Erasmus+ Project in St. Stanislav’s Institution: Small Steps to Sustainable Solutions

Making Friends is the Paramount Goal of any Erasmus Event

The Erasmus+ project Futur€nvironment held its second project meeting for students and teachers (LTTA- Learning Teaching Training Activity) from 17 to 21 October, 2022 in St. Stanislav’s Institution. It hosted 39 students from five partner schools from Belgium, France, Germany, North Macedonia and Scotland along with 15 teachers. Most of the guest students stayed with Slovene families, but a few also stayed in The Jeglič’s Student Home. The aim of the meeting was to exchange good practices in environmental protection and conservation in the field of energy and waste management, focusing on the small steps that each individual can contribute by following the 5 R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, reuse, rot, recycle.

Monday, October 17

The arrival of guests marked this day. Two groups arrived in the morning and spent the time enjoying the sunshine. All but the Scottish group met their hosts in the afternoon. After the first excitement, the talks flowed and the hosts took their guests to their homes. Late in the evening we were joined by the Scots.

Tuesday, October 18

We started the morning by working in groups, playing a board game and talking about taking care of the environment. The guests were given a tour around the primary and secondary school and had lunch in the school canteen. In the afternoon we went to Ljubljana where we had a city tour to see the sights and green spots of the city. In the evening our guests went to Kurešček, where they stargazed and learnt about light pollution.

Wednesday, October 19

We started the day having four different workshops where our guests did origami bees and beehives, sewed some bags, made natural dyes and learnt something new about light pollution. Having eaten lunch, we went to Ljubljana where our guests visited the House of Experiments and had a selfie tour around the city.

Thursday, October 20

On the final day of the exchange we went on a trip to the South Western part of Slovenia. We visited the Škocjan Caves regional park, went for a walk around the collapse dolines and saw the majestic caves themselves. We had lunch in a local inn Muha, followed by the closing ceremony and some traditional dances. On this  exchange we made some friends for life. /Ema Kobav, year 4/

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir to participate at the choral contest in Tolosa, Spain

St. Stanislav Girls’ Chior -the pure joy of singing

We are proud to announce that 40 girls, students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution under the conductorship of Helena Fojkar Zupančič, are taking part in the International Choral Contest of Tolosa. The choral contest will take part from 28th October to 1st November 2022 and brings together the best choirs in the world, in order to exchange their knowledge of styles, interpretation, vocal know-how and customs of each participating country. The contest has been held annually since 1969 and the event has developed into one of the most prominent choral happening in the world.

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir will have a rather extensive and versatile repertoire. On the tour they are accompanied by conductor Marjetka Kozmus and Tina Tandler, the indispensable organizer. We wish the girls the best of luck. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

FUTUR€NVIRONMENT meeting at Institut Saint Dominique in Mortefotaine, France

The French Hospitality Was Much Appreciated

The meeting of partner schools participating in Erasmus+ KA2 project Futur€nvironment took place from 25th – 29th September 2022 in Mortefontaine, France. The hosting school was Institut Saint Dominique, with the following schools enjoying the hospitality of the French: Mallinckrodt-Gymnasium from Dortmund, Germany, which is the school coordinator of this project; Sint-Jozefscollege from Torhout, Belgium; SUGS Georgi Dimitrov from Skopje (Northern Macedonia), Wellington School, Ayr (Scotland) in St. Stanislav’s Institution with eight students and two teacher representatives, namely Alenka Battelino, Teacher of English and project coordinator, and Martin Čokl, teacher of physics.

This is how the Slovene students report on the event:

Monday, 26th October 2022

The morning after our first night abroad, we awoke in the pleasant safety of the homes of our hospitable French families. Then we ate an authentic French breakfast, which woke us up and gave us strength to start a new day. When we gathered in the dining room of the Institute of St. Dominic, we enthusiastically told each other about the first evening experiences. The program began with a speech by the headmaster of the Institute, while he greeted us in French, we were able to follow his words with a help of a translator. A pleasant coffee break and snacks followed, after which we started with the workshops. The activities were environmentaly themed. After those, the mayor of Mortefonataine addressed and welcomed us into the village community. This was followed by a delicious snack. After finishing we parted again and spent a pleasant evening with our friendly host families. /Rok Lekse, Filip Jeseničnik/

Tuesday, 27th October 2022

The day began at Institut St. Dominic where the bus took us to a very special self-sufficient farm. There, we saw many different animals – pigs, a cow, chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, and two donkeys … Firstly they told us about the history of the farm, how they grow their vegetables, and take care of the animals. They also offered us their homemade fully natural apple juice and different fruit jams. Then the tour of their orchard and vegetable gardens followed. It was very interesting to learn that their farming techniques and products were completely natural – meaning they don’t use pesticides or chemical sprays. After the tour of the farm, we had some lunch and then went to the famous Paris.

