School’s first Club Fair

By Preslava Stoyanova (9th Grade)

   On Wednesday, February 26, a club fair, sponsored by our newspaper, ELS News, will take place on the second floor of the school. The duration will be all day, from the first to last class; however, the culmination of the event will be in the 20-minute break and the class teacher period.

Newspaper Club students attend an Erasmus “Stop the Fake News” meeting

    At the club fair students and teachers will have the opportunity to take a better look at what every club does, and the club members will be the ones to demonstrate all the knowledge they’ve earned from attending club meetings.

Newspaper Club students discuss a story idea

The purpose of the fair is to raise awareness of all the interest clubs available to students and to introduce them to their activities, which can help them open even more doors to success in life.

  Here’s a list of all the clubs that have confirmed their participation in the fair to date:

* Art Club – Zlatka Koeva

* BEST (Bulgarian English Debate and Speech Tournament)/Debate, Oratory, Prose, Poetry and Duo – Zornitsa Haralambieva, Prue Salasky

* Chemistry Club – Galya Marinova

* Reborn/Entrepreneurs Club – Kostadinka Nedyalkova

* E-Learning Club – Kostadinka Nedyalkova

*Literature Club – Mariana Nedrichkova

* Newspaper Club – Prue Salasky

* Physics Problems and Physics Experiments Club – Elena Karumcheva

* Zumba – Elena Polinchova

Newspaper Club student writes about her London visit that included a stop at Madame Tussaud’s

Teenage Insomnia

By Victoria Manoleva (11th grade)

Let’s talk about insomnia since a lot of students, whether in high school or university, have come across it at least once in their life.

So what is insomnia (or sleep deprivation) exactly? Insomnia is a difficulty getting to sleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up way too early in the morning, not getting enough hours of sleep or any kind of combination of these sleep symptoms. During the day they can often cause fatigue, concentration problems, memory disturbance, mood swings, irritability and diminished work performance. However, this doesn’t go for everyone.

Mornings are especially tough for insomniacs since they may not recognize which day it is or get confused when asked about what they’ve done the day before. Days just merge. The lack of rapid eye movement (REM)  during sleep causes restlessness and emotional instability. Late night studies are a habit of some students since they have trouble sleeping – yes, insomniacs can be intensely creative (especially after midnight). That’s because when our minds are tired, we don’t censor our thoughts which can in fact boost creativity.

Time is torture.

Worrying about sleep itself creates “anticipatory anxiety”, which prevents you from sleeping. The more you think about the fact that you’re not sleeping, that it’s too late, the further you are from falling asleep.

We are emotionally raw.

We become more sensitive to what people say to us, to what we read, to what we listen to or even to what we see. Everything can be a mood changer at this point aka constant mood swings. What’s more, the body reacts to the exhaustion by crying in order to help reduce chemical imbalance.

A later stage of insomnia is having hallucinations.  Sleep deprivation disrupts your thought process, triggering delusions.

After a long time not sleeping, no medications seem to work anymore. Although science has not proven the biological need for sleep, those who have insomnia undoubtedly suffer.

In conclusion, insomnia can become a serious medical condition if not taken care of. A lot of people suffer from insomnia daily and their number is increasing with each passing day. The worse the condition gets, the more society starts to realize how big an impact sleep deprivation has on life.

PERSONAL TIPS for coping with insomnia:

  •  Use relaxation exercises, such as focused breathing, meditation, yoga
  • Set an exact time for going to bed and for getting up
  • If you’ve been awake in bed for 20 to 30 minutes, get up and do something else
  • See a therapist and brainstorm ideas
  • Keep a journal 
  • As a last resort, see a medical doctor and ask about medication


Coronavirus Caution

by Alexandra Sarieva (8D)

The coronavirus is a virus that primarily infects animals but has recently been detected in people. The first human case appeared in October 2019 in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province in China, with a population of 11 million. First, the previously unknown virus was temporarily named ‘2019 nCoV’. Its symptoms are commonplace and without a proper exam it can easily be confused with a common cold.

