Rich Cultural Curriculum on Display at Brilliant Cultural Centre
West Kootenay Advertiser, December 5, 2013
Jim Sinclair - WKA Editor
Preserving a unique cultural heritage is only one of the benefits of the Russian/English bilingual program which is taught at Twin Rivers Elementary School in Castlegar. The historical signifiance of the Russian Doukhobor influence in this area is well known, but maybe not so well known is the 30-year run of the biIingual schooling at Twin Rivers.
With this year marking the completion of the third decade, a big show was staged this past Sunday night at the Brilliant Cultural Centre just across the river from Castlegar. Friends and family packed the place as a concert was carried out by a wide variety of performers. Twin Rivers principal Peter Evdokimoff informed that the event is not an annual one, but staged every 2-3 years. The relative rarity ensures the special nature of the gala.
With more than 200 youngsters taking part in the enriching program, there was guaranteed to be a lot of talent on hand for the Sunday night show. All stages of development were on display as kids from kindergarten to grade 12 (including the Stanley Humphries Russian Choir) showed their stuff.
Time involved in this course of study is well spent, for more reasons than one, explained Evdokimoff prior to the event.
"Two of the top-ten world languages are English and Russian," he related. "And it's an asset to have a second language. The global, so-called, village has come about and anywhere you travel, especially outside of Canada, Russian is quite widespread."
The concert featured those taking part in either of two courses: Russian Language Studies and Russian as a second language.
More than 700 were in attendance for the event.
According to Evdokimoff the program has achieved "wide recognition nationally and internationally."
A similar program has since been instituted in Northern Alberta and has been underway for about ten years.
"We've been the pioneer in this area" said the principal. "All levels, classes are usually reasonably full."
The December 1 event made a significant impression on many, including J.J. Verigin of the Union of Spiritual Communities of Christ.
"The concert was wonderful with great performances by all from the youngest to the oldest. The Russian language skills of the students, their colourful costumes, and the cultural entertainment they presented with the assistance of their teachers was thoroughly enjoyed by all present," said Verigin via email.
"We sincerely thank the administration of Kootenayay Columbia School District # 20, its Superintendent and Trustees, school administrators and teachers, parents for Russian, and students at Twin Rivers and Castlegar Primary for an amazing concert."
"We congratulate them on thirty years of sustaining an important program that widens cultural perspectives and career opportunities for our local students, and will continue to provide human financial, material ard other support for their efforts."