20 Apr 2015

[IB9 & IB10] A traditional Food Bank activity for the DG IB students - 2015 Spring

Ksenija Smirnova -

Food bank is a charitable activity that was first established in US in 1967.  In Europe, it has been gaining in popularity since 2006. Therefore, Food bank is a well-known and significant project all over the world with Lithuania being no exception. This organization collects and stores the donated food and sends it to homeless shelters, orphanages and other places, where people are in need. Parents, who are not able to feed their children, can turn to Food bank organizations to request for assistance, especially under circumstances of unemployment and disabilities that prevents individuals to secure sufficient income to feed the families. In Lithuania people can leave a small amount of money using special donation boxes in 214 stores all over the country. According to statistics in 2010 people had donated 33 000 Euros.
Our school also takes part in Food bank. Basically, participants of this project are International Baccalaureate students. Classes are divided into small groups of students (usually 2-3 people) who are allocated a certain time to volunteer. Last time we have volunteered in March. Although for most IB1’s students it was the second time volunteering in supermarkets for Food bank, while for IB2’s it was their fourth time. As usual DG IB students felt grateful for being a part of something special and being able to directly help the organizers to efficiently make arrangements. Having talked to my classmates we all agreed upon participating in organizing Food Bank in the future as soon as there would be a possibility for that.
Personally to me, Food bank gives an opportunity to help people in need. Furthermore, I can volunteer, meet new people, collaborate and spend time with my classmates. Food bank made me see that a lot of people are ready to help the poor. However, I have some communication problems due to language barrier, because I am from Latvia and I do not speak Lithuanian, yet through volunteering opportunities like this I am able to work on improving my communication skills.  
In conclusion, I can say that these kinds of projects should be developed in all countries, because each country has people that need help and those are able to help. Food bank involves us into solving or at least helping to solve a global issue of poverty. Food bank unites people. Food bank is turning to other people to open their hearts.

An IB1(on the left) and an IB2(on the right) students collaborating together to hand out the Food Bank leaflets

An IB1(on the left) and an IB2(on the right) students collaborating together to invite people to donate the food to the Food Bank charity

1 Feb 2015

[IB10] A midwinter hike to Kurtuvėnai Regional Park

Paulius Grimalis - 

Each year on the 25th of January a midwinter hike is organised by the “Aukuras club”. This is a hike in which people get together and walk around the Kurtuvėnai regional park. The aim of this hike is to celebrate the midwinter’s day - a day when there’s only half of winter left till spring. This year eight students from the IB1 class with their teacher Ligita participated in this hike on Sunday. All the participants gathered at 11 o’clock a few meters away from the Geluvos lake. Right after hearing the instructions we began our journey.
Firstly, we headed to see the lakes. One of them almost cracked and scared us a lot. Fortunately nobody got wet and we continued our hike. During the hike the leader of the group showed the group a badger. This was not an ordinary badger. There’s a myth, each midwinter that badger gets out of its cave. If he leaves a lot of footprints around his cave, then this winter will be short. On the other hand, if there are no footprints - the winter will be long. Unfortunately, my classmates and I could not see the cave of the badger because of the amount of people standing around its cave. Thus we cannot tell you guys the predictions of this winter. Then we visited the biggest oak in the whole Kurtuvėnai regional park which is called Zuikiškės oak. It is 32m high and the diameter of its trunk is 1.5m.  It made us realise how small we are in this world. Lastly, we managed to visit even 10 lakes that are situated in the Kurtuvėnai regional park (Geluvos, Šermukšnyno, Raudoniuko, Barsukyno, Dubuko, Širvos, Butiškės, Bijotės, Juodežerio and Niaukos lakes).
This journey took us approximately 5 hours to finish but the hike was worth every minute. This was a really interesting and challenging hike as we had to walk a long distance in order to see these beautiful nature creations. Fresh air, great people made this event even better. So without a doubt I recommend everyone to participate in this hike next year!
A group photo during the hike
Happy and tired faces of IB1s after having completed the hike

7 Jan 2015

[IB10] Business simulation in Didzdvaris Gymnasium

Ieva Poškutė - 

This school year IB2 student Ieva Poskute became the ambassador of ISM University at our school. One of the tasks as an ambassador was to organize an event related to the university, in this case - a business simulator.
The aim of a business simulator is to help to understand the main principles of the business world. It helps to experience how the market works, one learns to analyze the situation and make fast and relevant decisions in a team. These kinds of simulators are widely used in the university, for students to try the business methods in practice.
This business simulator was in the form of a game. There were six teams participating and each one of them took a random envelope with the equipment they needed for the task. There were three types of envelopes, each representing a type of country: developing, averagely developed or developed. Each envelope had a certain amount of money, paper, scissors, rulers, geometric forms, and pencils. The task of each group was to cut out as many geometric forms as possible from the material given and to sell them to the bank for the highest possible price. The bank was open during the whole simulator and it was changing the prices of the forms depending on the amount of them already bought from the groups.
The simulator ended when the bank had closed and the group of participants, who earned the highest profit, were awarded with books given by the university, which were about business and leadership.

