The new academic year


On 8th September we began the new academic year at the Step Up Orphan Opportunity Centre. This is a special day for everyone, as is graduation. In our hall were lots of new students, curious and surprised as they listened to our brave graduates giving lectures, speaking to their teachers, smiling and having fun together.

It makes us so happy to see our graduates and know that their dreams are coming true. For example, Semyon graduated last year and began studying at the Moscow State University for Teacher Training, in the department of “Social Studies and Fundamentals of Religious Cultures and Secular Ethics”. A student ticket in their hands and graduates’ glowing eyes – that’s the best gift you can have.

The celebration began with a short video-presentation on our summer camp at Belsky Ustye, put together by Paulina Bikonya. Here it is.

The day was an especially happy one thanks to a lovely, unexpected meeting – as was once tradition, we began the new school year with a welcome speech from our great friend Father Simon Stevens.

Three years ago Father Simon came to the end of his role as the rector of the Anglican Church and welcomed us as we began the new school year, and this year he repeated: “Each one of you can become the president of Russia and someday it will happen if you take all of the knowledge that the wonderful teachers of this Centre give you”.

We were expecting another very important meeting – we got to know the new rector of the Anglican Church, Malcolm Rogers. The Anglican Church has supported the Step Up Centre for over 15 years now and allows us to use its space for our work. So it’s really important to us that we maintain friendly relations with the team.

Project curators spoke about what they want us to remember about the upcoming academic year, about what interesting things will happen and why it should not be missed. This year has been declared the year of literature for our Centre, particularly of the magical world of Harry Potter. New students, coming to us for the first time, can compare our labyrinth of corridors, floors and towers with Hogwarts.

Andrei Zhiganov spoke about the plans for the HandsOn workshop, about the new projects and markets they’ll be taking part in. The coordinator of the MaslomVverh project, Alexandra Botina, also spoke- lots of amazing, delicious treats from “Grandma’s pantry” will be prepared this year!

The football team got to know their new trainer and invited anyone who wishes to come and play with them. Alexandra Natarova, the director of the summer camp, spoke about how it went and how to become a volunteer.

Once again we are looking forward to our student conferences on interesting themes, to literature and cinema club, to trips around the Moscow region, to celebrating together, and lots of other things which we will happily be writing about on our social network pages.

Thank you to everyone who came to see us that day! Thank you to Paulina Bikonya for the photos.

Here’s a short video and some photos – look through them to see how we celebrated the start of the new academic year.