Students at École Nouvelle Frontière in Grande Prairie are asking for change. Every student from kindergarten to grade 12 has written letters to Mayor Bill Given asking that the francophone-Alberta flag be flown at the entrance to downtown and for a local street be renamed in French.
Principal Michelle Hunter says she first came up with the idea when she was preparing for the school’s 20th anniversary.
“I was trying to think of all of the francophones that were here, and we’re worldwide, but I realize also that lots of our kids have been born here so they’re French Albertans… I said maybe it’d be a good idea to ask for a letter to Mr.Given asking if we could have a street named in French.”
This is not the first time the students have campaigned for something like this. A few years ago, they wrote to McDonald’s restaurants in the area asking them to offer an option of a French book in their Happy Meals.
While a specific street has not been decided on, Hunter says the whole idea of both these asks is just to foster that sense of belonging in her students.
“When you’re a minority and you have no references in French ever, it’s hard for them to comprehend when they’re small why are they coming to a francophone school when all the environment’s in English. By that trade, I thought that if there was a street named in French that would give them a sense of being proud of their heritage.”
The students have submitted their letters along with some possible name options to the Mayor’s office and Hunter says they are just waiting to hear back.