Gymnázium sv. Cyrila a Metoda v Nitre

2009/2010: Year in Review

Our Commission believes that knowledge of a foreign language opens the door to the world for our students. And we also believe that knowledge comes not only from traditional classroom lessons, nut also from actively putting the skills learned there to work.

While we are proud of the fact that our students scored above the national average in both levels of the matura exam, we are even prouder of the way they were so easily and enthusiastically able to prepare and participate in a large number of activities which our Commission organized during the 2009/2010 school year.

These activities began early in October when Julia Lederleitnerova and Miriama Darnadiova (3A) and Samuel Holly and Emanuel Godal (4A) represented our school (and respectively, Austria and Costa Rica) at BRATMUN- a model United Nations session held annually in Bratislava that brings together students from all over the world.

Later in the month Class 2A traveled to Bratislava as well- to see a professional theater performance of Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels”. It was presented by TNT Theater Company, and the students were amazed by the skills of the native-speaker actors and actresses- and by their own ability to understand them!

November saw us organize two other traditional English activities- a Rosary for the intention of the souls of our dead (which was enriched with music and meditations prepared by the students) and the English Essay Competition organized by the Open Society Foundation. The themes this year centered on the social problems of Slovakia and let our students express their opinions on issues affecting our society.

December was filled with opportunities for the students to put their English into practice. During the week before the holiday we were honored to have Father Patrick (RPM) from Ireland as our guest. He celebrated the English Advent Mass and managed to spend an hour in most of our classes, enriching them with his “stories” of his native land. The English-German Christmas program is perhaps the oldest of all foreign language activities at GCM. Live music and several short plays created a relaxed atmosphere for an enjoyable afternoon and helped put everyone in the Christmas spirit.

We also joined the Euroscola project for the third year. This is a project organized by the European Parliament to get young people involved in European Union-related activities. Our students organized two separate programs. On 17 December, Dr. Miroslav Mikolasik returned (his third visit to GCM) to lead a meeting and discussion with the higher level students on current EU issues including the newly implemented Lisbon Treaty, the world financial crisis and the rise of extremism in EU countries. On 21 December the younger students met to present projects they had prepared on the EU. This was their first exposure to the history, purpose and workings of that institution so their presentations were mostly informational in terms of content.

As is our custom, we also organized a Christmas time charity activity- “Socks for the Homeless”- which besides helping our town’s needy citizens was our school’s entry in the “Europe in Schools” project.

During the second semester our attention focused on preparation for the written and oral matura exams, but our “graduating” students still managed to organize an English symposium- the 7th that we’ve had- on the themes of patriotism and Christian citizenship with Father Patrick- back again!- and Mr. Martin Barto of KDH as featured guests. Father Patrick also celebrated a beautiful Mass for the matura students and their intentions at St. Michael’s Church where he tried to encourage them to put their future in God’s hands, but also work hard to become all that they can be.

While the matura students were busy with these projects, Class 2A- perhaps inspired by their visit to the theater earlier in the year- entered an original short play- “How Heroes Die” written by Michaela Simjakova of that class- in the Nitra English Drama Festival sponsored by UKF, Department of American Studies. This work explored reasons for the mortality and immortality of various literary heroes (Hamlet, Antigone, the Little Prince, the Godfather) and- much to their surprise- took top place.

The year ended with a group of five students taking part in the Model European Parliament regional competition on 16-17 June. Although this round was in Slovak language the hope for each student is to advance to the international level where English is the working language. Barbora Sucha from VI, specializing in defense policy, moved on to the national competition which will take place next school year in the Slovak parliament.

Besides all these “special” events, the year also saw the annual English book exhibition and sale where our students showed extraordinary interest in buying books to improve their skills. In-school projects and presentations became more and more a part of everyday education with students from 3A even producing their own movie on the theme of friendship. Students from 4A again prepared and presented their “diploma work”- an original extensive research project on a topic of their choice. The prize for the best work was won by Maria Krizanova for her work on Lost Civilizations, followed by Simona Predacova (Diabetes), Samuel Holly (Bushcraft), Maria Bisahova (Evolution), Michaela Guzmicka (Celtic Culture), Emanuel Godal (Basketball), and Betka Cvicelova (the Human Brain).

A source of pride for us is that two of our students were able to study abroad in the last school year as a result of winning international scholarships (Michaela Pilkova VIII- USA, Global Outreach and Ondrej Komora VII- England, Open Society Foundation). Michaela Simjakova, 2A is a recipient of a Global Outreach scholarship for the 2010/2011 school year. This is a program sponsored by the Catholic Church in the USA whose purpose is to give students from former Communist countries the opportunity to spend a year in an American Catholic high school while living with an American Catholic family. In February we were pleased that the directors of that organization were able to visit our school and enjoy the program our students prepared for them.

And finally, we should mention what is perhaps the biggest project ever undertaken by the English Commission- the two year long Comenius Project (a EU program) where we have joined with schools from Wales and Germany to produce a virtual picture of the typical European teenager- both in and out of school. This Project has its own page on our school’s web site where you can learn more about it and the activities connected with it over the last year. It is a great opportunity for our students to be able to travel, meet new friends, and learn about other countries and their ways of life by taking part in this international cooperative work.

So we can say that this has been a very busy, but quite satisfying, year for the English Commission- giving us much to build on and look forward to next school year.




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