Embassy event enjoyed by Perse students after French success

Alina Turchyn and Bibi Elliott (both Upper Sixth) displayed their debating dexterity in French as they came runners-up in the illustrious Joutes Oratoires Lycéennes competition.

After winning their regional final in the French debating competition for Sixth Form students, they travelled to the Institut Français in London for the national finals.

The Perse pair took part in debates on topics including whether teachers’ pay should be based on merit and the role of governments in controlling birth rate and made it through to the grand final.

There Alina and Bibi lost narrowly to a team from Hampton School, having had to argue against the motion that violence is never legitimate.

They were pleased with how they had done though, having quickly got into the flow of the competition.

Alina said: “It was a big challenge and feels quite daunting, but it’s about being efficient with the time you’ve got.

“I’d have to think about how I’d want to say something in English and reason how I could do it so that it had the same impact in French.”

Bibi added: “Once we got started it was amazing. It was as much about the fluidity of your French as it was expressing yourself eloquently and logically.”

As part of the prize for being in the grand final, Alina and Bibi were invited to a special ceremony at the French Embassy in London to celebrate this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in Paris.

Accompanied by Perse French teaching assistant Lorine Gravier, who had helped with their preparations for Joutes Oratoires, Alina and Bibi thoroughly enjoyed the occasion, which was also attended by France’s former world swimming champion Camille Lacourt.

Bibi, who hopes to either read French and beginners’ Russian at Oxford or study political and social science in France, said: “It was such a good event, a real once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

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