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ProRuralis project – a chance for high-achieving students from rural Iasi County

Giulia, Catalina and Gabriela are three 7th graders who study at a prestigious high-school in Iasi, having transferred here from rural schools, and who are now trying to find their way in life and discover the secret of success. They are not alone in this endeavor, as they get support through the ProRuralis project which offers scholarships to rural students with a superior IQ, coming from disadvantaged families.

Giulia Maftei is one of the children discovered this year by the ProRuralis scouts. The evaluation performed by the County Center for Educational Resources and Assistance revealed that Giulia, a girl from Romanesti, has an IQ of 127. A chess aficionado, she doesn’t remember exactly when she started moving the pieces on the board, but is sure that the sport of the mind is her passion, having managed to defeat several of her colleagues.

Chess helps her develop both her rational and her emotional thinking. „It helped develop my social skills. Chess develops intelligence, logical thinking, even competitive spirit, discipline. I am now able to anticipate more moves, to think in perspective,” Giulia says.

As she confesses, she likes to read „contemporary books”, which, in her view mean fantasy literature.

Her colleague Catalina Patrascu also has a passion for the written word, she is a poetry lover, but likes mathematics as well. Just like Giulia, she hails from rural Iasi County – specifically from Fantanele, from a family that struggles to make ends meet. She finished 6th grade with an average of almost 10, and scored 121 at the IQ test.

And that’s not all. Next month Catalina will release her first volume of poems at the Pedagogical College in Iasi, and then in Targoviste, where she has many friends she made acquaintance with in creative and personal development camps.

„When I was a young child, they would stage plays at school and I would always be one of the characters. I also came to Iasi, to the Athenaeum and to the Children’s Theater. When I was little I wanted to be an actress, a doctor, now I’d like to become a lawyer. But through poetry I free myself. When I have a negative emotion or when I don’t feel very well I write. Probably if I didn’t do this I would be much too withdrawn into myself. In each poem I convey my feelings and release myself. I have written about almost everything: landscapes, feelings, I also wrote about school subjects. I penned a 13-stanza poem about mathematics. I really like math. About my family I wrote a poem of twenty or so stanzas. It’s not the only one, but it’s the longest,” Catalina confesses.

Gabriela Costin is another above-average IQ student; she would like to become a successful lawyer, educate children, but is also artistically gifted.

„I like to draw, engage in various activities and take care of children. I like small children. I want to become an educator or a lawyer. I’m rather outdoorsy, I like taking walks, riding my bike. I draw when I feel the need to let off steam or when I’m bored,” Gabriela reveals.

Giulia, Catalina and Gabriela are just three of the 97 students included in the ProRuralis project begun in the 2001-2002 school year at the joint initiative of „Ziarul de Iasi” daily and the County School Inspectorate. In the same year, one of the founding members, math high-school teacher Victor Geangalau, founded the „ProRuralis” Association. Since 2016 the management of the project was taken over by high-school teacher Dorina Hotoleanu.

The „ProRuralis” Association has 11 founding members that include Iasi city’s main public institutions, a non-profit organization, as well as several business people and private individuals. Their creed is: „It is worth investing in these children and in their souls, it is worth encouraging them in their innocent aspirations, because they are the people of the future, the pillars the Romanian society of tomorrow will be built on.” AGERPRES (RO – author: Daniela Malache, editor: Georgiana Tanasescu; EN – editor: Simona Klodnischi)

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