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Les Cordées de la Réussite initiative made its way back to school last October. A pleasant and enjoyable moment that was then followed up online due to the lockdown. The situation has not prevented the NEOMA students in Reims and Rouen from keeping in touch with the young participants they are tutoring.  


“I haven’t seen such radiant, smiling faces in such a long time… behind the masks of course,” says Céline Articlaut, Head of the Diversity Mission at NEOMA, after the launch of the ‘Cordées de la Réussite’ (transl. Climbing Together to Success) initiative in Reims. “It really did us all a lot of good. Our students really needed to get back into the swing of things, and it was reassuring  for them to be back in action. The students also needed to reconnect socially. It was a tremendous boost for everyone!” On 14 October, the volunteers students with the Prépa Rémois association got to meet around twenty high school students enrolled on priority education programmes. The current health measures disrupted the initial programme, set to feature a number of team-building activities (including one on Art, in particular), so they got to know one another with a game of  Who’s Who? 

Prépa Rémois and Envie d’Sup :  present despite the distance

The leitmotif of the new school year 2020 is “adaptation”. “First of all the curfew forced us to review our programme of cultural outings, notably to the Opera,” explains Céline Articlaut. “And while we were looking at this, the lockdown was announced, meaning we had to cancel everything. Now we’re thinking about how we’re going to respond.” Breaking the link between tutors and students was simply not on the agenda. The fortnightly meetings will go ahead on the same dates and at the same time, but via videoconference. At least until Christmas. The same goes for Envie d’Sup, Rouen, where the workshops have been held online since 18th November. “However, we were a little apprehensive,” says the project manager, “we wondered whether we’d be able to maintain the same enthusiasm and interaction online. But everything is fine and feedback is really positive. As far as content is concerned, the NEOMA students have adapted well to the format. The workshops focus more on orientation, ParcourSup, and discovering different professions… “We usually do these kind of things face to face anyway, but we are focusing more on this part. And instead of visiting companies, we’ll be asking the directors to take part in a webinar.  As for culture, here again, the Cordées tutors have been adapting by selecting and sharing online events from museums, authors, artists… as they wait for the sites to reopen.  


Merger  of the Cordées de la Réussite and Programmes of Excellence

Another particular feature at the start of the 2020 school year is the letter from the Minister of National Education sent out at the end of August about equal opportunity initiatives. Beginning with the merger of the Cordées de la Réussite and Programmes of Excellence. The latter were launched in 2016 to complement the former. To simplify things, there is now just one initiative: the Cordées de la Réussite (which in French evokes the idea of working together to overcome obstacles). This programme is open to post-baccalaureate students and people with disabilities, something the Prépa Rémois association has been involved in for some time. The initiative will soon be open to secondary school pupils in Reims and Rouen.   

The first virtual workshop took place on Wednesday 18th November at the Vallée du Cailly high school. The students were accompanied by two tutors and the school’s referent teachers.



Laélia Abrassart, student and president of Envie d’Sup, Rouen

“I’m on the Associative Entrepreneurship track. I chose this curriculum for the opportunity to make a full personal investment in a project that supports young people, an idea which is particularly close to my heart. Working on such an important project over a full year gives us the chance to make real progress concerning equal opportunities and I am so happy to be heading such a dynamic association as Envie d’Sup.” 

Corentin CRAND, student and vice-president of Prépa Rémois 

“When I was deciding which business school to go to, the Prépa Rémois association caught my attention, it gave me the feeling that I could actually do something and change things. That’s why I chose NEOMA. And I can see that after a year of support, the young students have changed so much, they have gained so much self-confidence and know how to assert themselves. I became involved because I would have liked to have received such support myself, but didn’t, so I’m simply trying to give what I couldn’t have.”

Vincent BARRE, student and vice-president of Prépa Rémois 

“I came to NEOMA because of the Prépa Rémois  association, because I didn’t have access to anything like this in the past. It’s such a joy to see how the students we tutor grow and develop as they become aware that they can go even further and continue their studies, and that such opportunities are accessible to all. When I saw the stars in their eyes, it made me so happy. And we manage to create such close ties!”  

François MILLARD-RANNOU, Headmaster, Collège Joliot-Curie, Reims

“Joliot-Curie is in one of the most deprived areas in France according to INSEE data. For my pupils, the tutoring provided by NEOMA students is a real added value. For example, of the 22 Year 10 (9th grade) secondary school pupils tutored by the Prépa Rémois association, 21 passed their school certificate with distinction. This is an important sign of achievement for young students.

The difficulty for young people from these neighbourhoods is having belief in themselves. They may have the desire to go into higher education, but they only see obstacles in their way. Young girls, in particular. But thanks to the Cordées de la Réussite initiative, the pupils get to meet students who tutor them towards their ambition and help them believe in themselves. And when you look at their study paths, many go quite far after High School.”