Schoolteachers traditionally honored by President

Schoolteachers and administrators gathered at the Blackheads’ House in Riga with President Andris Bērziņš Monday to receive gifts of books from the head-of-state as well as from their own pupils to mark Latvia’s traditional day of ‘Friendly Calling’ to remember one’s education and thank the people that made it possible.

Eighty years ago the tradition was founded by President Kārlis Ulmanis on his namesday when he donated books to his childhood school and urged others to remember their schooling and pay respects to their former teachers. So was the ‘Friendly Calling’ holiday born, and Latvia continues to mark it today.

“Every child has this passion, this desire to learn. The main thing for the teacher to do is find the path to make it even stronger,” Talsi state High School director Gundars Sebris told Latvian Television news.

Unfortunately, Riga’s Evening High School #9 director Ilze Dupate said there are no longer lines at the school library, as old-format books languish on the shelves.

“At my library there are e-books, tablets, but the real books with paper pages are up on the shelves… It makes me sad,” she said.

The ‘Friendly Calling’ holiday was renewed in 1994 after many decades of non-observance during the Soviet occupation of Latvia.

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