As a trained teacher and experienced journalist, Gaetan Benoit’s path as taken some decidedly unexpected turns.
The child of two Francophone parents, this former student of both the Francophone school division (Division scolaire francophone, maintenant Conseil des écoles fransaskoises) at École Valois and the French Immersion system at École St-Mary is a proud Fransaskois who grew up speaking French. Despite his background, Gaetan that fully expressing himself in French, in both speaking and writing, was still a challenge.
His desire to master his maternal language lead him to the University of Regina to purse a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in French.
I was scared to lose my French.
His decision to move to the Queen City was also motivated by the opportunity to play for the university’s Cougars hockey team, one of his most cherished memories. He also looks back fondly on the “rich and formative” travel opportunities that he was given as a student including spending a year in Québec as part of the Bac, a semester in Grenoble, France, and a semester in Queretaro, Mexico.
His experiences in both Québec and France were crucial in helping shape his sense of cultural and linguistic identity.
Despite initially wanting to master French while in university, Gaetan later realized this was to be accomplished over a lifetime. After completing his degrees, rather than pursue a career in teaching, he gravitated instead towards a career in media.
He already had some experience in this field through his summer jobs at Radio-Canada Saskatchewan (now ICI Saskatchewan).
These first experiences ignited in me an interest and later a passion for media.
Starting his career as a video-journalist, he worked for Radio-Canada in Regina for a dozen years before becoming the producer for the hit TV show, Oniva! This exciting role has allowed him to tour the province and meet with French-speaking youth from all backgrounds – a perfect marriage of his studies in education and passion for media. He currently lives in Edmonton, AB, where he is working on a new season of Oniva!
Although he couldn’t have foreseen the twists and turns his career has taken, Gaetan agrees that his experience at the University of Regina prepared him for the journey.
Studying in French reinforced my Francophone identity, helped me grow roots, and gave me the tools to cultivate and nourish this important aspect of my being.