ORHS Students Place in 2024 French American Friendship Contest

A photo of eight students during the Residence de France reception May 23, 2024.

Eva Barth-Malone (second from the right) and Anna Shuba (far right) at the Résidence de France May 23, 2024. Not pictured: Jessica Li.

Oyster River High School (ORHS) sophomores Eva Barth-Malone, Jessica Li, and Anna Shuba’s project placed in fourth position of 15 finalists in the 2024 French American Friendship Contest.

All three students received high praise for their creativity and the execution of their artwork. 

Eva, Jessica, and Anna presented their proposal to a panel of ORHS teachers in January 2024. The panel consisted of Jaclyn Jensen (Social Studies), Barbara Milliken (French), Maria Rosi (Art), and Heidi Sant (French). Panel members asked insightful questions about the students' ideas and provided feedback.

The idea of creating a dress came to life and the three students completed their historical research andA photo of the Oyster River High School students' dress porject. model creation in their free time, outside of school. They began working on the project after the January panel and submitted it in March. 

Eva, Jessica, and Anna’s project was among 15 projects selected as finalists.

The students presented to the jury on Zoom in French, followed by questions.

Jury members were Mustafa Soykurt, Consul General of France in Boston, Rima Abdul Malak, former French Minister of Culture, Diana Greenwald, Curator of Collections at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Denise Sobel, President of the Board of Directors of the Clark Art Institute.

Eva, Jessica, and Anna competed against other French 1-AP/IB students from public and private schools in MA, ME, NH, RI, and VT. Only 15 projects were presented to the jury.

Anna Shuba said, "The whole experience was really fun, even when presenting was stressful. Thank you especially to Mme. Milliken and Mme. Sant."

"It was amazing’” said Eva Barth-Malone. “Especially meeting all the different groups and hearing about their projects and schools. It was a great experience!"

It is interesting to note that this contest was not focused on language proficiency, but a creative rendition of the historical bond of friendship between the two countries.

The 2024 French American Friendship Contest was designed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Lafayette’s last voyage to the United States and the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landing. Students were called upon to reflect on the essence of Franco-American relations, from its history to contemporary cultural expressions, through the creation of artwork.