No matter what people are saying these days, what is currently affecting us and mobilizing our attention is first and foremost the pain and sorrow felt by all the families and friends who have been touched by the death of Agnès. We share the sense of bewilderment and pain held by all, be they relatives, friends, classmates, teachers, youth workers, or members of the exceptional community of the Collège Cévenol, in the face of this monstrosity.
It seems impossible that such a dreadful event could take place here, among us!
This atrocious crime must not, in addition, also destroy what is left of the community. The Collège Cévenol is not only the name of a school, a place, ‘something’ difficult to define, it is above all a community of men and women who have been sharing common values since 1938, values which have bound and continue to bind together countless generations. Since the founding of the school, its values have been the same: tolerance, respect, trust and caring for others.
Yet this tragedy forces all those who had never even heard of the Collège Cévenol before to suddenly pay attention to its identity, its nature, its specificities and values.
A few isolated witnesses or commentators who have never had anything to do with the school throughout its 73 years of existence, are using this tragedy to talk about themselves and express their own beliefs. At a time when everyone is mourning, these remarks and comments which are sometimes truly deleterious and utterly absurd, are extremely hurtful and damaging. They convey, without any legitimacy, an inaccurate and negative image of the school’s current students as well as its former ones. We cannot remain indifferent to this.
Admitting that this atrocious event took place is one thing, but this act was not generated by the Collège Cévenol, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. That is why we cannot let this act stigmatize a place that has always been dedicated to non-violence. It seems inconceivable to us that people would fail to grasp the real spirit of the school. That ‘spirit,’ born from the 25,000 people who have studied and worked at the school, though never clearly defined still exists today. Very specific. Still very much alive.
Each and every one of us represents the “Spirit” of the Collège Cévenol
I am therefore inviting you to speak to these values that have embodied and still embody that ‘spirit’ that has made us who we are today, by sharing your thoughts in writing below. Still present today, this “spirit” binds together all the generations that have followed one another in this school. Still undefined, it only exists because we speak about it and feel it, and because it truly is a part of us. Through us.
President of the Alumni Association of the Collège Cévenol