, at Flea Bay. Thankfully, there were no fleas. But penguin watching and kayaking with seals were noted highlights to talk about in assessment.

There are no Concours Oral results this year, but since writing the last report, Angela Fu placed first in New Zealand in her year group. In November, she attended a special ceremony with Cécilia Madeleine, the representative from the New Caledonian Embassy, where she was awarded her prize.

In October, the International French Diploma, DELF, examination took place, with social distancing measures in place. 20 students from Columba participated at various levels. The group did very well and their hard work, during preparation tutorials and class, appears to have paid off.