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Students recognized for academic achievements

May 3, 2012

By Brian Mitchell

Cleveland State University Junior Justine Keenan has been awarded a $750 first prize in the college category at the Annual French Contest organized by Maison Francaise de Cleveland.

According to Maison Francaise de Cleveland the contest encourages the mastery of the French language and an appreciation of francophone cultures.

“I just love language and learning languages,” said Keenan. “I am studying French because I wanted to learn it after studying Spanish in High School.”

In winning the prize, Keenan was required to write an essay and take an oral exam in front of a special jury. Keenan’s essay discussed how learning French helped her become a better English as a second language teacher within the Cleveland community.

“This past year I taught English at the English International Service Center. I worked with refuges and I wrote my essay about how learning French is beneficial when teaching others a new language,” said Keenan. “In front of the jury I had a conversation all in French and talked about my work teaching English to refuges.”

Keenan reported she would like to continue working with refuges teaching English following graduation and grad school.

“The Maison Francasie reported an usually high number of candidates this year which makes us even more proud that a CSU student won best prize,” said Annie Jouan-Westlund, associate French professor in CSU’s Modern Language Department.

The Maison Française de Cleveland holds the annual contest for French students enrolled as full-time undergraduate students in colleges and universities around Northeastern Ohio. A separate contest is held for students in public and private high schools within Cuyahoga County.

Keenan is participating in the CSU study abroad program in France this summer and plans on using her prize money during her time aboard.

Masison Francasie de Cleveland is an non-profit organization located in NE Ohio.