On the 1st of July, the Lycée français de Taipei held a Baccalauréat party to celebrate our first ever Terminale class’s excellent results. That evening, as the last of the champagne bubbles evaporated on the humidity of Yangmingshan, I sat down for a moment with Franck Lefèvre and Andria. (I can hear you giggling from here – but no, we didn’t sit down to finish the remaining wine – there was none left!) Despite the delightful company, I found myself feeling a little low, as it suddenly struck me that an important chapter in the history of the French Section (up to then known in French as the Section française) was closing and that a chapter of my own personal history was closing with it.
For four years, our entire team was working towards a clear and ambitious objective: to open a full lycée (French high school) in Taiwan, in order to offer you and your children the possibility of a complete education with us. As you know, for this project to work we had to transform our primary school too. Every single member of the French Section team contributed their talent and their determination to making our dream of opening a fully-fledged lycée happen. And there we had it, our first ever graduating class – the living proof of a job well done, both in terms of the results they achieved and the university offers they received. Our first ever Terminales had done better than we had dared to hope!
In the end, there was a kind of acceleration – all the lights suddenly turned green ahead of us: our Terminale classes were accredited by the French Ministry of Education, our students scored a 100% pass rate in the French national Brevet and Baccalauréat exams (20 students out of 21 passed with honourable mentions) and we had recruited a primary school head! We can all, each and every one of , be proud of the work we have accomplished. But on that evening in July, I couldn’t shake the feeling that our school would never be the same again.
Indeed, there are now new challenges ahead of us. We must avoid at all costs the temptation to rest on our laurels. It’s time to start thinking of our school of tomorrow. It is often said that the French are romantics, so why not dream a little, although not alone like Rousseau – together as a community constructing a singular, unique lycée.
Our aims and our principles remain unchanged; our students will always be at the heart of everything we do. But I sincerely believe that our school, our lycée français can be even better: it can and should be the focal point of our community, it can and should be a place of collective intelligence, where children, parents and teachers come together in the quest for knowledge, culture and a desire to learn.
Finally, on the 1st of July, I thought of all of you. More than ever, I realised, we need you by our sides – just as you have been in all the time I have known you. So, I left for my holidays reassured that you would be there for us, and I spent the holidays concoting new projects you can help us with!
I’m looking forward to productive dialogue with you all year long, through this weekly letter and also on my newly created Twitter account; the blog and podcast are coming soon!
Wishing you all an excellent weekend