The name of Bulgaria is frequently made mention of by international media in connection with the successes of Bulgarian children and teenagers at international competitions and Olympiads. Hardly a month goes by without news of a medal, an invention by a young researcher, or even school-goer, with the potential to change and improve science and the environment, or provide a service in the virtual or in the real world.
To be able to do this, what any young talent needs is the support of their family, of their teachers as a source of knowledge and skill. The hard work and efforts they put into the pursuit of their dreams do not go unnoticed – by the public, and by the media, as confirmed by the second edition of the campaign launched by a Bulgarian daily newspaper – “The honour students of Bulgaria”. To win a place on the “success team” the nominees have to have won medals at international science competitions, or to have excelled at their matriculation exams. A great many of this year’s awards were earned by students for their achievements in chemistry, physics and mathematics, though there were some surprises. One such surprise was the team of Lora Toskova from the French-language school in Plovdiv, and 11th grade student from secondary school No. 18 in Sofia Stanislav Makreev who received a prize for their outstanding performance at a Chinese language competition. The two defeated 112 teams from 99 countries, and came first in Europe and second in the world after North Korea.
Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev, who attended the ceremony as a special guest, stated that policies connected with improving the educational environment and assisting the preparation and participation in competitions and Olympiads is a priority for the ministry:
“I am happy because I see here so many honour students, but also because it is the system of education within which so many positive things are happening. We need to demonstrate, to showcase them, and to support each one of the children’s achievements. Only together – teachers, parents, public bodies, media and economic entities – can we help build a better future. One thing we seem to have forgotten is how important teachers are. Over the past 150-200 years each generation has lived better and has been better educated. The world has advanced thanks to economic development, the human capital and social advancement. And all this – thanks to teachers. The silent heroes of the classroom, we tend to forget them, but they will be the people who will inspire the next generation of prize pupils.”
This time, a talent was included in the initiative that is out of the ordinary – the first full-time musician at the Stara Zagora opera who is still at school, at the Hristina Morfova National School of Music and Performing Arts. How did her dream come true, and what is the next dream she is reaching out for? Violinist Dimitrinka Panayotova:
“One wonderful, sunny day I got a call from the opera. Director Ognyan Draganov wanted me to sign a contract, and I did so with pleasure. Before that I had performed for one year with the Haskovo Chamber Symphony Orchestra, then I was invited by the opera, and have been with them as a full-time musician ever since. My dream is to remain and to grow here, in Bulgaria.”
English version: Milena DaynovaPhotos courtesy of Dimitrinka Panayotova and BTA