Marija S. Benedičič qualified for International Biology Olympiad in Yerevan, Armenia

Marija Snežna Benedičič, the champion

Marija Snežna Benedičič, The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium graduate, joined four other representatives from Slovenia to participate at the 33rd Biology Olympiad, which is scheduled from 10-18 July 2022 at Yerevan State University in Armenia. International Biology Olympiad (IBO) brings together gifted students from all over the world and challenges them to expand their talents, which promotes their future careers as scientists. The organizers claim that one of the important aspects of the IBO 2022 is bioinformatics, a broad scientific research field that combines Biology, Computer Science, Data Science, Mathematics and Statistics. Bioinformatics is in fact essential for the management of data in modern Biology and Medicine.

After competing successfully at the national level, Marija Snežna was chosen to join online preparations for the big event, taking part in the competition on 21st May 2022 at the Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana. The practical part, which took 60 minutes, was followed by a theoretical examination, which lasted for 120 minutes. The students who qualified for the Olympiad are besides Marija Snežna Benedičič from St. Stanislav’s Institution also Urban Bauk from Poljane High School in Ljubljana, Ema Šuligoj from Tolmin High School and Urh Šarlah from First High School in Celje.

This is how Marija perceives her qualification for the Olympiad: »For me, Armenia used to be just another country on the map, another country I knew from playing that game of guessing countries’ capitals. But that has changed drastically in the past couple of weeks and I already know this country will have a special place in my heart. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate at the IBO and I am looking forward to travelling to Armenia, exploring the country, its history and culture, meeting other enthusiastic biology students from around the world, feeding my curiosity and furthering my knowledge.«

Brigita Brajkovič, B.Sc, and Ana Bavec, B.Sc., both biology teachers at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, introduced Marija most successfully to the contemporary challenges of Biology. The community of St. Stanislav’s is proud of Marija and her outstanding success and wishes her all the best at the Olympiad in Armenia. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Reception at the Spanish Ambassy for Gold Award Winners of National Spanish Competition

His Excellency Juan Aristegui Laborde with Gold Award Winners

The reception took place on 23 May, 2022 and Kristina Črnič /year 3/, student of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium, a national vice-champion and a Gold Award winner of Dilo en español participated in the event. The reception for 13 winners and their mentors was hosted by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Spain, His Excellency Juan Aristegui Laborde in his Ljubljana residence. In his address the ambassador thanked the winners for their enthusiasm about learning Spanish language and accentuated the invaluable aspect of teachers’ work in promoting Spanish language and culture. The president of The Slovene Association of Teachers of Spanish Ms Pavlinka Korošec Kocmur gave the awards. The reception by the pool followed with some paella, prosciutto and a light hearted chat.

This is how Kristina experienced the event: »I attended one of the most glorious events of my life./…/ In the residence garden we tried some delicious paella, congratulated each other, and enjoyed each other’s company. At that point I realized that my efforts and my dedication to Spanish over those three years were well worth it. A big thank also goes to my mentor, Bojana Tomc, who introduced me to the secrets of Spanish language and cultures. Proud of what I have achieved, I am ready for the new challenges in Spanish language.«

Bojana Tomc, Ph.D., teacher of Spanish language and literature at The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium was Kristina’s mentor. Our heartiest congratualtions on the ourstanding success go to both ladies! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

The Music School in St. Stanislav’s Institution Leaves a Mark – 25th Anniversary Concert

The Big Family of Musicians from The Music School in St. Stanislav’s Institution

It has been 25 years since the establishment of The Music School in St. Stanislav’s Institution. It was established by the then Archbishop of Ljubljana dr. Alojzij Šuštar. In two and a half decades the Music School has left a remarkable trace and offered countless joyous music events of artistic excellence.

The jubilee will be marked by a special anniversary concert which will take place in the Slovenian Philharmonic on 24th May 2022 at 6 p.m.. A sparkling programme features works by Bach, Corelli, Chopin, Slovene composers and as some modern beats with film music. We are delighted to include the hymn that was specially written for the occasion of 20th anniversary of Music School by Primož Bratina, pianist and piano teacher. The concert will be performed by present students – soloists, chamber ensembles, small and large string orchestra with guests from Ukraine, the pupils’ choir of music theory and solfeggio, as well as solo singers with guests.