First it starts similarly to other diseases, with typical symptoms being a runny nose and a cough. But then the victims start to have a fever and eventually develop pneumonia. After several months, on Jan. 9, officials in Wuhan announced the new disease and named it novel (or new) coronavirus, or Covid-19, part of a family of viruses with the shape of a crown.

Coronavirus image from American Society for Microbiology

On Jan. 11, 2020, the first death was confirmed. Moreover, it was concluded that hundreds of other people were already diseased and that transmission from person to person was taking place. This confirmed that it could be easily spread through the air and saliva drops. In a few weeks the infection was detected in other countries, such as Japan, the United States and France, where the first death outside China occurred.

So far, according to a CDC study cited by CNN, it is considered less lethal — but more contagious — than SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), a coronavirus that swept southern China in 2002-2003. (Ed: At time of publication there have been more than 75,000 people diagnosed with the new virus and 2,100 deaths, with just eight reported outside China, according to multiple news sources.) Still it is a threat because of the difficulty in distinguishing it from a common cold or other disease.

This disease isn’t as deadly as some maintain but it is tricky because of its unrecognizable symptoms which make it hard to diagnose without proper exams. So we should be worried as travelers that because of the virus’s ‘invisibility’ it might not have been detected and we might want to stop going on planes and use greater than usual caution.

By Newspaper Staff


Where is Wuhan? Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province in Eastern China on the Yangtze River. It is 1,150 km south of Beijing, 12 hours by car.

Population of Wuhan? 11 million, the ninth largest in China.

History: It was the capital of China in 1927 and was the wartime capital in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Economy: Wuhan is a transportation, manufacturing and science hub.

By Newspaper Staff


Virus (2019)

Pandemic (2016)

Contagion (2011)

Quarantine (2008)

28 Days Later (2007)

Outbreak (1995)

Japanese education system

pinion piece by Victoria Manoleva (11th grade)

The Japanese education system, as perfect as it may seem, has its own disadvantages among the many benefits that it serves. It’s easy to ignore them considering all the advantages, but the flaws, as few as they are, are sometimes crucial.

Although some people may think that the Japanese education system and schools are flawless, I just can’t help but disagree since they are so consumed by being first that they simply forget to truly live and look around themselves.

The basic school system in Japan is composed of elementary school (lasting six years), middle school (three years), high school (three years), and university (four years). Education is compulsory only for the nine years of elementary and middle school, but 98% of students go on to high school.

According to “Schools – Explore Japan – Kids Web Japan – Web Japan,” Japanese children enter the first grade of elementary school in the April after their sixth birthday. (

While most schools and universities in the world begin their academic year in September or October, in Japan it is April that marks the start of the academic and business calendar. The first day of school often coincides with one of the most beautiful natural phenomena — the time of the cherry blossoms.

There are around 30 to 40 students in a typical elementary school class. The subjects they study include Japanese, mathematics, science, social studies, music, crafts, physical education, and home economics (to learn simple cooking and sewing skills).

More and more elementary schools have started teaching English, too. Information technology is increasingly being used to enhance education, and most schools have access to the Internet. Students also learn traditional Japanese arts like shodo (calligraphy) and haiku. Shodo involves dipping a brush in ink and using it to write kanji (characters that are used in several East Asian countries and have their own meanings) and kana (phonetic characters derived from kanji) in an artistic style. (Kids Web Japan)


Haiku is a form of poetry developed in Japan about 400 years ago. A haiku is a short verse of 17 syllables, divided into units of five, seven, and five syllables. Haiku uses simple expressions to convey deep emotions to readers. In Japanese elementary schools, classes are divided into small teams for many activities. For example, as part of their education, every day the students clean the classrooms, halls, and yards of their school in these teams. In many elementary schools, the students eat lunch together in their classrooms, enjoying meals prepared by the school or by a local “school lunch center.” Small teams of students take turns to serve lunch to their classmates. School lunches contain a rich variety of healthy and nutritious foods, and students look forward to lunchtime. (Kids Web Japan)

