Creative Renovation: A Summer Project by Gyumri School 30

Students and administrators of Gyumri school 30

GYUMRI, Armenia—In October, the Gyumri School 30 will be 50 years old. Seven months ago the school was appointed a new young and active director, Karen Stepanyan. A few weeks ago Birthright Armenia participant Natalia Sookias joined the school as a volunteer. Coincidentally, they share the same ideas on turning the school upside down for a creative renovation.

Students, staff, teachers and friends have put their summer holiday aside to work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the work done in time for the new school year. While doing all the planning and preparation work, they’ve created an online campaign to raise the budget for materials of $3,000.

“You may be asking yourself, “Why is a public school searching for outside support… where is the state funding?” The school receives very minimal funding from the government, nothing close to what is needed for this kind of project. This kind of campaign is very unique for Gyumri, though we like Indiegogo and the creative initiatives it supports. We’ve just got to utilize the resources it offers,” says Natalia Sookias.

“We decided to take things into our own hands and make our ideas happen. In collaboration with the students, staff and local artists we’re changing everything uninspiring in the school and making it fun and creative. We’re designing funky storage units, painting murals in unusual places and making sure we push all our ideas to the next level. Our intention is to design a creative and improved educational environment for our students, teachers and staff.”

The school team is collaborating with Indiegogo, an international crowd funding website, to raise their budget. Visit the recently-launched campaign. http://igg.me/at/School-Thirty/x/4258800.

“We want to emphasize the fact that everybody can contribute in a different way…if you are interested in our project and up for working us, our arms open wide to accept anything you can contribute. And you can receive special cute presents in exchange! We have 9 days left!”

School 30 is a public school located in Gyumri, Armenia. It has 101 students spanning the ages of 7-17. The school itself has had three buildings. The first one, built during the Soviet Union era, was destroyed during the 1988 earthquake. The second building took the form of “Tomiks,” shipping containers the residents of Gyumri inhabited and worked in for the years following the earthquake/collapse of the Soviet Union. Twelve years later, in 2000, a new building was constructed, this is the current home of School 30.

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