The participants said they liked the event, that it was fun and that they would like to participate in a similar event again. Due to the success of the simulator there might be more events of this kind at our school in the future.

Simulation in action
Winners enjoying their prizes 

30 Oct 2014

[IB9 & IB10] Cleaning K. Donelaitis cemetery

Rūta Abramauskaitė -

Before All Saints Day we all remember those, who passed away and to keep connected with them, we visit cemeteries and light a candle for their remembrance. All cemeteries are like the markers of human history; of all the love, joys, tears, toil, triumphs and sweat of the past. They link to family we never know or to people, who were an important part of our lives. They are the sources of our history, reminders and symbols of the best moments spent with the loved ones and they tell us a lot about ourselves culturally and socially. Maintaining cemeteries shows respect and creates an important link with the past. Yet, many cemeteries have been abandoned and fallen into neglect. There is nothing sadder than come across crumbling, decaying and near gone relicts of cemeteries.
On 29th of October some of the IB1, IB2 students and first-graders organized a voluntary action in which we cleaned neglected graveyards by raking leaves in K. Donelaitis cemetery. We divided into groups of three or four people and each group cleaned different areas of the cemetery. By working in group, not only did we gain communication, team working and organization skills, but also we learned to be more patient. It required a lot of commitment and perseverance, because as we worked, the number of leaves did not seem to decrease. However, I would say that this work was really joyful, we were happy of the results and we felt proud to help to regain the remembrance of people, who passed away and who seemed to be forgotten. Before the work we even asked ourselves: should people ever be so forgotten that the cemetery is no longer cared for, no one visits, no one remembers?

Don’t forget to light a candle not only for your loved ones but also for those, who seem to be forgotten.

Volunteers after hard work

Volunteers in action

29 Oct 2014

[IB9 & IB10] A regular year together with Food Bank

Rimgailė Ruibytė & Haroldas Bagdonas -

Food Bank is a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger. The action is being organized all over Lithuania with alternatives to donate not only food but also money. Food Bank and a sister action “Inviting guests” were two main events that IB students aimed to join in October.
„Inviting guests“ action‘s idea is to gather people and offer them treats in return for a donation which later on is sent to Food Bank. This event was held in Didzdvaris gymnasium, initiated by CAS coordinator Ligita Ivanauskaitė and organized by IB students. IB1s was preparing sweet treats for this event – we were baking cookies, while IB2s were preparing savory snacks and the venue. As IB1s we were separated into two groups which baked cookies after the lessons prior the event. This activity was very cheerful and fun, because some of the students were baking for the first time in their lifes. Furthermore, this activity brought us together, we needed a lot of cooperation if we wanted to make tasty cookies. After all the preparation, the event was held. Invitations have been spread to all students and teachers in the gymnasium.
A lot of teachers and students came and enjoyed the cookies and other snacks. During the event Edita Gumbaite, student of IB1, introduced everyone to the Food Bank action, its goals, history and methods. A few students from Didzdavris gymnasium were performing and made the event cozy and calm. The guests were also welcomed to participate in activities that involved creativity. The organizers chose to incorporate autumn together with the Food Bank action, hence to some extent it was a meaningful greeting for the autumn season as well.  For us, IB1 students, it was very pleasant to see that people were donating and eating our cookies, saying that cookies were delicious. There were some leftover cookies from the event, which were sold the next day during the breaks. A total amount of 310 Litas (around 100 EUR) was collected which later was transferred to Food Bank.
That same week, IB1s and IB2s continued their volunteering in grocery stores and collected the donated food for people that are living under a poverty line in Lithuania. While for the IB2s it was a third time participating in Food Bank activities, for the IB1s it was a first time having to volunteer for Food Bank. Comparing this time and previous there was not much of a change, yet again there was a timetable that divided us into a group of 3 people with each group having a specific time to volunteer. Then the groups themselves would assign each person a responsibility – mostly a combo of 2 people that would greet people and advertise the food bank while 1 person would be left to log the products that were donated. The groups also included a supervisor from Didzdvaris Gymnasium – usually a certain subject teacher. Since IB2s had previously participated in the event, some of the experiences and tips were shared to the IB1s in order to make their first time as successful as possible. This included the most basic tips such as reacting to various reactions or how to properly distribute the workflow. However, such feelings as anxiety or uncomfortability were something that IB1s had to overcome on their own, nevertheless the negative feelings faded away together with people inquiring about the Food Bank action. This experience kicked IB1s out of their comfort zones and turned out as a positive experience for them in the future. Hence, the first time for IB1s turned out to be a success as well as for IB2s. For IB2s having to participate in Food Bank for the third time is starting to become like a routine as well, because of the gained experience, it should be easier for the IB2s to volunteer or even organize Food Bank actions elsewhere after having graduated Siauliai Didzdvaris Gymnasium. Due to the success of IB1 and IB2 during the 2 days of Food Bank in Siauliai, over 1000 of food items were collected.
In conclusion, this action has helped the students to develop in many ways. IB1s gained more knowledge about the action itself as well as gaining experience that will help them in future CAS activities. However, most importantly we believe that this action helped IB1s and IB2s to create a stronger bond as fellow IB students in Didzdvaris Gymnasium, which in return should promote better teamwork and probably more collaborated events. Nonetheless, in the end after Food Bank activities every IB student felt happy and a little bit proud that one has done something that can could help other people.

