“Our Most Precious Possession? Our Grandparents’ Stories!”
Are you curious about a teenage bomb disposal expert who was one of the first men to enter Hitler’s office? or about dealing with setbacks, “running thoughts” and the “happiest moment” in the competition? Would you like to know more about the power that comes from trusting oneself and about the preciousness of spending time with your joking grandfather? Then just go on reading the following quotes from Georgian and Moldovan prize winners of the last two competition rounds. A tutor also added her impressions.
Katie Nagladze, prize winner of the Georgian History Competition 2017-2018
“I heard about the competition “My Ancestors at My Age” at school. I remember: history lesson was starting, when my teacher Tiniko Shishniashvili, without whom I would not have been able to do anything, informed our class about this competition, the topic, the rules, and everything. As soon as I heard about it, I decided to participate in this competition because the topic correlated very well with my grandfather’s life. My work was dedicated to my grandfather Shota Sulkhanishvili who fought in World War II. He was a bomb disposal expert and fought at the front line for six years, he was almost my age, 16, when he went to the war. He was also one of the first men who came into Hitler’s office. A German author visited him for an interview about this event for his book “The Downfall of Berlin”. I wanted to make the life and work of my grandfather known to many people.
I gained a lot of experience; I didn’t even expect to win anything but I did. And I even got to participate in the EUSTORY Summit 2018 in Berlin. I acquired a lot of skills regarding history, I found friends from other countries, so this competition made a lifetime inerasable impression on me.”
For Katie’s complete statement, please watch this video (in Georgian language).
Tamar Chkhitunidze, prize winner of the Georgian History Competition 2019/2020
“It was 2019. We should have had a normal history lesson when our teacher came into the classroom and told us about the project. My friends immediately pushed me to get involved in the project and I agreed spontaneously. This is how the adventure of me and this project started. The writing process was interesting. It provided me with a lot of information which deepened my historical knowledge of the history of my ancestors. And it was clear to the reader. Sometimes I had setbacks when I was confused by all the thoughts that were running through my head, but there is a way out of all situations. Unfortunately, a pandemic soon started, but that did not stop me from completing my essay. Involvement in the competition, writing, searching – everything was worth it. The happiest moment is when you see the result of your work.
The award was doubly gratifying. I met the people who laid the foundation for this project. When my name was announced among the winners, my heart raced and then I thought once again that joining this competition was one of the right decisions. The experiences, the emotions – everything was unique to me. It's all one of the big sweet and exciting memories in my life. I wish the new participants good luck in going along this exciting and challenging path.”
Diana Secrieru, prize winner of the Moldovan History Competition 2019/2020
“The topic of my research was "The Chernobyl Nuclear Accident" where my grandfather was sent to liquidate the consequences of the accident. The main steps in my research were: 1) the actual interview with my grandfather; 2) the research of other sources (newspapers, documentary films, internet sources, etc.). In the elaboration of the project, I encountered small challenges: it was very painful to find out the details of this history that my grandfather went through, how they worked, the conditions they had there. The conclusion I came to is that we have to be very grateful and respectful to the people who went through tragedies because we can't even imagine the hardships even the person close to you went through, where they even put their life in danger so that we, the 21st century generation, can have a safer and better future.
Most of all in this project, even though it was painful to see and read all that, I loved researching, finding out new things and more details about this tragedy.
I personally learned that all the people about whom projects were developed in this competition are very great heroes and that as many people as possible should know about them, because thanks to them we now have a peaceful and colourful life.”
Claudia Barbaros, tutor of Diana Secrieru in the Moldovan History Competition 2019/2020
“The steps in the research were: identification of the research topic, selection of the bibliography, drafting the research plan, systematisation of the information, working on the interview, conclusions on the topic. The challenges were many. First of all, it is an international competition, so the responsibility is higher. We never have enough time when we start research.
We liked everything – all the training seminars were very helpful. The most difficult thing is to get the work done and send it to the organisers on time.
I understood that we have to trust in our own strength and go all the way. We wish you success in the 3rd edition! We hope that we will have only positive emotions and will be able to do beautiful things together with the students.”
Nichitin Ruxanda, prize winner of the Moldovan History Competition 2019/2020
“The subject of my study was my grandfather’s activity during a hard time in our country. He was, and still is, a great promoter of our national values. As a member of the first parliament, he signed and voted the Declaration of Independence in 1991. A huge part of my work was based only on the conversations I had with my grandfather, but also on a biography he wrote for a book he was working on at that time. (…)
What I definitely enjoyed though was the amount of time I spent with my grandfather and the many, many things he told me about his life, the jokes he made, the different insights I got and also see him reminisce about his past and the activities he had.
Generally, the whole experience was one I will never forget, and it was definitely one of the most interesting projects I have done in my school year (…). But the most important lesson I’ve learnt was that our grandparents – the histories they have, the things we can find out from them – are our most precious possession.”
For Nichitin’s whole statement, please watch this video (in English language).