Communities in the Grand Falls area will be hosting the 2019 Acadian Games from June 26-30 next year and students at John Caldwell School will be involved.
"As far as New Brunswick is concerned, many students of Acadian descent, for one reason or another, do not attend francophone school and therefore do not qualify for Jeux de l'Acadie," said Bertrand Beaulieu, president of the organizing committee for the games. "We want to allow some of these students to discover and reconnect with their Acadian heritage. That's why New Brunswick will be represented in this guest delegation by students attending John Caldwell School in Grand Falls."
Together participants from Quebec, Maine and New Brunswick will take part in the games. The event will attract more than 1,000 athletes and 800 volunteers and is expected to generate over $1.5 million for the local economy. The host communities for the 2019 Acadian Games are Grand Falls, Drummond, Saint-Andre and Saint Leonard.
Besides athletics, Beaulieu said the event also enables French and Atlantic youth to meet, share experiences and strengthen their French language skills. Students from John Caldwell School will be welcomed as a visiting delegation, lodged, fed and treated in the same way as the other athletes, but their participation will stand out and the results will not be counted in official statistics. As for the competitions for the visiting athletes, they will be determined as the planning for the games progresses.
The invited delegation will be led by a team composed of Dr. Caroline Rioux, organizing committee member for the games, Cathy Pelletier, core leadership team and New Brunswick representative, Jean-Marc Belzile, core leadership team and Quebec representative, Vincent Frallicciardi, vice-president of the team and acting representative for Maine, Gilles Michaud, teacher at John Caldwell School, and Alexandre Parks, mission leader for the invited delegation.
The four-day event in Grand Falls is a follow-up to the Acadian Congress held in the region in 2014. Fundraising for the games is still ongoing toward a goal of $350,000.
Shown in the photo below are (left to right) front row: Cathy Pelletier, Dr. Caroline Rioux, Kevin Harding, principal at John Caldwell School; back row: Vincent Frallicciardi, Acajou, the games Mascot, Jean-Marc Belzile, and Bertrand Beaulieu.