An America for Bulgaria Program Makes Dreams Come True

Chemistry lesson, Schools of the FutureCan brown-eyed parents have a blue-eyed child?

“The tongue may hide the truth, but the eyes—never,” believed the twentieth-century writer Mikhail Bulgakov. He clearly didn’t know his genetics despite his medical credentials, said eleventh graders from Sofia’s 51st, Elisaveta Bagryana School by way of starting an open biology lesson on Tuesday, April 24, in which they introduced the concept of recessive and dominant traits.

The lesson took place at the newly opened natural science center at the school, built with support from the America for Bulgaria Foundation’s Schools of the Future program. The 400,000-lev project funded the construction of six science labs, high-tech classrooms, and leisure and study areas.

The new laboratories are a “dream come true,” said the school’s principal, Asen Alexandrov, at the center’s official opening on April 24. “The America for Bulgaria Foundation helped our dream come true,” Alexandrov said, adding that, because of the improved learning environment, students stay at school longer hours than they used to.    

Hurricanes, Schools of the FutureABF supported the construction of a new math and science center at the William Gladstone High School, Sofia’s 18th, as well. At the center’s opening, also on April 24, students and teachers demonstrated the multidisciplinary approach to learning promoted by the school. The open lesson on hurricanes included identifying hurricane-prone geographic regions, estimating the economic consequences of hurricane damage, and using mathematical formulas to measure hurricane wind force. Visitors learned how to say “hurricane” in the nine languages taught at the school.

Bulgarian education minister Krasimir Valchev, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandakova and deputy mayors, ambassadors, educators, teachers, and other guests attended the ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Fandakova thanked the Foundation for its support, calling ABF “the main and largest partner of Sofia municipality and the ministry of education in the development of a modern learning environment in Bulgaria.”  

Reading & leisure area, Schools of the FutureValchev touted the Foundation’s role in supporting STEM education in Bulgaria. “We should prioritize investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and use all tools at our disposal to encourage education in these fields,” Valchev said. 

“The community’s involvement in these initiatives makes me optimistic about Bulgaria’s future,” said ABF President Nancy Schiller. In both schools, partners and students’ parents contributed a quarter of the funds necessary for the construction of the science centers.

Eighty-five schools in 40 Bulgarian towns have benefited from ABF support through the Schools of the Future program. Since 2010, the Foundation has invested more than 110 million US dollars in Bulgarian education.

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