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2012-2013 School Year at Alexandra Kazickas Lithuanian School

     The seventh school year started with a visit from Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania to New York Valdemaras Sarapinas and his spouse Vyte. Mr. Sarapinas read a cngratulatory letter from Audronis Azubalis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and presented a special letter in an enclosed envelope and gifts (a LT Constitution for children’s book and a movie about Darius and Girenas, Lithuanian pilots) from Irena Degutiene, Speaker of Seimas from Lithuania. A congratulatory speech was given by Mrs. Elena Naujikiene, member of the Kazickas Family Foundation of New York and Mrs. Rasa Mitruleviciene, newly elected chair of the Lithuanian Community of the East End of Long Island. After the official part, students, faculty and parents were invited to the nearby newly opened Bowling Alley.

     The seventh school year started with 26 students attending, and later, right after the New Year, joined by four more, totaling 30, and a staff of ten. The School staff and administration members were the following: Lithuanian language and literature teacher - Renata Petrauskiene, elementary school curriculum teacher - Ramune Kurbanoviene, geography teacher - Jolanta Vilcinskiene, kindergarten teacher - Rita Klimaviciene, music teacher - Irma Dirzius, kindergarten teacher’s assistant - Austeja Petrauskaite, website administrator - Gintaute Genender, treasurer - Daiva Matoniene, the head of parent committee - Snieguole Furajeviene. For the first year the school did not have a history teacher. Neila Baumiliene remained the principal of the school and also started teaching a class “Nowadays Lithuania“, mainly using video equipment and computers for the interactive lessons on Lithuanian history, culture, geography and integrating technology for language educational games and exercises. From the very beginning the academic year started with rigor, lots of homework and respect for knowledge.

     This year the Lithuanian Community of the East End took over most of the community’s work and started hosting events and parties freeing School staff and parents for the first time from these duties. The school year started with a trip to Six Flags promised to the students at the end of the previous school year and sponsored by the parent teacher committee who fundraised during yard sales. Students were also taken to the Pumpkin patch during one of the warm October Saturdays where they had a Lithuanian class on expressions of fall, farms and weather. Apart from writing and drawing on clipboards, students were able to play on the field and go pumpkin picking. This outing was followed by writing an essay during regular Saturday classes.

     October ended with a beautiful concert commemorating the Lithuanian Poet Maironis 150 with a Choir from Philadelphia and reading of poetry, listening to Maironis’s friend composer Naujalis’s music. AKLS students participated in the concert and learned about both renowned men during Saturday classes. During classes, older students watched the movie “Darius ir Girenas“ preparing for the yearly contest organized by the Educational Council of Lithuanian Community of US (LEC).

     November and December went by quickly while preparing for the Chistmas Show “Little Red Riding Hood“ and participating in the Operation Christmas Child “Gifts in Shoeboxes“ for the Children of the World. Our families made 22 boxes for the “Samaritan Purse“ worldwide mission.

     February brought Mardi Gras and the Lithuanian traditional Uzgavenes, celebrated with pancakes and making of masks. Again, the newly formed Lithuanian Community invited everyone to come celebrate with Lithuanian songs, games and quizzes on Lithuanian culture and history of Lithuanian regions.

     March was a time for contests organized by LEC. One was a picture contest about Darius and Girenas, Lithuanian Pilots - heroes of 1933 who flew over the Atlantic. The essay contest was on the heritage of the Lithuanian Language, its beauty, most beautiful Lithuanian words. It was a very busy time for the students and teachers since it was time to show off the knowledge and creativity and send all the work to the LEC headquarters in Boston.

     Easter Celebration was at the very end of March with the entire Saturday of tradition, egg decorating classes, singing and outdoor games. April was quiet and academics were taken very seriously, since everyone prepared for the upcoming tests at the end of the school year. May - Mother’s day during classes, when students’ mothers come and tell their children stories of childhood. May was also marked as the month to go to Rockland County Environmental Museum and Challenger Center.

     June - end of the school year. Students performed songs, received their certificates. The younger ones got “Welcome to the world of the Lithuanian language“, and the bigger ones “Certificates“. Letters of Honor for diligence, attendance, literacy, and overall achievement were awarded. Attendance hours, academic achievements, and evaluation of knowledge of the Lithuanian Language according to the standards of The European Community Language committee with language levels from A1 to C2 were reflected on the AKLS documents.

     Gratitude to Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering Rimas Vaicaitis of Columbia Univeristy who came to school every Saturday to spend time with students and faculty. Thanks to Mrs. Aukse Vaicaitis for proofreading all the texts for the AKLS website.

     Alexandra Kazickas Lithuanian School continues its mission in maintaining and preserving Lithuanian identity, language, culture and love for Lithuania, thanks to continued effort and attention of parents, staff, faculty and support from the Lithuanian Community of East End, the Lithuanian Foundation of Chicago, Illinois, and sponsorship of the Kazickas Family Foundation of New York.

     Special thanks to Dr. Joseph P. Kazickas and his Family for the attention, love and financial support that we receive while celebrating the memory of Mrs. Alexandra Kazickas.

     Neila Baumiliene
     Southampton, NY April, 2013