The Graduates in Rome – “Short Trip Around the Planet Seeing all the Must Sees”

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Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

The fourth years and 15 accompanying teachers traditionally spent some inspiring days from 10th -15th April 2019 before the holy week in Assisi, Rome and Ostia. The entire trip reflected magnificently the two faces of our school’s mission, namely the Catholic and classical one. In ancient Greek catholicos means concerning the whole, universal, general and this meaning does justice to what we admired there: arts, life and people. This time John Cronin, Math teacher and a volunteering native speaker at the DCG from the USA gives an account on how he experienced the trip to Rome.

“When I first heard about the trip, I asked if I could go thinking that a trip to Rome would be cool. To my pleasant surprise, I had no idea what was in store for me.  This trip was absolutely epic.  I was fortunate enough to have my wife with me, which is always a bonus.  Rome is a lovely city with much to see and do, and my wife, an alumna of the DCG, did tell me that excursions with SKG are busy affairs with a packed program of activities and places to go.  This I found out was an understatement.  I felt with all we saw we did a short trip around the planet seeing all the must sees. The different places we went to, the history of what we learned, the significance of each destination was explained in great detail by what seemed to have been expert historians.  I feel as if I read 5-10 books about Rome, and I still wouldn’t have learned half of what I was told during this trip.

There are so many highlights of our days in Italy, but when you can include the bus rides as enjoyable based on the conversations and banter between the people on the trip, you know there was something special.  From the prayers to the details about our day, to the conversations with the students, Lily or Martin, it was all enjoyable.  Even Martin’s control of the weather was unimaginable.  I can think of many bus rides I have had in my life, but none were as much fun and intellectually stimulating as the rides we had during this trip.  Surprisingly my wife was shocked with some of the conversations she heard.  She told me that after a long day of learning the students were having discussions about what they learned and looking up information on the internet or in a Rome book they bought to find a deeper understanding.  Our main guides on the trip, Lily and Martin had such chemistry and knowledge it seemed as if we were getting guided by 2 saints.  There were many experiences that helped reignite a passion for faith within myself that seemed to be burning with a dim flame.  Going to countless churches, chapels and basilicas, there were endless opportunities to pray and deepen my faith.  I was stunned by seeing a church within a church thanks to Saint Francis, but after being explained the significance, I felt a world of joy and relief when I entered the inner church.  In my life, this was one of the most profound religious moments I can recollect.  As the days continued, the only complaint I could find was the pain of all the walking.  The service, people and food at the hotel were spot on.  The drivers of the bus were professional and timely.  The bus was immaculate and very modern.

One of the destinations we went to towards the end of the trip is where I had to fight back the tears from running down my face.  It was a perfect ending to a wonder trip.  We went to Centre Aletti, the workshop of one of the famous Mosaic Artists and Jesuit father Marko Ivan Rupnik, where we got a wonderful tour of his great workshop by Lucija Rožman, another alumna of DCG. It was astounding to see the chapel that was built, to learn about the unification of the East and West Churches with the help of Art, and to get a special tour through the workshop of the artists with details of their current and past works.  Even the training process of the artists was impressive.  However, after the tour concluded we were given free time to eat dinner and explore Rome about 2 hours before meeting at the bus to depart Rome.  Several students left, but a few stayed behind and went into the Chapel.  My wife and I were tired and sitting on the stairs, but then we heard music from the Chapel.  We went inside to see the students singing, what I assume to have been religious hymns.  There was no mass, no priest with a sermon, no instruction from any adults or anyone.  They had a guitar, a cell phone and maybe about 15-20 students and they sat in the chapel singing praise to God.  Between songs, there was silence.  There was no chatter, no meaningless conversation or stories with laughter.

I figured listening and seeing the Pope’s mass during Palm Sunday would be the most inspirational and holiest time of our voyage.  However, this just joy and worship the students were doing during their free time when we were all hungry and exhausted was breathtaking.  Even though I didn’t understand the words or get the meaning of the songs they chose, their angelic voices and passion in every note echoed through my heart as if Jesus Himself was opening me up to His word.  Alas, after all this, there was a final silence when we knew it was time to leave. It seemed like both an eternity and only seconds when we finally left the Altar.  The paradox in time is nothing I experienced before and nothing I can really describe other than one of the most powerful moments in my life. I can tell I am a better man after this trip then I was before and look forward to seeing St. Stanislav’s Chapel in the school with a different appreciation.”

After this trip, my curiosity is peaked to know when I will I get the honour and privilege of going with DCG again.  /John Cronin/

The DCG Team Pecunia Wins the Generation €uro Competition and is to Meet Draghi in Frankfurt, Germany

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The winning DCG team Pecunia with governor Boštjan Vasle (on the rightmost side) in vice governor Primož Dolenc (on the leftmost side). ©The Bank of Slovenia

The team of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium students with Amber Bervar, Tinkara Toplak, Vita Hrast, Jerneja Koren and Nik Smerkolj, is the winner of the Slovene part of The European Central Bank (ECB) international competition entitled Generation €uro. It took place on 28th March 2019 in the Bank of Slovenia, joining 21 teams from 11 Slovene high schools from all over the country.  This is the third win for the DCG team at this competition.

