On 14th December 2017, the French students had the good fortune to welcome 21 French exchange students and teachers visiting Mumbai from Pope John Paul School in Haute Savoie, France. They arrived at 9 am and received a traditional Indian welcome with a lit diya and a tikka from two of our students.
The morning began with three ‘petits pieces de theatre’ or skits a competition between the classes. Concourse de Chante, a singing competition open to both, French and Indian students followed which was a riveting experience. Music is a universal language and it was moving to hear our students vocalise in a foreign language while our guests chose to sing in English. Ruth Noronha of class 8 received a standing ovation with Edith Piaf’s ‘Je ne regrette rein’ which brought tears to the judge’s eyes.
The fete was then declared open and we must let the pictures speak for themselves. Gilli-danda stole the show. Sportive as the boys were it took a lot of skill to whack the little gilli but this did not deter them.
Our focus was to showcase both cultures so the food court had both Indian and French food. A thank you to all the parents who toiled to give us the extraordinary delicacies both Indian and French.
In fact even the french teachers participated in the games both physical and mental!
At 2pm everyone returned to the hall. The French students then made their presentations on various topics which was an eye opener for us. To be exposed to a culture, its mannerisms and ideas from its native people is enriching and definitely miles ahead of the classroom.
Next we showcased our rich heritage with three cultural dances. Primrose of class 9 performed a Tandav style, Juhi did a and class X , a Koli dance. Our guests were enraptured.
The coup de grace , a final event was a surprise for everyone. A tele-game of sorts (it required 8 french students to join forces with 8 of our students). it began with a visual round that had students guessing personalities or monuments of both nations. Competition was fierce and fun. Next, since the French love their ‘velo’ (cycle) we our own version of ‘Tour de France’ where a member of each team had to slow cycle to win. Brian won for his team. The event ended with a tug-o-war. The boys used all their muscle power to “pull” this one off.
The prize distribution followed and it was (no) surprise to see Class VIII win for drama, while Ruth and Kim won the singing along with Lea and Paul.
To bid our friends ‘A dieu’ (to God) the whole group sang ‘Tout le Bonheur du monde’ which means every happiness in the world.
The day was already unforgettable to us as our friends left at 5pm. The learning was at many levels. Soft spoken, extremely polite and demure, yet strong, determined and competitive too our french friends learnt as much from us as we did from them.left a good impression on them.
A big thank you to our dear Principal Sr. Suchitra and Fr Magi, for giving us this opportunity. Thank you to every student who executed their task perfectly to make the day a success.
A special thank you to our ex-students Ryanne, Ishita, Aradhana and Nikita who helped plan, host and oversee everything.