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  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 22, 2014 06:00 am

REGIONAL CHAMP – Cedric Boucher, a Grade 5 student at Muriel Martin, will travel to Montreal in May to compete in a French language spelling contest called La Dictée Grand International.
REGIONAL CHAMP – Cedric Boucher, a Grade 5 student at Muriel Martin, will travel to Montreal in May to compete in a French language spelling contest called La Dictée Grand International.
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Top speller off to Montreal

A St. Albert student will be off to Montreal in May to challenge some of the world’s top students in the art of French dictation.

Grade 5 student Cédric Boucher of Muriel Martin is a finalist in the Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation’s La Dictée Grand International. He took first at regionals March 12 in Falher, Alta.

The Paul Gérin-Lajoie Foundation is a Montréal-based group that promotes access to education and sustainable development in developing nations. The group’s La Dictée event, now in its 23rd year, challenges students from around the world to take dictation in French.

This is the second time in 10 years that Muriel Martin has had a student make the finals, says Boucher’s teacher Marie-Claude Corazza.

“I’m so proud of him,” she said.

Boucher, who is in French immersion and speaks French at home, says he had to listen to a passage in French and write it out correctly as part of the contest. This year’s passage was about water.

“I was really nervous, and I was thinking if I was going to win or not,” he says.

He says he feels very happy that he won, as he’ll be able to visit his grandparents in Montreal during the finals.

Boucher will be up against students from across North America and Africa during the finals, and will have a shot at scholarships.

The finals take place May 11. Visit for details.

Walking for Africa

Students at Richard S. Fowler Catholic Junior High School will try to walk and slap-shoot their way across Africa next week as part of a school-wide effort to help build a village.

Students will take a break from class March 27 to take part in Social Justice Day.

The school plans to use the day to raise money for a village in Ghana through the charity Free the Children, says Shawna Gallagher, the school’s learning support facilitator.

Students have been raising money on their own all month while tracking their steps with pedometer apps on their mobile devices, Gallagher says. Next Thursday every student will walk for an additional 30 minutes as part of a fundraiser for clean water.

“Our goal is to walk – not, obviously, literally – from one side of Africa to the other for water,” Gallagher says.

That works out to about two million steps or the distance between Somalia and Sierra Leone.

The school was close to 400,000 steps as of this week, Gallagher says. Since a half-hour walk works out to about 3,800 steps per student, they should easily meet their goal by the end of the month.

“Some of them are amazed at how many steps they’ll take in one day,” she says.

Others are holding contests to see who can walk the most.

Students will spend all of Thursday learning about social justice issues, Gallagher says.

About 60 students will also take part in an all-day floor hockey tournament. Each student has raised at least $20, and the winning team will get to face off against the school’s teachers at 2:15 p.m.

“Our odds of winning are probably not fantastic,” Gallagher says of the teachers’ chances. (The students have previously beaten the teachers in a tug-of-war.)

The school hopes to raise $3,000 for a village in Ghana, Gallagher says. Three thousand dollars isn’t going to cover the whole thing, but it’s a contribution we can make.”

Gallagher hopes the event will show students that they can make a difference in the world. “It gives them an opportunity to see the bigger picture.”

Visit for details on the fundraiser.


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