Paris welcomed us with traffic jams, beautiful architecture, people from all around the world, and a very complicated language for us. From the bus, we could see Montmartre, The Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe, L’Obélisque de Louxor, Place de la Concorde, La Défense, and Notre Dame de Paris. We also rode down the beautiful Champs Elysées, where we could slightly feel the city’s atmosphere. Then followed the guided tour of the Orsay museum where we admired the world-famous paintings and sculptures. After the museum, we strolled down the Parisian streets, took many photographs, and even crossed the Saine. This diverse day finished with some more traffic jam and a beautiful evening with our hosting families. /Lucija Kremžar, Klara Lesnik/

Wednesday, 28th October

On Wednesday morning at half past eight, we gathered in the school dining room. We walked to the school hall, where Mr. Claude Lambre had a presentation about food additives contained in European foods and their dangers. After that there was a short coffee break and some snacks. We continued with workshops and attended the one called Life is still beautiful, where we met the art teacher Kathleen Ryan, who stuck precious stones over the moldy parts of the fruit. We glued glitter depicting mold onto preprepared styrofoam shapes. After the workshops, there was lunch, during which we chatted with students from other countries and had a little break. Before the start of the second part of the workshops, we took pictures with students from Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia and Germany. In the second part of the workshops, we baked a cake – Charlotte. Charlotte is a type of cake that can be served both cold or hot. Ours was made from apples. It was special because we actually used the whole apple, since we made syrup from the peels. After finishing the second part of the workshops, we took photos again, this time our hosts, the French pupils, joined us. Then, we all planted an olive tree together, to which everyone contributed a shovelful of soil. This was followed by a ceremonial presentation of awards for participation in the project. Then the celebratory dinner with a dance took place in the dining hall. At dinner, we were most impressed with the desserts. Among others, we were also served the cake we made at workshops. After dinner, we moved the tables and chairs aside and continued our evening of dancing. At about ten o’clock, after a beautiful and full day, we headed for the homes of our hosts. /Veronika Marc, Jerca Brolih, Lily Schweiger Kotar/



Natalie Kauter, German Ambassador to Slovenia, visits St. Stanislav’s Institution

At the Panel Discussion in the School Library

Mrs Kauter paid visit to St. Stanislav’s Institution and The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium on Wednesday, 12th October 2022. During her two-hour visit she was greeted by the director of the Institution Anton Česen, the Headmaster of The DCG Rihard Režek, two German teachers Irena Bolta and Peter Prašnikar and the Headmaster of Matija Tomc Music School Daniel Eyer.

Since this was Mrs Kauter’s first visit to St. Stanislav’s Institution, the director walked her through its history and organization. Teachers of German spoke of the position of German language learning in Slovenia and the fact that more than half of DCG students take German, which is perfectly sensible, considering Slovenia’s geographic position and intensive economic collaboration between both countries. Mrs Kauter was impressed by the programme specifics of the DCG, especially the pastoral care and charity activities students take part in.

The most exciting part of the visit was definitely the meeting with about 30 students in the school library. The event was moderated and prepared by students and the subject of their interest were various topics from the duties of an ambassador to comparing life in Germany and Slovenia. They learned that the position of the ambassador to Slovenia is shared between Mrs Kauther and her husband Mrs Pollmann. They alternate the position, which is a rather unique incident in the history of German diplomacy. The ambassador admired the high command of foreign languages in Slovenia and is grateful to the Slovenes for their friendly disposition towards the Germans, which is not self- understood, regarding the history related to the atrocities of WWII.

