Celui qui sait deux langues en vaut deux!


Initiation Ceremony for the Société Honoraire de Français:

"La Course du Flambeau"

The group forms a circle, an old member next to a new one. Each new member is then introduced to the organization. In order to familiarize new members with the purposes and duties of the Société Honoraire de Français, membership requirements drawn from the Constitution are read. This is followed by a report of the activities of the chapter. Then the ceremony, "La Course du Flambeau," takes place. The following passages are read, first in English, then in French.

"The transmission or handing on of the torch is a ceremony which used to take place in Ancient Greece. For this solemn occasion, the citizens lined up at equal distances one from the other, forming a sort of chain. The first one in line lighted the torch at the altar, ran to transmit it to a second, who transmitted it to a third, thus from hand to hand, each citizen ran without a backward glance, keeping alive the flame which he was to hand to another. Plato recognized in this running with a torch the image of the succeeding generations of life."

We who shall be leaving you in a few months transmit to you the torch of our enthusiasm and our motto: "Celui qui sait deux langues en vaut deux!"

"La course du Flambeau est une cérémonie qui avait lieu à Athènes dans la Grèce antique. Pour cette solemnité, des citoyens s'espaçaient formant une sorte de chaîne. Le premier allumait un flambeau à l'autel, courait le transmettre à un second, qui le transmettait à un troisième, et ainsi de main en main, chaque citoyen courait, sans regarder en arrière, préservant la flamme qu’il allait remettre à un autre. Platon a reconnu dans cette Course du flambeau l'image des générations de la vie."

A lighted candle is then passed around the circle, and as it goes from hand to hand, the motto is repeated by each member. The ceremony may then be continued as the chapter desires, perhaps with a talk by the principal or some invited guest, or a few words from the sponsor or a chapter officer. At the conclusion, the "Marseillaise" or another representative French song is sung. 1

Alternate Pledge (Submitted by André Suffren, Houston HS, Germantown, TN):

"Par ce flambeau, symbole du transfert des Connaissances, je m'engage à continuer sans relâche mes efforts pour m'instruire et transmettre aux futures générations mon amour pour la langue et la culture françaises."
Alternate Initiation Ceremony (Submitted by Ellen Willner, Tallwood HS, Virginia Beach, VA):

Two podiums are separated by a table on which have been placed a membership book, the SHF charter, and a large host candle. The president stands behind the right podium, and the vice-president behind the left. Initiates stand outside the auditorium during opening greetings and a description of the Society. Upon a signal, they enter and sit in the first two rows. The President and Vice-president read The description of the ceremony in French and English. As each student's name is called by the president, he/she lights a small votive candle (previously distributed with paper candle holders to initiates); signs the membership book; and then walks to the left where the vice-president awards the membership certificate. They walk behind the officers to wait until everyone has been called. They all recite the pledge after the president, and blow out their candles. Closing announcements and congratulations follow.

1 Chapter #25 of Bennet High School in Buffalo, New York uses a motto of its own: "Toujours mieux." An alternate motto of the Société Honoraire de Français may also be adapted to suit a chapter's purposes. Also, members should choose a chapter name; the National Office retains only the charter number for its records.

Created: January 31, 2001
Last update: August 2, 2015