Podcast in English
Text size
Bulgarian National Radio © 2023 All Rights Reserved

A new Bulgarian school in Las Vegas relies on innovation in ‎the educational process

‎The first special guest of the Children's Academy "Rodna Rech" was the ‎author of children's books Diana Alexandrova

Photo: Private archive

In recent years, the Bulgarian community in Las Vegas has been growing extremely dynamically and more and more Bulgarian families with small children choose to live there. However, many of the children do not speak Bulgarian well, a large number of them are from mixed marriages and use their native language less and less in their everyday life. Influenced by the cultural environment in which their children grow up, it becomes increasingly difficult for our compatriots abroad to maintain the Bulgarian language and traditions

In this direction, they rely extremely heavily on the teachers in the Bulgarian Sunday schools, who awaken children's minds to knowledge related to Bulgarian history, language, traditions and culture. 

Observing all these dynamic processes and taking into account the need for a more modern education in order to satisfy all the needs and wishes in this area, Radostina Boyadzhieva takes an important step, which she has dreamed of for years, namely - to open her own Bulgarian school in the mecca of gambling. Thus, the Children's Academy "Rodna Rech" became a reality in August 2022.

"I'm a teacher at a local school here and I want to show and apply everything I've learned so far in action”,Radostina Boyadzhieva told Maria Samichkova, a contributor of Radio Bulgaria in Las Vegas. “In our Academy, we teach nearly 50 pupils following curricula and textbooks approved by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Culture. 

Our main mission is to arouse curiosity and a desire in the students themselves to know their roots and learn the language. What distinguishes us is that we build a creative classroom through individual and group classes. We draw symbols to enrich vocabulary, we use muppet dolls and pictures to stimulate speaking and learning new words. We play educational games, solve puzzles with the Bulgarian alphabet and cities. 

Every morning we sing the Bulgarian national anthem and recite the poem “Az sam balgarche" (I am a Bulgarian child). And something oh very important – the Children's Academy "Rodna Rech" for the first time in Las Vegas also offers classes for learning Bulgarian as a foreign language. We have a group where students come who do not speak or understand Bulgarian," says Radostina excitedly.

Reading books in Bulgarian facilitates the connection between the children of our compatriots across the Ocean and Bulgaria. Some of them admit, however, that it is easier for them and they prefer to read in English.

In order to support the process of communication with Bulgarian literature and language, the school works on the initiative to invite inspiring Bulgarians every month to motivate the children to speak Bulgarian every day. Their first special guest was the author of children's books, Diana Aleksandrova.

Born in Veliko Tarnovo, Diana has been living in Las Vegas for years, she works in a casino, but dreams of turning writing into her main profession. She wrote his first book in 2013: "I came up with the story of a little puppy named Tux who meets a lion in the zoo. This is the first story, 11 more stories about the puppy's encounters follow".

The writer remembers her childhood in Bulgaria, where in her grandmother's village animals were raised in the yard. Today, at her home in Las Vegas, Diana enjoys the company of Sophie the dog and Ginger the cat, and animals are a main character in the stories she writes.

"I write books that, I hope, children will enjoy reading and will instill a love of books in them, books that I would love to read if I were a child. My most popular book to date, which has also been translated into ‎ the Bulgarian language is "Too Cute to Spook" ("Малкото чудовище Лори" in Bulgarian), and the other very popular book in the USA is about fathers - "I will be there", which I hope will also be published on the Bulgarian market. Two of my ten books so far have been translated into Bulgarian and published," adds the author.‎

Diana Aleksandrova

Publishing quality books by an independent author in America is an expensive and complicated process, but Diana proves that having a clear purpose gives wings. The Bulgarian takes on the difficult task of learning everything about the publishing activity across the ocean - marketing, advertising, design, etc.

"I'm an independent author, which means I'm my own publisher - I have to find artists, editors, designers, print the book and put it on the market. I started publishing my books on my own, right during the 2020 pandemic, and I've learned a lot since then. Marketing was the most difficult part for me, because the market here is flooded with children's books," says Diana about the process.

Her books immediately impress with their beautiful illustrations. For them, she relies on artists from different countries - Ukraine, Georgia, America, but most often she works with the Bulgarian animation artist Svilen Dimitrov who lives in Sofia.

The connection with the homeland is alive and Diana likes to return every summer to her native Veliko Tarnovo, where her whole family lives. She talks nostalgically about Bulgaria, about the time in the village and the beloved home-made stuffed peppers her grandmother used to make.

Read more about the life of the Bulgarian community in Las Vegas:

Photos: Private archive

Editing by Elena Karkalanova
English version Rositsa Petkova
Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

More from category

Nearly 10% of Bulgarians will decide who to vote for at the last moment

We are only a few days away from the next early parliamentary elections in ‎Bulgaria on April 2 . Elections which will be taking place against the background of a war ‎in Europe, disagreements about the military aid that Bulgaria should or should ‎not..

published on 3/30/23 3:59 PM

Preserving the Bulgarian program on SBS Radio unites diaspora in Australia

In the beginning of March it became known that the Australian Public Radio and Television (SBS) was preparing to close its program in Bulgarian language and our compatriots overseas have not stopped looking for ways to prevent this from..

published on 3/30/23 3:30 PM

Bulgarians in England "clothe" the parliamentary elections in spring garments

The election roulette has been spinning in Bulgaria for exactly two years. On ‎April 2, Bulgarians in the country and around the world will once again take ‎the time to exercise their civic right and responsibility and elect the new ‎members of the..

published on 3/30/23 1:13 PM