Today The Music School under the leadership of Daniel Eyer, employs 27 teachers engaged in teaching and inspiring 240 students. Apart from musical theory, sight singing, jazz singing and preschool music, 15 instruments are taught, along with music making in chamber and large string orchestra as well as the guitar ensemble. A lot of students excel in competitions at different levels from regional to international, some take in music as a professional path in their lives and continue studies at music academies at home and abroad. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Caritas abundant – Love abounds at St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir Concert

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir-Hildegard von Bingen offers the Perfect Combination of Singing, Dancing and Music Making

What does feminine approach to Medieval unison singing bring about, when singers are guided by a saint, mystic, musician, artist, poet and visionary, which Hildegard von Bingen was? St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir under the conductorship of Helena Fojkar Zupančič sang 5 of Hildegard’s songs at the concert which took place on 5th May 2022 in St. Joseph’s Church, Ljubljana. These were: Caritas Abundant /Love abounds/, O virtus Sapientiae /O Virtue of Wisdom/, De Spirito Sancto /To the Holy Spirit/, O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti /Sequence for the Holy Spirit/ and O Quam Mirabilis /Oh How Wonderful/. By doing so the choir gave rise to purity in a variety of senses: first and most importantly the purity of sound, which was clean, penetrating, yet soft. Next, there was the purity of gestures and dances – sophisticated and suggestive; never excluding and always inviting. Then there was the purity of words – all songs were sung in well-articulated Latin and finally, the most important one – the purity of message. The audience got the meaningful message across by listening to the message of love and joy. It seems they had it all in the 12th century. Above all there was no today’s redundancy of words, sounds, gestures or feelings.

Medieval mystique was musically connected with modern times through three Damijan Močnik’s pieces which were composed on the basis of Hildegarde’s lyrics and premiered at the concert. To wrap up the perfect image of a Medieval singing experience (mentored by Katarina Šter), the impeccable choreography (under supervision of Barbara Kanc) some Medieval instrumental music making (Una Košir on block flute, Urška Rihteršič on gothic harp, Tilen Udovič on fidel and Janez Jocif on tanpura, percussion, chimes) need to be mentioned. The long and loud applause suggested that the audience felt extremely thankful for a very special and long awaited evening of live singing by one of the best world choirs. What a spiritual and musical adventure! Thank you ladies! /Lily Schweiger Kotar/


27th Annual Concert of the Choirs and Orchestras of St. Stanislav’s Institution

Choirs From St. Stanislav’s Institution – The Abundance of Music and Love in One Place

After a two-year break for Covid, we are bringing back the 27th annual concert with great joy and pride. It  will take place on Sunday, 8th May, 2022 at 6.00 p.m. in Gallus Hall in Cankarjev Dom (Ljubljana). Despite challenging circumstances in the last two years, the musicians from St. Stanislav’s Institution have not been silenced. Having embraced the reality, they have never been more determined to continue to bring the abundance of life and love through music making. In fact the key notion of this year’s concert is caritas abundant, which suggests that it is the abundance of love which brings about the creative force and offers the much needed boost to our everyday endeavours, opening our hearts for all the good abound us.

Nine choirs and two orchestras will perform a variety of compositions ranging from renaissance to modern genres. We are particularly pleased we are able to perform tonight together with some young Ukrainian musicians, who fled the atrocities of war in their homeland. Discovering the everlasting message of music with them has been simply priceless. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Easter Greetings 2022

Lojze Čemažar, Evening at Emmaus (The 14th Station of the Cross, 2010), Parish Church of St. Urh/Ulrich in Veliki Gaber, Slovenia)

“The right hand of the LORD

has struck with power;

the right hand of the LORD is exalted.

I shall not die, but live,

and declare the works of the LORD.”

The stone which the builders rejected

has become the cornerstone.

