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Community Grapevine

Speak, publish, bike, and be educated in English!

A pair of English teachers have made a real impression in Považská Bystrica with their language school called Speak. Early this spring, Richard McGuire and Andrew Horton introduced what one local resident called their "unbelievable creativity" to both adults and children with varying levels of English comprehension in classes that encourage communication through games and discussions.

Their goal was modest, but what a group of dedicated students at City University recently achieved is significant. The inaugural issue of an English-language school newspaper called City Scream came out in late May thanks to hours of extra-curricular work put in by about half a dozen students. As one student-editor wrote, the newspaper, which debuted with six pages of students' writing about travel, arts, sports, and campus events, may "grow only by a line or two each issue, but it will be ours to grow." Grow on!

Cycling and strolling just became more educational. The Morava River Information Pathway, a network of 20 signs providing information on the geology, history, plants and animals of the wetlands along the Morava River, officially opened on July 12. Most of the funding for the project, which features signs in Slovak, English, and German, came from the U.S. Peace Corps' Small Projects Assistance Program. The path, which starts at Devín and runs parallel to the river northwest to Vysoká pri Morava, was realized as a result of cooperation among five towns.

The first 69 graduates of the Bilingual English-Slovak Grammar School in Sučany completed their studies in June and three have already been accepted to study architecture and design in Bratislava. The school was established on September 1, 1991, as a project supported by the British Government's Know How Fund with the Slovak Ministry of Education and the British Council. But support from the British side is now in its final phase, and the school is looking for new sponsors.

More than 500 people gathered to eat, drink, and ooh and aah at fireworks at the American Chamber of Commerce's Independence Day celebration on the 4th of July at Partizánska Lúka in Bratislava. The second annual event greatly outdrew last year's party, which attracted around 350 revelers. Next year, as it is for the pyrotechnics, only the sky may be the limit.

Canada's ambassador to Slovakia, Alain Dudoit, who is based in Prague, announced the Canadian government has furthered its "determination to help Slovakia complete its transition to democracy and a free-market economy" by signing five memoranda with the Slovak government in mid-June. The five projects Canada will fund will build on what the ambassador called "a strong history of cooperation between Canada and Slovakia."

Gallery goers looking to make a trip outside Bratislava to check out some art need only venture to the Zahorské Múzeum in Skalica in western Slovakia. Elena Letňanová, a concert pianist by trade, has on display "Asylum of Music and Colors," a smorgasbord of abstract, expressionist paintings from her wanderings in Slovakia and from leaving the country in 1984 for the U.S. Among the works, most of them oil-based, are such titles as: "Texas Heat," "In Dayton (Ohio)," "Incontri (Meetings)," and "New Life in Arlington." The exhibit will run through the beginning of August at the museum, located on Námestie slobody and open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 to 18:00.

The International Biographical Centre of Cambridge, England, recently elected Slovak Ambassador Anton Hykisch to membership of the Order of International Fellowship. The Order, which aims to have members from every major country in the world, nonetheless strictly limits its membership to 500 persons worldwide. Only one in 50 men and women considered for the honor actually receive the invitation.

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