Bernay. Oriana, student at Fresnel high school, won a national eloquence competition


Coralie Maux-Renard

Published on

June 16, 2024 at 7:00 a.m.

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Oriana Terrana-Tellez went, on Thursday, May 16, 2024, to Colmar in Alsace, accompanied by her family and her teacher Christelle Lafontaine. This was not an ordinary school trip, but an opportunity for the young woman to defend your point of view and speak in front of an exceptional jury.

An exceptional jury

This was made up of a researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) for monitoring secularism, a senior professor at the Louis Legrand high school in Paris, the deputy for Haut-Rhin (Les Republicans), Raphaël Schellenbergerand a lawyer from the National Bar Council.

The Colmar high school organized an eloquence competition open to all high school students in France on the theme of secularismas part of the 2023 Republic Secularism Prize. A moment that will long be engraved in the memory of the high school student and those around her.

Oriana (right) took part in an eloquence competition, offered to her by her teacher Christelle Lafontaine (left). ©Photo Coralie Maux-Renard

A desire to participate since always

Oriana had always want to participate in an eloquence competition. “I always wanted to participate in it, it was my dream. At school, I watched videos of speech competitions from the Caen Memorial,” says Oriana, for whom the opportunity had not presented itself until now.

The high school student, very comfortable speaking, did theater, which allowed her to touch with the tip of her finger public speaking. “It’s really a discipline that I love and I wanted to make this desire come true,” she emphasizes.

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When I was little, I practiced giving speeches.

Oriana Terrana-Tellez

The arrival of this competition therefore came at the right time for Oriana, in Bernay (Eure) for four years.

“We regularly receive in our academic email box event proposals at the national and regional level, declares Christelle Lafontaine, professor of economics-management and Law and major issues of the contemporary world (DGEMC). I saw that there was an eloquence competition being offered. »

At the end of January, she informed her two final year classes of DGEMC. Oriana and another of her comrades put themselves forward as candidates straight away.

It was quick, we didn’t have much time.

Christelle Lafontaine

Defend your point of view

The theme, “Defend and enforce secularism”, did not please the young girl at first, but as it was imposed, she complied with the exercise. “I did not want to defend secularism, because she represented what she became in the public debate and I had a lot of resentment towards that notion,” she recalls.

As she researched and tapped into her knowledge, she realized that reality was far from her vision. “ I wanted to discover this concept and defend it, because it is important,” emphasizes Oriana.

The high school student looked at the legal texts and history to understand this civic notion “and what it had enabled”.

” I tried to redefine secularism », recalls Oriana, wanting to get back to basics. “It’s not necessarily the speech he heard, but ultimately, it’s what made him strong,” says his DGEMC professor.

In her speech, Oriana returns to several current topics having been debated in recent years, such as wearing the burkini at the beach.

“I cited a far-right politician to begin my speech, to show how secularism was exploited in the public debate, and that this definition in public opinion is totally erroneous,” she explains.

For me, to ensure secularism is respected, we must first make it understood. This is what I tried to highlight in my text.

Oriana Terrana-Tellez

As, initially, only one student per establishment was accepted, the Augustin Fresnel high school organized an internal competition between the two candidates, upon returning from the February vacation.

Faced with Oriana’s presentation, the jury (made up of professors and members of management) was unanimous: it will be she who will wear the Bernay colors in Colmar. “I discovered Oriana’s text that day and she won us over,” says Christelle Lafontaine.

“To apply, you needed a two-minute video clip of their eloquence,” explains Francine Leroyer, interim deputy principal and professor of economics and management. Part of the internal competition video was therefore quickly sent to the organizers to finalize the application, then the text of the speech.

I didn’t expect to be selected at all, because I did it at the last minute.

Oriana Terrana-Tellez

A first place in Colmar

Oriana’s video hits the mark and here it is finalist for the competition, just like two other high school students and two middle school students. “I wasn’t stressed, I really enjoyed giving my speech,” recalls the high school student, who went first. For eight minutesshe lives her text and carries away the spectators and the jury.

“He was very invested, that really made me happy. There were silences after problematic sentences, I really loved those moments,” she recalls. The text, a little confusing for this theme, convinced the jury. “He told me it was daring,” says the young woman.

The two other candidates gave Oriana a cold sweat, not imagining winning against the others. Oriana nevertheless convinced the jury unanimously. “We found your extremely powerful questioning and you have the rare qualities of presence and exceptional eloquence,” underlined the president of the jury, Marie-Hélène Fabiani, of the National Bar Council.

Oriana reached first place during the public speaking competition. ©Photo Sébastien Sutter

Oriana would like later become a diplomat, “first of all to be able to preserve peace,” she emphasizes. Of Colombian origin, “I have often visited this country, which was, until recently, engaged in an internal armed conflict,” she says. Through her eloquence, she wishes to be able to defend the interests of France.

One thing is certain, her power of words will take her far.

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