“November is a special month for Latvia because that is when we celebrate the birthday of our state. This month has another important date, namely, 11 November, or Lāčplēsis Day. Our country was only one year old when it had to undergo a dreadful ordeal because our recently established state of Latvia was close to being taken away from us. It took great heroism to protect our country. Although we were hopelessly outnumbered, people still had faith and were ready to sacrifice the most precious thing they have, namely, their lives.” This was said by Solvita Āboltiņa, Speaker of the Saeima, on Thursday, 7 November, as she opened the schoolchildren’s photo exhibition My Lāčplēsis Day in the main building of the Saeima. The exhibition shows Lāčplēsis Day through the eyes of a schoolchild and reveals what this commemorative day means to young people.
Addressing the audience, Āboltiņa declared that our task today is to keep alive the memory of the people who were ready to sacrifice what they valued most for the sake of their state and its independence. “This is why every year on 11 November on the bank of the River Daugava, we light candles and take pride in having our own country. I am gratified that you are also participating in this event. You are young, but you know the meaning of Lāčplēsis Day. The future of our state is in your hands,” stated the Speaker.
Solvita Āboltiņa also emphasised that the exhibition opens on a special day, for 91 years ago on 7 November, the 1st Saeima convened for its very first plenary sitting.
In his opening address Ainars Latkovskis, Chairman of the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee of the Saeima, pointed out that photography as a means of artistic expression has become increasingly more accessible also for schoolchildren and enables them to creatively express themselves. “This is attested by our exhibition dedicated to Lāčplēsis Day. The youths have put a lot of effort and imagination in their works,” said the Committee Chairman.
Latkovskis expressed gratification that among the authors competing in this year’s contest, there are schoolchildren who also participated in the event last year. The Chairman of the Committee called special attention to the Riga Special Primary Boarding School No. 1, whose pupils sent in a large number of works. He invited these schoolchildren and their homeroom teacher to tour the main building of the Saeima.
Both Speaker Āboltiņa and Chairman Latkovskis noted the fact that as many as 70 authors from 34 schools of Latvia submitted 122 works for the contest and thanked them for their effort. The works were evaluated by a jury that chose 13 finalists on the basis of the creative idea, degree of effort made by the author, as well as the originality and artistic value of the photo.
In light of the approaching Lāčplēsis Day, the Defence, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee invited 8th–12th-grade students to participate in the photo contest traditionally held by the Committee in order to encourage patriotism in a festive atmosphere and to stimulate interest in national defence and security among schoolchildren.
The winners of the contest are Kintija Teilāne, a 10th-grade student of the Riga State Grammar School No. 2; Anastasija Tulupova, a 10th-grade student of the Riga Secondary School No. 34; Līga Rozenfelde, a 12th-grade student of the Varakļāni Secondary School; Roberts Rēķis, a 12th-grade student of the Talsi County Evening and Correspondence Secondary School; Līna Salmiņa, a 12th-grade student of the Rēzekne Catholic Secondary School; Aleksejs Murins, an 11th-grade student of the Olaine Secondary School No. 2; Valdis Trukšāns, an 11th-grade student of the Ludza Grammar School; Katrīna Vildava, Laura Reinholde and Rihards Goldmanis, students of the Jelgava State Grammar School; Karīna Ķeire, an 11th-grade student of the Riga Business College; Laura Šīraka, an 8th-grade student of the Salaspils Secondary School No. 1; and Sandra Poļegoško, an 11th-grade student and member of the photography hobby group of the Children and Youth Centre Rīgas Skolēnu Pils.
The winners of the contest give credit to the teachers who supported them: Renāte Ničiporčika, the homeroom teacher of the 12th grade of the Rēzekne Catholic Secondary School; Nadežda Murina, a teacher at the Olaine Secondary School No. 2; Daiga Pretice, Deputy Head Teacher responsible for educational work at the Talsi County Evening and Correspondence Secondary School; Andris Kozlovskis, a photographer and the Head of the photography hobby group of the Children and Youth Centre Rīgas Skolēnu Pils; and Ivars Novožilovs, Leader of the Ludza 304th Unit of the Youth Guard.
Winning works: https://www.flickr.com/photos/saeima/sets/72157637373026916/
Saeima Press Service