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

Home > News > Archives > American Sampler

An "American Sampler" in Kotlas

On April 18, 2005, the Waterville Committee in Kotlas held its first annual American Sampler. Modeled after our Russian Sampler, the event was designed to expose Kotlas schoolchildren to American culture.

The Waterville Committee, which is the sister city organization in Kotlas, timed its Sampler to mark the sixteenth anniversary of the first meeting between residents of Kotlas and Waterville. That meeting occurred in April 1989, when Peter Garrett, his daughter Jessica, and Natalia Kempers visited Kotlas.

Sixty-five students from all fourteen of Kotlas's schools attended. Among the presenters were five teachers and fifteen future teachers. The latter, all aspiring English teachers, were students of Tatyana Shelygina, an English teacher at the Archangelsk Pedagogical Institute in Kotlas, where the program was held.

The program started with an assembly conducted by the chairwoman of the Waterville Committee, Irina Reznichenko. After singing two American songs, Zina Yegorova gave the group the background of the Waterville-Kotlas relationship, and Lyuba Zinovkina spoke about American youth. The students were then greeted deputy mayor Andrei Bralnin.

They were then divided into six groups for "master-classes" in American English, America on the Internet, American songs, patchwork quilting, and cooking. In "American English," the students learned the difference between the British pronunciation that they learn in school, and the American versions of the same words. Then they all took turns at reading a British text with American pronunciation. In "Songs", they learned the American colonial classic, "Billy Boy." And what do you think that they prepared as an American dish in "Cooking"? You're right if you guessed hamburgers! Also in "Cooking", Inna Tushina and Zina Zelyanina gave their impressions of the American way of eating and other popular foods here.

Every group attended three classes, and then was given a chance to share what it had learned with students who had taken other classes. Everyone who participated had a wonderful time, and asked the Waterville Committee to organize a Sampler next year. Here's the best part: a film was made of the Sampler and it will be ready for us when our citizen's delegation visits in Kotlas in August. The Kotlas Connection expects to present the film at its annual meeting this fall.

Most of the adults who took part in the event have visited Waterville. Indeed, Tatyana Shelygina and Lyuba Zinovkina have both been guests of the Kotlas Connection at past Russian Samplers. English teachers Inna Tushina and Zina Egorova have both been to Waterville twice; Andrei Bralnin was part of the official delegation last June; and Zina Zelyanina paid a private visit to pen pal Ellen Corey last September. Through their combined experiences in the U.S., we know that they were able to give their students a realistic picture of American life.

This article is adapted from the Bulletin From The Kotlas Connection Chairs, Issue #18, May 2005, by Phil Gonyar and Herb Foster.