Social media mobilized to recruit students for French Catholic board

By 
  • February 3, 2011
French schoolsTORONTO - Taking a cue from Pope Benedict XVI about spreading the Gospel through social media, the French Catholic school board serving the Greater Toronto Area is launching a Facebook and Twitter campaign to get the message out about the merits of a French Catholic school education.

Aside from the traditional TV, newspaper and radio ads, the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud is embracing social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Each of its eight high schools has developed a Facebook page and student-directed YouTube videos informing parents and potential students about their school.

“We wanted to reach them where they are,” said Réjean Sirois, director of education for the board.

Why choose a French Catholic school? To preserve the French language and culture, and Catholic faith of students, he told The Catholic Register.

It’s important for French Catholic families, Sirois said, because, “French is our culture. On top of that, we are a Catholic school board. The Catholic faith is important. If you lose one of these, you lose part of your identity.”

The three-year campaign is called “Viens chez nous/Your French School” and is aimed at spreading the message about French Catholic education. The campaign seeks to encourage the board’s current elementary students to attend French Catholic high schools and also targets 44 per cent of Toronto’s non-francophone French-language population. Only 25 per cent of parents in this group have enrolled their children in junior kindergarten at one of the board’s 41 elementary schools.

Some parents have enrolled their children in French immersion programs offered by English school boards without being aware of the choice of a French Catholic school, Sirois said. There are more than 13,600 students at the Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud.

“We, therefore, need to reach out to these families who do not know us and set out clearly what we have to offer,” he explained.

The Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre-Sud covers a vast area, including the Greater Toronto Area, as far east as Peterborough, into the Niagara region and Muskoka to the north.

For information, see www.yourfrenchschool.ca or www.vienscheznous.ca.

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