Two Cent Bridge Kotlas - Waterville Area
Sister City Connection
P.O. Box 1747
Waterville, ME 04903-1747
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Street in Kotlas

The Connection and the Colby College Russian Program hosted our 20th annual Russian Sampler day for local middle school and high school students on March 24, 2014, at Colby College. Russian Sampler is one of the important educational activities of the Connection and continues each year to introduce Russian arts, culture, and politics to young American students. This year students and teachers from Bingham, Augusta, Winslow, Waterville, Erskine Academy, and home schoolers participated in Sampler.

Each year Sampler features an array of classes, taught by Connection members, local Russophiles, and guest teachers and high school students from Kotlas. Classes this year included folk music, church art and architecture, fairy tales, history of Kotlas, favorite Russian children’s cartoons, Russian cooking, Russian language, the history of student diplomat Samantha Smith, a photography exhibit of the Russian north, and several craft sessions, including birchbark carving, making linen dolls, egg decorating, and painting. Anna Sergeevna Lobanova, teacher of English in Kotlas, introduced American students to the joys of the Russian dacha (summer cottage); 10th grade student Danil Osminin talked with his students about favorite Russian sports; 10th grade student Anna Mityanina told her students about Russian schools. This opportunity to talk informally with Russian teachers and students is one of the highlights of Sampler for local Maine students.

In addition to their teaching at Russian Sampler, our Russian guests had a very busy schedule of trips and visits during their 8 days in Maine. They visited the State House and The Maine State Museum. They had a lovely visit with 5th graders at the Hall School in Waterville and many lively class visits at Winslow elementary, junior high, and high school. They spent a day in Portland, including a lighthouse visit. A day trip to Boston took them all over the city and up to the top of the Old Customs House for a panoramic view of the city. They were happily entertained in many homes and enjoyed a Thanksgiving in March dinner at the home of the Pattersons in Waterville. As the visiting teacher remarked, "We have seen the REAL America here in Maine."

Kotlas teacher of English, Anna Lobanova (right), and 10th grade student, Anna Mityanina, have a relaxing moment.

Kotlas 10th grade student, Danil Osminin (right), gets a chance to talk with Roman Blizniuk, an exchange student from Ukraine, who is studying this year at Kennebec Valley Community College.

A smiling group. From the left, Carl Daiker and Phil Gonyar, Connection members who presented a history of the Sister City Connection at the March Global Forum luncheon meeting; Anna Lobanova, Kotlas teacher of English; Connection member Mary Coombs; Connection member Pauline Mayhew; Connection member Earl Coombs. Anna Lobanova lived at the Coombs’ home during her visit to Maine.

At the Thanksgiving in March turkey dinner, Connection members and Russian guests gathered for this happy souvenir photo.