LEWISTON – The Franco-American Heritage Center is inviting students enrolled in the Maine French Heritage Language Program  and their families to celebrate the successful completion of the program’s first full year with a reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 28.

MFHLP teachers, cultural associates, partners and people who make a difference for the future of the program from Augusta and Lewiston-Auburn will gather to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of the program.

Also invited to the reception are program partners, sponsors and donors, who will meet students and view exhibits of their work.

Among the officials who are expected to attend the celebration are Congressman Michael Michaud, French Consul General Fabien Fieschi of Boston, Benoit Le Dévédec of the French Heritage Language Program in New York, Auburn School Superintendent Katy Grondin, Sherwood Heights Elementary Principal Laura Shaw, Lewiston Mayor Robert Mcdonald and Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte.

The Maine French Heritage Language Program is an after-school culture and language program for students in grades kindergarten through six at Sherwood Heights and Fairview elementary schools in Auburn and at Hussey and Lincoln elementary schools in Augusta.

Through the promotion and teaching of French and Francophone cultures, and more precisely of Maine’s Franco-American cultural and linguistic heritage, the program aims to bridge the cultural gap between generations and to offer younger generations the chance to access, maintain and transmit the cultural and linguistic heritage.

The goal is to develop the students’ pride in Maine’s Franco-American heritage and their identity, as well as make connections to Francophone countries and learn the value of speaking a second world language. Last month, Gov. Paul LePage attended a session at Fairview School and talked about his Franco-American heritage.

The program is a key to the resurgence of Franco-American heritage in Maine and was discussed during a December broadcast of MaineWatch with Jennifer Rooks, a weekly statewide public affairs program of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

More than 200 students and their families, public officials, teachers, sponsors and program partners have been invited to the event, which will be held at the Franco Center’s Heritage Hall at 46 Cedar St.

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