From 1st – 6th October 2019 the first staff mobility of the new Erasmus+ project Small Countires Strong Cultures took place at Wellington School in Ayr (Scotland). At the same time the annual UCAPE conference took place with about 80, mainly French teachers, from Catholic primary and secondary schools.
The meetings covering Small Countries Strong Cultures brought together the entire Belgian team from Sint Rembert(Torhout) with their director and deputy head, the welcoming group from Scotland, led by MsSusan Coontz, and the Slovenian team (Valerija Lah Peternel, Alenka Battelino, Eva Pišljar Suhadolc, Lily Schweiger Kotar). The meetings included finalizing the preparations for the first student mobility which is to take place in Slovenia in February 2020, funding rules for the grant, partnership agreements and taking part in the e Twinning workshop given by Gary Shiells, the representative of the British Council in the UK. One of the highlights of the visit was most definitely the Wellington school students’ performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. The tragic love story was brought to life at The Gaiety Theatre with a lot of musicality, breathtaking special effects and scenery. Friends of Wellinton, teachers, parents were justifiably proud of the magic night. Well done Wellington school!
UCAPE whose mission is to build knowledge, values and skills for global citizenship is an international association open to all schools which share the same values. In Ayr the general assembly took place with plenty of opportunities for networking along with new arrangements for the exchanges that were set up. Mr Dominique Bernard, Director of Institution Saint Dominique (France) and the present president of the UCAPE, gave the introductory speech accentuating the fact that if anybody in modern Europe needs to go beyond meeting students’ everyday needs, it is the teachers at Catholic schools. The yearly report followed some interesting presentations of Scottish culture and students’ good practice carried out at Wellington under the supervision of Ms Coontz, a dedicated member of the UCAPE board. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/
During summer holidays, from 26th-28th August 2019, a traditional summer camp was held at St. Stanislav’s Institution. Twenty students from different countries, namely, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia, gathered in order to perform multiple physics experiments. The event was led by the following teachers of physics at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium: Tine Golež, Martin Čokl and Iztok Kukman.
The participating students were divided into three groups and additionally into pairs – each pair was to conduct a different experiment at a time. Each experiment was tied to a different aspect of physics. Especially outstanding was the demonstration of a power plant, which used the potential energy of the water in order to produce electricity. Other experiments included measurement of geometrical optics, finding drag coefficient of a spherical body, calculation of maximum output of a solar cell, investigating how the acceleration of rotating ball depends on the slope of the hill, and many more. We were measuring, calculating, graphing and were introduced to numerical calculation.
In there three days we had an opportunity to see how theory can be applied to perform and predict outcomes of various experiments. /Lea Briški, year 4/
At The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium we had a wonderful opportunity to collaborate fruitfully with two American volunteers, namely Whitney and Jedd Sankar from Montana, the USA. Their contribution was invaluable for teachers and students alike and they proved once again that learning a language with native speakers is all about improving speaking and listening skills as well as building language confidence. At St. Stanislav’s we feel most thankful to both, Whitney and Jedd, for having them round.
Whintey wrote about her teaching experience at DCG: “My husband Jedd and I have spent the last 9 months in Slovenia as part of his Fulbright research grant. Our favorite cultural immersion activity by far has been volunteering in the English classes at Škofijska Klasična Gimnazija. We’ve had the opportunity to meet so many interesting, thoughtful, and well-spoken Slovenian high school students and to be able to engage in conversations about American and Slovenian cultures. I have no doubt that we have benefited at least as much from this opportunity as we have helped the students by sharing our knowledge and experience as native speakers”. /Whitney Sankar/
We are happy and proud to announce that a new two-year Erasmus+ project Small Countries Strong Cultures is being launched in cooperation with two other schools – namely Wellington School Ayr from Scotland (UK) and Sint-Jozefsinstituut College from Franders (Belgium). This will allow making room for the exploration of our common roots as well as for the endeavours to build our common future. For years we have been involved in a row of successful projects with Wellington School, who is the coordination instituion,; this time we are welcoming on board the college from Flanders.
In the next two years, our participating students will try to find the answer(s) to a (seemingly) simple question: Who are we and what connects us with others? The aim of the project is to spread and strengthen the awareness of national cultural heritage and its importance in building a strong European community. In the times when nationalisms are on the rise we want to show the young that they can be loyal to their local community, their country and the EU at the same time – but we need to be ready to learn from our past and become active citizens to shape a better future. We need to learn how to voice our opinions respectfully, how to look for common ground with others and at the same time be ready to accept differences.
All three participating countries have always been proud of their cultures, especially their languages, at some point we have all been part of a larger »whole« and each country now plays its part in modern European democracy. Throughout the project, we would like to encourage the young to take an active part in these process.
At St Stanislav’ Institution Alenka Battelino, Valerija Lah Peternel and Lily Schweiger Kotar are in change of the project. /Valerija Lah Peternel, project coordinator/
Your brief is to design a logo to represent our new Erasmus+ project, Small Countries Strong Cultures.
Your logo should represent the three participating schools or the countries they are in. The design should be made up from simple shapes and bright colours for visual impact. The three countries are Scotland, Belgium and Slovenia. The school websites are: www.wellingtonschool.org and https://www.sintjozefscollegetorhout.be.
