ATENK English Song Contest 2020 Recap

The Association of Teachers of English North Kazakhstan (ATENK) held the first annual English Song Contest (ESC) 2020 on Friday February 28 at Orleu In-service Training Institute Petropavlovsk.

This widely successful event received over 150 video applicants representing all districts of North Kazakhstan, including Petropavlovsk. Through a selection process with volunteer judges from different regions of Kazakhstan, the entire applicant pool was narrowed down to 32 contests for the live performance at Orleu. Collaboration between ATENK and Orleu, was made possible through a memorandum of understanding.

The event consisted of two dynamic halves, which saw amazing performances from all 3 categories; primary school students, high school students (grades 5-11), and teachers. The contest had a judging panel consisting of 5 invited guests, including one native English speaking international English teacher from the USA:

Assel Jaxalykova - Vice President of the Association of English Teachers North Kazakhstan region & Petropavlovsk ATENK;

Valentina Chernykh - Head of the Department for the Content and Quality Assurance of Education, North Kazakhstan Education Department, Akimat of the North Kazakhstan region;

Indira Zhangunakova – professional singer from "Chernyi Briliant" girls band, Petropavlovsk;

August Garnsey (USA) - International teacher, NIS Kokshetau

Aigul Zhunussova - Department head, Orleu In-service Training Institute Petropavlovsk.

Even with extreme winter, and potential hazardous road conditions, the dedicated performers, teachers, supporters, and contest organizers still came through for an amazing show! Some even left the day before just to make it. The show’s start time was pushed back to accommodate performers coming from far reaching corners of North Kazakhstan. Some traveled for as much as 5 hours or more. The English Song Contest officially started with the opening remarks made by ATENK President, Albina Kassenova. 

In the President’s opening words, there was emphasis on what ATENK and regional associations mean for the fields of education and science, not just in North Kazakhstan, but all across Kazakhstan. ATENK’s mission is to help create professional development and training opportunities for both urban and rural teachers, in order to help bridge the information gap between the two. Further in her remarks, the President mentioned the dual goal of the ESC 2020 being not just to create awareness and promote English language education in North Kazakhstan, but to celebrate it, by reflecting on what as a community North Kazakhstan has achieved in language education excellence.

There was a wide range of songs and performers across all 3 categories, from contemporary pop songs to hits from the 1990’s. From primary school bands consisting of drums, guitars, and keyboards to teacher and student duets using cups as instruments, performances were always entertaining. The costumes were dazzling and many thought carefully to create a unique image among other performers. Many performers brought student dancers from their school to create a stronger stage presence, some of these dancers were even elderly to demonstrate such strong collaboration within the community. The judges may have had the most difficult job of all in trying to decide among all the fantastic performances, who would place in grand, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category. All the contestants were deserving of the fantastic English prizes from the Marwin Family Store, but in the end there had to be a decision. All participants were given 20% promo codes at the Marwin Family Store for making it to the final 32, but the difficult decision was made and below are the following winners from ATENK’s first annual English Song Contest 2020:   

Teacher category:

Grand Prize:

Khamza Ramazanov - district named after G.Musrepov, Andreyevka secondary school - (Westlife - Soledad)

1st place:

Tatyana Chechushkova, Viktoriya Barabanova - Essil district, Korneyevka school-gymnasium  (Anna Kendrick - Cups) 

2nd place:

Lyubov Polyakova - district named after M.Zhumabayev, Tamanskaya secondary school

(C. C. Catch - I Can Lose My Heart Tonight)

3rd place:

Gulzat Ayaganova, Anzhela Zhumabayeva - Ualikhanov disctrict, Aktuessay secondary school

(Eruption - One Way Ticket)

Primary school students category:

Grand Prize:

Students of Shakhovskaya secondary school, Kyzylzhar district (Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro - Stumblin' In)

1st place:

Ioanidi Anton & Ioanidi Darya - Tayinsha district, Tayinsha Secondary School #2 (Josh Groban - You Raise Me Up)

2nd place: 

Students of School # 27, Petropavlovsk (Ray Charles - Hit The Road Jack)

3rd place: 

Anastassiya Biro - district named after M.Zumabayev, Furmanovskaya Secondary School (Marshmello & Anne-Marie - Friends)

High School Students:

Grand Prize:

Almas Meyramov - NIS Petropavlovsk (Marija Šerifović -Destiny)

1st place:

Alexandra Klimovich - Ayirtau district, Saumalkol school-gymnasium #2 (Toni & I - Dance Monkey)

2nd place:

Anasatassiya Pankova - district named after M.Zhumabayev, Poludinskaya Secondary School (Sia - Unstoppable)

3rd place:

Anel Isskenova & Nadezhda Sharypova - Akkayin district, Smirnovskaya School-gymnasium (Vance Joy - Riptide)

With a special prize provided directly from Orleu to a contestant, a free subscription for the Blilmdi El - Republican pedagogical newspaper. This was awarded to Konysbay Temirlan & Fatima Zhienbayeva (English teacher) - Tayinsha district, Ilichevka Secondary school (Ed Sheeran - Perfect).

All in all, The first annual English Song Contest by ATENK was a success and truly lived up to the goal of being a celebration of English language education in North Kazakhstan. The participants were all thrilled to have such an opportunity in their region, a friendly competition among districts and schools. By the end of the contest, a few new stars were born, fame was gained and local celebrity status may come for many participants. Overall, the support provided by districts and schools and teachers was tremendous. It truly helped to bridge a gap between urban and rural learning communities

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