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SILVA OZOLINA AND ILSE LOCMANE

A high-powered duo working for the Riga School A high-powered duo working for the Riga School At the head of the school, her school since it was founded in1980, Silva Ozolina makes no secret of the fact that things were difficult at the start. At present she is in charge of 300 teachers educating 2000 students divided among four different sites including one that is 200 kms away.

Together with her colleague Isle Locmane, ‘my right hand’ for the last ten years, she says with a smile, she formed a core group of five teachers to deal with the organisation of Christmas in Europe.

How did you come to be a member of the AEHT?

I’ve been an AEHT member since the 2008 Annual Conference in Kuressaare, Estonia. And gradually over the last three years I’ve had it in mind to organise Christmas in Europe, while at the same time the school has been renovated. I’ll make no secret that in the beginning we had quite a few problems to overcome, but we managed. As I was telling you, there was a nucleus of five teachers to start with, and around them gathered forty-odd other teachers and administrators to cover the various sectors that had to be organised. We were fortunate to have the training hotel in our school, and this simplified things a lot as far as the accommodation is concerned. Only around 30 participants had to be accommodated in normal hotels.

How many students were involved in running Christmas in Europe?

Around 250 all told, distributed between food production and service, the buffets, the stands and a diverse variety of other duties. And I’m delighted to note that they have performed very well in all areas.

Have you had any particular problems during this week which is, after all, anything but normal?

Oh no. Of course there are always one or two things needing to be corrected, but on the whole, no, everything is running well.

I’ve noticed that in all areas you have tried – successfully - to create a pleasant atmosphere; how did you manage it?

Silva Ozolina and Ilse Locmane smile in unison. ‘We’ve done what needed to be done in order to make all the participants happy. Look at the smiles. The atmosphere is excellent, but without the sponsors it would have been more difficult.’

Now that we are almost at the end of Christmas in Europe in Riga, would you be ready to organise another event like this sometime in the future?

‘Why not?’ replies Silva Ozolina quick as a flash, ‘but let us first of all digest this edition, and then before anything else we have the gymnasium building project to keep us busy’.

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