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The awarded entries

The awarded entries

According to the accepted methodology of the contest for the "Professor Borivoje Jelic" award, after a prior selection and a deciphering of the awarded and acclaimed entries, we hereby publish the said entries in full, along with the short biographies of the authors.

Awarded entries and authors' biographies

Stefan Mladenovic, Iva Randjelovic and Andrea Saponjic were awarded monetary prizes and a book, Tesla: Duhovni lik (Tesla: The Spiritual Character), while the entries by Andrijana Ranitovic and Kalina Rakonjac were acclaimed and awarded with a book Tesla: Duhovni lik (Tesla: The Spiritual Character).

Stefan Mladenovic

Stefan Mladenovic


"Honour your father and your mother"

Insidious wind cuts through the curtains and sends in persistent rays of light. Ploughing in, the rays are stiffly coming through their wrinkles, sanctified by time, turned into stone by suffering.

I watch them, and just as the month of May brings back warm winds, so the silence brings them back to parents.

A shallow cloud of smoke brings her back to me, the namesake of the Mother of the Son of God, young, blonde, strong. Her golden hair kisses the blue sky, and my childish head is spinning: "God, what an angel!" She holds my brooding little head in her lap and sings something, something I don't understand, in another language, and finally I get it: the truth is what I surmise while watching her hair becoming entwined with the clouds. She is singing in a blue voice, as shallow as the spring stream, her song gurgling and flowing into my ear. And into his.

He stands, facing a different way, and with his hardened gaze destroys and flattens the heavens and the earth. With his stiff legs, rooted to the ground, his hair defiantly cuts through the clouds and greets the Sun.

My father... my mother. Memories are fading away as the greyness of November clings and crawls up the skyline over their heads, hard and grey.

"Those times lie behind our bent backs", her tiny eyes seem to be saying, out of their engorged cave-like sockets. Those times are behind them, or possibly still only within them. They partly exist in me too, who am observing them and suffering with nostalgia for a time which belonged to a different, once young people. We don't say a word.

Suffering, like water, finds its way through the cuts on your hands, through the marks on your belly. It's the inevitable mark of time and its seal and signature for a job well done, a recognition for those who have been marked by it. The inevitable scar on their skin which winds screechingly through their grey-haired arms, demands respect. That pain they leave behind in the way they walk, in the bed they sleep in, in the spoons they eat with.

They sit, immobile and wise, counting the stars that God had promised them...Abraham and Sarah, Joseph and Mary. "The world was against us, but you are here...", - his tired, bony hands seem to be telling me with pride. "The world was against me, but you are here!". This realization caresses my conscience.

I am what they once were, they are what I am yet to become, and in time when their buried ashes will be rejoicing in the heavens, I will, just like they are now, be counting the stars, rooted to the spot by my memory of them.

I watch them, and just like the month of May brings back with it warm winds, so the silence brings them back to parents.

The original composition by Stefan Mladenovic

The original composition by Stefan Mladenovic

"A very rich, baroque sentence, filled with exceptionally poetic metaphors and comparisons. Grammatically, stylistically and linguistically excellently written. Childhood images flow into the present through contrasts, such as youth/old age, May/November, sunshine/greyness."


Professor Mirjana Strbac,
member of the jury

The biography of Stefan Mladenovic

Stefan Mladenovic is a fourth-year computer technician programme student, who enjoys literature, learning foreign languages and exploring different philosophies...

Stefan Mladenovic is a fourth-year student at the High School Nova Varos. His interests include foreign languages, literature, painting, music, history, politics, philosophy and theology. Some of them are hobbies which he regularly pursues (literature/writing, learning languages, studying different philosophies...).

He is a recipient of many recognition awards and diplomas from English language competitions such as Willkommen and the National English language competition.

Also, in his third year, he received a scholarship from the American Ministry of Education, and he took part in many programmes organized by the American government in the English language, such as the MEET programme.

He won a school essay - writing competition on the topic "The story goes on and the story-telling never ends" to mark Andric's jubilee, and he also took part in many other school projects.

He wants to study law, and afterwards to pursue a career in the legal profession as well as politics.

Stefan Mladenovic | awarded work | "Honor your father and your mother" | "Professor Borivoje Jelic" award

Iva Randjelovic

Iva Randjelovic

Code: 17175

"Honour your father and your mother"

It was such an ordinary spring day, neither wet, nor particularly warm, when I set off on my journey.  In my irrepressible exuberance, so typical of youth, I saw straight away all the beauty and wild open spaces which I hadn't previously known. I yearned for them, I longed to give myself over to them. As I was leaving, my mother quietly called out to me, to give me a farewell hug. I waved her away, as I had no time for such niceties.

The road ahead, long and winding, was pleasing to me and made me happy. I had no thought for anything else, but for that which I was going to see next. Youth has a unique ability to make very ordinary things seem beautiful, and so my journey, beautiful of itself assumed such brightness that it nearly blinded me. My father's letters kept coming, but I didn't want to take my eyes off the beautiful views in order to answer them. After a while, I stopped reading them altogether.

Human nature is such that, sooner or later it gets tired even of the things it used to cherish the most. Continuing on my journey, I was thinking how the flowers were a paler shade of red now, how the Sun shone less brightly, how the birds fell silent. Still, I remained content.

I met at some point an old neighbour, who informed me that my mother was looking for me, and that she needed my help. She said that my mother had aged greatly, that she was sick and that she couldn't look after the house single-handedly. I said that I was sorry, but that my place was right where I was, that only there I could be happy. I knew my mother would mind, but I still put myself first.

