- March 19, 2014
The Final Struggle of the XXV Olympiad in Polish Language and Literature
“Be faithful Go” – a quote from the poem “The Message of Mr Cogito” by Zbigniew Herbert is the motto of this year’s XXV Olympiad in Polish Language and Literature in Lithuania, being at the same time a jubilee of this event.
On the first day of the final struggle, Wednesday, March 19th, the participants sat to write their written assignment, and the next day – on Thursday – they are going to deliver their oral presentations on literature to the committee. The “Olympians” and their teachers have been gathered under its roof by Alma Mater, and numerous Polish scholars, now teaching at Polish schools in the Vilnius region – Lithuanian University of Educology (this a very well-known institute, then the University of Pedagogy), and more precisely – the Centre of Polish Language, Culture and Teaching, hence our Polish language studies.
The guests had been welcomed by the manager of the Centre of Polish Language, Culture and Teaching, doc. Irena Masojć . A nice introduction into lyrical mood was the performance of the student group „Evviva l’arte”, consisting of the second year of Polish language studies students, who had sung a song to the words by Herbert with guitar accompaniment.
The event was honoured by the presence of distinguished guests: the curator of the Olympiad and the senior specialist for the primary and secondary education from the Ministry of Education and Science Ona Čepulėnienė, the minister-counsellor, the Consul General of the Polish Embassy in Lithuania Stanislaw Cygnarowski, the director of the Polish Institute in Vilnius Malgorzata Kasner.
It could also not have missed people who 25 years ago initiated the history of the Olympiad in Polish Language in Lithuania – for the ceremony arrived also Teresa Kostkiewiczowa, the honorary president of the Central Committee of the Olympiad in Polish Language and Literature at the Institute of Literary Research PAN, and the headmaster of the Secondary School the name of Sz. Konarski Teresa Michajlowicz. The greetings to the participants were also made by the dean of the Faculty of Philology Gintautas Kundrotas.
-I still remember the first Olympiad in Polish Language and Literature – Teresa Kostkiewiczowa did not hide her emotions. – It took place in somehow dramatic conditions, I remember perfectly the atmosphere of those days, and above all – I remember the participants. That was the first time I encountered the Polish youth from Lithuania and, with deep emotions, I listened to beautiful Polish language.
Today the Olympiad is 25 years old and a new generation of its participants have grown.
-I would like to say that it is a great achievement, a great success of the Polish community both in Vilnius and in Lithuania in general – said Teresa Kostkiewiczowa. – I remember the first participants of the Olympiad, who had come to Poland for the competition, who had been achieving more and more successes, and who had been giving more and more joy to the organizers in Lithuania and to us, in Warsaw. We were glad we could exchange our experiences and thoughts concerning the literature and the language, that we could make friends.
The initiator of the first Olympiad in Polish Language in Lithuania, Teresa Michajlowicz, spoke about the difficulties and fears concerning the historical organization of it:
-It took place in times when half of the syllabus was the Lithuanian literature, and as far as Polish language was concerned, the students from schools with Polish language of teaching had only 3 hours of it per week. But, as it turned out, we were worried unnecessarily.
After the wishes “…for a flexible tongue to say everything the head would think” 35 students, who had come from the Vilnius, the Šalčininkai, the Trakai, the Švenčionys districts and from the capital, bent over their written assignments. Their works are going to be evaluated by the evaluation committee consisting of the lecturers of Polish language studies from both – the Lithuanian University of Educology and the Lithuanian University with the chairperson of the committee dr Barbara Dwilewicz at the helm.
The formal closure of the XXV Olympiad in Polish Language and Literature and awarding the winners will take place on 21th March at the Secondary School the name of Szymon Konarski in Vilnius.
THE TOPICS OF WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS
1.”The life our entire is made of sacrifices” (S. Zeromski). Between the “beauty of life” and the concern for the welfare of others. Compare the attitudes of the particular literary heroes toward their having to choose.
2. „Without cease the hands of my ancestors have been working in me”. Develop Zbigniew Herbert’s thought, thinking about the role of home and tradition in shaping human identity. In your considerations refer to the chosen literary texts.
3. “…for those who will come after us could again learn the hardest craftsmanship – forgiveness” (Z. Herbert). The motif of guilt and punishment, revenge and forgiveness in literature.
4. The interpretation of the poem „Speculations on Barabbas” by Z. Herbert.
5. The comparative interpretation of the poems “And I will tonight…” by J. Tuwim and “Hobo” by J. Iwaszkiewicz.
Tłumaczenie by Roksana Kasperek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Roksana Kasperek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.