Can you enter a project in French? Bien sûr!

We recently had a question about whether students are permitted to submit projects in French. The answer is an unequivocal YES — Journée de l’histoire dans la capitale nationale (JHCN) welcomes all entries in French.

To be clear, all our categories (Essay, Exhibit, Website, Drama and Documentary) in both divisions (senior, Grades 11-12 and junior, Grades 9-10) are open to projects in English or French. In fact, we have recruited many bilingual judges and are hoping we will see even more French entries this year than we did last year.

Nicole Marion and Daniel Drolet judged essays in the Junior French division last year. "I was mostly impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and engagement," said Mr. Drolet. "They were all articulate, and did not hesitate to respond to questions. Not once did anyone respond with ‘I don’t know.’ It was also obvious they had learned things — and that their interest had been sparked. It was delightful to see that."

Nicole Marion and Daniel Drolet judged essays in the Junior French division last year. “I was mostly impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and engagement,” said Mr. Drolet. “They were all articulate, and did not hesitate to respond to questions. Not once did anyone respond with ‘I don’t know.’ It was also obvious they had learned things — and that their interest had been sparked. It was delightful to see that.” Photo by Jana Chytilova, National Capital History Day.

The NCHD official rulebook has this to say about language:

“You may enter in either English or French, but your entry must be consistent in language throughout … Entries will be judged in either French or English, with winners declared in each language.”

So, the only caveat is that you must choose one language or the other — not all judges are bilingual, and they can’t evaluate a project they can’t understand. The only exception would be in the Documentary category, where students in an English category may elect to use an interview clip of a subject speaking French. In this case, the clip is allowed, but must have subtitles. The same would be true for a French documentary that featured a clip of an expert speaking in English — again, subtitles must be used.

Daniel Drolet and Nicole Marion interview a student who entered the Junior French Essay category at National Capital History Day 2014. Photo by Jana Chytilova, National Capital History Day.

Daniel Drolet and Nicole Marion interview a student who entered the Junior French Essay category at National Capital History Day 2014. Photo by Jana Chytilova, National Capital History Day.

If you have any questions about the use of language at National Capital History Day, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

And we are always eager for French-speaking volunteers to help us meet our bilingual mandate. If you’d like to be a part of that, either as a judge or helping us with translations, please let us know.

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