Most middle and high schools require students to wear uniforms. Boys generally wear pants and jackets with stand-up collars, and girls wear a two-piece suit with sailor collar or blazers and skirts. Almost all middle school students take part in an extracurricular club activity of their choice, such as a sports team, a musical or arts group, or a science club. ( Among cultural clubs, meanwhile, one that has lately gained popularity is the Go club. Go is a strategic board game played with black and white stones. After a manga (comic book) about the game was published, more and more schoolchildren started enjoying Go. Other options for students include choir and art clubs.(

In Japanese schools, the students don’t take any exams until they reach grade four (the age of 10). They just take small tests. It is believed that the goal for the first 3 years of school is not to judge the child’s knowledge or learning, but to establish good manners and to develop their character. Children are taught to respect other people and to be gentle to animals and nature. They also learn how to be generous, compassionate, and empathetic. Besides this, the kids are taught qualities like grit, self-control, and justice. (

In order to get into a good junior high school, most Japanese students enter a preparatory school or attend private after-school workshops. The classes in these schools are held in the evenings. Seeing groups of small kids returning from their extracurricular courses late in the evening is common in Japan. Japanese students have an 8-hour school day, but apart from that they study even during the holidays and on weekends. It’s no wonder that the students in this country almost never repeat grades in primary, lower secondary, or secondary school. (

However, not everything about Japanese schools and their education system is so pink. There are some disadvantages as well. One of the obvious cons is that the students in Japan are exposed to considerable pressure and suffer much tension at a very early age.

The goal of the Japanese school has been to convey knowledge from the teacher to the student and uses many standardized tests and curriculums. It teaches each child the same thing to the best of their ability without worrying about each child’s individual set of skills as much. ( Even though this may seem a bad thing, Japanese levels of achievement in children are very high. Even though this achievement rate is high and has led to a success in industry in the nation, Japanese schools have seen a lack in creativity because of the way the school program is structured. In contrast with Japan, the United States is more of a “heterogeneous nation”. The culture of the United states greatly emphasises in individual and their unique set of skills and personality. Although this encourages creativity, American achievement rate is not as high as in Japanese schools. (

The following sources were used for this article:

Students react to dress code

By Preslava Stoyanova (9th grade)

In 2019 the school dress code was introduced. The introduction was followed by anger and, at first, some students had trouble dressing accordingly. With time they managed to accept the changes and the dress code was strictly followed.

Ripped jeans, track suits, short tops, mini skirts and shorts became forbidden. Students are allowed to wear tops, but not too short and in one of these colors: white, blue, red and gray. As for bottoms, students are allowed to wear skirts, jeans or trousers in white, blue, red, black or gray.

 One year later, we asked some ninth-graders to share their opinions on the topic and see whether the dress code is still seen as a negative change.

“Do you think the dress code was a necessary change and why?

“No it wasn’t necessary in my opinion, they created a lot of stress and confusion among the students right in the middle of the school year.”- Nikolay Tonchev

“Well, in my opinion it was a necessary change because we are at school and it’s not good to represent your school in an Adidas tracksuit, right?”- Angel Sinkov

“I do not think it was necessary – it’s our duty as students to go to school properly dressed up; however, there shouldn’t be color restrictions. Wearing yellow or green wouldn’t harm anyone.”- Denitsa Kaloyanova

“I don’t think that the dress code was a needed change. Yes there were people who dressed inappropriately but I don’t think that we have to dress in certain colors. And my reasoning behind it is that not everyone has the money to buy new clothing.”- Kalina Kandrova

“I do not think so”- Ivaila Veselinova

“Was it easy for you to get used to wearing the dress code?”

