European Spring Day 2006
Festival in Austria
The year 2006 began with intensive work for Austria, as our government took over the EU Presidency on January 1, 2006 for the next six months. The Congress Centre in the Vienna Hofburg Palace offered a very beautiful environment for meetings and summits.
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we thank our sponsors
The Austrian Spring Day Festival was celebrated on April 27, 2006 in the Haus der Kaufmannschaft in Vienna. Thanks to the Fonds der Wiener Kaufmannschaft, we could again be guests in the wonderful festival hall of this building.
Until the end of April, 121 schools had been registered for Spring Day 2006, and 33 of them had submitted a project to the Austrian competition. 9 of them were awarded a prize. It is a great pleasure, that the contributions were submitted by schools from all school types. The Festival was opened by Mag. Wolfgang Hiller (deputy head of the Information Office of the European Parliament for Austria) and DI Karl-Georg Doutlik (head of the Representation of the European Commission in Austria).
In a second step, the guests of honour, the students and their teachers and headmasters were informed about the most important facts and figures of Spring Day 2006 in Austria. The most impressive aspects were: the rather big number of registered schools, a huge number of student contributions to the Spring Day website and the documentary which was shot with the students of the Waldorschule Klagenfurt, who had carried out careful research on minorities and their situation in their home province.
After this short presentation, the guests of honour were invited to inform the audience about their work in and for Europe: ÖkRat Elisabeth Leitner from the Styrian Chamber of Agriculture informed us about the very contributions of ÖkRat Rudolf Schwarzböck, president of the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture on a European basis. He is also the president of COPA. Mag. Alexander Hofmann from the Department of Education of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) informed us about various educational programmes of the WKÖ, which aim at enabling young people, who are still attending vocational schools and are working as apprentices, or want to found their own company, to be successful in European business life.
Finally, DI Karl Georg Doutlik told us about the various tasks of the representation of the EU Commission in our country.
Next, the students were invited to ask questions, and it was very interesting to hear, which topics are most interesting already for the youngest among them: job chances on the European market; the concern about the high unemployment rates, esp. among young people; genetic engineering in the field of agriculture; and the question, whether Europe will soon get a common Constitution.
It was a pleasure that the young people were enthusiastic about the statement of the oldest Austrian participant of Spring Day: Otto Pirzl, who proves with his Homepage Europa, that enthusiasm for Europe does not have an age limit and that the principle of life long learning can really be lived. Mr. Pirzl encouraged the young people, to continue their way to a peacefully united Europe.
After a lively discussion, the schools which were awarded a prize, were invited to present their projects to the audience:
The pupils of the thrid form of the De La Salle Volksschule Währing had written a very nice story titled The Mouse takes her leave. The young artists presented their story which they had not only written but also illustrated.
The Volksschule Weizberg had organized and coordinated a project called Spring Vibrations. Numerous schools from various European countries participated in the project; together the BHAK Weiz and the Volksschule Weizberg finally organized a marvellous Spring Day Festival in the city of Weiz on March 24 (see above).
Students of both schools presecente poems and impressions which had been written during the school year in the course of Spring Vibrations.
The students of the integration class of the KMS Herthergasse are real EU professionals. They had worked on the topic "A Europe worth living in" all over the school year and now presented their results in an impressive presentation, which really addressed all senses!
The students of two classes of the Europaschule Linz had carried out a number of small projects in numerous subjects in the course of four Europe project days. They had concentrated on agriculture, religious diversity, all the states which are located on the River Danube, big companies in Europe, national food specialities and the most important sights of the EU member states and candidate countries.
In a three day project, the students of the 1st, 2nd and 4th forms of the Sport-Hauptschule Eferding Süd had carried out research on a number of EU member states and candidate countries. They had decorated their classrooms with symbols of the respective countries, and they had eased their work with quizzes, games, dances, videos and culinary art.
The BORG Mittersill has got a partner school in Lithuania. Together, the Austrian and Lithuanian students had drafted a very interesting website on Festivals during the school year in both countries. At the Spring Day Festival, they presented the different Easter customs of the two countries.
The students of the HAK International Klagenfurt are already Spring Day veterans. They performed English skteches, wrote contributions to "My proposal for Europe" in English, Italian, French, Croatian and Romanian, they invited a representative of the economy, and their teacher, Gerda Kroepfl, took care that the EU Roadshow of the Austrian government came to their school. This enabled them to enlarge their knowledge of Europe tremendously. Gerda Kroepfl contributed a Europe cake to the buffet of the Festival.
The students of the Waldorfschule Klagenfurt have also got a partner school in Ostrava (Czech Republic). In the course of this cooperation, they tried to grasp Europe with all senses. They also wrote a number of newspaper articles in Kleine Zeitung Kärnten on minorities and their discrimination, and they were the stars of a Euronews documentary on Spring Day 2006.
But that was not the end of their activities. After having left the Festival, they went to the Parliament, where they met MPs and discussed the topic of free schools in Austria with them. That was filmed by the ORF and will be broadcast on May 7, 2006, 12:00 Uhr ORF2 in „Hohes Haus“.
Last but not least the students of the BHAK Wörgl presented their Europe project. They also had invited the EU Roadshow to their school, and they had participated very professionally in the role play Decide4Europe. The class had chosen the topic of environment friendly traffic, concentrating on the idea, that more goods should be transported by train instead of by truck.
Ironically, the class had been late to the Festival for a whole hour, as their trip had been delayed twice.
Finally, everybody was hungry and thirsty, and we all enjoyed the delicious buffet and a good chat with colleagues many of us had so far only known via e-mail.
© Dr. Susanne Pratscher