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Dr. Mara Sukholutskaya, associate professor of English and languages at East Central University, was a participant in the year-long observance of the 50th anniversary of the Russian Language Program in Glastonbury, Conn.

She gave presentations about Russian folktales to all the Russian classes in Glastonbury, which has the longest-running public school-Russian program in the country.

Sukholutskaya, also a board member of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages, used animals in a PowerPoint presentation to introduce students to popular Russian sayings such as "clever as a ..., strong as a ... or poor as a ...." Students were able to learn which sayings were the same or different in the Russian and English languages.

Sukholutskaya also entertained students with a bilingual version of the tale "The Golden Fish."

Glastonbury has the largest Russian program in Connecticut. It was established in 1958 after the Sputnik satellite was launched by the Soviet Union in 1957.

Students begin to study the Russian language in the 7th grade and can continue through Russian 6 Advanced Placement classes in grade 12. The curriculum focuses on culture, speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students also participate in an exchange program.

In addition to guest speakers such as Sukholutskaya, the anniversary celebration includes such cultural enrichment opportunities as three Russian musical programs, a theatrical experience, a literature sampling and field trips.

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