• February 4, 2016
  • 310

The Olympiad city stage winner: Polish is successively replaced by Lithuanian

“It is what we experienced and learned at home that decides on our success the most prominently. In my family Polish literature was always in the first place, and traditions were preserved as well,” says Magdalena Bielawska – a student of the Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School in Vilnius and the winner of the second stage of the 27th Literature and Polish Language Olympiad in Vilnius – in an interview carried out by zw.lt.

“I don’t think that every promotion, every school has such people who preserve the Polish culture in their families as well. It is the preservation of culture and tradition indeed that is the main reason for us speaking in such and not another way, as well as being good at this particular language,” Magdalena wonders. According to her, Polish is often replaced by Lithuanian among the youth.

“I think that parents who consider themselves Poles should put a lot of effort into it. Teachers also ought to get their students interested in the Polish culture and literature, but not just the curricular when it comes to the latter, but also some extra one. For example, the topic I had to write on in the Olympiad was associated with an extracurricular writer, who is not so known in the Vilnius region – Bruno Schulz. However, he was very interesting for me. I think that it is worth for the youth to discover things from outside our region’s borders,” says the winner of the Olympiad city stage.

Only 16 students participated in the city qualifying competition, which lasted two days and took place in the John Paul II Secondary School in Vilnius. All of the participants qualified for the next stage, final, which will be held from 16th to 18th March. Jury, however, singled the best competitors out.

Regina Paszuta, a teacher of Polish in the Józef I. Kraszewski Secondary School in Vilnius and the jury chairman, admits that there were not many participants this year. She says, however, that the preparation for the Olympiad requires hard and committed both student’s and teacher’s work.

“Students sometimes get ready to it for the whole year. Maybe it’s this that scares the graduating class students off, as they have their exams to pass. That’s why there are so many people from the third grade, so the eleventh one [the third grade in “gimnazjum” matches the eleventh grade in a secondary school, which are the last but one grades; translator’s note],” Regina Paszuta highlights.

“This year’s participants’ level was very diverse. It does not happen always that the competitors who have had the highest score for the paper succeed in the oral part of the competition. I must point out, however, that some did well both in the written part and test – which verified among other things the grammar knowledge and participants’ erudition – as well as in the oral examination. We regretted that the limited time precluded us from listening longer to some of the students,” the jury chairman recounts.

She adds also that time of intensive work awaits them before the final. Henryka Sokołowska, PhD, the director of the Polish Language, Culture Study and Didactics Centre of the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, talked about it as well. She is going to be one of the Olympiad final stage hosts. “I see you all still on the way – one that still requires a lot of effort, because of which I do not feel sorry for you but which I envy you. I’m sure that the path you’ve chosen is the right one, and that still a lot of joy awaits you there. If you don’t win against somebody who sits next to you, you will still for sure overcome something in yourselves and it will be your inner victory,” Sokołowska assured.

The motto of this year’s Olympiad is Henryk Sienkiewicz’s quotation, “Words should not be bigger than acts.” During the second stage the participants took part in a written and oral qualifying competition. In the former the task required an interpretation of a literary work. The competitors were able to choose one from the works that included Stanisław Barańczak’s poem “Łzy w kinie” [trans. “Tears in the cinema”], Tadeusz Różewicz’s “Słowa” [trans. “Words”], an excerpt from Henryk Sienkiewicz’s novel “The Deluge”, or they could do a comparative interpretation of an excerpt from William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” and Agnieszka Osiecka’s poem “Kochankowie z ulicy Kamiennej” [trans. “Lovers from Kamienna Street”]. In the oral part the competitors presented topics developed on their own, most of which were related to the Polish literature.

The final of the 27th Literature and Polish Language Olympiad will be held from 16th to 18th March in the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences. The ceremonial ending and announcement of results will take place in the Eliza Orzeszkowa Secondary School in Baltoji Vokė.

The second stage award winners of the 27th Literature and Polish Language Olympiad in Vilnius:

1st place: Magdalena Bielawska, the Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School, teacher: Bożena Borowska

2nd place:
Dominika Wasilewska, the Władysław Syrokomla Secondary School, teacher: Łucja Minowicz
Karolina Słotwińska, the Władysław Syrokomla Secondary School, teacher: Łucja Minowicz

3rd place:
Edgar Tomaszewicz: the Adam Mickiewicz Secondary School, teacher: Bożena Borowska
Konrad Żytkowski, the Józef I. Kraszewski Secondary School, teacher: Joanna Szczygłowska
Adriana Wołosewicz, the Władysław Syrokomla Secondary School, teacher: Łucja Minowicz

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

Related post

‘Half a loaf is better than none’? New national minorities bill.

Up until now, the Lithuanian national minorities’ rights have been regulated partially by special laws (e.g.…

White-and-red march through Vilnius and a rally in schools’ defence. ‘Poles want normalcy’.

A two thousandth white-and-red march passed through the streets of Vilnius on Saturday, March 23. Participants…

Issues of Polish education have been raised in front of parents and teachers.

The discussion on current issues in Polish education in Lithuania was initiated by the Forum of…