Meet Valeriya Akulina, student from ORT Gesher School, Samara

Valeriya Akulina is a secondary school student from ORT Gesher School in Samara. She dreams of becoming an Hebrew teacher and she is looking forward to go to the university.

Valeriya comes from a Jewish Family and has been encouraged by her grandmother to go to the ORT school. First, she didn’t understand the importance of going into a Jewish School, but now, the outcome is obvious for her. She was able to re-connect, through school, to her roots. She was both studying and developing her Jewish identity at the same time.

“I have found myself here”

She brought the Jewish celebrations from school to home and shared them with her family. Thanks to school, she and her family were able to fully live their Jewish DNA.

Valeriya is a conscientious and high achieving student. School and teachers led her to a proud work ethic and a strong sense of responsibility. She is deeply grateful for the wisdom of her teachers and the many and varied avenues of learning which she has enjoyed – from the Virtual Maths Club and science conferences to international competitions in Jewish history; from joyful Shabbatons to sobering Holocaust projects, including a tour of sites in Poland with Masa Shorashim.

Valeryia’s Jewish identity: contribute to the society

Every year Samara hosts an international project to develop tolerance in young people, Valeryia and four friends from ORT Gesher’s Sunday school have been involved in this project for four years both as participants and volunteers.

Her determination to be a Hebrew teacher means that Valeriya makes a particular effort in Ivrit classes – so much so that she was chosen for a special trip to Israel.

“This trip to Israel was a unique chance to go to the land of my ancestors, something which had seemed an impossible dream!”

If all goes well, Valeriya’s future will come full circle with her past: she wants to teach at ORT Gesher and share all the benefits she received with new generations of the ORT family.