The French Connection

CLINTONVILLE - Two AuSable Valley students recently recieved some world-class rewards for their knowledge of European culture and politics.

Christine Wemette and Eric Baldwin, two AVCS seniors in Miriam Worthington's Advanced French class were among 50 students chosen as prize winners in an essay contest put on by the French Consulate in New York City.

The contest invited high school students to write a 500-word essay, either in French or English, about the European Union and what it means to them. Students in the states of New York, New Jersey, and Conneticut were all eligible to compete, with the grand prize being round trip tickets to Paris and 5,000 euros in spending money.

Of the roughly 400 students she estimates took part, Worthington believes her students were the only ones in the North Country to do so. She said most of the participants came from the New York City area.

Both students wrote on the unity demonstrated by the European Union and the ways the organization has been able to contribute to a better world through international cooperation. Both chose to write in English.

Wemette noted that she had very little knowledge of the EU prior to writng her essay, but said it was an interesting way to learn.

"A number of our students, they don't realize the economic strength that [the European Union] has," said Worthington, adding that the EU is a model for international cooperation. "It is possible to coexist even with 14 different languages."

Baldwin, who has visited several of the countries in the EU, chose to participate because of his interest and appreciation for the organization. He was one of several prize-winners to receive a gift bag of luxury items imported from Europe.

Wemette's essay, on the other hand, placed in the top 10, taking one of only seven second prizes awarded. Her prize included round trip airline tickets to Paris and 2,000 euros in spending money. Under current exchange rates, that equates to about $2,670.

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