Inspiring Young Minds

PROJECT INSPIRING YOUNG MINDS

MAY 20, 2019 TO JUNE 26, 2020

Sofia, Bulgaria

Inspiring Young Minds is a youth development project run and implemented by Vox Tua, a nonprofit association passionate to engage, educate and empower youth. The project is fully funded by the Embassy of the United States – Sofia. This project will provide for free after-school innovative courses on trendy subjects, in English, with capacity for 420 students for 3 different schools. The timeframe of the project is from May 20, 2019 to June 26, 2020. Three public schools in Sofia are the main participants in the project. Each of the participating schools gets to choose seven courses, where students develop their critical thinking, English language and mentorship culture, while strengthening the fundamental knowledge in an area of interest.

The student’s educational and intellectual growth are the top priority of the project Inspiring Young Minds. Each course, spread through 18 hours in five to six weeks, engages the students in an interactive learning environment. Free of the stress of grades and homework, the students develop individual or group projects to showcase at the end of the course, when they also receive a Certificate of Completion.

 

Goals

The project will be a success, if our students graduate with a stronger individual future plan, and a broader viewpoint on the world, improved English and sense of team spirit. Beyond 2019-2020, we hope to grow both in focus and reach, as the idea is direly needed beyond the current course topics and far beyond Sofia. Furthermore, Inspiring Young Minds aims to develop the mentorship culture in Bulgarian high schools, while developing the English language skills of hundreds of students, thus opening more career opportunities, while also reinvigorating their interest in self-development and appreciation for lifelong learning.

 

Participating Schools

We have chosen to partner with three very different schools in Sofia, Bulgaria, with the expressed aim of reaching as many segments of the high school student population as possible. We are very grateful to call partners Sofia High School of Mathematics “Paisii Hilendarski”, 32nd High School of Foreign Languages “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the Professional High School of Electric Engineering and Automation. Our belief in equality and equal opportunity moves students with very diverse backgrounds and interest towards a common future of understanding, collaboration and success.

 

Courses Offered

The Dirеctor of each of the participating schools has hand-picked the seven courses we teach at their school, so that they complement the formal curriculum and further develop the students’ interests and specialties. The 21 courses Inspiring Young Minds will teach from May 2019 to June 2020 are:

International Relations
Philosophy
Robotics
Web Design
Climate Change
Communications & Cultural Behavior
Urbanism & Architecture
Applied Mathematics
Entrepreneurship
Journalism & Creative Writing
Debate

Several of the courses have sparked so much interest that they are repeated through different schools and periods to maximize reach and impact. An established professional in the field teaches each course where each student will develop an individual or a group project in an interactive learning environment.

 

Sofia High School of Mathematics “Paisii Hilendarski”

Check out the school website here. This is the course schedule for the school:

  • Urbanism & Architecture – May 27 – Jun 30, 2019
  • Web Design – Oct 1 – Oct 29, 2019
  • Philosophy – Nov 4 – Dec 15, 2019
  • Robotics – Jan 7 – Feb 14, 2020
  • Applied Mathematics – Mar 4 – Mar 26, 2020
  • Entrepreneurship – Apr 6 – May 15, 2020
  • Robotics – May 18 – Jun 26, 2020

Currently on offer: Applied Mathematics

March 4 – 26, starts on a Wednesday, continues on Thursdays and Tuesdays, from 2:20 to 3:50 pm, , room 313

In this course, we will study some of the elements of mathematical analysis and calculus. As it is supposed to be taught to school students, the exposition and presentation of the results, is not going to be rigorous all the time. Nevertheless, the results will be stated in their total correctness. We will hold on to the “infinitesimal” intuition which guided the pioneers of the subject – Newton, Leibniz, Bernoulli family. Thus we will seek to “get a feeling” of why the results are true and the apparatus is useful. As an application, we intend to make a short excursion into differential equations and show some techniques of optimization of functions of several variables (and in the case of additional constraints added). Finally, if time allows us, we would examine several historical problems in infinite-dimensional optimization and present a theoretical framework for solving them.

“For since the fabric of the universe is most perfect and the work of a most wise Creator, nothing at all takes place in the universe in which some rule of maximum or minimum does not appear.” – Leonhard Euler

Click here to download the course application form (in Bulgarian). Once complete, email it to luis@voxtua.org.

Next up: Entrepreneurship

In general terms, Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled. And an entrepreneur is a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money. This “mindset” of doing business and becoming a business person has created a new economic culture. In this course we will be establishing the idea of an entrepreneurial mindset. We will discuss the personality traits of an entrepreneur, the ability to deal with failure, communication, and team building skill and problem-solving skills.

