Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
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20th Annual Russian Sampler Day

On Monday, March 25, 2013, the Waterville Area-Kotlas Sister City Connection and the Colby College Russian Program presented their twentieth annual Russian Sampler at Colby College. This introduction to Russia for Central Maine junior high and high schools students presented sessions of Russian language, culture, history, arts and crafts, and cooking for 240 students and their teachers and accompanying adults.

One of the highlights of the day was the presence of 6 Russian guests, who led sessions. Colby Russian Language Assistant, Anna Fateeva, taught a Russian language class. High school exchange students Shukur Sadikhov (Russian Schools) and Anton El'tsov (Profiles of Russian Youth) answered all the questions of American students. Visiting from Kotlas, our Sister City, English teacher Valentina Maklakova taught students how to make a variety of linen dolls; 9th grade student Viktoria Bol'shakova introduced students to Russian holiday celebrations; 11th grade student grade student Artyom Starostenko told students about the most popular Russian sports.

Vika class

Students around Sister City sign (English teacher Valentina Maklakova, student Viktoria Bol'shakova, and student Artyom Starostenko)

The Russians joined 18 American session leaders. Four Sister City Committee members prepared an introductory session, entitled "Russia Yesterday and Today," which presented a brief overview of the geography, history, governmental structure, and educational system of Russia. Mary Coombs and Carl Daiker introduced students to the city of Kotlas and its historical personages. Retired Waterville physician Ken Green presented a pictorial history of Russia in World War II. The students heard a variety of Russian music, everything from church music to rock, with Nathan Williams. They decorated traditional Russian Easter eggs with Ellen Corey, and they learned about Russian fairy tales with Pauline Mayhew and about Russian icons with Phil Gonyar.

Phil with icons

Manchester teacher Mary O'Brien told the story of Samantha Smith, a Manchester teenager, who wrote to then Soviet Premier Andropov about her desire for world peace. Andropov invited Samantha and her family to visit the Soviet Union, and from that first visit began a series of student exchanges between the two countries.

After the morning classes, students had lunch and sampled the delicious results of the morning's cooking sessions, led by Sister City Co-Chair Martha Patterson (vegetable soup) Marilyn Hall (cookies). Then the school buses arrived, and the students were on their way back to their home schools after an exciting day.

Making vegetable soup

If your local school would be interested in attending Russian Sampler 2014, please contact Professor Elena Monastireva-Ansdell for Colby College's Russian Program at