On Saturday, May 18, the parish Russian School at Holy Virgin Protection Church in Nyack, NY, celebrated the completion of the 2018-2019 school year. After morning prayers, final exams and lessons were held, after which a thanksgiving moleben was served in the church.
The graduation Ceremony saw all of the students and their families gather in the parish hall for a year-end presentation: the youngest group sang and acted out the song "Mostik" ("Little Bridge"), the junior choir sang "Brother Jacob" and "Chastushkas," the intermediate choir sang the youth’s much-beloved song "Kon’" ("Horse"), while the senior choir concluded the presentation with the church hymns "Rejoice, O Theotokos Virgin" and "Praise Ye the Name of the Lord."
In his address, school director and parish rector Archpriest Elias Gorsky underscored how important it is to bring up children in Orthodoxy, that they might live with Christ and withstand the destructive trends of the world around us. He congratulated that year’s graduates: John Arlievsky, Daria Don, Katherine Peavy, Elizabeth Pnev, and Alexander Serdsev.
Graduates addressed those gathered with short speeches, and thanked their clergy, teaches, parents, and friends for the knowledge, care, and love they had received.
Katherine Peavy: "Since my mother is Russian, but my father is not, we do not speak Russian at home. Because I was able to learn to speak, write, and read in Russian as school, I was able to attend Russian camp in New York; when we visited Russia, I could interact with my relatives; in church at Liturgy, I can understand the prayers, readings, and sermon."
Elizabeth Pnev: "I am grateful to my father, my mother, and my grandmother. For my sister and me, there were no such words as ‘I don’t want to’ or ‘I won’t.’ Our Saturdays began with the words ‘We are leaving in five minutes.’ Our school is located at the church, and this should remind us that the Faith must always be in our lives, in our work, and in our studies. We were are united not only in the language we read and write, but also in the Faith that we live and breathe."
John Arlievsky: "The most important aspect of our school is interaction. We are very close in our class, our friendship taking shape over the course of many years. I also want to address all of the teachers. Throughout all these years, you have shown us great patience and humility. You not only gave us knowledge, but also the inextinguishable Orthodox spirit of love."
Alexander Serdsev: "Thank you to everyone – the priests, teachers, our parents, and my friends! We are glad to have graduated Russian school, but sorry to leave her. Christ is Risen!"
On behalf of the entire school, Protodeacon Serge Arlievsky, the school’s director of studies, congratulated history teacher Maria Peavy, who for 22 years taught history to the younger grades, and for 27 years drove her children to Russian School, spending more than an hour on the road every Saturday morning. Maria plans to continue visiting the school and completing work on a new textbook.
After the Ceremony, the whole school departed for a picnic at nearby Rockland Lake. The celebratory day concluded in the open air, under the bright sun and in the woods, decked in beautiful springtime leaves. The children enjoyed games and sports, while the parents and teachers spend the parting day enjoying leisurely conversation outdoors.
We wish everyone a good summer!
Nyack, NY: Parish School at Holy Protection Church completes School Year - 05/18/19