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French Ambassador's Visit

13th Mar 2019

In October 2018, Ms. Flanagan was awarded the prestigious title of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Government at the French Embassy in Dublin for her work in the area of language teaching and the promotion of language learning in Ireland.

On that occasion, Ms. Flanagan invited the French Ambassador to Ireland, H.E. M. Stéphane Crouzat, to visit St. Farnan's and so on March 11th, we were delighted to welcome him and his staff to our school.

With the French and European flags flying proudly alongside our Irish tricolour, the Ambassador was greeted by the school's Senior Prefects. He met with the Principal, Mr. Collins, the Chair of the school's Board of Management, Mr. Brendan Weld and distinguished guests and then was treated to an excellent performance by the school's Traditional Music Group, led by Mr. McGovern.

A presentation in French and Polish, the latter in honour of the Ambassador's Polish heritage, by six students from the French Department was followed by speeches by Ms. Flanagan and Mr. Collins.

In her speech, Ms. Flanagan welcomed the Ambassador and thanked him for coming to visit during this especially busy time, the celebration of La Francophonie during the month of March. She spoke about the many opportunities that additional language skills can give our students, including advantages when travelling, the confidence and ability to make new friends and that they are a significant advantage for young people in the context of the new global multilingual and multicultural workplace. She said that she hoped his visit would encourage and motivate our students to continue to work on their language skills and that his visit would be fondly remembered by the school community for some time.

In his speech, Mr. Collins also spoke of his delight that the Ambassador had come to visit and that as a school community, they were very proud of Ms. Flanagan and the award she had received from the French Government. 

In his reply, H.E. M. Crouzat complimented the warm welcome he had received from the students and staff and said that he was delighted to be able accept Ms. Flanagan's invitation to visit the school. He spoke enthusiastically about the students' language skills and encouraged them to work on their French, as it is a world language spoken by 300 million people in 50 countries around the globe. He acknowledged Ms. Flanagan's award and complimented her on her dedication to language teaching both in St. Farnan's and in other roles outside of her school life.

The Ambassador was then taken on a tour of the school, firstly stopping by the gym to meet with some of the school's sport stars who have represented their county or their country in their respective sports. He was even treated to a hurling demonstration by Liam Dempsey and Eoghan Dempsey, who are on the Kildare Minor Hurling team - he did very well and certainly seemed to enjoy the chat with the boys.

As a memento of his visit, he was presented with a hurley and sliotar by Anna Power, who is a member of the Kildare U14 Gaelic Football team.

His Excellency then met with students at work in the Art and Woodwork rooms before enjoying refreshments which were freshly baked by the 5th year Home Economics class. Ms. Cassidy presented the Ambassador with some delicious brown bread and some shamrock, as parting gifts from the school community. 

The Ambassador brought some beautiful French posters and resources for the school and these were presented to Ms. Flanagan and Ms. Finlay.

It was a really lovely morning and a wonderful opportunity to showcase the dynamic and talented school community that we have in St. Farnan's.