Baylor French Student Earns Second Title in National Video Contest

Nov. 18, 2011
News Photo 5327Baylor student Adrien Lavergne wins video contest.

Follow us on Twitter: @BaylorUMediaCom

After changing his major from engineering to computer science, then from music to film and digital media, Baylor senior Adrien Lavergne finally has found his niche in French.

The Houston senior, who is studying French with minors in music and film and digital media, was recently named one of six winners in the national Vista Higher Learning Video Contest. This is Lavergne's second year to win the foreign language contest, which education publisher Vista Higher Learning designed as an instructional tool for college students.

Nearly 200 students entered one-minute videos to the 2011 Video Contest, which was themed "Languages: My Future." Lavergne entered a video he scripted featuring himself and a friend sitting on a bench outside the Carroll Science Building on Baylor's campus. Lavergne's friend briefly explains the benefits of learning a foreign language, stating, "Everything that you hear is limited by what you understand." The video closes with the claim, "Everything that you understand and learn profoundly affects your future."

Lavergne said the French newspaper "Le Monde," which was mentioned in his video, helped inspire his interpretation.

"This year's theme was the future and how foreign language affects your future, and I started thinking about 'Le Monde,' a big French newspaper," Lavergne said. "I'll read it from time to time, and they'll have articles about technology and other things. I always thought it was cool that there are articles and ideas from people who don't speak English, written in French, that you just don't get any other way."

Lavergne, who scripted the video and wrote original music to accompany the piece, said he was first encouraged to enter the contest last year by Pat Pierce, Ph.D., senior lecturer of French at Baylor.

"She (Pierce) was the one who, a few years ago in my grammar class, told us (students) about the competition," Lavergne said. "There was actually someone in the class who had won the year before, so I realized that I could enter, and I might not win, but it would at least be fun to try."

Lavergne and then-senior Daniella Romero, who was studying international studies, won the 2010 contest with videos demonstrating the importance of learning a foreign language.

"She [Romero], the girl who won last year and the year before last, and I both sat in the same row in class," Lavergne said. "It was funny because it was a national competition, and two students from Texas, who were also from Baylor, who were also in the same class, who also sat in the same row, won."

Lavergne decided to enter the contest a second time because of two-time winner Romero and because of Marie Level, senior lecturer of French at Baylor, who had heard of Lavergne's first win and encouraged him to apply again.

"I knew the girl who won last year had won two years in a row, so I knew it was possible, so why not try again? And Ms. Level, she'd heard I won last year, and she told me to do it again," Lavergne said.

Members of the French department were delighted when Lavergne received a congratulatory email from Vista Higher Learning, especially Lavergne's professors.

"I expected him to win again because he did such a great job from the first year and he is very sophisticated and thinks outside the box," Level said. "This year, his video is about being a global citizen and being more informed about what is going on in the world, because of course, everyone is using technology, and he's using all this technology to bring French outside the classroom."

Heidi Bostic, Ph.D., professor and chairman of the modern foreign languages department at Baylor, said Lavergne's win also affects the prestige of the department.

"Producing a prize-winning video is a rare accomplishment for any student," Bostic said. "An award like this will help to draw attention to majors in languages at Baylor. More generally, the video successfully urges all students to study other languages in order to be better informed about world events."

Pierce said she has already shown the video to her classes.

"We could all identify our campus and it's always nice to applaud good work and maybe inspire someone for the next competition," Pierce said. "It's also good to reinforce the message of the video."

Some professors, including Holly Collins-Hamilton, Ph.D., assistant French professor at Baylor, are sharing the video with colleagues.

"I was thrilled when I found out he had won the competition. I made sure that my colleagues at other institutions read the email from Vista - language teachers all over the country got the email - and saw that one of our students had won. I also made them watch the video," Collins-Hamilton said.

To see Lavergne's prize-winning video, click here.

by Carmen Galvan, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

Looking for more news from Baylor University?