Students fuel drive to bring French school to Acadian community in Guysborough County

Kyle Delorey has been going to École Acadienne de Pomquet since September 2022.  (Adrien Blanc/ Radio-Canada - image credit)
Kyle Delorey has been going to École Acadienne de Pomquet since September 2022. (Adrien Blanc/ Radio-Canada - image credit)

A new generation of Acadians in Guysborough County wants to connect to its French roots and is fighting to make it happen.

Last week, Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, Nova Scotia's French school board, supported bringing a French school into the area after seeing high demand from the community.

If the project gets approval from the province, the school could open in a temporary location in September, according to the board. It says a permanent solution could be found after that.

About 50 students would attend the school in the community. A new school would offer classes from preschool to Grade 10.

Adrien Blanc/Radio-Canada
Adrien Blanc/Radio-Canada

"It's the kids fuelling it, to be honest," said Jennifer Delorey of Tor Bay, N.S.

She took the reins of the project after her 14 year-old-son, Kyle, and another student from the area started taking a 100-kilometre taxi ride to École acadienne de Pomquet at the beginning of the school year.

"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be doing all this work on their behalf, for sure," said Jennifer Delorey.

Kyle, in Grade 9, had few French skills at the outset of the year.

He has volunteered for years at the La Société Acadienne de Torbé, a local Acadian organization, and has developed a deep interest in his heritage.

Adrien Blanc/ Radio-Canada
Adrien Blanc/ Radio-Canada

"One day when I'm older, I'll be able to speak French and it'll bring French back to the French region and Larrys River," said Kyle, noting his grandfather lost his French-language skills after he went to an English school.

Children of all ages showed interest

Jennifer Delorey said she gauged community interest after her son expressed interest in a school in Tor Bay. She found that many families were in support.

The French school board soon hopped on board, she said. "They want this project to happen," she said.

Emily Doyle, a parent in the area, has also been part of the efforts to bring a school to the area.

She says previous generations weren't given the chance to learn French.

"I want to … fix that break in the system for our future generation, for my daughter, for my future son," said Doyle.

Jennifer Delorey said she expected to see interest from the younger children and was surprised to see the number of older kids that expressed interest in the school.

"The fact that the older children see the value of this for themselves is heartwarming," she said.