“No, I couldn’t get used to it and I continued coming to school in sweatpants and ripped jeans for a whole month after the change, but now I do follow the dress code to some extent.” – Nikolay Tonchev

“I spent lots of money on clothes because of the dress code. Overall, it wasn’t hard for me to get used to it, however finding a certain type of T-shirts and jeans can be extremely expensive.”- Denitsa Kaloyanova

“No it wasn’t and I still haven’t gotten used to it.”-Kalina Kandrova

“I’m definitely not used to dressing accordingly yet.”- Ivaila Veselinova

“Would you rather wear uniforms?”

 “I don’t like uniforms, I prefer wearing jeans and red shirts – they are formal as well and more convenient.”- Angel Sinkov

“No, no and a thousand times no! Everyone walking in the hallway dressed the same as the others…No thank you!”- Nikolay Tonchev

‘’Yes, because I won’t spend tons of money on buying new clothes according to the dress code and I will save time”- Denitsa Kaloianova

‘‘No, I would rather wear uniforms if they are skirts and flannels with a tie; I wouldn’t want to wear a uniform.“- Kalina Kandrova

“Yes, I would.”- Ivaila Veselinova

“If you could add one more color to the allowed colors, which one would it be?”

“I would add black, of course!”- Angel Sinkov

“I don’t really follow the color restrictions. I just wear jeans. In terms of colors I put the first shirt I grab in the wardrobe. But if I begin to follow it, maybe black.”- Nikolay Tonchev

“I’d add pink because it is a beautiful color that symbolizes kindness and happiness. We are happier when there are more colors surrounding us.”- Denitsa Kaloianova

“I would add black.”- Kalina Kandrova

“If it was up to me to decide, I wouldn’t add any color restrictions”- Ivaila Veselinova

 Judging by the students’ answers to these questions, we can see that they all have different opinions, but share one thing in common – adding more colors. As Denitsa said, “We are happier when there are more colors surrounding us.”

Proper clothing is significant to our education and discipline, however, the world is more than blue, white, red and grey. And as Kalina has stated, “not everyone has the money to buy new clothing.” Some students still have difficulty dressing accordingly; however, they’ve accepted it.

Note: The full uniform and dress code requirements can be found on the school website, under the tab “School documents,” starting on p. 19. Here’s an excerpt:

 V. ОБЛЕКЛО НА УЧЕНИКА  Чл. 84. (1) Ученикът е длъжен да се явява в училището и на училищни мероприятия с облекло и във вид, които съответстват на положението му и на добрите нрави.  (2) От 15.09.2019 година се въвежда задължителен дрескод за всички ученици, приети в гимназията преди 2019г. (9-ти, 10-ти, 11-ти и 12-ти клас) до тяхното завършване на гимназията.  (3) ДОПУСТИМИТЕ ЕЛЕМЕНТИ НА ОБЛЕКЛОТО за явяване в училище са, както следва:  1. Момчета:  1.1.тениска, риза, блуза, пуловер, поло с дълъг или с къс ръкав в един от следните цветове: бял, червен, син, сив;  1.2.панталон/дънки в един от следните цветове: черен, тъмносин, тъмносив, тъмнокафяв.  2.Момичета:  2.1.тениска, риза, блуза, пуловер, поло с дълъг или с къс ръкав в един от следните цветове: бял, червен, син, сив;  2.2.панталон/дънки/пола/рокля в един от следните цветове: черен, тъмносин, тъмносив, тъмнокафяв.  3.Тениска с логото и името на гимназията.  4. Униформено облекло, посочено в чл.84 (5) от ПДУ. (4) НЕДОПУСТИМИТЕ ЕЛЕМЕНТИ НА ОБЛЕКЛОТО и външния вид на учениците са: къс, 3/4 и 7/8 панталон; панталони с ниска талия, панталони тип шалвари, размъкнати, нарязани, увиснали, в ярка цветова гама и с шарки; анцуг и трикотажен клин; дълбоко деколте; къса пола; къса блуза и бюстие; прозрачна дреха; потник; джапанки; нецензурни изображения и текст по дрехите и аксесоарите; дрехи, рекламиращи алкохол, наркотици, тютюнопушене, секс и насилие; силен грим. 

