An Immigrant’s TaleTuesday, November 02, 2010 By Rebecca Gesme
Nikita Novik is a senior with a story. Although he has been enrolled in Cannon Falls schools longer than other students, Nikita has a background us small town Minnesotans scarcely get a chance to encounter. He was born in Russia, and also spent a portion of his childhood living in the city of Belarus, Russia. Nikita had a family member who had immigrated to the United States in the past, which led to Nikita experiencing his first trip to America when he was merely nine years old. By the time when he was ten, he had made yet another trip to the States, and simply never quite made it back to Russia. He explained it as saying that his mother’s and his summer stay kept being purposely extended, for they wanted to stay, and eventually claimed Minnesota as their new home. When he was still at the age of ten, he was starting his first few days of being a fifth grader in an American school. In his words it was “intimidating”, as could very well be assumed. His school in Russia wasn’t too, extremely different from Cannon Falls. He explained how the knowledge per grade level was one of the main differences, and that students in Russia graduate one year earlier. Actually, Nikita never actually experienced fourth grade, for he finished third in Russia, followed by fifth in America – because the learning levels weren’t equivalent. Also, students at Nikita’s first school in Russia, began learning the English language very young, such as the first grade in his case. And although this knowledge eased the language barrier transition, he was still a Russian speaking child in an English speaking school, which brought on difficult times and a tough first few weeks. Since Nikita’s immigration to America, he has traveled back to Russia a total of three times, once at age 13, again at age 15, and the most recent was this past summer. Nikita explained that in going back, he received a chance to reflect and reminisce with old friends, visit his grandparents and family that all still live there, and had once-in- a-lifetime opportunities in infamous, surrounding cities in Russia. When Nikita is at his home here in Minnesota, he will still communicate with his mother in Russian, although he said he was actually starting to get a little rusty on the language. Throughout school and present day, most can see that Nikita has nestled into Cannon Falls quite nicely. He has tested the waters, and participated in various athletics, made numerous friends, and is an active math league member, and PSEO student. Nikita is also planning on staying in the United States when it comes to college next fall, and expanding his education from there. With such a strong background at such a young age, many of us would consider Nikita as being “lucky”. Actually, he spoke of his story with great ease, and he also wanted to thank everyone that has made his, “strange, weird, amazing” experience in America, especially Cannon Falls, everything it has been.