Westdale Secondary’s Phatima Alaichi has le gift of gab.
The Grade 9 student beat all comers in her category at the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s annual French language public speaking contest. Alaichi gave a speech entitled “La technologie,” in the contest’s French as a second language category for students in Grades 9 and 10.
She discussed how technology in itself is neither good nor bad, but can be used for positive or negative purposes depending on the user.
“I gave examples of how people waste their money on technology,” said the 14-year-old Ancaster resident. “Like spending money on a dryer when you can just simply hang your clothes (to dry).”
By winning the local competition, Alaichi will be moving on to the provincial French language public speaking competition to be held at York University on May 10. If she places in the top three in Ontario, Alaichi will take home a cash prize of up to $500 and have the opportunity to compete at nationals.
“I feel great about moving on,” said Alaichi. “I’m not sure if there are going to be a lot of people in my category, so I’m both nervous and excited.”
This is not Alaichi’s first French public speaking contest. In elementary school she participated in public speaking but nothing quite as major as the provincials.
Alaichi says she encourages students to consider French immersion programs adding that she believes speaking both English and French will help her in the future.
“French is an official language in Canada, but it doesn’t seem like many people speak French,” said Alaichi.