Polish gymnasium in Nemenčinė. Young at heart despite its 150 years

2015-11-11, 12:24
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Polish gymnasium in Nemenčinė. Young at heart despite its 150 years Photo L24.lt

The gymnasium of Konstantinas Parčevskis in Nemenčinė is one of the oldest Polish schools on Vilnius Land. It is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

The ceremony took place in the local multifunctional cultural centre. The festival was even more joyful because of the recent success of the gymnasium - its student Edgar Krivelis became the laureate of the declamation competition 'Kresy 2015' in Vilnius and this way became also the representative of Lithuania in the final stage of the competition in Białystok.

Difficult beginnings

'The school in Nemenčinė was founded in 1865 as the primary Russian school. It was the period of development of capitalism and even the tsarist government understood that educated people are required,' said Irena Karpavičienė, vice principal of the gymnasium. She also noted that the beginnings of education in this town were noticed much earlier.

First written testimony on the state of education in Nemenčinė comes from the church book of 1733. It stated, that there was no parish school due to the lack of boys in the area. And already in 1777, according to the acts of the Commission of National Education, there was a school in Nemenčinė where 5 children of the nobility and 5 children of the peasants were learning.
The first school building was built in 1887. All subjects were taught in Russian. It was forbidden to speak Polish even during breaks. Parents used to hire a teacher who secretly taught children Polish.

In defense of school

The teaching in the Polish language began only in 1919. After the war, in 1947, the teaching was again conducted only in Russian.
The residents of Nemenčinė and of the surrounding area were not happy with such state of affairs and formed a committee which stubbornly demanded classes in the Polish language. Jan Jarmolovič, representative of this committee, used to go to Moscow with a petition. And the committee succeeded - the teaching in two languages - Polish and Russian - was introduced in 1951.

Not afraid of challenges
Currently, the gymnasium of Konstantinas Parčevskis is housed in three buildings in Adomas Mickievičius street. Since 2004 the school is headed by the principal Tadeuš Grigorovič.
'There are 525 students, 65 teachers and 32 support staff in the gymnasium,' said the principal. The largest section is Polish - 463 students, while there are 62 people in the Russian classes. There are 18 teachers methodologists, 34 senior teachers, and one expert teacher.

The vice principal of the school, Polish teacher Irena Karpavičienė said that this institution has always been open to new ideas and changes, it was not afraid of challenges. 'The school is young at heart despite its 150 years, it is inventive, open to changes, it wants to develop and provide good knowledge to students,' said Karpavičienė.

One of the best
Gymnasium of Konstantinas Parčevskis was the first gymnasium in the Vilnius Region (since 2005). 'The status of gymnasium made all the community of our school to work harder. We were an example for all educational institutions in the region seeking accreditation. That is why we could not rest on our laurels,' told the principal.

He stressed that a huge attention is paid to the quality of teaching in the gymnasium. Grigorovič was glad that the gymnasiums is able to cope with its challenges.
The quality of education was repeatedly proved by perfect results of state exams taken by gymnasium students. Moreover, for several years the gymnasium has been one of the best in the 'Best school - best teacher' contest organized by the Association of Polish Schools Teachers in Lithuania 'Macierz Szkolna' (Polish Educational Society).

The school authorities also actively care about learning conditions. Thanks to EU funds, local authorities, and with the financial support of the Association 'Polish Community', the Polish government and partners from the Motherland, renovation of gymnasium's buildings was carried out. Also, the newest equipment and teaching aids were purchased. There is also a dormitory owned by the gymnasium for students, who live too far to travel home by school or public transport.

As the principal mentioned, the gymnasium still lacks its own hall and a connection between separate buildings of the gymnasium. The school community is also looking forward to the opening of the new sports field.

In love with dance
The facility can be proud of its extracurricular activities. There are various activity groups in the gymnasium including sports, culinary, arts. According to the principal, dance classes are the most popular. There are several bands operating in the school, including 'Jutrzenka', 'Perła', a band of modern dances. 'We can confidently say that every third student in our school is a dancer,' joked the principal.

Community of the gymnasium actively participates in international projects. 'Project activity has been highly rated by the agencies and our gymnasium has been drawn into a Europe-wide register of schools participating in projects funded by the European Union,' stressed the host of the school.

The ceremony of the anniversary was a great opportunity to thank the entire community of the gymnasium - seniors teachers, parents - 'for their civil behavior, for the courage and honour to educate their children in their native language.'

Well-deserved facility
'You are the testimony of success,' said during the ceremony Jaroslav Narkevič, vice speaker of the Seimas. He stressed, that success lies in the fact that the gymnasium has not only kept the opportunity to study in children's mother tongue but also proved that education in the mother tongue is competitive.
Consul General of the Polish Embassy in Vilnius, Stanislaw Cygnarowski, on behalf of the Polish Ambassador in Lithuania Jarosław Czubiński, wished all the best for the community of the gymnasium.

'The gymnasium of Konstantinas Parčevskis is the culmination of one and a half century of harsh fate of education in Nemenčinė. Today the gymnasium is known and appreciated not only in Nemenčinė, it is a distinguished educational institution which creates a student-friendly Polish school,' stressed the diplomat.
Educated in the spirit of patriotism

The anniversary was an opportunity for students, teachers, parents, graduates, and visitors to meet.
'I have the best memories of the school. Teachers have tried to educate us in the spirit of patriotism, even though it was forbidden then. I remember all my teachers and I am thankful for them', said Marian Dzvinel, graduate of 1980.

Ivona Klimaševska

MSZ ENG"This project is co-financed from the funds granted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland."

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