Uniforms are here!

By Alexandra Sarieva (8th grade)

Jan. 20, 2020

On Jan. 15, 2020, Ivo Radev and I interviewed the principal, Jacqueline Neycheva, on one of the topics that has bothered our school for the past few months: The school uniform.

Our principal started the interview by mentioning that the day we chose was the birthday of our school patron, poet Geo Milev.

Ivo: Can you tell us why it was decided to include a uniform in the school dress code?

Neycheva: It was a decision that was taken quite logically by both the teachers and the students because it was discussed with them. We believe that having a uniform is declaring our unity as a school and trying to build the image of a modern school so this is how the idea occurred in general; most colleges and we all know universities that are designed by our students have uniforms for centuries and that has never been a problem,

Alex: So, this could be called a school decision?

Neycheva: It is! It can’t be called anything but that.

Alex: Is the idea of having uniforms to bring the school back to the time when its reputation was the best?

Neycheva: It is my ambition, but being a lonely soldier is a failure predicted; I think we all — students, teachers and parents — should do our best to bring the school back to its reputation and the best it had. We agreed to support this idea because, as a school, we had to be united to achieve anything. We all create the school, our unity and ambitions create the image of Geo Milev. If we stay behind anything and fight for it, we will achieve the wanted goal.

The girls’ uniform for 8th graders; red collared shirt with logo; navy jacket with logo

Ivo: Can you tell us if the parents and faculty also wanted this? What was their reaction to the school uniforms?

Boys’ uniform for 8th-graders; long-sleeved navy T-shirt with school logo

Neycheva: … Everything has settled down and the new students will wear uniforms and the others will have a dress code. Going back to the reactions we had doesn’t help the image of the school, so I disagree with this in general. So, if we send positive information we will succeed. Otherwise, it won’t have any benefit for us, do you think?

She’s right. If we tried to unite the school with negativism, well it wouldn’t be a success. Of course, there will always be disagreements because of opposing opinions. Some will say yes to an idea, others will not. We may be one school, but we’re not one person.

I’m not saying we should agree to every idea, but at least to support it if it’s good for our school. Let’s think about the school, not only us.

Ivo Radev (8th Grade) contributed to this article.

Note: The full uniform guidelines can be found at the school website, under the tab “School documents” and then click on the red document, Rules 2019/2020, and go to p. 19. Below is an excerpt:


