President's Report

 2015/2016 was again a busy and successful year for the Albury-Wodonga Alliance. 

Committee: A new committee was elected at our Annual General Meeting in August 2015:

    President: Karral Miller
    Vice President: Carol Smith
    Secretary: Phil Sefton
    Treasurer: Mary Sullivan
    Committee members: Paule Gauquié, Consuelo Merluzzi & Michael Smith

I wish to publicly acknowledge the time voluntarily given by our Committee members, not just at the monthly meetings, but also the extra hours spent ensuring that we are offering our members high quality, well organised services and events. As President I thank them for their commitment, enthusiasm and hard work.

In particular, I acknowledge the huge commitment of Mary Sullivan who is retiring from the Committee this year. She has been with AF Albury Wodonga since shortly after its inception and has served on the Committee for 16 years, holding at some time every office bearer position except President. She has contributed a great amount to this organisation and I join with all members in thanking her. Also leaving us after one year on the Committee is Michael Smith. He has made valuable contributions to the running of our Alliance and for this I thank him also.

Membership: At the end of June 2016, we had 92 financial memberships, with 77 different people participating in our classes at various times during the year.

French Classes: In 2014 and 2015 we have offered the same classes: 5 separate, 2-hour, evening classes – Beginners (A1), Continuing Beginners (A2), two Intermediate (B1), Advanced (B2)- plus a 1-hour conversation class.  

We continue to conduct classes at Age Concern, where we have the flexibility to offer different levels of classes at the one time, thereby allowing students to select the level appropriate to them. Age Concern has also generously provided space for us to have our library on permanent display and storage for our extensive collection of DVDs, leading to increased access by students.

DELF exams: In November 2015, fifteen candidates sat for DELF qualifications at the following levels: 6 at A1, 5 at A2, 1 at B1 and 3 at B2 (compared to 12 in 2011 and 6 in 2012, 4 in 2013, 5 in 2014). We’re proud of the fact that we’re one of only two centres outside the capital cities which offer DELF/DALF exams, and see this as an important activity of our Alliance.

During the 2015/2016 year the Committee have undertaken a review of policies and processes. This has led to the development of curriculum documents and a new satisfaction survey for evaluating our courses, streamlining of registration and payment processes, strengthening of safety procedures, improvement of communication tools including the upgrade of the website and Facebook page.

During November 2015 current students and those who had left during the year were invited to fill in a survey  to evaluate the quality of teaching, curriculum and level of participation in classes and other events organised by AF Albury Wodonga. The results gave us an insight into student needs and our performance and were used to inform development of our program.

The great majority of the feedback was very positive and we have taken onboard constructive criticism and suggestions. As a summary, 79% of participants were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with AF Albury Wodonga.

Cultural Events:  
Film Festival: This year AF Albury Wodonga again organised and ran its own French Film Festival, held in May 2016. There was an attendance of 548 (compared to 393 in our first Film Festival in 2011 and 532 in 2012, 478 in 2013, 593 in 2014, 402 in 2015). Six sessions were open to the general public (one more than in the past), and there was an additional session for school students which was also well attended.

We thank our sponsors – Baker Motors (Peugeot), DiscoverVin (local importer of French wines) and Regent Cinemas Albury Wodonga.

Cafe Bavard: This is a regular informal gathering which gives those attending an opportunity to speak French over a cup of coffee. It has proven to be so popular that this year we have increased the number of sessions from one to two a month. We thank the proprietors of La Maison for allowing us to host it there and Clare D’Arcy for her continued facilitation of this event.

Art Exhibition Guided Tours: Alliance Française Albury Wodonga arranged two special guided tours in French of the Impressions of Paris: Lautrec, Degas, Daumier exhibition at the Murray Art Museum Albury in December and January. They were competently conducted by Paule Gauquié and were well attended.

Summer Immersion Courses: In January 2016, in response to several requests, Alliance Française Albury Wodonga organised an immersion week- a four hour class each day for five days- and also ran four conversation classes. The number of students exceeded our expectations and we have had enthusiastic reports of both classes. Summer classes look like becoming a regular part of our calendar.

Thank you to Claire Rogers and Paule Gauquié for their willingness to conduct these classes during the holidays.

Social Events:
14th July:  Bastille Day was celebrated this year with an excellent lunch at the home of Committee member Carol Smith. It was attended by 18 people.

End-of-Year Lunch: Twenty people attended our end-of-year lunch which was held at La Maison restaurant.

Melbourne French Theatre Trip: Eleven people went on our bus trip to the Melbourne French Theatre in September 2015 and had a most enjoyable day. The trip was subsidised by AF Albury Wodonga.

Karral Miller (President)