CULTURAL WORKER ELICA RIZMAL
In 1975 and 1976, Elica taught Sunday School at Planica in Springvale. While teaching there she found that working with children brought a special satisfaction and that she enjoyed teaching them language.
In 1978, she and her husband undertook a long voyage around the world and in that same year she returned to Maribor where she enrolled at the Teaching Academy. In record time, she completed with excellence her studies in the Slovenian and English languages.
She supplemented her pedagogical and literary knowledge and that is why the bookshelves at her home are loaded with books. She threw herself totally into her work with children and with people needing welfare assistance. In 1981, quite soon after completing studies, she resumed teaching Sunday school in SD Planica.
As a newly qualified teacher of Slovenian language, she always hoped that her qualifications would enable her to work as a regular teacher of Slovenian language. Unfortunately, these wishes were not possible in Australia.
At Saturday school for foreign languages, where Slovenian was one of the languages offered at VCE level, all teaching positions were taken. Sadly, any other possibilities for teaching Slovenian were not available in Australia.
For a long while, she was prepared to return to Slovenia to take up a position to teach and work with children as a regular teacher.
From 1981 until 1984, she continued to teach young students at the Slovenian club, Planica.
Later, more of her time was devoted to transmitting the Slovenian language on the then 3EA radio station, which later became SBS. She was also an asset there for the Slovenian community with her knowledge and good words and much time was devoted to teaching and developing the Youth section (component) of the Slovenian radio.
At the time of Slovenia’s Independence, she had already conducted the first interviews with those instrumental in bringing about the independence. For many years, she was the referee for public relations at the Slovenian National Council of Victoria and for ten years, regularly met and worked with others on duty in the office of charitable works in the church centre at Kew. In this role she regularly prepared ceremonies for special days and brought much of her knowledge of Prešeren to the younger generation. After the dissolving of SNS Victoria, she directed most of her energy to radio work and to working with people who needed welfare assistance.
She read a lot and in her search for more knowledge, spent many hours in the library.
Unfortunately, her active life and abundant work for the Slovenian community ended with a car accident.
With her went an abundance of knowledge, warm words and an intense love of humanity. Sadly, Elica’s dream of being a teacher of the Slovenian language, and her lifelong wish of working with the children that she loved so much, remain unfulfilled.
From the Chronicle of Slovenian Schools and Slovenian Language Teachers in Australia by Draga Gelt