My name is Jeremy Wright and I am a Year 13 Student at Shirley Boys High School in Christchurch. I’m pleased and proud to say that I have been named a Young Ambassador for the Following Family Footsteps tour to France this year in July. I am very excited to begin this journey and learn through the experiences that lie ahead.
I’ve been learning French ever since Year 9 and I am strongly passionate about it. The opportunity I’ve had over the past 4 years to learn a different language has been amazing and has opened so many doors for me. The ability to know another language isn’t something that is exemplified enough in New Zealand, so for me to be able to do that, I am very lucky. I have been to France before as in 2017, we went there for a school tour. We made connections with schools in Arras and Dijon as well as experience the landscapes and monuments all across the country. I am forever richer from that experience and personally, I can’t wait to go back.
I am excited also to learn more of my ancestors who were involved in the First World War as I believe it is important to know both where we came from and what those who came before endured so we could be where we are today. Also, I’m very keen on finding out about the ancestors of the French, and what tribulations they went through defending their home.
When I got the message that I was accepted and would be a Young Ambassador, I was actually making pancakes so I was pretty happy already. I thought of how this opportunity will be very beneficial for my future as the experience will soon be a part of who I am. I also thought of what it means to be an ambassador, and how representing youth is both a privilege and a responsibility. I look forward to cherishing that privilege and taking responsibility as an ambassador.
Through my teacher, I have put in contact with one of the students we met on our French trip last year in Dijon who is a descendant of Henri Giraud, who was a well know captain during the First World War. I look forward to getting to know more about Giraud and his experiences during WWI.
I also wanted to extend my gratitude to my school and French Teacher, Madame Lallemant, for aiding me with the funds so I can have this experience.
I believe the history that connects France and New Zealand is why the relationship is so important to maintain. Those connections that bind us are strong and I can’t wait to carry them on in the coming months as a Youth Ambassador for Shared Histories in 2018. I also can’t wait to meet the team of ambassadors on the 17th of March and to get stuck into our projects.