Vyborg Gymnasium 
Pushkin Str. 
Vyborg, Russia  188900 

Tel.:  (812) 259-45 


School Contacts: 
Ludmila Tumanshova 

Ms Alla ("Alice") Paschenko  
English Teacher 
Tel.: (812) 26982 

School Information: 

  • Founded in 1993 by 

  •     Ludmila Tumanshova 
  • ~460 Students (7-17yrs)
  • ~42  teachers
  • NMR Presentation:  14 October 1999 

  • Met with local press at school.
  • School presentation with advanced

  •     14-17 year olds (1.5 hours). 
  • Rendezvous with Vyborg Student and Teacher Group on field trip to Finland. 

  • (Photos of visit in Finland)
    EBB with teachers and students at 
    Vyborg Gymnasium - October 1999 
    Vyborg Castle 
    Vyborg Gymnasium was the first gymnasium in Vyborg.  The school occupies the buildings of what was originally a Finnish school (prior to W.W.II the land around Vyborg, stretching west to today's border between the two countries, was part of Finland).  After the Finns were driven from Vyborg, the buildings were used as an orphanage.   They were then converted for use as one of Stalin's pioneer palaces.  After the Soviet Union collapsed the buildings housed a trade school briefly.  They were then abandoned and for two years remained vacant and subject to the ravishes of the weather and vandals.  Today the halls are filled with bright-eyed students, looking to the future, trying to make sense of a past filled with turmoil and confusion. 

    Russian gymnasiums are not exactly like high schools.  Gymnasiums cover the core subjects more intensively than do high schools.  They also require students to study logic, philosophy, psychology, ethnology, and rhetoric.  The Vyborg Gymnasium also has a very competitive foreign language program.  It offers its students French, German and English.  There are a variety of extra-curricular programs offered as well: chess, choir, dance, design.  What makes the Vyborg Gymnasium unique is its reliance on traditional values and the humanities, while seeking new ways to address tomorrow's issues. 

    Vyborg Gymnasium administrators and students understand that youth exchanges foster not only warm feelings toward people of different cultures, but also the emergence of deeper understandings that lead to responsible citizenship  and social response-ability.  The English Department, under Alice Paschenko's guidance, has established diplomatic relations with the original Finnish school that occupied the school lot prior to W.W. II.   Kapylan Lukio, which is now located in Helsinki, and Vyborg Gymnasium have developed a program of youth exchanges that have built a bridge of friendship across the Russo-Finnish border.  (I was lucky enough to be a participant in the most recent exchange, accompanying students from Russia on their October 1999 trip to Helsinki.)  The students and administrators use English to communicate with each other.  They are looking for a third school in Europe to join their league and qualify for European grant moneys which are available to facilitate such programs. 

    I was impressed by the energy-looking-for-an-outlet at Vyborg Gymnasium.   I met with student leaders several times in Vyborg and during our time together in Finland.  Even though there is a real concern about current economic trends and political troubles in Russia, I found students at the Gymnasium are genuinely interested and concerned about circumstances that plaque the planet.   Many seem ready to get involved.  They are hungry to learn how to turn energy lost in preoccupation with local issues into remedial and developmental action, while maintaining a global perspective.  Exciting stuff. 

    Thank you Alice Paschenko first for your wonderfully enthusiastic welcome to Vyborg and then for facilitating our reunion in Helsinki.  Your hospitality was exceptional.  The unsolicited invitation to relax in the school's "banya" is but one example of your attention to detail and awareness.  I wish you continued success as a teacher - it is obvious that your students really like you. 

    A special thanks to the students who attended the NMR presentation.  It really is exciting to meet students like yourselves who are mentally active, eager to question and arrive at the truth by looking at a situation from several angles, and who are able to articulate opinions in a foreign language as well as you do.  Please don't lose your verve. 

    And to the students who traveled to Finland.  Thanks for sharing the fun with me.  Our time together in Helsinki was a perfect finale for the 1999 riding season.  Good luck in your studies and continued success in your attempts to build friendships that cross economic, social, political, racial, national and geographic divides.

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