I can't go, I've got theater club!
“I can't go, I've got theater club!" The surprising response that classmates may hear from students who opted for the Un tremplin pour l’avenir (Springboard for the future) program, with the support of the Safran Foundation for Integration, via the "Des jeunes et des lettres" association. President Anne Céron explains all about this... spectacular initiative!
What are your association's main aims? Who is it for?
Every year, we welcome 40 tenth-grade high school students from four Parisian schools located in districts prioritized by the City authority's policy. They volunteer for a cultural experience based on discovering theater: the aim is to assist them in acquiring a personal cultural background, giving them the same opportunities for success in higher education as students from more privileged backgrounds.
Equal opportunities are therefore at the heart of the Un tremplin pour l'avenir program, which covers the 3 years of high school, enabling the students to build up a firm foundation of knowledge.
In tangible terms, how does the association take action?
Let's look at 10th grade: the students attend eight classic and contemporary theatrical productions, featuring both French and international authors. Throughout the year, they keep a diary containing an appreciation of the show for each production and at least two related factual searches (other arts, contemporary artists of the author, historical aspects, etc.). They also keep notes of a meeting held with the employees of one of the companies supporting the association.
If this demanding work is completed (as is the case for 98% of them), the students spend four days at the Avignon Festival, where they get to watch around fifteen shows.
In 11th and 12th grade, the program is extended to include dance productions, opera, classical music and contemporary circus, amongst others.
In your opinion, how and why can watching shows and going to the Avignon Festival be a springboard to the future?
This theatrical program is an authentic "spectator school" which enables them to develop their analytical abilities and their critical appreciation, alongside knowledge of major works. As all activities take place outside of school time, they also learn how to be organized.
Another benefit: their sense of responsibility develops from 10th grade on as going to the Avignon Festival is dependent on the quality of their diary and their attendance levels for the program.
Could you give us some firm examples of young people that the humanities have helped?
By "humanities" we understand "general culture", which is essential to succeed in higher education. Firstly, all students attending the Un tremplin pour l'avenir program obtained their baccalaureate on leaving high school, mostly with good marks, which is already excellent! Many of them have pursued their studies in scientific, literary, or artistic fields, as well as legal and financial sectors.
Some even earned places at Sciences Po (Paris Institute of Political Studies) or the Ecole Normale Supérieure University.
This springboard offers them a kickstart for the future doesn't it?