Above the ambassador expressed her enthusiasm about the school, its programme and neatness with the following words: “What a school! My heartfelt thanks to all those who made the visit possible. I appreciate you showing me this particular and special world, full of warmth, knowledge and good energy. Upon the visit I had only one wish: be a kid again, who is very lucky to be able to attend this school again!”  The visit of German ambassador to Slovenia was organized by Irena Bolta, a teacher of German at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium. /Irena Bolta/

Student Erasmus mobility in Wellington School, Ayr in Scotland

Happy Participants – the Slovene gorup with Scottish Teachers

We are happy to report that a project meeting of Small Countries Strong Cultures took place in Scotland from 21st-25th August 2022. It was a happy and fruitful reunion of about 40 Scottish (Wellington School, Ayr), Belgian (Sint-Jozefsinstituut College, Torhout) and Slovene (St. Stanislav’s Institution) students after a two-year break due to Covid restrictions. Nothing compares to in-person interaction – be it learning, creating, dancing or visiting actual places. This is how one of the Slovene participants experienced the exchange:

“This Erasmus exchange was one of my best experiences ever. Not only did I learn something new about the Scottish culture and its people’s lifestyles, but I also gained precious knowledge of travelling on my own and socializing. It was only my second time going on an exchange so I still had some fears to overcome. But we had a lot of organized activities and it was a shorter exchange, so this made it easier. Almost all of our activities were done in groups with members from all three participating countries, so we got to know each other a little bit and make some new friendships. It was really easy to communicate with some, while others took more effort and because we only had 3 whole days I didn’t get the chance to meet everyone. Nonetheless, I made a few new friends and tested my social skills as I tried to talk to as many people as possible. Each day was interesting but I remember the most Tuesday when we visited the Sky academy and the city of Edinburg. At the academy we filmed our very own news report which was really exciting. I had the role of a producer in my team so I had to make sure everything went smoothly and had to shout out the words ACTION and CUT during filming. I forgot to say cut almost every time so members of my team were not particularly happy with my job. But it worked out fine and watching the whole report together was really fun. Later we went to Edinburgh and visited the Scottish Parliament, which I liked very much. There was a lot of trash on the streets but we knew that it was because of the bin strike. Otherwise it was really nice and I enjoyed all the historical buildings. One of my absolute favourite activities were also the Scottish dances, ceilidh . They were energetic and really relaxing once you’ve learned them. This was a perfect end to the exchange. I think everybody really enjoyed this short stay in Scotland. From its rich culture to funny-sounding but difficult-to-play bag pipes to its friendly people and beautiful countryside. I hope I will be able to visit it again.” /Rubin Bervar, Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Leadership Change in The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium

Rihard Režek

At the beginning of August 2022, a change in leadership took place in the community of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium. Simon Feštanj, B.A., ceased the employment of The Head Master of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and the position was trusted to Rihard Režek, M.Sc.

After nine years of being the Head, Mr Feštanj sees his job as “very satisfying”, feeling grateful for all the opportunities of cooperation and challenges that were brought about. He welcomed the new Head by saying: “I believe he will perform his duties with a lot of vigour, all by fulfilling the Institution’s mission.” Mr. Feštanj will remain a teacher and collaborator in St. Stanislav’s Institution.

Mr Režek is an economist by profession. At the University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business he earned his master’s degree. He taught at High School of Administration in Ljubljana for 15 years, during which he assumed various leading and teaching related tasks. In 2018 he was appointed the Head Master of Jeglič Student Home and a year later the Head of The Janez F. Gnidovec Residence Hall. He is a husband and a father of two daughters, who loves family life, reading and dancing.

He believes that for the student of The DCG the most fundamental element in the process of education is being a part of the school community. The three pillars of the DCG are the classical, spiritual and creative aspect of teachers’ and students’ common endeavours. They ensure quality and well-rounded education in which everybody feels valued. Tradition still shapes some of the guiding principles here, but we seek to be looking to the future. A happy and responsible young person who is ready to make a positive contribution to the world is at the heart of school’s interest.

We wish Mr Režek all the best on his new mission and trust God’s peace with watch over him and his work. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Marija S. Benedičič wins bronze at The 33rd International Biology Olympiad in Yerevan, Armenia

The Great Four from Slovenia, Marija is second from the left

Marija Snežna Benedičič, The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium graduate, with three other representatives from Slovenia, achieved an outstanding success at the Biology Olympiad, which was scheduled from 10-18 July 2022 at Yerevan State University in Armenia. St. Stanislav’s Institution is extremely proud of the Slovene team and especially Marija for winning the third place and being such an enthusiastic, all-round knowledge ambassador. International Biology Olympiad (IBO) brings together gifted students from all over the world, thus promoting their future careers as scientists.

This is how Marija herself has risen to the above challenge: “Competing at the IBO was truly an incredible experience and it was so much more than just a competition. It was a setting where CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology was an excellent conversation starter and a place where I was able to share my passion for science and biology with other students. I loved spending time with my peers from all around the world, learning about their paths to the IBO, their interests and future aspirations. Their knowledge and determination were so inspiring and motivating, encouraging me to keep learning and bettering myself.

