Mallory Lavoie, a junior majoring in Journalism and French and recent Killam Fellowship awardee, has received a prestigious $5000 Killam Community Action Initiative Award to fund a project she envisions – a French immersion summer camp.
Mallory was one of three UMaine students awarded a 2011 Killam Fellowship Program award, and she spent the Spring 2011 semester studying French at the Laval University in Quebec City.
As a Killam Fellowship recipient, she qualified to apply for the 2012 Killam Community Action Initiative Award. Her proposal which was accepted is to create a two week French Immersion Summer Camp in Madawaska, Maine. She chose to locate the camp in the St. John Valley because the proportion of the population who speak French in this area is much higher than the rest of Maine.
Mallory explains her winning proposal: “1/3 of the population in Maine has Franco-American Heritage. However, the percentage of kids who speak French has been on the decline. One study between 1987 – 1991 shows that French as a mother tongue among students in the St. John Valley declined by 18%. Now, the French Immersion Program in the Madawaska Elementary School has been cut, leaving less and less opportunities for students to learn French.
The need for this program is pressing because there are still many French speaking adults in the St. John Valley. French is essential in fostering communication between French-speaking adults and youth. Being situated between the bilingual province of New-Brunswick and the French-speaking province of Quebec, French is an important tool for maintaining business relations.
With my proposal, I will revive an interest and a connection to the French Language and Franco-American Language among elementary/middle school students. I will supply students with a foundation in French from onto which they can build skills and confidence to develop fluency. Learning French at an early age will provide students with an appreciation, connection, and respect for the French Language and for the Franco-American culture.”
Mallory is the first UMaine student to receive this award, and she received the highest award they offer.
For more information about the 2012 French Immersion Summer Camp contact Mallory on firstclass.