Louise Curtin, French teacher at Belvedere College SJ, has been named a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques at a reception at the French Embassy in Dublin on 22 November. This award was created by Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte and it recognises achievements in the education and cultural sphere, and the promotion of French language and culture.
Louise has been teaching in Belvedere College since 1998, and has been running French debating in the College since 2004, as well as acting as a coach for the National French Debating team, and helping to run the Joutes Oratoires de l’Alliance Française de Dublin. She has had the most success with boy’s teams in the history of French debates in Ireland.
Belvedere headmaster Gerry Foley, who recommended Louise for the award, said: “During the past nineteen years, Louise has shown herself to be extraordinarily passionate in imparting a love of the French language to all her students. A true Francophile, she endeavours to promote all aspects of French culture in her classroom. From music, to food, to literature, to film and theatre, she creates a little corner of France in our Dublin city centre school and in the heart of her students”.
Outside the classroom, Louise co-ordinates the school’s annual French exchange programme which is the largest and longest-running exchange in the College. This affords 35 students, the opportunity to immerse themselves entirely in everyday life in French culture and language in Lyon. A very high level of commitment is required as Louise travels to France with the boys and receives the exchange students from their partner school, Lycee Saint Marc in Lyon. She gives selflessly of her time and energy to ensure the success of this partnership.
Louise is also a very talented musician who is actively involved in the school’s musical activities including being conductor of the Chamber Orchestra.
“It was so wonderful to receive this award surrounded by my family, colleagues, friends and past pupils,” says Louise. “It is an evening that will live long in my memory.” She is pictured first on the left, accompanied by the other recipients of the award, and the French Ambassador who is pictured second from the right.