Sixth meeting

The sixth project meeting with all partners took place in Quito di Treviso, Italy from 23rd till 28th of February 2014.


School partnership School pupils and teachers from the Eichenlaubschule in Weiskirchen travelled to Italy at the end of February because of their Comenius school partnership. At the sixth meeting of the project the participants from six nations discovered Carnival in Venice amongst other things


Today’s lesson: Achieving International Understanding


Pupils and teachers from six European countries met in the Italian town of Quinto di Treviso for an Exchange visit


The sixth project meeting within the framework of the Comenius school partnership program took place in the last week of February in Italy. The meeting, organized by the Italian partner school in Quinto di Treviso, was attended by pupil and teacher delegations from partner schools in Germany, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania and Turkey. The group who travelled from the Eichenlaubschule Weiskirchen included six girls and three boys from the ninth grade, teacher Ina Raber, student teacher Pascal Peifer, English language assistant Eleanor Peacock and Headmaster Günter Peifer. They left early on the Sunday morning for Italy, travelling through France and Switzerland, together with the fourteen representatives from Luxembourg, and then stopping on the way to the partner school to collect the Greek and Turkish participants from an airport in Bergamo. At the school the children were warmly greeted by their host families. For most of the teachers it was a joyful reunion, as it was the sixth meeting of the project so far. Altogether the guest group from the six partner countries was made up of 39 pupils and 21 adults, including the Luxembourgian School Inspector, Gerard Roetter, whose plane arrived later, on Monday.


The Italian partner school has two sites in the communities of Quinto di Treviso and Morgano. On Monday they were welcomed to the school in Quinto by Headmistress Letizia and the school choir. During following joint art lessons the pupils were able to design their own Carnival mask. The teachers meanwhile set out for a cultural visit to the province’s capital of Treviso. Particularly impressive was the San Nicolo church. It is one of the most important buildings of Italian Gothic Architecture, due to its triple aspect apse and narrow windows. In this vast brick church from the 13th or 14th century you can marvel at the magnificent pillars, decorated with frescoes by Tommaso da Modena and his pupils.


The students spent the evening together with their host families. On the program for the teachers was an official reception in the town hall of Quinto di Treviso, from Elena Basso and Mauro dal Zilio, mayors of Morgano and Quinto di Treviso respectively. You could gather from their words just how proud they were of their school and how much they value this international cooperation. It is an important task for the schools to provide young people with the mutual trust which is so essential a basis for building European cooperation. Günter Peifer, leader of the project, expressed thanks on behalf of everyone present for these pleasant words, from which the teachers could gain the strength to make such projects a reality.


On Tuesday morning all were welcomed to the school campus in Morgano. The music teacher and choir encouraged everybody to join in their singing. Back in Quinto, the morning continued in the school gym, where the pupils played sports together. Five international teams of students were competing for the handball trophy while the teachers were challenging each other to ping-pong matches. After school, the program for the teachers was a Comenius workshop. According to the schedule of the project, an interactive online lesson directed by the Eichenlaubschule is going to be held via video conference in March. The German team presented the concept of the lesson, which is going to be about “stereotypes and stereotyped ideas”, made possible by the videochat-service Skype. The time agreed upon for a trial run is the 20th of March at 10 o’clock CET (11 o’clock in Greece, Romania and Turkey). The actual online lesson is going to take place one week later at the same time. Another part of the workshop was planning the final meeting in the course of the project. One highlight during this meeting will be the takeoff of a stratosphere-ballon, carrying several measuring instruments and even a radio receiver. Every partner school will get the opportunity to send short greetings with a comment on the Comenius-project in their mother tongue, which will also be recorded and broadcast.


At the end of the day, everyone was invited to spend an amusing evening together with all the host families in the Parish Hall. To be enjoyed alongside local cultural performances there was, of course, authentic Italian pasta, risotto and delicious desserts, all prepared by parents. Communication was no problem. The jumble of different languages, of English, French, Czech, Greek, Romanian, Turkish, German and Italian served to give the evening an impressively European dimension.


A high point was the following day’s trip to Venice, the city on the lagoon, which lies just fifty kilometresor so from the partner school. By train you arrive conveniently at the Santa Lucia train station, at the west end of the Grand Canal. Next was a short walk over the Ponte degli Scalzi to the Palazzo Ferro Fini. The palace is now the seat for the regional council of Venetia, somewhat comparable to Saarland’s state parliament. The visitors received a brief history of the region and palace, as well as a detailed explanation of the political context. Venetia, ‘Regione del Veneto’ in Italian, is a region in north east Italy, with Venice its regional capital. The region is divided into seven provinces. Venetia is the eighth biggest Italian region in terms of square meters and its over 4.9 million inhabitants put it in fifth place population wise. A particular honour was the introduction to a member of parliament, Claudio Niero. In his speech he emphasised the remarkable significance of school partnerships across Europe, with words of esteem for the commitment of all teachers involved. The basic information about Venice’s history and geography laid good foundations for the following tour of the city. It is no mean feat, walking a group of about one hundred people through Venice. Teacher Paola Conte undertook the role of guide, a decorated stick with colourful ribbons in hand, by which the others could orientate themselves in the crowds. With the further support of more Italian teachers and parents familiar with the area, they walked along the canals through many little alleyways. It was Carnival in Venice and masked people in splendid clothes could be seen all over. They strolled through the squares like models, seeking the attention and admiration of tourists, not hesitating to pose for photographs. The streets at this point were very full and St Mark’s Square was the centre of activity. From classical black and white robes, feather hats, and Casanova-esque costumes of gloriously colourful and glittery materials, to hand decorated fantasy costumes- the variety was impressive. From St. Mark’s Square they went to picnic on the waterside ‘Riva degli Schiavoni.’ The Riva is one of the most noteworthy quays in Venice. From here there are southerly views of the islands of the lagoon, above all of San Giorgio Maggiore. Returning back to St Mark’s Square, and onwards, they then set off back towards the train station through the multi-coloured hustle and bustle of the Rialto Bridge.


The pupils spent the last day in the school and with their host families whilst the teachers made their way back to Venice. This time they went with the Vaperetto (Water bus) to explore the islands of Murano and Burano. By Friday it was time to go back home. As evident in the tearful farewell, the hearts of pupils, teachers and their guest families have been imprinted with the unforgettable memories of these days spent together. Everyone is already looking forward to the next and unfortunately last meeting of this project, to be held in Weiskirchen at the beginning of May. 

Translation: Eleanor Peacock, Pascal Peifer



 Saarbrücker Zeitung: Montag, 10. März 2014

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