- July 20, 2023
Among the top students in Vilnius – two from the Polish gymnasium
Vilnius can once again boast the highest number of top-performing students in Lithuania who excelled in this year’s graduation exams. Today, in the church of St. John, the mayor of Vilnius, Valdas Benkunskas, expressed his gratitude and awarded diplomas to 95 graduates who achieved two or more perfect scores. Among the awardees were two students from the Gimnazjum im. św. Jana Pawła II in Vilnius.
Benkunskas emphasized that Vilnius is forever their home. “You are the brightest minds of our city,” the mayor said during the diploma award ceremony.
Alina Kowalewska, the advisor to the director of education administration, emphasized in an interview with LRT.lt that education is one of the most important priorities of Vilnius.
“We are delighted with the achievements of each of these students, and we encourage them to connect their future with Vilnius,” says Kowalewska. She adds that for several years, Vilniaus Licėjus, Biržiškio Gimnazija, Žirmūnų Gimnazija, and Jėzuitų Gimnazija have consistently stood out with the best results in the high school graduation exams.
“Among the top institutions, each year is also Gimnazjum im. św. Jana Pawła II in Vilnius. It’s extremely gratifying that students from the Polish school are consistently on the list of the best,” says Kowalewska. Adam Kozłowski from Gimnazjum im. św. Jana Pawła II in Vilnius achieved two perfect scores – in the Russian and English exams.
“I’m very pleased, although I had hoped for a different outcome. I was expecting 100 points in history, but I received it in English. History only cost me four points. It’s still a good result, considering that this year, there are only three students in the whole of Lithuania who achieved a perfect score in history,” says Adam, who has chosen international relations at Jagiellonian University. After completing his studies, he plans to return to Vilnius.
“I scored 79 in mathematics and 93 in Lithuanian. However, it’s unfortunate that we could only take the Polish language exam at the school level. It’s not fair because we can’t celebrate perfect scores in our native language as well. If this changes in the future, it would be a good compromise in case the Russian language exam is eliminated,” says Adam. He adds that he is proud to have graduated from St. John Paul II Gymnasium in Vilnius.
“I must admit that after completing the lower secondary school (progimnazjum), I felt tempted to continue my education at Vilniaus Licėjus. However, in the end, I chose to stay with my friends with whom I’ve been together since the early grades at ‘Wilii.’ Today, I am convinced that St. John Paul II Gymnasium is an excellent institution. I was thrilled to achieve third place in the Republican History Olympiad, surpassing a student from Vilniaus Licėjus,” says the graduate with joy.
He also emphasizes that he never felt the need for additional private tutoring.
“Today, I wish my school to listen even more to its students, their ideas, and needs. I hope it maintains the current level of education and strives for new heights, for example, through cooperation with other competitive Lithuanian institutions and schools from different countries,” summarizes Adam.
Hubert Niewierowicz from the Gymnasium of St. John Paul II in Vilnius also achieved two hundred points – in English and computer science exams. “I did a lot of work, but I was accustomed to it. I didn’t have to change my approach to studying in the final year. I also didn’t use any additional tutoring,” explains Hubert. Like Adam, he had hoped for even better results.
“I scored 99 points in mathematics. I even considered it appealing because I’m convinced it should have been 100. However, I wouldn’t have had time to submit documents for university admissions, so I let it go. One or two points are always subject to questioning. After all, the number of perfect scores is not the key indicator of a student’s competence and knowledge. Overall, I’m happy with my results,” says Hubert, who plans to study IT at the Warsaw University of Technology. After completing his master’s studies, he also intends to return to Lithuania.
“I never considered that I would be better off in any other school. Gimnazjum im. św. Jana Pawła II was the only option for me. My results have shown that it was a good decision, and I’m proud of it,” shares Niewierowicz. He admits that he is grateful to his teachers today, as they set a very high bar for him.
“I was fortunate to have very demanding and wonderful educators as my teachers. For instance, the ladies who taught Lithuanian – Erika Gerulaitienė at Progimnazjum im. św. Jana Pawła II and Lina Činčiuvienė at Gimnazjum. It was thanks to their efforts that I managed to score 82 points on the Lithuanian exam. In other schools, my grades were never this high,” Hubert laughs.
“The most important thing is consistent and systematic learning. However, I’m not saying that you can’t also pull yourself together at the last moment. I don’t want to discourage anyone. Although, it’s best to start studying as early as possible. That’s what I tried to do. It allowed me to have enough time for additional interests and hobbies,” explains Hubert.
Hubert’s mother, Czesia Niewierowicz, believes that family support turned out to be the best motivation. “I remember in the fourth grade, I organized a two-week revision of the Lithuanian language for him. I knew he was capable of more. I was always there beside him, and when he needed me, I supported him. During the exam session, he found the strength to work while attending a Rammstein concert and even had time for acting in the Polish Theatre Studio. He has complete freedom in his decisions,” says Czesia Niewierowicz.
Translated by Agnieszka Julia Olchowik within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.