The competition offers an opportunity to the generation growing up with the concept of Euro, to learn about the monetary policy, its relationship with economy and broadens the knowledge of central banks functioning. The jury recognised in the team’s presentation profound and conceptual understanding of a rather complex problematics of the Eurozone monetary policy. As a reward, the DCG team will travel in May with their mentor, Tadej Rifel, Ph. D., and the representatives of the Bank of Slovenia to the ECB Seat in Frankfurt. There, Mario Draghi, the President of ECB, will congratulate the DCG team as well as all other winning teams form EU member countries. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Exchange with Kanto Daiichi High School Tokio, Japan

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Anticipation is in the air

Last school year The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and Kanto Daiichi High School had an exchange and it went really well so it will take place again from 27th March – 2nd April 2019. Fifteen Japanese students a couple of the teachers will spend a week in Ljubljana.

The exchange will be educational and will involve bond making as well. The exchange will include visits to a lot of historical and natural attractions and some sightseeing. We will have a short city tour of Ljubljana, visiting the beautiful sights of the capital city. There will be a one-day excursion where we will visit Logarska Valley, Celje and Celje Castle and stop at Trojane to have some doughnuts. Some time will be dedicated for Japanese and Slovene students to hang out with host families and experience Slovene way of life. We expect to learn a lot about Japan, brush up our English and improve social skills. Students of the DCG are all really looking forward to the exchange. /Vesna Bukovnik and Neža Tomažič, year 2/

“Nech ten chram” to Wrap Up the Traditional Exchange of Three Slavic Gymnasiums

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Necht Ten Chram: Let the joyous song come from our hearts

This is how one of the participants of the exchange experienced the second part of the stay in Trenčín: “On 20th March 2019 in the morning, the choir headed to the practice for the concert in the evening, whereas the linguistic group finished its posters and began designing models of the chosen architects’ famous buildings. The group that was studying Jože Plečnik was working on a model of the biggest cemetery in Ljubjana, Žale. After lunch we took a bus to a town called Hlohovec, where the choirs were to have a concert in the evening. While the Polish and Slovak choirs were practicing, our group visited the castle. We had a short tour of the building and the choir did not miss the chance to sing in the castle’s chapel. In the evening all three choirs performed and the Slovenes delivered an amazing performance. After the concert some students returned to their hosting families and others went back to the hostel where Mr. Zlobko, the school chaplain, held a mass.

On the following day all the choirs had a practice for the final concert and the linguistic group was given some time to finish the models and prepare presentations. Before lunch choirs gave a lunch concert for the students of the school in Trenčín and the linguistic groups presented their work. In the afternoon we had some free time and roamed the city centre, enjoying the sunny day. At six we gathered at the church for the final concert. All of the choirs sang beautifully and they wrapped up the meeting with the traditional Nech ten chram, when the joyous song was literally coming from happy heats. After dinner at school we had some free time and spent time in cafes in the centre. We returned to the hostel late at night and held a mass in honour of Rok’s birthday.

On Friday 22nd March 2019 we packed our bags and headed to school for a final mass where we sang togeter with our Slovak and Polish friends. After bidding them goodbye and thanking for the kind hospitality and great creativity days, we were homeward bound. /Eva Sedej, year 2/

At the end of the exchange an inspirational idea flashed Mr Zlobko’s mind: “Music is the language of love. If silence is the language of God in which He speaks to men, human’s response is music.

Hori Takeaki to Visit Students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium

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Hori Takeaki, haiku writer

Hori Takeaki, a guest at the international PEN meeting in Bled, Slovenia, will deliver a speech for the students of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium on 27th March 2019 at 10.40 a.m in the Jeglič Student Home.

Hori Takeaki is a professor, scientist and a haiku writer as well as an honorary vice chairman of PEN International. With his assistance, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki exhibition in Ljubljana has been set up to recall the memory of the atomic bomb victims and raise awareness of the danger of nuclear weapons. Mr Takeaki will talk to students about his poetic endeavors and they will read some of their own haiku poems. We are very much looking forward to the event. Welcome! /Lily Sch. Kotar/

The 20th Jubilee Singing – Language Exchange in Trenčín, Slovakia

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The traditional exchange with three Slavic Gymnasiums is taking place from 18th – 22nd March 2019. This year Piarist Gymnasium from Trenčín hosts students from Piarist Lyceum from Krakow, Poland and those from The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Traditionally, students exchange their knowledge of singing as well as of all three Slavic mother tongues, namely Slovak, Polish and Slovene. This time St. Stanislav’s Youth Choir under the conductorship of Damijan Močnik represents the singing force of DCG.

