School News

Allison Hanes: English Montreal School Board plays up its French initiatives

Stéphane Tétreault’
Montreal - Monday, January 9, 2023

by Allison Hanes • Montreal Gazette

Stéphane Tétreault

“I’m very lucky to have had a bilingual education," says cellist Stéphane Tétreault, whose talent was detected early at FACE School. He credits his fluent bilingualism to his time at FACE and later Royal Vale, which are run by the English Montreal School Board. PHOTO BY JOHN MAHONEY /Montreal Gazette

Stéphane Tétreault’s mother made a fateful decision to send him to kindergarten in English at Montreal’s FACE School, which opened two important doors in his life.

The first was that the strings teacher at the fine-arts public school recognized potential in the young boy and did everything in her power to convince him to take up the cello at age seven, two years before students typically choose their instrument.

The other was that even though Tétreault came from a French-speaking family and only spoke French, his mother used her eligibility to put him in the English program at FACE. There were no places left on the French side of the school, a joint project between two language-based Montreal school boards.

Today, Tétreault, age 30, is a gifted and award-winning cellist who became the first soloist-in-residence at the Orchestre Métropolitain, has performed under famed conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and tours the world playing with the best symphonies and musicians. He is also perfectly bilingual, which he credits to his time at FACE and later Royal Vale, which are run by the English Montreal School Board.

“I’m very lucky to have had a bilingual education. I feel very lucky to travel in various countries and be able to feel at ease and comfortable in English. It’s a luxury, especially in a career that brings me to travel quite a bit,” Tétreault said in an interview just before the holidays. “I feel very grateful to be at least fluent enough in both languages, but also to have had such a rich education, a diverse education. It’s been really a blessing in my life.”

Read more on the Montreal Gazette