Third Charitable ESL Summer School in Zazdrist, Ukraine
On July 16-August 5, 2017, the Josyf Slipyj Museum in the Patriarch’s native village of Zazdrist in the Ternopil region was filled with life. 29 young people from the Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Ternopil, Kyiv and Kharkiv regions spent their free time organizing interesting games, parties, picnics, learning to bake, and sightseeing. But the main reason they came here was to learn and master their English skills. The school was organized by the St. Sophia Religious Association in the USA for young people ages 15 to 22. Because the Association has maintained a strong bond with the Ukrainian people, a project was created in 2015 for young refugees from the war zone and for children whose parents are currently serving there. Eventually, it was expanded to orphans and students of the Ternopil and Kyiv seminary. This year, students of the Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv seminaries were also invited.
The ESL Summer School is a charitable endeavor. Children spent three weeks learning, living, and resting, all sponsored by the St. Sophia Religious Association which also provided all participants with books and school supplies. The main goal of the project was to replicate as much as possible a realistic environment where the students would learn English not only from books, but also master it in an everyday life (Language Immersion Program). Instruction was maintained at five levels: Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper-Intermediate, and Advanced. The latter was added for students who prepare for TOEFL/IELTS international language testing.
Five instructors, all of whom came from abroad taught Conversation, Grammar, Reading Comprehension, Composition, and Adapted Literature. The learning process filled mornings, afternoons and evenings. Children also watched and discussed movies, had Karaoke classes and baking workshops.
The Josyf Slipyj Museum is also home to a chapel which was opened at the site some two decades ago. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated daily, in addition to morning and evening prayer services. The participants of the ESL school maintained the regular liturgical schedule
The graduation took place on August 5. The Divine Liturgy in English was celebrated by Fr. Taras Kchik, CSSR, and Fr. Ihor Bloshchynskyy, pastor of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Elkins Park, PA. During the official ceremony, Iryna Ivankovych, Director of the ESL School, read a letter from Patriarch Sviatoslav Shevchuk. Tetyana Sharko, School Administrator, conveyed greetings from Most Reverend Vasyl Semeniuk, Metropolitan-Archbishop of Ternopil and Zboriv. All participants were awarded certificates of the completion.
Festivities were concluded with a reception which was followed by singing and dancing. It was not easy to bid goodbye as everyone realized they had gained a new family there. Whatever the future may hold, the ESL Summer School in Zazdrist will always remain a bright and unforgettable chapter in the participants’ lives.
St. Sophia Association Press Bureau