“Be dedicated, believe in yourselves, and do not give up after one obstacle or failure.” This is what eleventh-grader Vlado Assenov of the Vocational School of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture in Kostinbrod appealed at “The Great Adventure — It’s Up To Me” Student Conference. It was held on 10 June in the building of the Faculty of Biology of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and attracted more than 200 students from I to XI grade from different towns and villages in Bulgaria. The main organizer of the event was the “Ot Men Zavisi” (translating as It Is Up To Me) NGO, set up and managed entirely by Teach for Bulgaria Program alumni of different cohorts.
“The Great Adventure” allowed students to share their school year success stories and tell more about the road they have traveled to reach there. Like Vlado’s, whose passion for football made him neglect studying. After a conversation with his father, who reminded him that his future and work depended on education, Vlado gradually started showing progress at school and is currently preparing to apply for the Academy of the Ministry of Interior. The turning point for ninth-grader Georgi Hristov of the same school was when his Teach for Bulgaria Program teachers Desislava Todorova and Teodora Vavova started working with him on how to meet challenges, speak to an audience and believe he can achieve his goals.
“Confidence, courage and holding your head up high,” these are the three qualities the successful student should have according to Georgi.
During the conference, students also presented their own projects, which they had developed during the school year. The Anglo-American Culture Festival and the Career Forum for students at “Otets Paisii” High School, Samokov, the “Lend a Hand” Volunteering Video Club by the tenth-graders from the “Hristo Smirnenski” High School in Stara Zagora, and the English language play by the second-graders from Bistritsa Nicole, Bozhidar and Nikolay were among these projects. The students also held various workshops and round tables, such as for team work, reading and mathematical literacy, presentation and communication skills, anti-poverty measures. The event was attended by guests from different spheres — representatives of schools, institutions, non-governmental organizations, corporate partners and like-minded people.
“The Great Adventure” enabled students to share their success stories during the school year.
“Success depends only on the efforts you make,” Ilian Ramov, a seventh-grade student at School 159 “Vassil Levski”, Chelopechene, shared. He said he had started paying attention not to how much he studied, but how and with what result. For the seventh-grade students of “Vasil Aprilov” School in Harlets Village, the final goal for the school year was also clearly measurable — to perform well at the national external assessment and to complete their lower secondary education. They started with no experience in some of the exam tasks and strong doubts about their abilities, to get to the point where they are “first friends with the transforming retelling,” students Teddy and Pepi said. This however only happened after a lot of efforts, participation at competitions, additional work after classes, and a National External Assessment Marathon with eight mock exams. Their Teach for Bulgaria Program teacher Nevyana Teodosieva supported them on their way to success, and an inspector from the regional education administration in Vratsa, gave them valuable insights for the exam. “At the end of this year during which we prepared for the exams we emerged transformed,” Teddy and Pepi continued. “We now know that everything depends on us,” they added.
Students of 31 Teach for Bulgaria Program teachers took part in the “The Great Adventure — It Is Up to Me” from 24 schools from Batanovtsi, Bistritsa, Bozhurishte, Brestnitsa, Bhutan, Vratsa, Kostinbrod, Lom, Oreshene, Orlandovtsi, Pasarel, Samokov, Sofia, Stara Zagora, Tarnava, Harlets, Chelopechene and Cherni Osam.
“The Great Adventure — It Is Up to Me” Conference was realised with the support of Teach for Bulgaria Foundation, America for Bulgaria Foundation, Lidl Bulgaria, Bankya Mineral Water, ETEM Bulgaria AD, Multiprint, Sofia University’s Faculty of Biology and the Student’s Council of Sofia University, Darik Radio and the NGO Portal — ngobg.info.