Twelve students from Twin Rivers Elementary’s Russian bilingual program, together with their chaperones, travelled to San Francisco, California last week. The purpose of the trip was to attend the annual Russian Festival that has been held in that city for 28 years.
The festival included performances ranging from traditional Russian dances and ballet to gymnastics and balalaika music. This is the second trip that teacher Venie Cheveldave has organized. “We went to experience the culture,” she said. “Many of these kids have been together since starting kindergarten. It was my idea of a way to finish off their elementary experience with their group before they go off to the high school.”
One stop on the trip was a luncheon at Katia’s Russian Tea Room. Katia is a first generation Russian immigrant and she prepared the group home-made traditional foods including piroshki, pel’meni, marinated mushrooms and other cultural dishes. In turn, Cheveldave presented her with a hand-carved ladle made by Kootenay artisan Harry Hadikin.
The group then explored the area around Geary Blvd., also know as “Little Russia”. While visiting a Russian Orthodox church, they checked out the architecture and were treated to a tour and explanation of the symbolism in the church.
In addition to the Russian culture experience, the students also got to take a tour of the city and Alcatraz and visit Fisherman’s Wharf.
Emma Conley was one of the students that went on the trip, she thought it was the best trip she has ever been on. “Fisherman’s Wharf was awesome, so was Alcatraz,” she said. “I learned that there are also lots of other different cultures, we went to China Town and Japanese Town. The Russian Festival showed us some neat things too, like types of Russian music and different types of Russian dancing.”