Social differences are not an issue here

Life has not been a rose garden for Vladimír Kuliš. He ended up in a children’s home. Now he is a student at a prestigious school.

Since the age of ten, he has lived in the children’s home at Hodonín u Kunštátu. “Mom had problems with money and could not cope. We ended up having no place to sleep and I asked for shelter,” says the boy.

He has no reason to complain now. He found a “new family” at Hodonín, and he goes to one of the country’s most prestigious schools - the Open Gate eight-year grammar school at Babice near Prague, which owes its start and operation to the family foundation of Mrs. Renáta Kellnerová and Mr. Petr Kellner.

“Four years ago somebody in the children’s home, perhaps the Director, came across the offer of studying at this school. I said to myself it might be worth a trialtry. I registered for the admission tests and I passed the IQ test and the general aptitude test and that was that,” adds Vladimír Kuliš.

He was very excited by how good the school was. “It’s fantastic. The quality of teaching, the facilities, everything.  Where else do you have a theater, cinema, a pool and playground just next to the classrooms? I was a bit taken aback by it at the beginning but I take it as normal now,” smiles Vladimír.

The advanced furnishings facilities are not the only thing that makes this school different from others. For example, starting from the fifth grade, all instruction is in English except for the Czech language and Czech area studies. “A second foreign language is added from the third grade. Biology, chemistry and physics are combined as one subject called Natural Science,” he explains.

The classes start at 8:20 a.m. and each class period lasts 45 minutes. “We mostly have seven classes a day plus a longer break for lunch and a snack. And there is a five-minute break after each class,” he adds.

Students wear uniforms
The school fee at the Open Gate grammar school ranges from CZK 236,000 to 470,000. “The students who commute to the school every day pay 236,000 and those living on campus, including me, pay a bit less than half a million. Of course, I and others from the children’s home could not afford it. This is why Mrs. Renáta Kellnerová and Mr. Petr Kellner established the foundation, which supports the underprivileged and children from children’s homes,” adds Vladimír.

As he says, less than half of the students pay their school fees themselves. “However, social differences are not an issue here. Nobody asks if your fees are paid by the foundation or your family. This is also due to the uniforms. Boys wear blue pants, a shirt and a tie and we also have jackets for formal occasions. Girls wear skirts, shirts and vests, and they also may have a jacket and pants,” says the student.

This is Vladimír Kuliš’s fourth year at the prestigious school. “So far I’ve survived here,” he says with some exaggeration. “´What surprised me the most is how quickly I’ve learned to speak English. I came here not knowing anything but after a year I was able to speak fluent English. Of course, I should also thank my teachers for that. They are able to transfer what they know very well. It is not about sitting at a desk and searching through textbooks. They can answer questions, talk with us about what we are learning at the moment and we make presentations, which are a good form of learning,” says Vladimír with satisfaction.

In his free moments, Vladimír spends his time on the internet, or reads, plays games and prepares for the classes. “I don’t like homework but sometimes it is a must,” he adds. In the future I would like to study law in England.

(Author: Pavel Šmerda)

Source: regional version| 5plus2 - Blansko & Boskovice area

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