• February 5, 2015
  • 201

The qualifications for the 26th Literature and Polish Language Olympiad have started

The qualifications for the 26th Literature and Polish Language Olympiad in the Vilnius region have started on the 4th of February.

All guests – students and their teachers – have been invited for the second tier of the competition by Mickūnų vidurinė mokykla (Szkoła Średnia w Mickunach).

On the first day of the competition students of 11th-12th grades faced the writing part. The oral examination is scheduled on the 5th of February.

The meeting has been opened by the hosts. The students of 9th-12th grades prepared beautiful artistic performances under the supervision of the deputy head Julia Agafonowa.

The artistic part constituted of the impressive polonaise danced by the students, masterful accordion concert, and touching singing and reciting of poems, including those of Fr. Jan Twardowski.

On the 1st of June 2015 there will be a hundred year’s anniversary of the birth of the father prelate, therefore the Senate of the Republic of Poland proclaimed year 2015 as the year of the Fr. Jan Twardowski.

The piece of one of the poet’s poems has been chosen as this year’s motto of the olympiad: “(…) and from simple things learn calm/ forget that you are when you say that you love.” (“When You Say”, translated by Zofia Błaszczyk).

One of the topics of the written part of the competition also concerned the work of Fr. Twardowski.

“Care for the beauty of our language is the duty of every Pole, as the knowledge of foreign languages is the skill of an European citizen” – said Janina Klimaszewska, senior specialist for education of the local government of the Vilnius region. “We are proud that we coexist with the Lithuanian culture, and that our Polish tongue can be heard in every part of the world. Today, we face a difficult task: we must transmit the heritage of our grandparents and our great-grandparents, who managed to save our language, culture, faith, and most importantly identity even when they opposed mortal dangers.”

Janina Klimaszewska said that the task is difficult because in everyday life Poles in Lithuania are trilingual, and incorporated into Lithuanian-Russian pop culture, therefore Poles have to constantly fight for the correctness of their mother language.

“The sight of the “fighters” who are not neutral towards the fate of our mother language is most pleasing. The achievements of the competitors of the olympiad fill with joy” – said Klimaszewska, and wished the competitors good luck.

This year’s second tier competition gathered 26 students from Polish schools from the Vilnius region. The number is higher in comparison to the previous year.

“We cooperate with the Polonistikos centros of the University of Vilnius (Centrum Polonistyczne Uniwersytetu Wileńskiego) and the Polish Department of the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences. The competitors of the olympiad have the opportunity to learn something from the professors who gladly meet with students, give advices, and share their study aids” – said Janina Klimaszewska.

Despite the general tendency to complain about the decreasing rate of readership among youth, the lack of time to prepare oneself to the olympiad, and the need to concentrate on the Lithuanian exam and mathematics – the students compete in the olympiad and prove their faithfulness to their mother language.

“It is very difficult to prepare a competitor for the olympiad” – said Jadwiga Osipowicz, the teacher of Polish in the St. Urszula Ledóchowska’s Secondary School in Czarny Bór (Juodšiliai) whose students are among the best competitors each year. “Students are often unenthusiastic about their participation in the olympiad, they are often convinced to compete by their teachers. Today, I brought with me two 11th grade boys and one 12th grade girl. I am glad that my pupils not only read the compulsory books, but also attend additional meetings. I always come to school at 7 a.m. and we meet to discuss novels, for example, those written by Mickiewicz or Żeromski. We went through all the big volumes from the period of positivism.”

The head of the jury Walentyna Treszczyńska, the teacher of Polish in the Secondary School in Pogiry (Pogiriai) opened the envelopes with the topics for the written part, and assured that the jury will be just and objective in its work.

High school graduate student Ewelina Ilona Sinkiewicz from the Secondary School in Awiżenie (Avižieniai) was a bit nervous before the start of the olympiad, but she admitted that she studied hard for it.

“I like to read. I always read. When it comes to the classics I read Henryk Sienkiewicz, but in regards to the contemporary writers I prefer Paulo Coelho. Prior to the olympiad, I got familiar with the works of Jan Twardowski, due to the anniversary. I enjoyed some of his poems and apparently I have to grow to like the others” – said Ewelina.

When the students started writing the teachers took part in the open classes using interactive whiteboards.

“Perhaps some of the students think that literature is not useful in life at all, but books are inspirational and show what is valuable in life. Reading as such helps in life” – said Jadwiga Osipowicz.

Topics of the written part of the competition:

  1. Interpretation of the poem “Blind Girl” by Fr. J. Twardowski
  2. Interpretation of the poem “Rozmowa z aktorem” (“A talk with an actor” transl. mine) by K.I. Gałczyński
  3. The comparison of L. Staff’s “Biedaczyno asyski!” (“The poor man of Assissi” transl. mine) and A. Kamieńska’s “Modlitwa do św. Franciszka” (“Prayer to St. Francis” transl. mine)
  4. Intepretation of the piece of the short story “Żołnierz” (“Soldier”) by Marek Hłasko

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

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