• September 1, 2014
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President Dalia Grybauskaitė took part in the Polish-Lithuanian celebration of the beginning of the new school year

This year Knowledge and Science Festival will be remembered for a long time by the residents of Lavoriškės in the Vilnius region. For the first time the Polish school and the Lithuanian school together organised celebration of the beginning of the new school year. The President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė also took part in this unprecedented event.

The joint inauguration of the new school year took place by the Saint John the Baptist Church and was preceded by a mass. President Grybauskaitė welcomed assembled guests and emphasised that “she has chosen Lavoriškės, because it is a place where citizens of different nationalities live in harmony. “I want to greet pupils, students and teachers from both schools and parents who bring up the young generation. Lithuania is a state of many nationalities and Lavoriškės is a good example of how to live in harmony. I am very glad to be here with you” – said President Grybauskaitė.

The President reminded the assembled guests that 1st September  is an important date in Lithuania for few reasons. “The war which broke 75 years ago on 1st September in Lithuania also ended on 1st September when the Russian troops withdrew from the Lithuanian territory. Therefore 1st September is not only a day of education, but also a day of freedom” – said the President Dalia Grybauskaitė. She gave the youngest pupils special “First Graders Passports” to encourage children to learn.

“Your acquired knowledge and natural curiosity about the world is the basis not only of your well-being, but also of the whole country’s prosperity. Therefore 1st September is such an important day in Lithuania. Stay curious, active and live together in harmony, because you will shape the future if the country” – said the President to the pupils.

The gathered community was greeted also by the Mayor of the Vilnius region Maria Rekść. “Today we celebrate a beautiful and significant day. I wish you all to be brave and cheerful while acquiring knowledge and finding own way in life. I want to thank all teachers for their warmth and patience, because their work, as we all know, is not easy. I wish all children best learning results and whole community a successful cooperation for the sake of the young generation” – said Maria Rekść. For the Monday celebration the school community prepared performances in Polish and Lithuanian in which not only pupils and students, but also teachers took part.

After the inauguration of the new school year the President Dalia Grybauskaitė visited both schools in Lavoriškės. Firstly she went to the school where children are taught in Polish, welcomed cheerful students and invited them to take a joint photo by the new part of the school building (the Polish school in Lavoriškės consists of two buildings – the first was built in 1937, the second in 1999). Then the President met with the graduates, talk with them about their plans and visions for the future and discussed how Lithuanian authorities could help realise plans of the young generation. Right after the meeting she visited the school where children are taught in Lithuanian and took part in the opening of the new sports hall.

The principal of the Secondary School in Lavoriškės Anna Ancewicz said that she was glad that this year celebration of the beginning of the new school year would be memorable for children. “We have never been visited by such a guest. I could say it was a historic event” – said Anna Ancewicz. The principal admitted that the school in Lavoriškės, as most of the schools in the country, struggles with some problems. One of them is the lack of school vans which could carry children to home. Another problem affects all schools – the demographic decline resulting in decreasing number of pupils.

This year we have about 150 children – 16 graduates and 8 first graders. Together with the nursery school pupils we have about 200 children in our school. More or less children attend the Lithuanian school – about 180 together with the nursery school pupils. However, we cannot complain, because this year the Council of the Vilnius District Municipality financed renovation of the roof on the old building of the school. We are in a positive mood. The new school year has begun – it is time to get to work!” – said Anna Ancewicz.

History of the school

The history of the school dates back to the 18th century. In 1798 the school in Lavoriškės functioned in the church. In its lean-to a sacristan taught children how to read, write and calculate. The school in Lavoriškės was officially opened in 1899. Twenty-eight villages belonged to the school district. In 1901 on the school’s territory (about 550 square meters) new school building was built. It was financed by the government and local landowners. It consisted of 5 rooms – one for the teachers and one for the children who have lived there because of adverse circumstances. One room was designed as a classroom and the school inventory was placed in the remaining rooms. The school year was beginning in November and ending in April. The Public Primary School in Lavoriškės was established in 1919. In 1936 the then Polish government planned to build 100 schools in memory of Józef Piłsudski. The school in Lavoriškės was one of them. The new school year on 1st September 1937 began in the new building where it functions to the present day. In 1962 four additional classrooms and a corridor were built. In 1965-1967 a school dormitory with buffet, kitchen and gymnasium was built. In 1999 thanks to the efforts of the Council of the Vilnius District Municipality 7 classrooms, library, canteen and sports hall were built.

Translated by Maciej Jóźwiak within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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