  (5) От 15.09.2019 за всички новоприети учениците (8-ми клас през учебната 2019-2020 година) до тяхното завършване на гимназията се въвежда задължително униформено облекло за явяване в училище и на училищни мероприятия (по индивидуален избор за цвят и тип облекло – блуза, тениска, суитчер и панталон), както следва:  1. Момчета:  1.1. тениска – с обло деколте (тъмносиня, червена, бяла), 100% памук, с дълъг и къс ръкав, с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  1.2. блуза тип „лакоста“ – с дълъг ръкав, с цветен кант на яката и маншетите, 100% памук (тъмносиня с червен кант, червена с тъмносин кант, бяла с тъмносин кант), с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  1.3. блуза тип „лакоста“ – с къс ръкав, с цветен кант на яката, 100% памук (тъмносиня с червен кант, червена с тъмносин кант, бяла с тъмносин кант), с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  1.4. суитчер с качулка (зимен) – 100% тъмносиня триконечна вата, с памучна подплата на цялото тяло, с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  1.5. суитчер с качулка (летен) – 100% тъмносиня еластична вата, с памучна подплата само на качулката, с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  1.6. панталон/дънки в един от следните цветове: черен, тъмносин, тъмносив, тъмнокафяв. 2. Момичета:  2.1. тениска с обло деколте (тъмносиня, червена, бяла), 100% памук, с дълъг и къс ръкав, с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  2.2. блуза тип „лакоста“ – с дълъг ръкав, с цветен кант на яката и маншетите, 100% памук (тъмносиня с червен кант, червена с тъмносин кант, бяла с тъмносин кант), с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  2.3. блуза тип „лакоста“ – с къс ръкав, с цветен кант на яката, 100% памук (тъмносиня с червен кант, червена с тъмносин кант, бяла с тъмносин кант), с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  2.4. суитчер с качулка (зимен) – 100% тъмносиня триконечна вата, с памучна подплата на цялото тяло, с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  2.5. суитчер с качулка (летен) 100% тъмносиня еластична вата, с памучна подплата само на качулката, с емблема (логото и името на гимназията);  2.6. панталон/дънки /пола/рокля в един от следните цветове: черен, тъмносин, тъмносив, тъмнокафяв.  3.Тениска с логото и името на гимназията.  (6) Въвежда се униформено облекло за представителни събития на училищните отбори и делегации.  (7) Ученикът с облекло в съответствие с чл. 84, ал.2 и ал. 3 (с изключение на облеклото съгласно чл. 84, ал.3, т.4) е длъжен да носи на територията на училището и по време на представителни събития идентификационния си бадж/значка с логото и името на гимназията. 

The school move!

By Denislav DrachevBy Denislav Drachev

Jan. 13, 2020

On Jan. 9, a teachers’ meeting was held to discuss the proposed move of our school. In light of this event, we went to investigate, or more so, to interview some teachers. Our choice was the school’s pedagogical advisor, Ms. Rumyana Kostova.

We started the interview with the introductory question of whether the decision to move has actually been finalized. “That I couldn’t tell you, the principal is the only one who can say for certain right now, but it’s likely, seeing how the talks are taking place,” she said.

So, not certain — but probable.

After that introduction, we followed up with a question about the pretext for this entire ordeal. Or, to put it simply, “Why are we moving?”

We went back and forth but the general idea was the same: the obligatory first shift.

The law requires all schools to be on the first shift; however, that is currently impossible, given our sharing of the school facility at Geo Milev with the German school.

That, and the sheer opportunity of moving to a larger and better building is not to be missed, as well as the lack of space in our building for extracurricular activities, for example.

The two most considered schools currently are Dobri Chintulov, JK Izgrev 55, and Yordan Yovkov, JK Izgrev 68-3.

Dobri Chintulov
Dobri Chintulov

We then asked about the state of the two buildings and we got a clear answer. “Either way, whichever one is chosen is definitely going to be better than our current building.”

When talking about this, however, both Ms. Kostova and the other teachers in the room with us shared their connection to the current building.

“… I have given a lot of myself for this building, we’ve been here for quite a few years,” Kostova said. She was followed by the chemistry teachers sharing their memories of struggling for a neat and tidy chemistry lab and building everything up. The feelings they showed were clear, and it seems the move might be a tough one for many, especially the teachers.

But it is clearly for the better, stemming from quite a few factors which we discussed, initiated by our next question about the benefits of moving.

“Think of it as this. If your rooms are 30 square meters now, they’ll be 60 square meters after the move. The high ceilings and potential for personal lockers will also add to the comfort of the students.”

So: larger rooms and lockers.

Other things that were mentioned were the PE gym, which is allegedly better than ours in both prospective places, along with the potential for more rooms dedicated to after-class activities.

But a big benefit for students is that we may start classes as late as 8:15 a.m., somewhere in the range of 8 to 8:30 a.m. is possible.

As for the location of the schools, both are close to each other and a few buses, the B1 for example, will take you directly to the front of Dobri Chintulov and a 2-minute walk from Yordan Yovkov.

