Guest Speaker Clémence Nogret-Pradier Visits French Class

By Sophie Brown, Reporter

Coming from Aix-en Provence in France was guest speaker and francophone, Clémence Nogret-Pradier. She came to tell the French classes about foreign exchange programs, daily life in Aix-en, the French healthcare system, and most of all, the French educational system.

In France, kids are required to attend school from age six to 16, although many parents choose to start their children in school at three years old. At 16, children can drop out for the same reasons an American child would, or to pursue a career in sports. In America, athletes are held in high regard in colleges. Athletes who excel in their sport get scholarships, their full college education paid for.

“Athletes are not the smartest people in France. If you want a career in sports, you would have to leave high school. There are no sports in college,” said Nogret-Pradier.

Colleges in France don’t consider extracurriculars important when applying. In their last year of high school, students will take an exam called the Baccalauréat, or “le bac” for short. Students take this exam in math, economics, geography, English, French, etc. The score is calculated out of 20, with 16 being excellent, and 20 being unheard of.

“I got 17 out of 20 in Economics. When I asked my professor about it, she said, ‘Oh, you got lucky,’” said Nogret-Pradier.

“We have no clubs at school. It doesn’t matter if you play piano or you’ve been volunteering or you’re a member of the chess club or if you play basketball, they don’t care. What matters is the grades,” said Nogret-Pradier.

School days are from eight in the morning to six in the evening, with nine periods during the day. On Wednesdays, a special day for children in French culture, the day is split in half. For high schoolers, they spend the morning taking practice exams, and then are let out of school around one or two. Younger children get to leave at noon. It’s also common for adults who work part time to be let off work on Wednesdays.

Maya Hamilton, sophomore at Cleveland, loves the sound of life as a francophone, saying, “Aix-en Provence looked so beautiful from the pictures she showed us, I wouldn’t mind living there. But the bac sounds impossible, so maybe I’d go just for a vacation.”