 This is how one of the participants experienced the first days in Trenčín. “After hours of driving and a short lunch break in Bratislava, we finally arrived at our destination. The choir had the first practice there, and members of the language group had a mass with our priest Martin Zlobko. Afterwards, we had dinner in the school, and some of the choir members left with host families, and the other went to the hostel.  On Tuesday, we got up early and headed to school for breakfast. Having enjoyed a lesson of Slovak, the choirs had another practice, and the language group met with students from Poland and Slovakia. We talked about famous architects from our countries and designed posters in our native languages.  In the afternoon we visited Trenčin Castle. We enjoyed the afternoon sightseeing the city  and some free time there. In the evening we left for a nearby town where we attended the mass. The choir was singing and gave a short concert in the church. We spent a pleasant evening with our host families”. /Eva Sedej, year 2/

Ars Amatoria for the World Poetry Day

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Practical Advice by Ovid on Art of Love

In recognition of world poetry day the students of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium prepared a recital of ancient Roman poetry. The event took place in Dr. Anton Breznik Library on 21st March 2019. The passages from Ovid’s Art of Love and other pieces of poetry were read and interpreted by second year students. They proved that the theme of love and courtship have not changed much through times. It was  a perfect and occasionally humorous celebration of the first spring day.

World Poetry Day was declared by UNESCO in 1999. Each year the focus is given on some particular poet and his/her works.  One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression. In celebrating the occasion the school community recognizes  the outstanding ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

St Stanislav’s Institution Joins Homer’s Iliad World Public Reading

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Homer’s Iliad is one of the earliest work in the Western literary tradition and one of the best loved stories of all times. It will be read by almost six thousand readers from all over the world and Dragica Fabian Andritzakos, teacher of Latin and ancient Greek at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, is to join them with some other Slovene humanities lovers in Ljubljana. Students of the DCG will join the audience as well. The public reading will be carried out on the world level during the 13th European Latin Greek Festival, which will take place in Lyon, France from 20th to 24th March 2019. The Iliad is an epic poem, which recounts some of the meaningful events of the final weeks of the Trojan War and the Greek siege of the city of Troy.

The event in Slovenia will take place on 22nd  March 2019 in The National Gallery (Prešernova 24, Ljubljana) at 10 a.m. Welcome to experience Iliad in the ways that Ancient Greeks might have done. This is one of the ways to celebrate classical poetry and culture.  /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

“Good job, Slovenia!” & “You are the highlight of this year’s conference; you are a gift from heaven.”

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Music’s Potential – Getting Global

… are just two of the praises St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium won after the second appearance at 2019 ACDA in Kansas City on 28th February. Many professionals returned to listen to the choir after yesterday’s concert. The atmosphere in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre was amazing, there was an extraordinary bond between the singers and the audience. The girls were singing as one, trying to convey their joyous heart and all the knowledge they had gained. Young ladies were proudly expressing the most charming and sunny aspect of the choir’s mission which is to share their true selves. Compliments kept pouring in and Helena Fojkar Zupančič as well as Damijan Močnik felt extremely proud – after all St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir is the only Slovene choir to perform at both biggest choral events in the last two years: 11th World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona (July 2017) and 2019 National Conference of American Choral Directors Association in Kansas City, Missouri. Some top observations of the concert: “I was utterly amazed when the conductor gave the sign to the choir to start singing and then she stepped aside. The girls sang independently and mastered the choreography on their own!; The choir filled our hearts with wonder.; Your performance was astonishing and simply wonderful. Thank you for coming to the US and inspiring us.; Unbelievable sound! OMG!”

The attenders marvelled at the fact that the choir is not a part of a music high school, that this incredible level of performing was achieved only by three and a half practice lessons per week and that a third of singers change every academic year. The following day some girls participated in a number of intriguing workshops, lectures and concerts. It felt great to be a part of the 2019 ACDA story from the listener’s perspective as well. Now the work is done. Well done indeed! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Listen to St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir in Kansas City at https://www.instagram.com/p/Bud3De9gmR7/

It’s time to shine in Kansas City!

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Sharing Their True Selves

The 27th February 2019 was the day of great anticipation for St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir. It was the day of the concert the girls had been working for the last two years. They welcomed the evening in peace, listening attentively to the final tips finishing touches by Helena Fojkar Zupančič.

Before entering the warming up room in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre, the executive director of ACDA Tim Sharp welcomed the choir. He spoke vividly of his happy memory when inviting St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir to the conference in KC immediately after having listened ot the concert at 2018 World Symposium on Choral Music in Barcelona, Spain. He wished the chior the best of luck saying the girls would never sing in front of so many attentive, demanding and grateful listeners as that night. The performance itself started with the conductor’s solo in May God Grant us A Good Evening. Already after the first song the choir surprisingly received an enthusiastic applaud. When the pianist Primož Bratina joined the choir it was time for Ipavec’ Winter Song – what an appropriate title for the winter conditions far from springlike Slovenia! One of the highlights of the evening was Močnik’s Jesualem, during which the audience was invited so sing along the following verse: May they prosper who love you. The musicians, conductors, educators and choral directors from all over the world sang the meaningful words and expressed their enthusiasm with seemingly endless standing ovations. Hard work paid off, the girls and the conductor were more than pleased with every single detail they managed to express through music. The evening was the embodiment of a  worthwhile quote by John Rutter, one of keynote speakers at 2019 ACDA : “Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It connects the human race, and choral music is a supreme example of this wonderful and beautiful power… which is kind of an emblem for what we need in this world. That’s a lesson for our times and for all times”. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/