Students coming from other towns wouldn’t be much compromised with the schools being close to Life Hospital, not far from where buses from Nesebar and Pomorie stop.

“The move will impact students, as with any change of setting,” Ms. Kostova said. “Think of when you came here from middle school; it will be a change to adapt to. If students are diligent and civil, the move should go without any problems,” she added.

In conclusion, we are leaving our mark on this building and moving may come with a need to adapt; however it is for the better for all of us.

Yanis Hristov and Yasen Jekov contributed to this article. Interviews were conducted in Bulgarian and translated.

NOTE: This is an ongoing story; it will be updated as more information becomes available.

Nikulden art contest: An interview with Mrs. Koeva

By Preslava Stoyanova (9th)

Dec. 19, 2019

This year, for Nikulden, our newspaper HermeS sponsored an Art contest.

The Art pieces were all judged by our beloved art teacher, Mrs. Zlatka Koeva. Here’s what she said about her choice of winners.

“The drawings weren’t judged based on the art style or your ability to draw. Many factors determine your chances of winning the contest. When I look at a drawing, I want to see an idea , an original and distinctive idea combined with a little bit of realization.”

To the question “How did you decide the first three winners?” the teacher gave this answer:

“The first place winner had drawn an empty boat on the bay. The boat and the sea are typical symbols of the holiday; however, the emptiness indicates that the fisherman is somewhere else celebrating the holiday. 

The winning entry by Vesela Efremova, 8e

The second and the third places also had some very interesting inspirations. One of the pictures had typical Nikulden symbols shaped like a fishing rod. Another peculiar art piece, which wasn’t in the top three, had a carp with other fish parts drawn on it.”

Five students received commendations for their creativity

The judge also added:

“I don’t judge students by their talent. Not everyone is born an artist. I appreciate the effort and love everybody puts in their work and at the end I choose the best results based on the originality of the drawing.”

(From left to right) winners Ivayla, Vesela, (Prue Salasky, newspaper rep) and Alexandra

First place: Vesela Efremova, 8e

Second place: Alexandra Sarieva, 8d

Third place: Ivayla Bozhkova, 8a

Commended: Svetoslava Turpanova and Ana-Karina Dimitrova, 8a; Teodor Kristov, 8b; Nina Stefanova, 8d; Valentin Paskalov, 8e.

The Best of the BEST

By Julia Ivanova, 11e

Dec. 17, 2019

Imagine having to know about a variety of topics, such as private prisons, beauty, Academy Awards, election finance, relationships, etc., and then, in front of judges, speak in English for 8 minutes competing with 27 other speakers, all to win a debate tournament!

That’s exactly what 9th grade BEST members, Malena Malcheva, along with her team mates, Rozali Terzieva and Yasen Jekov, had to go through.

Malena, Yasen and Rozi hold their first-place awards

Earlier this month, on Dec. 1, these students won first place in the novice division for debate at the regional BEST competition; this earned them a spot in the BEST National Tournament in Sofia in April 2020. “The win definitely wasn’t easy, the long preparations paid off,” said Malena, who herself won the award for “Best Speaker.” The team also won the “Sportsmanship” award: “I think one of the most important things is to have a friendly debate because we need to distinguish the difference between being competitive and being mean,” Malena added.

The Geo Milev BEST club had two more teams, one from the 9th grade with Denislav Drachev, Peter Georgiev and Preslava Stoyanova, who finished 4th and who will also compete in Sofia; and one from 10th grade with Alexander Ivanov, Irina Georgieva and Beyonse Buteva, who placed 7th in the very competitive varsity division.

Ana (8th grade) and Alex (10th grade) work on the BEST poster

Debate requires wide-ranging knowledge and the ability to think on your feet, and excellent English skills. You have to think quickly and have strong arguments in order to be able to compete. Most students join this club to practice their English, expand their knowledge and share their thoughts and opinions — and others just for fun!

