Mexican exchange student flies SA flag high

Emiliano López-Granados flips through the scripts he used as preparation for the Concours General.

Emiliano López-Granados, an exchange student at the Cape Town French School in Gardens, has made it into the top three of the history category in the Concours General, the oldest examination in the international French School system (AEFE).

The Mexican exchange student joined the school in August last year from Lycée Franco-Mexicain. He wrote the international exam on March 31 and the headmaster of Cape Town French School, Samuel Jourdan, was informed of his achievement earlier this month.

“I could not believe it. I had to read the email three or four times. It’s an amazing achievement and we are super proud of him. There’s about four, maybe 5000 students from around the world that entered this contest and now he is one of the top three,” Mr Jourdan said.

Previous winners of this award include French writers Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire, and renowned French chemist Louis Pasteur and Mr Jourdan says this achievement speaks volumes of the work that Emiliano and his teachers, Guillaume Basello and Margaux de Sola, put in for this exam.

“His history teacher here is super proud, we are proud. French is not his first language and the examination board did not pick this up so this tells you of the amount of work they put it and about Emiliano’s ability,” said the Waterfront resident.

The 17-year old Emiliano says he joined the school in Gardens because he wanted to improve his English language skills, but had to focus on the examination from December.

“I went on holiday to the Garden Route with friends and I took my books with because I had to study. The preparation was good because my teachers Madame de Sola and Mister Basello assisted me. There were challenges like load-shedding so I had to study by candlelight, and also I could not find all the books I needed, most history books here are in English and not French, so that was quite a challenge.”

Emiliano says he enjoyed the six-hour question paper that was about a 110-year period of French history; he completed the essay with a fountain pen.

The teenager, who wants to be a politician, will receive his prize from the French Minister of Education on July 7 at La Sorbonne University, in Paris and will complete Grade 12 in Vienna, Austria in the new school year.

The headmaster of Cape Town French School, Samuel Jourdan, with Emiliano López-Granados.