ROCKLAND — Two dozen (plus one) students from the Midcoast and around Maine gathered at the Penobscot School in Rockland for an intensive look at Russian culture prior to their attendance of this year’s Camden Conference, which is underway this weekend. The theme this year is Russia, and the students were provided scholarships to attend through the Camden Conference.
Dr. Karolyn Snyder, head of the education committee for the Camden Conference, said the conference has a pilot project with eight different Maine high schools. She said the idea is to work with them to offer classes on the focus of the annual conference’s them.
“This year of course is Russia,” she said. “The Penobscot language school approached me and said they could provide a workshop for the students, which we thought was a great idea.”
Students came from Portland, Auburn, Hinckley, Camden, Rockland, Medomak Valley and Bethel.
Eva Campbell is from Estonia, Russia, and has lived in the United States for the last nine years. She has taught Russian langauage at Penobscot School for the past four years. Founded in 1986 as a nonprofit language school and center for international exchange, Penobscot School teaches French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and English immersion, including a course offering opportunities to practice and improve everyday conversation and learn more about American culture.
“Today we will talk about the Russian language, the arts and their greatest patrons,’ said Campbell. “We’ll also talk about a winter carnival called Maslenitsa. Maslenitsa says farewell to winter and welcomes spring.”
The carnival also includes a blini party, which are pancakes with toppings of jams and jellies served with Russian tea. The celebration also includes a bonfire, but given the weather, the portion of the tradition had to be forfeited.
The four-hour intensive course was designed to help students feel more comfortable as they attend the Camden Conference.
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