Congress of French Culture in Florida

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Le Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride, Inc.[sic]
LocationOrlando, Florida
PresidentValerie Lecomte
Vice presidentHannah Humphries
General secretaryMolly Ryan
TreasurerMarissa Tessier

The Congress of French Culture in Florida (French: Le Congrès de la culture française en Floride, French pronunciation: ​[lə kɔ̃.ɡʁɛ də la kyl.tyʁ fʁɑ̃.sɛz ɑ̃ flɔ.ʁid]), also referred to as CCFF or simply Le Congrès, is an academic organization who holds competitions annually in Orlando, Florida with the purpose of promoting competency in the French culture and language among students across Florida.[1] The name also refers to the organizational body that oversees the event and its preparation.


The foundation of the competition was conceived by three French instructors from Jacksonville, Florida in the fall of 1952: Lelia Alexander of Julia E. Landon High School (now Julia Landon College Preparatory and Leadership Development School), Cornelia Burge of Duncan U. Fletcher High School, and Doris McCleary of Andrew Jackson High School. The first competition was held in April of 1953 at the Provençal House of Rollins College and continued to take place there on an annual basis.[2]

Suzanne Carrell[edit]

In 1962, French professor Suzanne Carrell facilitated the relocation of the event to Jacksonville University where it had remained for several years.[2] Carrell, a French national, was highly praised for her work in strengthening the cultural ties between the United States and France, particularly in the relationship between the sister cities of Jacksonville and Nantes.[3][4] In 1980, a scholarship open to participants of the Congrès was established in her name and continues to this day.[2] In recognition of her work, French President Jacques Chirac decreed upon her the French Legion of Honor on the competition's fiftieth year (2002).[3] On the competition's sixtieth year (2012), Carrell would also receive the National Order of Merit.[5]

Despite having retired in 1989, Carrell continued to chair the organization until her passing in 2019.[6][7]

After Jacksonville[edit]

Today, the competition is principally held in Orlando, Florida.[2]


Students from participating Florida middle schools and high schools compete in various challenges designed to test fluency in French as well as knowledge of French culture. These challenges include la lecture (reading proficiency), le discours (improvised oration), la déclamation (poetry recitation), and le casse-tête (lit. "break-head", a quiz bowl). The rewards for these challenges are primarily ribbons and plaques. Separately, students who demonstrate in writing an intent to continue their studies in French (especially into higher education) are given the opportunity to win multiple scholarships, the most notable of which is the Bourse Suzanne Carrell. The organization's homepage claims that the event serves to allow students to "meet other enthusiastic Francophiles who inspire one another."


  1. ^ Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride, Inc. "Constitution & By-Laws, Revised 2017". Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride, Inc. "About". Congrès de la Culture Française en Floride. Weebly. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Retired Professor Honored by French Legion of Honor". Jacksonville University Press Release Archive. Jacksonville University. 4 September 2002. Archived from the original on 3 September 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Suzanne Carrell, une figure emblématique de la culture française en Floride". France-Amérique (in French). Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  5. ^ Levins, Clayton (14 September 2012). "Consul General of France to award National Order of Merit to former JU Prof. Suzanne Carrell". Arlington News. Jacksonville University. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  6. ^ "57-year career devoted to French language and culture - Consulat Général de France à Miami". Consulate General of France in Miami. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Suzanne Carrell Obituary - St. Augustine, FL". The Florida Times Union. Retrieved 29 November 2019.

External links[edit]