Inauguration of the Dallas International School’s new campus
Dallas, Monday, November 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm.
Monsieur le directeur général de la Mission Laïque Française et Président du Board de l’école, cher Jean-Christophe Deberre,
Monsieur le vice-président du Board de l’école, cher Robert Lavie,
Monsieur le directeur de l’école, cher Pierre Vittoz,
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the school board,
It is a great pleasure for our Consul General Frédéric Bontems and for me to be here with you tonight on this wonderful occasion, as we have gathered here this evening to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dallas International School and the MLF and for the official inauguration of the Dallas International school’s new campus. Actually, this inauguration is the main reason for my being in Dallas today.
Here I want to express my warmest thanks to all those whose commitment and hard work have made this great accomplishment possible, with a special word of thanks to Jean-Christophe Deberre, Robert Lavie and the other members of the Board, the Head of the School Pierre Vittoz, the teachers and the whole staff of the school. With a special word of thanks to Jeanne Jeannin, and to all the companies and individuals who have been supportive of the school and this great project in particular. Several of them are with us tonight, like Accord, Golderma and Essilor. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
As you together so well illustrate it in Dallas, our network of French schools is a backbone of our international presence. This is particularly true here in the United States. French schools act as a unique facilitator for French expatriate families.
They guarantee that French students, the world over, can follow the same curriculum, based on academic excellence and backed by a common language and identical learning methods. For those who need to frequently relocate, it is a key factor.
I know that the Dallas International School contributes a great deal to the French community in Dallas. Out of some 20,000 French nationals living in Texas, approximately 5,000 reside here in Dallas. Many of you are involved in the oil and gas sector, in aeronautics, in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, in new technologies or in a lot of different activities… In your respective fields you are all part of the French economic presence and I would like to warmly congratulate you for that.
However, French schools are not reserved for the benefit of French students. They are also very important for the expansion of French language and culture toward our American friends and our friends from all other nationalities. French schools offer every student the opportunity to grow and learn in an international, contemporary and open-minded atmosphere.
On this campus, I believe over 50 nationalities mingle daily: for your students, this represents an exceptional learning curve toward integrating a multi-cultural world and it is a formidable asset for their future.
This is such an obvious reality to all of you that you naturally chose to name the school The International School of Dallas instead of The French School of Dallas. Its programs and teaching methods are French; its internal culture, style and open-mindedness undoubtedly display international characteristics.
My visit here this evening is also a pleasure on another level: I am most impressed by the remarkable architectural choices you made for the school. This new campus is a wonderful achievement, with a very cleverly converted building, classrooms competing with each other for the most sunlight, modern labs, convivial open spaces… congratulations to the architects! But most of all, congratulations to the school Board who brilliantly piloted this renovation.
I realize this is just a first step. You still have many fascinating projects to put into place, including planning the remainder of this large campus, installing the sports facilities, extending, and even maybe, one day regrouping the 2 sections of the school…
These projects are all wonderfully motivating. I know that each member of the team assembled here today is personally committed to pursuing and achieving these goals. So this evening, let me assure you that I shall follow very closely the next steps of your development. I certainly hope to have the opportunity to be back here and discover the latest chapters of this beautiful story.
My warmest thanks again to each and everyone of you.