Peter, Preslava, Yasen and Denis compare notes

At the beginning the BEST club wasn’t very popular and its current members didn’t even know it existed. They found out thanks to the teachers who actually lead BEST – Zornica Haralambieva and Vannah Lusk (Fulbright ETA last year) and Prue Salasky (Fulbright ETA this year). The students share a powerful connection with these teachers because thanks to them, their whole life turned around. These teachers inspire the young teenagers and give them a community in which they can express themselves. “BEST was one of the things that attracted me to Fulbright’s Bulgarian program. I have seen the transformative power of debate for students learning English,” said co-coach Prue. “It’s incredible to see their talent and drive.”

Getting ready to debate!

Malena chose this club because she wanted to have a safe place where she could share her ideas about the world we live in. She was doing oratory before joining BEST and after she joined her life changed for the better. “Time passes so fast when you do something meaningful with it,” she says “It’s a place where I feel comfortable and where I feel at home.” Most of the members have worked together for a year now and they have become really good friends. “Going to our weekly practices just feels like going home to my family, ” Malena says. Her team mates added, “We synchronize so well, each one of us has an area that he/she is better at, we can rely on each other.” Some of them have even became best friends!

The BEST club celebrates its teams’ performances at the regional tournament in Burgas

Peter, who joined the club this year, says, “The negative thing is that you have to put in a lot of time and effort.”  However, Malena finds this a small price to pay for all of the pros that the club gives you.

In summary, the BEST Foundation gives many opportunities to widen your communication and speaking skills while creating a safe environment by allowing teenagers to bond and giving them a voice. If you like to talk a lot and make new relationships, then that’s definitely the place for you!


Ø The BEST Foundation ( promotes English education, civic engagement and creative expression in Bulgaria through the power of debate, prose, poetry, oratory and duo.

Ø There are two divisions, novice for 8th and 9th  graders; varsity for 10th through 12th graders. Competitions are held in poetry, prose, duo, oratory and debate.

Ø The BEST club meetings are every Tuesday, after or before the classes (13:20 first shift; 12:20 second shift) in the Creative Room of ELS “Geo Milev”. Everyone is welcome!

Ø School Newspaper website:

Alexandra: Nikulden winner

By Preslava Stoyanova

Every year for Nikulden, on Dec. 6, the mayor gives awards to outstanding students at the Town Hall. This year, one of AEG Geo Milev’s 8th- grade students grabbed the attention of the town’s council and won an award.

Alexandra Sarieva, 8D

Here’s the interview with the amazing winner, Alexandra Sarieva, 8D.

Hello, Alexandra. Please tell us about the award and the prize?

– It’s a pair of headphones with a symbol of Bourgas drawn on them.

What did you win it for?

-Last year I won the Creative Writing competition. It’s a competition where you have to write a story based on a given topic in a short amount of time. It’s held every year, in every school. You are given three topics and you have to choose one of them.

What topics did you have to choose from?

-The first topic was “Where does the Ocean go?”; the second one, “When I sneeze, I always see an Elephant”, and the third one, “The Octopus who was afraid of Water”.

Which one did you pick?

-I chose the second one because I found it bizarre and surprising. 

Summarize the story you wrote.

-My dad is an elephant hunter. Once, he took me on a hunt but told me to stay in the car. I sneezed and saw an elephant. Fortunately, my father shot it six times and it died. I woke up with a sneeze. Suddenly, a flying elephant appeared and disappeared. I surfed the Internet for answers. I found an article by a hunter named Alan who would see a bear every time he coughs. His solution was to shoot the bear every five sneezes. I checked his profile and the last article in it was about his death. His wife said he had coughed once before he died. After understanding that, I started living in a constant fear. I finished the story with “Wish me luck … achoo”!

How did it feel to receive an award from the mayor himself?

-It’s really amazing. I was extremely surprised by it. The award was so sudden and unexpected. However, I am happier and more astonished by the idea that occurred to me – the idea of writing the story. 

December 11, 2019