We will also take a closer look at specific topics such as: Idea generation, feasibility, assessment, marketing, management, risk assessment, legal structure, economic principles, customer service, and leadership skills. A big focus of the course will be on exercises about creativity and idea generation through play, active observation as the means to creating great ideas to create solutions to societal needs or problems, and opportunity analysis; understanding how an idea represents a market opportunity.

Click here to download the course application form (in Bulgarian). Once complete, email it to luis@voxtua.org.

 

32nd High School of Foreign Languages “St. Kliment Ohridski”

Check out the school website here. This is the course schedule for the school:

  • International Relations – May 27 – Jun 30, 2019
  • Philosophy – Sep 30 – Oct 30, 2019
  • Robotics – Nov 4 – Dec 15, 2019
  • Climate Change – Jan 14 – Feb 18, 2020
  • Web Design – Feb 25 – Mar 26, 2020
  • Communications and Cultural Behavior – Apr 6 – May 15, 2020
  • Debate – May 18 – Jun 26, 2020

Currently on offer: Web Design

Tuesdays, 13:30 – 16:30, February 25 – March 26, room 405

The web design course stands in the cross section of programming and design. On one hand, the students learn some design basics – how to match colors and create a color scheme, which fonts to choose, why letter spacing and font size matter, etc. On the other hand, they learn how to create a website from scratch by writing their own code and later on using already written fragments of code. Combining the colorful world of design and limitless imagination with the much more strict programming rules, this course gives every student the opportunity to shine.

Click here to download the course application form (in Bulgarian). Once complete, email it to luis@voxtua.org.

Next up: Communication and Cultural Behavior

What is culture? How does it unite us and how does it make us different from others? What role does communication have in transmitting culture? How do we communicate in places of various sub-cultures, such as business meetings, at school, at the skate park, on social media and at a party? These are some of the questions we will explore in the first part of the course, sharing anecdotal evidence of cultural differences and culture shock. Through situational games and role play we will explore where we stand on the cultural map and what we share with people we do not expect.

In the second half of the course we will discuss how cultures evolve, merge and diverge in the context of globalization and the exponential technological advancements. At the end of the course, we will attempt to affect the micro-culture that is the school environment through a coordinated communication campaign and analyze the results.

Click here to download the course application form (in Bulgarian). Once complete, email it to luis@voxtua.org.

 

Professional High School of Electric Engineering and Automation

Check out the school website here. This is the course schedule for the school:

  • Robotics – May 27 – Jun 30, 2019
  • Journalism and Creative Writing – Oct 1 – Oct 31, 2019
  • Web Design – Nov 4 – Dec 15, 2019
  • Web Design II – Jan 7 – Feb 14, 2020
  • Debate – Feb 25 – Mar 26, 2020
  • Robotics – Apr 6 – May 15, 2020
  • Applied Mathematics – May 18 – Jun 26, 2020

Currently on offer: Debate

Feb 25 – Mar 27, 2020, Tuesdays and Thursdays 14:40-16:10, room 525

This course will introduce to students to debate, which is a form of public discourse; it is a formal direct oral contest or competition in argumentation between two or more people on a defined proposition at a specific time. Students will learn the entire structure of a debate, how to conduct a successful debate. They will also learn that basic debate styles vary widely in terms of their format, time limits for speeches, the order of speeches, and how arguments are presented.

Why you should take Debate? Debate provides experiences that are conducive to life-changing, cognitive, and presentational skills. In addition, through debate debaters acquire unique educational benefits as they learn and polish skills far beyond what can be learnt in any other setting. At the very least, debate helps learners to see the power of deploying rational, reasoned arguments and compelling evidence in action. It enables them to elucidate their standpoint through utilizing rhetorical eloquence. It instills in debaters a great sense of poise and confidence. It teaches them the skills of researching, organizing, and presenting information in a compelling fashion.

Click here to download the course application form (in Bulgarian). Once complete, email it to luis@voxtua.org.

Next up: Robotics (Python)

In the course we will study the programming basics in Python. In the beginning we will start from the very basics such as variables, conditions, loops and in the end of the course we will learn about types of data structures like lists, tuples, dictionaries and etc. After every lesson the students will do simple tasks in order to show what they have learnt from the previous lessons. During the course the students will develop many side skills about programming – how to search information correctly, where to find materials and computer basic knowledge.

Click here to download the course application form (in Bulgarian). Once complete, email it to luis@voxtua.org.

 

FOR QUESTIONS, INFORMATION OR TO SAVE YOUR PLACE IN ANY OF THE COURSES, SEND AN EMAIL TO LUIS@VOXTUA.ORG.