By the LORD has this been done;

it is wonderful in our eyes. (Ps 118:16-17, 22-23)

May the celebration of Easter open our eyes to the light of the Risen, so that our lives may reflect the hope that he bestows upon us! Felix Alleluia!

Anton Česen, M.A., Director

Margaret &Thomas Luzar visited St. Stanislav’s Institution

Margaret&Thomas Luzar with students from 1.b class

Margaret &Thomas Luzar, who have been actively involved with St. Stanislav’s Institution ever since its reopening in 1993, visited our school on 1st March 2022. This was the first visit from abroad, after a long break of more than 2 years.  Margaret &Thomas Luzar are Americans with Slovene roots and true friends of our school community. During summer holidays they have been hosting students of the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium for more than 20 years. This enables the students to have a first-hand experience of life in the USA, in particular when it comes to the community of American Slovenes and their descendants.

Margaret &Thomas Luzar met the director of St. Stanislav’s Institution Anton Česen, M.A., as well as the headmaster of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium Simon Feštanj, B.A. and some teachers in charge of the exchange. The highlight seemed to be an English lesson with students in class 1.b, where some stereotypes about Americans were discussed.

We are pleased to announce that international life is being gradually reintroduced after a long covid break. /Alenka Balletino, teacher of English/

Award for a Haiku in Germain by a Student of DCG

The winning haiku – written and illustrated by Rubin Bervar

We are happy to announce that Rubin Bervar, year 3, was awarded a prize for her haiku in Germain.

It runs as follows:

Verschwundener Schnee

Duft der blühenden Rosen …

Das Hertz aber immer fault.

Rubin has also illustrated her haiku. Congrats also to her mentor Irena Bolta, B.A., teacher of Germain at the DCG. The school has had a long tradition of winning haiku awards especially in Spanish, French and German language. /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/

War and Peace – Statement on the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

These are the words by Valerija Lah Peternel, a teacher of Russian language and literature at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium that reflect also the attitude of St. Stanislav’s educational community on the Russian Ukrainian war.

“Two weeks ago, I was shocked by the news from Eastern Europe: Russia attacked Ukraine under the pretext of defending and protecting its citizens and sovereignty. Without taking a full advantage of diplomatic endeavours, the Russian president decided to invade Ukraine, which has so far claimed thousands of victims and millions of people living in fear. They have decided to run to safety, away from their homeland. I stare in the screen powerlessly and think of the unthinkable – there are images of aggression, havoc, desperation and terror. I wonder how it is possible that in the 21st century we still are such bad students of history – uneducated, undisciplined, crude – unworthy of their teacher.

On the other hand, Russian culture is a rich treasury of humanistic thought, rebelling against any autocratic power and supporting the freedom of people and nations. If we want peace, it seems we still need to deliberate again and again over the past wars. We may as well start with Tolstoy, who wrote in this diary in 1853:  »Война такое несправедливое и дурное дело, что те, которые воюют, стараются заглушить в себе голос совести.« /War is so unjust and ugly that all who wage it must try to stifle the voice of conscience within themselves./ Ten years later he started writing his great work, which bears in its title the word war, but conveys above all the message of peace. The mankind has not comprehended it yet. Svetlana Aleksijevič, a Belarusian Nobel Prize winner, provides us in her long novel War’s Unwomanly Face with a shocking account of untold (women) stories about being caught in the atrocities of war. She cannot possibly put a human face onto any war – in fact she considers war as a monster, which devours life itself; only our memories and unconditional pledge to peace can repel it.

As a Russian teacher I have been trying for years to boost enthusiasm in my classes about Russian culture – through language, literature, fine arts, film, music, architecture, cuisine and folklore. Russian politics and its irrational behaviour are a massive slap in the face for any teachers’ efforts to cross borders, listen and understand each other and enter the dialogue by teaching a foreign language. There have been different reactions to the news from the east, and it may as well be true that fewer students will wish to learn Russian. Nevertheless, now it is the time to build bridges and absorb the message from Russian humanists. There a lot of them and they did not keep silent”. /Valerija Lah Peternel, B.A., teacher of Russian/