MHS Students, Adam Balicki and Oles Bobak, Awarded High Honors at the Russian Olympiad


Stephanie Marabito

Manville High School students, Dennice Alfaro, Emma Marshall, Oles Bobak, Adam Balicki, David Kuznetzov, and Billy Curran, participated in The Olympiad of Spoken Russian that was held at Rutgers University where students competed against one another based on their individual skills in the Russian language. Students competed on April 18. Participant Adam Balicki shared the following, “We were able to keep the Russian class legacy by bringing several golds back to Manville.” Oles Bobak, added that, “It involved my knowledge and understanding of Russian, you had to learn about the history of Russia and some well-known poems and stories.” 

Oles communicated the process of what the competition entailed, “We were in a waiting room at a Rutgers building and they called us down by what level you were, the first levels were first, and so on. The judges asked us questions and I kindly greeted the judges.” 

This competition is unique to the Russian language community as Adam stated, “The Russian Olympiad is something that only the Russian program does. Neither French nor Spanish has it. To prepare for the competition you have to study the map of Russia, Composers of Russia, Russian folk art, locations in Moscow, locations in Saint Petersburg, History of Russia, Russian literature, and the hardest memorizing a Russian poem. Our class had about 3 months to prepare for the competition.” Adam continues, “Since neither Spanish nor French didn’t do this, I knew that very few people would be able to experience this and I wanted to try something new and interesting.”

Even though the stakes were extremely high, Manville High School Russian students finished on top! Only six students from MHS competed. Adam Balicki was awarded a gold medal; Oles Bobak also received a gold medal, as well as a special achievement award. Adam congratulated his peer and stated, “Oles was the best out of our school and all the other schools. This wouldn’t have been possible without our teacher Mrs. Bowie.”

Since this Russian Olympiad is so rare, the students wanted to ensure they were prepared and well-equipped. “I wanted to see if I could do well at such an opportunity I got. I wanted to make my parents proud and to feel proud of myself,” Oles expressed. 

Lastly, Oles stated some final comments in regard to his recognition, “I am very glad for Mrs. Bowie, and myself for doing this competition and getting an outstanding award.” 

Congratulations to Adam Balicki and Oles Bobak for receiving high-level honors at the 2023 Russian Olympiad!