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End of a trying year at La Grange-aux-Belles college



As usual, the third year students asked to improvise a little party for the last French class. Their request was met with deceptively scathing humor from their teacher. “I have more fun watching you work than watching you eat crisps!” “, Alain Sochon answered them, determined to provide the maximum in the home stretch leading to the patent. On the menu for this final session, instead of games and treats, grammar and “Beautiful dictation” from a text by Colette.

Until the end of June, the atmosphere thus remained studious, in particular to make up for lost time. Even after the delivery of the third quarter report cards, Alain Sochon continued to schedule checks. That day, after the chime announcing the midday break, the teacher does not mingle with the noisy crowd rushing down the stairs towards the refectory. But remains in his room to train two students for the last time in the oral exam.

The patent kept the troops mobilized

For this presentation, the subject of which is largely left to the choice of the students, Carla addresses feminist themes through the work of Niki de Saint Phalle. Mina, elle, uses signed images of Andy Warhol to retrace the evolution of the status of trans people. “Your oral performance has improved significantly. But you do not sufficiently make the link between the militant nature of your remarks and the analysis of the paintings ”, Alain Sochon warns her.

For Carla and Mina, respectively 15/20 and 17/20 on average, the patent – half based on continuous monitoring – represents a formality. This is also true for a large part of their comrades, in this priority education college which, last year, had 73% success.

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Above all, this diploma has no influence on the passage in second, nor on the assignment in high school. “But fortunately he was there! “, exclaims Didier Georges, the principal of La Grange-aux-Belles. He who usually pleads for a pure and simple abolition of this examination considered without great interest concedes that it allowed this year to “Mobilize the troops to the end”.

“The pajama party episode”

A year made of uncertainties and mental fatigue. “This led us to offer our students a psychological help unit, which totaled 137 consultations”, indicates the head of the establishment. Successive confinements and the curfew have strained family relationships, precipitated divorces and significantly reduced social relationships for adolescents. “It’s simple: I hardly went out, except to go to college”, deplores Loren, another patent candidate, who feels that he has never “What to work”.

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This paradoxical, complicated, tiring year, Didier Georges compares it to a “School Vendée Globe”. “We took the start with enthusiasm, before facing a whole series of uncertainties, from light winds to strong winds. But we stayed the course until the finish line ”, he slips over the phone, on his way to the interacademic exams and competitions service, where he will look for alternate subjects for the patent, just in case.

Unlike many other institutions, his college was forced to temporarily close only one classroom. This is what he calls “The sleepover episode”, a party between fourth-grade friends that ended in 12 contaminations …

Deprived of the third ball, the “real” ritual

But the third confinement and the return to college in half-gauge for the fourth and third students have shown signs of a massive dropout. “In the weeks when they had class in the afternoon, many students went to bed very late and could not even be on time at 1:30 pm”, remembers Cécile Conty, the principal assistant.

The improvement on the health front finally made it possible to relax the protocol and bring lightness to the playground. “We rediscover the pleasure of being together, which was palpable at the time of the start of the school year”, congratulates Didier Georges. A very special pleasure for those who will dive into the high school bath. Students who, alas, will not experience the “real” rite of passage, often more striking than the patent: the famous third ball of La Grange-aux-Belles, canceled because of the pandemic.

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The college certificate

The written exams for the 2021 session take place over two days: Monday, June 28, for French and mathematics, Tuesday, June 29, for history-geography-moral and civic education and science.

Half of the final mark consists of the continuous assessment. The levels of mastery (insufficient, fragile, satisfactory, very good) of the skills of the common base are converted into points.

Regarding the Covid, students whose class is closed will be able to sit for an exam if they have not been formally identified as contacts at risk. On the other hand, candidates formally identified as contacts at risk will not be able to attend the tests. They will be called to replacement events.

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