American Journal of French Studies Awards Ascension Episcopal Senior Third Place Honor

The American Journal of French Studies awarded Emery Doga’s essay, La Contrefaçon Cajun, third place amongst over 1000 applications spanning the United States. The AJFS challenged high school and college students to submit writing covering one of three topics: transportation in the future, why you chose to study French, or how coronavirus has affected your life.

Emery, a senior at Ascension Episcopal School, focused her essay on why she chose to study French. As her teacher, Arnaud Leclercq, described her, “She has always shown profound interest and love for the learning of the French language and its culture.” Her writing expresses her determination to bring the French culture and language out of the “whispers.”

“Je suis née dans les murmures du français. Les mots ont toujours résonné dans mes oreilles mais je ne pouvais pas comprendre leurs importance. Dans les années soixantes, le gouvernement voulait que la langue de français-cajun soit et reste au stade de simples murmures. Ils étaient prêts à tuer toute une culture.” (Translation: “I was born in the whispers of French. The words always resonated in my ears, but I couldn't understand their importance. In the sixties, the government wanted the Cajun-French language to be and remain at the stage of mere whispers. They were ready to kill an entire culture.”)- Emery Doga 

Rectifying an almost eradicated culture isn’t impossible. Ms. Doga believes “le pouvoir réside dans la langue française.” (Translation: "the power resides in the French language.")  She committed at a young age to gain a deeper knowledge of her family’s culture, eventually traveling to France as a high school exchange student. Her French teacher remarks, “I believe that Emery’s journey with French is not over yet, and I am sure France is expecting Emery to take the call!”

In addition to receiving TV 5 Monde free for one year, the American Journal of French Studies will publish her essay in June. Read Emery’s soul-searching journey by clicking here.

More about the American Journal of French Studies and contest results are available at

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