The logo will be used on our project materials and needs to be of a striking design which makes an impact. You should consider a limited colour range for more visual impact, flat shapes without tone so that the logo can be reproduced digitally.
Here are last year’s winners to give you some inspiration!
The submission deadline is 16th October 2019. Please, send them at: email@example.com .We will announce the chosen logo on 5th November 2019.
St Stanislav’s international programme was strengthened this weekend (10th-12th May 2019) through a visit to our school from Mr Paul Vanthournout and Mrs Martine De Zutter from the Sint-Josefsinstituut College in Torhout, Belgium and Mrs Susan Coontz from Wellington School in Ayr, Scotland. This was our Belgian guests’ first visit to Slovenia but Mrs Coontz has been a regular visitor to St Stanislav’s during our twelve-year partnership with Wellington School. Together, the three schools are planning a new Erasmus+ project which will celebrate the strong cultures of our small countries.
This is how Mrs Coontz saw this brief, yet pleasant stay in Ljubljana: “Thank you very much to all at St Stanislav’s Institution for an unforgettable weekend with you in Ljubljana. On Friday afternoon the city was looking her very best in the bright spring sunshine for my arrival and we so enjoyed our trip to Lake Bled on Saturday. Walking round the lake let us build up an appetite before our delicious lunch overlooking the island. The highlight of the weekend was most definitely the 26th Annual Concert of the Choirs and Orchestra of St. Stanislav’s Institution in Cankarjev dom. John Rutter’s The Mass of the Children was delivered with great precision and musicality and parents, teachers and friends will be justifiably proud of the pupils’ performance. The natural enthusiasm of the singers shone through in the second half of the programme in songs from the shows. On Sunday, the weather was distinctly Scottish – cold and wet – and we spent the morning exploring the old town. As I write this, in my head I can still hear the young voices singing Triglav moj dom kako si krasan and I hope that it will not be too long before I visit your beautiful country again.
Thank you to everyone who made our visit so enjoyable and especially to Mr Simon Festanj, Mrs Lily Schweiger Kotar, Mrs Alenka Battelino and Mrs Valerija Lah Peternel. We look forward to welcoming you to Scotland soon. /Susan Coontz, Wellington School, Ayr, Scotland/
Cordially invited to the traditional concert, which will take place on Saturday, 11th May 2019 at 6.00 p.m. in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev dom (Ljubljana). The choir pyramid of St. Stanislav’s Institution, which is well known in Slovenia and abroad, will perform a variety of songs and compositions ranging from Slovene folk songs to ever green pop songs in new adaptations by T. Bec and D. Močnik. The first performance in Slovenia of John Rutter’s Mass of the Children will be carried out by 400 singers in nine choirs and the symphonic and string orchestra will round up the solemn concert. Welcome!
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/
Takeaki Hori paid a visit to St. Stanislav’s institution on 27th March 2019 to talk to third years and student writers of school’s literary magazine. Mr Takeaki is a professor at Fudjivara JoshiharuUniversity, journalist, Japanese PEN ex-president, haiku researcher, anthropologist and environmentalist. Firstly, Mrs. Ifigenija Zagoričnik Simonović, the Slovenia PEN president, presented PEN international and its mission. PEN is an international organisation of poets, essayists and novelists, (more and more journalists are joining in), which was established in London, 1926, after the World War I, to help novelists who were in detention or were persecuted. Each year an International meeting is organised in Bled, Slovenia. Literary artist and PEN members from different countries discuss contemporary world situation, related issues and enjoy the calm environment of natural beauty.
A haiku appears to be an important subject in Mr. Hori’s life. It is a short form in traditional Japanese poetry. It consists of 17 syllables in three phrases of 5, 7 and 5. Everyone holds Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) up as an example how to write a perfect one. He was a pioneer with haikus; he transformed an already existing form of a Japanese poem, saying that everything good has its limit. Mr. Hori believes that a man can write a good haiku only when he takes time for it. Since it always reflects any author’s inner experience, it is always good for him, but not necessarily for the public. He explained that “haiku is philosophy and science. It depends on each individual, how he approaches to it and how deep he can dive in, always opening wide dimensions of its comprehension.”
Mr. Hori works on many other fields as well. Currently he focuses on historical studies about the end of WWII when Japan was marked with Hiroshima and Nagasaki catastrophe. He strives to stop the use of nuclear weapons; therefore, he also encourages people to create haikus for peace. Besides attending PEN International Meeting this year in Slovenia, he also collaborated with PEN at the opening of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Pain and Courage Exhibition in the National Museum of Contemporary History in Ljubljana. At PEN they are willing to promote peace and want to assert the right for peace. This is also the reason why they opened the exhibition on 25th March 2019. To show that it is of utmost importance to listen to war victims, let them talk about the atrocities and learn what happened to them. Only then will we be able to prevent another outburst of such or even worse type. Mr. Hori, who experienced the catastrophe as a child, wonders repeatedly: “Why did it happen? Why can’t we live in peace, without fear of being attacked with nuclear weapon?” He presented the work of ICAN, an international non-governmental organisation, which attempts to abolish nuclear weapons and was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize for peace. He is proud of its focus on the victims and their stories, not only on the historical background, pictures and objects, which could be seen in museums. /Lucija Stopar, year 4/