Kazan student overcomes the odds to secure national success


An ORT student from Russia has been congratulated after beating around one million children to finish as one of the winners of a prestigious national education competition.

Georgiy Fyalo – an 11th grader at Secondary School #12, ORT “Mishpahteinu”, in Kazan – took part in the “Big Change” project, one of Russia’s leading youth competitions.

The project asks students to envisage future developments in city planning, entrepreneurship, art, volunteering, healthy lifestyles and other areas.

Georgiy’s work visualizing a city of the future earned him a range of prizes including around $13,000 towards his future education and entry points towards his prospective university admission.

The incredible feat saw him finish as one of 300 winners in the competition which had 1,200 finalists following an initial one million applications.

Georgiy explained: “I learned about the competition from my mother and immediately wanted to participate, to test my strengths.

“With our team we developed the theme of a ‘City of the Future’. We scored points for teamwork and our individual qualities, and I got through to the final stage.”

Congratulating the winners, Sergei Kiriyenko, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia, said the whole country was proud of the children for overcoming their fears to step forward and prove themselves.

The Big Change final took place in early November, with the 1,200 students coming from across the country to take part in sessions on the competition’s key tracks.

Divided into teams, Georgiy and his fellow participants were tasked with considering the concept of a school of the future. They focussed on the “meta-subjectness” approach to education including the development of extracurricular activities; and introducing subjects such as communication and internet safety, financial literacy and entrepreneurship into the curriculum.

Georgiy and a fellow student

Georgiy was one of the leaders of his team and was ultimately selected as one of the overall winners.

He thanked his parents – who work in the education system and are themselves ORT graduates – and he praised his ORT education, saying the great attention paid to the development of every student’s abilities had helped his achievement in the competition.

“My parents met through ORT and it was easy for me to discuss education with them. Our team discussed providing students of the future with an accessible and supportive learning environment.

“I was incredibly happy to win. The main thing for me was the experience and the knowledge I received – as well as being able to communicate with the well-known personalities who presented at the final, to hear their experiences and share their knowledge.”

Leading speakers at the final included the Minister of Youth Affairs of the Republic of Tatarstan and famous Russian musicians.

Georgiy added: “I want my future to be in IT technologies and innovation. Right from the beginning, ORT has helped lay the foundations of my dream to be a programmer. I have a real desire to connect my future with technology. I’m very grateful to ORT.”

Dan Green, World ORT Director General and CEO, congratulated him on his success and said: “This wonderful outcome is not only testament to the hard work Georgiy put into his application, and his performance at the competition final, but also to his dedicated teachers at ORT Mishpahteinu in Kazan, and indeed the whole ORT Russia community.

“The world around us is changing dramatically and the social impact on our young people will be huge. Ensuring that students such as Georgiy are properly equipped to understand and react to those changes – and to go on and lead change themselves – is a priority across the ORT network.

“We are helping to grow mensches – people who care about each other, the world around them, and their futures. Georgiy is the personification of what it means to be an ORT student who is becoming a great global citizen. We are so proud of his achievement.”