Boje naše škole na ovogodišnjem festivalu English All Around branili su u Prvoj umjetničkoj gimnaziji u Zagrebu Marija Novoselec u kategoriji Story Challenge i Andrej Gregorin u kategoriji Speaking Challenge. Oboje su učenici 4. d razreda, a njihov je mentor profesor Miodrag Maričić.

The colours of our school at this year’s EAA were defended by Marija Novoselec in the Story Challenge and Andrej Gregorin in the Speaking Challenge categories, both being pupils of class 4. d.
Marija’s story entry can be read here. Unfortunately her story had a too long word count and was disqualified.
Andrej Gregorin, however, was a star at this year’s Speaking Challenge, gaining the audience’s applause before the debate was formally over.
It is to be expected that he will be amongst the first three awarded contestants to be announced tomorrow afternoon.
As both our participants are leaving our school to become students, everyone wanting to test their knowledge and skills in English in an unusual manner with only positive feedback, may do so by reporting to Miodrag Maričić at any time during work hours.
Cheers to Andrej and our glorious school! 😉

Miodrag Maričić, prof.

Evo i Marijina rada.

Human relationships in the future: Visiting the void

I was looking at an estranged, devastated land through the train’s window. The book manuscripts, whose publication prompted me to appear in the civilization, remained untouched in my suitcase. I was returning to a small mountain village that had been my sanctuary for twenty years and a source of inspiration for my books and collections of poems. And it seemed that I would never leave it again given the events that I had been experiencing those days. I had collected my literary opus before winter and gone to a European city in which I had previously attended college. Even though winter and loneliness had been a positive influence on the development of my creativity, I had been obsessed with an idea to once again experience life in a metropolis and return to my cultural, intellectual circles.

I was originally alone in the train, but more and more people progressively started to board it. All of them carried a laptop. There was something unnatural about them and I was starting to get scared because all of them constantly stared into their screens, not glancing away even for a second. One woman was sitting without a laptop. I believed that she did not have enough space because of my briefcase so I asked her whether it was in her way, just to hear somebody’s voice, but she only looked at me and continued with her passive lethargy. I had always loved to journey by train, but I had never witnessed such a cold atmosphere before. I got off the train at my station. There was hardly anybody. I was used to loneliness, but an idyllic one, the kind that is expected when snow covers the mountains and only the howling of the wolves can be heard in the distance. And this was some sort of a gloomy, depressing loneliness arising from the feeling that people should be there, but there were none of those masses and briskness that are typical during workdays. Some dark clouds appeared so I started to think that the town was desolated. I didn’t want to hide from the rain, but after a couple of raindrops fell onto my forehead and lightly burned my skin, I realised that a great, irreparable damage had been done and that that toxic rain could have been the reason why people don’t roam the streets. I hid in an old doorway. In that dark, grey-walled doorway, a man was sitting inconspicuously. His face was overgrown with beard and he was wearing an old, torn jacket so I thought he was a beggar at first, but then I noticed a thick book on the floor beside him. It seemed like he was a failed artist, just like me. If that situation had happened to me a couple of years before, I would probably have distanced myself, but everything was so chaotic that I desperately wanted someone to explain to me what had happened. „Good day“, I said quietly, „Am I bothering you? “ He looked at me silently. It was kind of scary. „Sir, do you need help? “ „No.“ He kept staring at me with distrust in his eyes. „What has brought you here?“ He finally asked. „It’s really complicated“, I said. I didn’t want to tell my life story to a complete stranger. But it seemed like he understood. „You should go back. There is no food anymore. People are disappearing mysteriously. No one talks about it, but it’s about some experiments whose purpose is installing human nervous system into robots. They are using injections to feed us. But it is only for the ones who can afford it.“ I was shocked. I wished with all my heart that I had never shown up in this hell. „I’m a writer“, he said, „The government is chasing me because I write a lot about politics. Most people have simply adapted, fighting to survive any way they can. Those who see the problem have found themselves in danger. “„Have you ever thought about leaving the city? “, I asked him, „forests are much better interlocutors than people.“  He shrugged and continued to look into those mouldy walls. He was very scrawny and undernourished and his hands were shaking. I sat in silence. That silence was something in between the awkward silence and the one that appears after a long close acquaintanceship with a person. I did not want to stay nor leave. And he looked too exhausted to care. I did not know whether a couple of minutes or a couple of hours have passed, but it stopped raining and I walked out of that doorway. There was still no one on the streets. The buildings looked almost the same as twenty years ago; they only contained more glass and iron so everything looked cold and unapproachable. Filled with some unreal hope, I started to walk towards a street in which I used to live, but immediately after I stepped on the road, a car bumped into me and knocked me to the ground. During the last seconds of my consciousness I managed to look inside and conclude that there was no driver; the car was driving by itself. I woke up in a hospital bed and I was so afraid that I almost lost my consciousness again. A robot was slowly, but unstoppably gliding towards me and I tried to slip away, but my leg was wrapped in bandages and unable to move. „What are you doing? Leave me alone“, I was shouting at that inhuman creation in dismay, but to no avail. It took my hand, lit it up with a laser and a small ampoule entered inside it through my skin. The creature went away. I tried to find a sharp object to rip it out, but I did not find anything like that so I passively lay back in bed and tried to fall asleep again. But an older woman in pyjamas walked into my room. „What are you doing here, child?“ She asked me in a hoarse voice. I was comforted by the fact that she was much older than me and probably equally as confused with that new way of life. I told her that a car had hit me. She laid a walker aside and sat beside me. „They don’t tend to hit people. They have been made in a way that makes them stop a couple of metres in front of an obstacle. My grandson deals with these things so he told me.“ She looked simultaneously proud and disappointed. „But the only ones regarded as people are the ones whom that… has been installed“he could not remember a proper word for it, but I knew what she was thinking about and I looked at my hand absentmindedly. „Two years ago they went door to door and installed those things into us. “ After that she told me that she had osteoporosis and that a robot visited her five times a day because in that building, beside the patients, were only two or three people responsible for programming those robots. And then she went away and I was left alone. I could not stay in this environment. Immobile or not, I had to run away because I would have gone crazy otherwise. I grasped some crutches that were beside the bed and, dragging my broken leg, managed to get outside. For the next couple of days I was walking up and down the street without a vision and without hope, and some rare people I saw on my way looked down at me because I looked like a scarecrow. I did not eat anything. I wanted to return to the mountains, but I didn’t know how because of my broken leg so I wanted to wait for it to heal a bit. But that was not possible.

One evening I managed to drag myself to the train station. I needed to wait two hours for my train to come. I didn’t even see anything at all because there was a mist of sickness in front of my eyes and I was not able to think clearly. But soon somebody sat beside me. That man from the dark doorway. He had a briefcase in his hand. I thought it was just some unreal projection created by my damaged neurons, but then he patted me on my shoulder and said „Thank you. I had been searching for years for a sign to do something different and revolutionary because this dehumanised monotony had always suffocated me. I also want to talk to trees. “We boarded the train before another acid rain started falling.”

Marija Novoselec, 4. d