Final preparations before the guests arrive.

Lovely guests putting out "Maisto Bankas"(English for "Food Bank") using autumn leaves

27 Oct 2014

[IB9 & IB10] "Bang Bang You're Dead" - no boundaries for an important message

Simona Jasaitytė & Živilė Matjušaitytė -

            "Bang, bang you're dead" play was never about the CAS, moreover it had a lot of purposes, not only the product. We all shared the same goal to prepare the play, however, the journey we had connected, improved us as more creative and artistic people, and forced us to look at this play's subject, which is bullying, with much more importance and significance.
The main meaning of the play was clear from the beggining - to spread awareness about the current bullying problems in schools and our environments. Furthermore, creating the play also had the same purposes as the idea of CAS. Meeting and making new peers, experiencing and learning something new to you and getting out of your comfort zone, and creating a product that would somehow influence the people around us in the best possible way. Since we are working together for about a year, most of our goals and purposes have already been achieved. We became great friends with not only each other, however, we met amazing students and teachers in the other school. Majority of us had never experienced or faced drama or acting in general but due to this project, we all improved English language skills, learned basics in acting and how to handle the audience and overcome the fear of stage.
            Everyone in the group of young actors were working hard all semester towards one goal - making the play “Bang bang You’re Dead”as effective as possible. We were always meeting twice a week, to try and polish the text, movements, and emotion, which we were aiming to send to the public. After working on this project for almost half a year, everyone of us were excited to share our piece of work with a wider public. The first performance took place in the Didždvaris Gymnasium on the 29th of May. It was shown to the MYP students of the school. Later, in the evening the play was shown to the closest friends and family of ours in the Šiauliai Art Gallery. This September we were informed by the English teacher A. Chvostova, that she is very interested in helping us to share this play that we were working on for so long with other schools and cities in Lithuania. We immediately started the rehearsals, to prepare for upcoming performances. Then we found out, that we do not need to learn the words again, because we could still remember them after the summer holiday, except from one person, who, because of changed circumstances, had to replace one of our actors. We got involved into the process, and when we were finally feeling confident about our acting, the play was once again performed in Šiauliai Didždvaris Gymnasium, for the first graders, on the 23rd of October. The next day was the first time, we ever performed “Bang You’re Dead” out of our home city Šiauliai. Our English teachers A. Chvostova and T. Sviatkina travelled together with us to Panevėžys Juozas Miltinis Gymnasium. The school was celebrating its birthday, and our performance was a part of its programme. Before the play, the actors and directors were given a warm welcome by the school director. After we had finished the performance, there was a discussion between the students of Juozas Miltinis Gymnasium and us about sensitive youth problems, bullying, violence in schools. We also got some feedback on our acting from the director of this school’s theatre performances, about what he liked, and what could still be improved.
            The trip to Panevėžys was a great experience to each and everyone in our group of people. We gained experience from performing in front of people we do not know, also, made the importance of the message, we are trying to send through the play, more clear for us after the discussion with the students. The feedback from a theatre class director gave important ideas of what could be improved. However, this certainly was not the last time we were performing “Bang Bang You’re Dead”. We still have great intentions ahead of us. With the help of teacher A. Chvostova we will be planning performances. One of ideas is to show this play to all the English teachers in Šiauliai. Another plan is to go to a school in another Lithuanian town, Tauragė. Now the only important thing is avoiding letting these goals to only stay goals. All together we can work, communicate, and spread the message of this play to as much people as possible.

The crew before the play

[IB9 & IB10] Volunteering in "Šiaulių letenėlė" animal shelter

Ernestas Lingvinas -

On the 25th of October students from IB1 and IB2 were volunteering in animal shelter “Šiaulių letenėlė”.  The main goal of this organization is to save all animals from Gruzdžiai since they are euthanized there immediately and also to give a shelter for all lost and homeless animals.  However, this animal shelter opened just on August and still haven’t settled down fully so they can’t fulfill their goals one hundred percent.  The main reason for this is that the building is still not prepared and there is not enough equipment so the personnel of the shelter can’t take care of more animals. That’s why every weekend volunteer work is organized.
This Saturday we were cleaning the surroundings of the shelter. Firstly, we carried boards from outside to the inside of the building so that they would not rot. After that we collected all waste that was left in the building and outside. And then we carried those garbage bags to the tractor trailer. After this the surroundings looked significantly cleaner and next time we’ll be able to focus on different jobs that needs to be done. After volunteering, I realized that there isn’t enough support for animal shelters and that without volunteers like us and the directors of the shelter the situation would be even worse. So if you’re able to somehow support this or others shelters please do because there are plenty of animals that needs your help.

A group photo of the volunteers

Trash that were collected during the day