We were also taken on many excursions around Yerevan to learn about Armenian history, culture, language and manuscripts, and of course about their biodiversity. The Armenians are really proud of their country and culture, always willing to share some of their knowledge with the tourists. After an intense week of exams, excursions, sightseeing and interesting conversations, winning a bronze medal was truly the cherry on top of the cake and I am incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to participate at an event like this.”

With empathetic and knowledgeable future scientists like Marija and the Slovene team, there is not much mankind should worry about! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

Standing Ovations for La Damnation de Faust © FB Ljubljana Festival

In the line with the above Faust’s quote by Goethe the community of St. Stanislav’s Institution is extremely proud to announce that both St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and Megaron Chamber Choir participated at one of the highlights of the 70th Ljubljana Festival, namely in the opera La Damnation de Faust by Hector Berlioz under the baton of Charles Dutoit, presently one of the most esteemed conductors. The impressive performance took place on 15th July, 2022 in Cankarjev dom, Slovenia’s main cultural and congress centre.

At the time when this extensive vocal-instrumental work was written, it was considered eccentric, nevertheless, Berlioz dealt with an ever-green theme of the price of the human soul based on Goethe’s play. Both the above-mentioned choirs under the conductorship of Damijan Močnik had the honour of rehearsing and learning from two other Slovene choirs, the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra and the phenomenal quartet of soloists: the French mezzosoprano Sophie Koch (Marguerite), British tenor Charles Workman (Faust), Canadian bass-baritone John Relyea (Méphistophélès) and British baritone Ashley Riches (Brander). This offered a unique opportunity for the choirs to show their strengths in acting with their voices and ability to sing in French. St. Stanislav Youth Choir and Megaron Chamber Choir – congratulations on the amazing perfomance! You definitely fed the audience’s imagination, both with musical and life matters./Lily Schweiger Kotar/

St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium on a tour in Trenčin, Slovakia

St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in Trenčin

St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the DCG hit the road after a long break and spend some choral quality time from 24th-27th June 2022 in Trenčin. The singers under the conductorship of Damijan Močnik, mostly rehearsed for evening concerts and sang at masses, which took place in Ilova and Trenčin.

It was especially touching to meet welcoming students and stuff from Piaristické gymnázium Jozefa Braneckého /Piaristic Gymnasium Jozef Braneckého, with who the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium has had a long tradition of common music making and fruitful cooperation. That day started with the choir participation in the liturgical singing in the parish church of Narodenia Panny Marie/The Birth of The Virgin Mary. The highlight was definitely the joint concert of the school’s Choir Piarissimo and St. Stanislav Youth Choir. The enthusiastic audience applauded loudly and both choirs wrapped up the evening with Nech ten chram, which has become almost a hymn of joyful friendship between both schools and nations.

Apart from singing, the tour was the time for the graduates of The DCG to bid goodbye from the choir, for everybody to unwind a bit while sightseeing or enjoying the last day visit in an aquapark. The most promising thought remains though that the Slovaks are to be hosted next year in Ljubljana. We are looking forward to it!/Marjetka Kozmus/

The 25th Anniversary Concert Leaves a Heartfelt Musical Mark and Introduces a New School Name  

Community of The Matija Tomc Music School Has Been a Joyous Site for 25 Years

The official name of The Music School is now The Matija Tomc Music School, after the priest, teacher of music at the pre-war Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and prolific composer Matija Tomc. He felt great passion for choir singing and was also professor of organ at The Academy of Music, University of Ljubljana.

The jubilee year has been marked by several events, of which the most outstanding are the solemn celebration in November under the central theme of “Do we read each other?” and the above mentioned jubilee concert in May. The key speaker at the concert was the headmaster of The Matija Tomc Music School Daniel Eyer, B.A., who spoke highly of the remarkable trace and countless music events of artistic excellence that the community of teachers, students and alumni have created over a quarter of a century. “Students’ openness and readiness for work are not surprising, as teachers’ commitment, competence and focus are to be admired on a daily basis.” On the occasion of the silver jubilee The Matija Tomc Music School recognised high achievers in the field of music, who have been fostering harmony for the last 25 years. They have been playing different musical instruments, namely the piano, jazz piano, violin, viola, flute, recorder, accordion, horn, trumpet, guitar, organ, zither, voice and performing jazz singing. Long live music in St. Stanislav’s Institution! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/