On November 30th Sofia-based 125 Boyan Penev school organized a second referendum within the Civics Education in Action initiative. Out of the 787 pupils eligible to vote a total of 591 went to the polls and 92% gave their vote for the set-up of special relax zones in the foyers and in the schoolyard to complement the Green Classroom which has been used for open-air lessons for two years now.

‘The new relax zones are part of the Innovative School project, our key objective being to provide students with a place of their own where they can have a rest before and after the classes and during the breaks. In addition to improving the learning environment, these informal places will predispose them to have constructive discussions about the issues they are interested in’, said Venelina Nikolova, school principal. ‘We have already set up an expert committee and once it presents us with a design for the green zones, we will coordinate it with the school board and the public council.’

By the end of 2016 the school held its first referendum which provided the pupils with the opportunity to live through the entire process of expressing a personal vote. They answered three questions: whether they would like to have a control access system to the premises, a school anthem and an annual referendum. Following the referendum’s validity of results, 125 Boyan Penev welcomed the new school year with an anthem of its own composed by Haigashod Agasyan, lyrics written by Tatyana Yotova and arranged by Svetoslav Loboshki. In addition, a control system of BGN 10 452 was installed in October to limit the access of strangers to the school building. As part of its efforts for active civics education 125 Boyan Penev also issued a Short Guide to Our Constitution which was fully abridged to meet the needs of secondary-school students.

‘The referendum is an expression of high civic culture and a desire to show that one is part of the decision-making process – in his own country, city and even school. However, in order to use the referendums as intended, we need to be well aware of the fact that we ourselves are citizens and things depend on us. And this awareness is to be nurtured. We are glad that we have achieved our goal – our pupils had yet another real lesson in civic education, they felt significant and got convinced that their voice does matter in the way their own school evolves’, added Venelina Nikolova.