Outstanding success of St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir at the 53rd International Choral Contest in Spain

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir Proudly Representing Slovenia

The contest took place in Tolosa from 28th October­–1st November 2022 and brought together the best choirs in the world manily to enjoy choral music. St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir under the conductorship of Helena Fojkar Zupančič went into competition with eleven excellent adult choirs from Europe, USA and Mexico and won second place in both categories, polyphony and folklore. This is by all means an unprecedented success, considering St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir is a high school choir.

This is how the headmaster of The Diocesan classical Gymnasium Rihard Režek, M. Sc. reflected upon this extraordinary achievement: »First I wish to congratulate to you, dear Helena for your energy, heartiness and professionalism which you share with St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir and St. Stanislav’s Institution. Immediately after this I pay tribute to the girls – to all together as well as to each and every one of you. Nourish the beauty and the good in yourselves, keep up the good work, but never forget to enjoy it. This will allow you to continue to delight and embrace with your voices all those who walk by your side. « He also thanked gratefully to Marjetka Kozmus for her full and professional backing as well as Tina Tandler for her wholehearted support in this project.

The girls’ perspective of the D-day, Sunday, 30th October 2022 runs as follows: “Sunday was the most important day. The morning mental preparation is as important as the voice preparation, since any contest is among other a test of being able to keep inner peace and concentration. Having tested the acoustics of the hall, we got ready for the evening by putting on the concert dresses and applying some make up. As the third choir to sing in the contest we stepped on the stage in an energetic manner and already with the first accord we sounded jovially and determined. Our singing was fantastic and the public applauded loudly and cheered enthusiastically.”

One of the impressions of the winning singers speaks for itself: “I have to say that it has not been easy for the last few weeks in school, as the exam season started. But it was worth scarifying some hours of sleep and better grades, as the contest has been unforgettable. I feel grateful for all sea views, rehearsals and in particular for the fellow singers. However, I am most thankful for the moments, when we assumed we would not make it, but providing mutual support enabled just about anything we could wish for.” / Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Some clips from the contest can be seen at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTYc7Zoy6Mc

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/

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/

 

 

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/

Erasmus + Strong Cultures Small Countries -teacher mobility in St. Sranislav’s Institution

Small Countires Strong Cultures in action again

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/

Good News From Bonnie Scotland: Virtual Arrival at St. Stanislav’s

In these days this is the only way to say hello to our friends from Scotland.

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/

New Erasmus+ Project – FUTUR€NVIRONMENT

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/

Substituting Strange Days for a Huge Song!

230 singers changed entirely these strange days

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 fiction has 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 a long, long way. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Voila, The New Banner for the Erasmus+ Project Small Counties Strong Cultures is Out

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/

Erasmus+ (Small Countries Strong Cultures) and UCAPE Conference

fotka wellington
Blinding Sunshine in Ayr – Mingling of the Belgian and Slovene Team

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 Ms Susan 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/