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 reach 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/
After a long break of two years the time came for small countries and strong cultures to meet again. The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium hosted the teacher mobility from 16th–20th March 2022 joining two teachers from Wellington School Ayr (Scotland), three teachers from Sint-Josefsinstituut Torhout (Belgium) and four Slovene ones (Battelino, Lah Peternel, Pišljar Suhadolc, Schweiger Kotar) from the DCG.
On Thursday a comprehensive tour of Ljubljana took place and on this occasion the Secession guide, devised during one of the Erasmus projects Art Noveau – Art Renoveau, was used again successfully. The schedule for future student mobilities was planned down for autumn 2022. On Friday we listened to two interesting presentations of the subjects which stand the test of time and which all three schools teach in their curricula. These are arts and classical languages and the values they enhance. Our colleague from Scotland presented the concept of Model United Nations (MUN) and we actually carried out a mock security council committee session. In the evening we listened to the concert where Damijan Močnik’s Passio Anno Domini MMXXI, a shocking musical story of the Passion of Christ was told. Saturday was dedicated to getting to know Slovene cultural and national heritage in the Slovene Littoral, namely the Sečovlje salt- pans, where salt is still produced traditionally, with classical salt-pan methods and tools, which is the reason why salt has retained exceptional characteristics. Scotland and Belgium also keep their own ways of producing salt which we will get to know on the next visit. The day was perfectly rounded off by a cup of coffee in sunny Piran.
We are looking forward to new ways of learning from each other and enjoying each other’s company! The student mobilities in August and September to Scotland and Belgium are eagerly anticipated. /Valerija Lah Peternel, school project coordinator/
The Story Behind: The S6 have decided to do a virtual walking challenge during the month of January to continue our fundraising for the British Heart Foundation! Together, we will complete 3500km by the end of January, which is the distance from Wellington School to our partner schools in France, Slovenia, Germany and Belgium! We will be tracking our steps to calculate the distance we complete and if you would like to support us, donations are greatly appreciated. Although it may be even more difficult now to fundraise during this time, we are determined to do everything we can to make a difference!
Latest Update: The S6 pupils have now completed 2,255km (over 3 million steps) and have just left the second partner school, St. Stanislav’s Institution in Slovenia and are currently walking through the picturesque village of Althofen in the Austrian Alps on their way to Dortmund, Germany! Our friends in Slovenia gave us a lovely warm welcome! /Susan Coontz/
We are happy to announce that a new Erasmus+ project Future€nvironment has been launched with the Mallinckrodt-Gymnasium (Dortmund, Germany) as the coordinator and the following partner instiutions: Sint-Jozefscollege, Torhout, Belgium, Institut Saint Dominique, Mortefontaine, France, SUGS Georgi Dimitrov, Skopje, Northern Macedonia, Wellington School, Ayr, Scotland and St. Stanislav’s Institution. Project coordinator at St. Stanislav’s is Alenka Battelino. The project starts on 15.12. 2020 and ends on 14.12. 2022.
The short description and the aim of the project run as follows:
The environment, sustainability, global warming, biodiversity – these are topics which engage young people across the world; yet while many are ‘talking the talk’, they are not all ‘walking the walk’. This project aims to capture the interest of our students in the natural world and the environment and help them to make changes that will ensure the sustainable future that they are campaigning for. Although young people are worried about the future of our planet, many are not making the small changes in their lives that would help to safeguard the planet. Food waste, conspicuous consumption and reluctant recyclers are present in our schools in Belgium, France, Germany, Northern Macedonia, Slovenia and Scotland (UK). This project will encourage the small steps which can be taken by everyone for the good of all. /Alenka Battelino/
What happens when 230 young singers and 5 conductors join forces to convey their feelings in these strange days? Yes, one could say that science fictionhas become reality, but not for the singers at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution. The fact is that singing is a common sight at this school nevertheless, we are particularly proud to announce the release of Strange Days as devised by students under a careful supervision of their conductors. All five school choirs, namely The First-Year Girls’ Choir of DCG (conductor Marjetka Kozmus), The First-Year Boys’ Choir of DCG (conductor Tine Bec, who also prepared the song for polyphony singing), (Re)Mixed Choir of the DCG, St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir of the DCG (both under the baton of Helena Fojkar Zupančič) and St. Stanislav Youth Choir of the DCG (conductor Damijan Močnik) participated in the project. They made a cover of Strange Days by The Strunts featuring Robbie Williams.
In a month and a half students prepared their audio and video recordings, took part in individual vocal lessons to brush up their voices, uploaded the recordings in Teams, the conductors listened to each of them, the band prepared the instrumental accompaniment, video and audio editing followed and voilá – the cover is out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGAw2SZqrcE
Congrats to everybody who contributed to its making! Indeed every little thing that you do goes along, long way. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/
The new banner representing the endeavors of the new Erasmus project Small Countries Strong Cultures radiates the vibrant colours of small, yet strong countries, namely Scotland, Bengium and Slovenia. Each country is represented by either its most typical sight, dish or a figure related to Roman times. Thus Belgium shines there through Ambiorix’ statue and unmistakably the best Belgium pralines; Scotland is represented by the Athens of North, Edinburgh, and the slope from Antonine Wall; last but not least Slovenia boasts with the idylic island of Bled and the statue of Emonian Patrician. The project logo naturally assumes the central position and designed by a Beglian student, got a twist with a strong shining orange sun in the middle. The banner was designed by Matic Kotar, the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium alumnus. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/
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/
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 protected] .We will announce the chosen logo on 5th November 2019.
Each of the final three days of our tour in Poland was a unique experience despite the somewhat monotonous schedule: breakfast, practice, lunch, practice, free time, concert. On Thursday night our music sounded off the walls of St. Florian Basilic in Cracow’s city centre, whereas Friday’s concert took place in Miechow. There we performed at the festival of the University of the Third Age, therefore our singing and playing were often interrupted by enthusiastic cheers of elderly ladies. :) Saturday finally came – that was the big day we had all been expecting for the entire week. After packing all our belongings and leaving the hotel, we had some more time to explore Cracow and enjoy the wonderful weather. As the evening was quickly approaching, we could all feel adrenaline working through us and as the final rehearsals weren’t what we had expected, our nervousness was getting only worse. However, our conductor and mentor advised us to relax, do our best and enjoy the good acoustics. The Divine Mercy Church was packed and full of expectation. After the Polish choir, it was time for the Slovenes to perform. After orchestra’s Concerto Grosso in B flat major by Georg Friedrich Handel the choir performed their varied palette of songs that included everything from Slovene folk melodies to spiritual pieces. What all of us had really been anticipating was actually the joint performance of all Polish and Slovene choirs and orchestras. John Rutter’s Mass of the Children was absolutely magnificent – the interlacement of fast and slow, joyful and melancholic intricate melodies created by the choirs, the symphonic orchestra and the soprano and baritone soloists touched everyone’s hearts and resounded in our ears throughout the magical evening. Still touched by the majestic last chord of Rutter’s masterpiece it was time for us to leave Poland and return back home. We are so thankful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with such talented young musicians, to make new friendships and get an insight into the Polish culture and lifestyle. I am sure every one of us could agree that each concert was a new unforgettable adventure. We are looking forward to playing music with our Polish friends in the future Music to Life exchanges. /Anja Tršek, year 4/