Brookes St. Petersburg

Photos and text by Maria

I’ve been to St. Petersburg before and this is the cultural capital of Russia, the northern Venice, so many names were given to this great city. Today it is the second largest city in Russia, founded in 1703 by Peter the Great. This year the city celebrated its 316th anniversary. Many great people have lived here, created and became successful, and all of this makes St. Petersburg an ideal place for founding a school with a wide range of opportunities and prospects.

On October 1, the grand opening of the Brooks St. Petersburg School took place, and many guests and celebrities came from all over the world to attend the event. Teachers and the Moscow Brooks School’ Head Girl — Julija also visited, and I attended as a member of the Journalism Club. 

Actually, this event was supposed to have happened last year and we were ready to go there then, but since St. Petersburg is a city built on a swamp, unfortunately, there were some problems related to the safety of the school building. Thus, we didn’t have such a great opportunity to visit this school and I didn’t even think it would happen anymore, but two weeks before the grand opening, Mr. Downey came to me and Julia saying that the trip would happen. It was such a pleasure to hear it, as both of us were really excited about it. During the following weeks, Julija created a wonderful speech about studying at Brookes and I was given a camera to take photos of Brooks St. Petersburg.

So, on the day before the grand opening, me and Julija packed all of the things we needed and we took a flight to St.  Petersburg with Mr. Downey. We were very tired, so when we got to the hotel, we retired right away. The next day was so long and exciting at the same time, that I felt they were two separate days. 

We finally arrived at St. Petersburg’s Brookes, and we were met by some lovely people we already knew, one of them was Miss Varrier, who taught us maths for a few months last year when we had a problem with a maths teacher. We also met some students that studied in our school for a while last year and made new friends.

The building of the school is slightly different, it is a bit smaller, without a swimming pool and a performance hall which is located outside of the building. This is a glazed room with rows of chairs and stage. On the stage a little grand piano was located, for the ceremony. They have 3 floors just like in our school, on the first and second floor, middle and upper students study, with the primary school kids on the top floor. They have two libraries, one is for older kids and the other one is for the younger ones. 

The ceremony began at 11 o’clock when everybody (from 1st graders till year 13 students) gathered in the performance hall. Soon a girl from year 13 gave a wonderful speech about education and the importance of studying to inspire and encourage  younger students, after that was Mr. King’s speech. He told us a parable about three old men: a pessimist, a realist, and an optimist. Then there was some great singing and piano playing from talented students of the upper school and Mr.Canary’s piano playing. The last person who gave a speech was Julija, and she was nervous that something was going to go wrong, but eventually everything was all right. Her speech was smooth, Julija told us about studying at Brookes Moscow and the great opportunities it gives.

Elizabeth Boyarskaya (a famous russian celebrity) cut the ribbon and the school was officially opened! 

Guests of the Brookes St. Petersburg’s school communicated, ate cake and appetizers, whilst students went back to their classrooms, sat down at desks, opened workbooks and kept studying. I met a lot of people from different countries and schools, I made friends with some of the students that day.

After the end of the school day, Ms. Le Prou and Ms. Ventor accompanied me and Julija to the Hermitage, where we spent 1 hour marvelling and looking at the works of great artists, such as Leonardo da Vinchi, Rembrant and Titian.

It was an exciting, unforgettable trip that encouraged me to write this article, describe all the worries and moments of happiness I had during this short journey. Thank you Brookes, for giving me this opportunity! 

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