Boredom, an unknown term. And the cell phone also helps to heal separation

Anne-Maria Matejas is a member of Mensa. She already had an individual study plan at her elementary school and passed a number of subjects with schoolmates several years older. When she was only ten, she left her home for a boarding school some 380 kilometers away. Her first weeks there were not at all easy; she missed her family. In spite of that, when back at home every weekend, she enthusiastically told her parents how happy she was at the Open Gate grammar school in Babice, central Bohemia.

Today, she is twelve, and she still feels great among the talented children who attend this school, whether or not supported by need-based grants provided by the family foundation of Mrs. Renáta Kellnerová and Mr. Petr Kellner. She feels the personal advancement that she has achieved in many subjects, and grasps all opportunities for extracurricular activities offered there.

Have you skipped any year of elementary school?
Yes, the very first grade. I only attended the first grade for 14 days and then they placed me right in the second grade for some subjects. Since then, I had an individual study plan and I passed, for example, sciences, Czech and math in higher grades.

What was the most difficult about this change?
When I joined Open Gate, I missed my family very much. I am an only child and have strong ties to my parents. The first days, I even cried sometimes. But this was offset by the fact that I found friends here immediately and also that we have great teachers here. Learning has been fun for me since the very first moment and since each and every one of my days here is busy with a lot of activities, gradually I did not have time for self-pity. But my mom felt the separation worse than I did. In the end, I have managed to convince her that I am happy here. I keep giving her enthusiastic accounts of the school all the time. We speak with each other over the telephone every day.

How has the stay at Open Gate changed you?
I have learned to be independent. And also a different approach to people, greater tolerance, when I spend so many hours with them every day. Not to quarrel even when it looks like a quarrel will break out. We have a school psychologist here in case we are not able to tackle such situations.

You receive need-based grants from The Kellner Family Foundation. Do you have an idea of the amount?
I do not know exactly but I think it is at least 70% of total school fees.

You are surrounded by children from both socially disadvantaged and more affluent families. Can you tell them apart by their behavior?
I myself have friends from both of these groups and differences are virtually invisible. We all wear school uniforms and you can only tell our different social status by the cell phone brand.

Author | Markéta Vojtíšková

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