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The New Year for School! September 3, 2013

Posted by americanex in Uncategorized.
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Sunday, September 1, 2013, was one of my favorite days in Ukraine.  The Celebration of “First Bell” is a very nice way to start the school year, with children and their parents participating in celebrations in the schools and then spending the day together in the parks and cafes.  In Kherson, there is a new place to celebrate First Bell, Fabrica.

We do not have this holiday in America because school calendars are not controlled by the federal government.  So individual school systems (usually a city or a town) decide the day that school will start.  This decision is made for different reasons.  For example, schools in the South often start in the middle of August, but schools in the North do not start until September.  There is a national holiday in early September called Labor Day.  It is the holiday that celebrates the efforts of the working man and woman, and it is always the first Monday in September.  For Americans this is the last “summer” holiday and some schools open after Labor Day to allow family vacations to continue until Labor Day weekend.

On September 1, 2013, I visited the Kherson Oblast Lyceum in the Shumenskiy District of Kherson.  I learned that this school is a special school for children from all over Khersonska Oblast.  Some of the children actually live at the school because they are from villages around the Oblast and live too far away to travel to school from home every day.  In America, we would call this a boarding school.  Along with Alla, a Librarian from the Window on America Room here at the Library we spoke with the children about the Flex Program.  It is operated by

the American Councils, and gives secondary school children from Eastern European countries with an opportunity to study in the United States for one year.  This is a competitive program and interested students should visit the website at http://flex.americancouncils.org/ for more information.  The Lyceum currently has a student studying in America through Flex. The teachers at this Lyceum are doing a good job getting the information about Flex to their students.

On September 2, 2013 I visited School #36 with our Librarian, Anya to do a lesson with a class of children in the 6th Form.  Of course, the subject of the lesson was the famous Ukrainian author Taras Shevchenko.  All students in Ukraine are beginning their first lesson about this famous author, painter and patriot.  We had a lot of fun playing our game Jeopardy with this group.  They knew many facts about Shevchenko and also had surprising questions to ask about the United States.  Two interesting questions were “Is there fresh air in America?” and “Are there silly rules in America?”

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So the school year has begun and the students and teachers are happy to be back in the classroom.  We are ready to visit the schools, have our English Clubs, and encourage the students to take advantage of the resources of the Window on America room.  Our room is being renovated right now to give us a better space to work together. Watch for information on the progress of the renovation and then visit us in our new space.