I travelled ever faster and was becoming increasingly aware that the journey's original beauty will disappear altogether. Everything had changed so much that I could barely remember what it looked like in the beginning. The trees had dried up, the sky had become overcast. I thought I could feel a few raindrops fall, but maybe not. Maybe it was my tears. I wandered around like that for days, weeks. Or it could have been years. I can barely remember, it was such a long time ago. All I know is that, walking around with great sadness and heavy thoughts, I had gone off the path I had once loved so much and had suddenly found myself before our old family home.

I could barely recognize my mother and father. They were sitting on an old wooden bench, pale and hunched over. They were grey with calloused hands and wrinkled faces. When they spotted me, I was already crying like a small child. I thought they wouldn't want to see me, that they were angry because of the selfishness with which I responded to their care and concern. I wanted to turn around and leave, but their reaction surprised me.

The old, melancholy faces brightened up. They were laughing and extending their arms to me. I wanted to apologize, to make everything right, to tell them I loved them for the first time, but couldn't. I just cried. I am crying again in silence beside their two gravestones. I didn't receive their forgiveness, I never could, because they were never really offended. It took so little - an occasional letter, a hug, a visit. Those few gestures would have made such a difference. But youth, beautiful, shiny and exuberant didn't understand it.

The original composition by Iva Randjelovic

The original composition by Iva Randjelovic

"Contest entry 17175 stands out among all the rest in its consistent quality, which has singled it out after the initial reading. Legible handwriting, very high grammatical accuracy and a pleasant writing style are its technical qualities. In terms of content, it expresses deep and clear thoughts with a concluding message to the young generation, warning them of the necessity of honouring one's parents throughout their lives."


Presbyter Dr. Oliver Subotic,
member of the jury

The biography of Iva Randjelovic

Iva Randjelovic is a third-year science and maths programme student at the High School in Nova Varos, whose biggest achievement to date, in her own words is Saint Sava award she received at the beginning of 2023.

Iva Randjelovic was born on 24th June 2005 in Priboj. She spent her childhood in Nova Varos, where she attended the Primary School "Zivko Ljujic", finishing it as a valedictorian. She is currently a science and maths programme student at the Gymnasium in Nova Varos.

In previous years she took part in many competitions in different subjects. She is especially proud of last year's first place prize at the National Serbian language and linguistic culture competition. She writes in her free time and has already achieved significant results in literary contests organized by the Serbian Literary Society, Vuk's Endowment, publishing house "Portalibris", "Santic's days" manifestation and many others. She is a SASA (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts) award winner in the area of international competitions and events.

All her achievements were crowned with the Saint Sava award at the beginning of the year, which she considers to be her greatest success so far.

Iva Randjelovic | awarded work | "Honor your father and your mother" | "Professor Borivoje Jelic" award

Andrea Saponjic

Andrea Saponjic


"Honour your father and your mother"

The last rays of the spring sunshine upon the narrow forest path. The sight of untouched trees and newly sprouted flowers calms the mind and makes the journey easier. Tired and sleepy, but happy and filled with peace after the evening service, I walk along the stony path leading from the church, happy that I am going home and into my mother's embrace. Nearing the house, I spot my mother opening the door and waving to me to hurry up as the dinner was ready. I come in and see a modest, but lovingly set table and after greeting everyone I sit down to supper. As always, before each meal we give thanks to God for everything he has given us and, with father at the head of the table, we begin to sup.

At the table everyone talks about their day, enjoying mother's delicacies. For a moment, I switch off and observe my mother whose shoulders carry all our burdens and cares, under which she doesn't buckle, but stands tall, preventing us all from falling. With her cracked hands and tired gaze, her face still shows nothing but a smile and an unshakeable faith in us, in life and primarily in God. From dawn to dusk her day is filled with prayer and peace which make her daily duties easier and warm hers as well as our own hearts. Seeing our mother, our greatest role model and support, begin and end her day with the Lord, we, her children, also began to cross ourselves and to slowly but surely converse with the Creator.

Reacting to something father has said, mother starts to laugh heartily, and suddenly, all our problems seemed to me to be small and insignificant.

Daddy was recounting his day and thinking of jokes to make us laugh, while we were slowly finishing our dinner. Watching him closely, I noticed the tiny wrinkles around his smiling eyes and his hands, made rough by hard work, knowing that he goes out to work every day for us and our better tomorrow. He would go to work before dawn and would come home tired, but eager to listen to us and make us laugh, to give advice and show us the right path. As I get older, I am increasingly becoming aware that what is more important than his hard-earned income is that he makes time for us, and makes sure that he is there for us, protecting us from all the storms that may come.

After dinner, we all help clear the table and start singing a popular tune. While mother washes the dishes, we gather around father, listening closely to his stories of long-gone times, trying to remember as much as possible. Afterwards, father would kiss us good night and I would take my brother and sister by the hand and put them to bed.

After kissing my mother, I too prepared for bed. Standing before the icons, I uttered a quiet prayer for the health and protection of my nearest and dearest and once again thanked God for all he had given me. We may not be rich materially, but we have what really matters - unity, faith and love. Lying in bed, I looked at the starry sky through the side window, smiled and whispered once again quietly:

"Thank You, Lord".

The original composition by Andrea Saponjic

The original composition by Andrea Saponjic

"The storyteller quivers with the inner peace and a quiet joy of a true Christian. Grammatically, linguistically and stylistically extremely well written. The story is a variation on a theme of family harmony which used to be common in Serbian literature ("The Eve of the Feast", A. Santic, "Among family", V. P. Dis, "The first furrow", M. Glisic)."


Professor Mirjana Strbac,
member of the jury

The biography of Andrea Saponjic

Andrea Saponjic, fourth-year science and maths programme student at the High School in Nova Varos, has achieved significant results in many literary contests in the Serbian and French languages, after taking part in many literary contests.

Andrea Saponjic was born in Uzice on 16th November 2004 and currently lives in Nova Varos. She attended Primary School "Zivko Ljujic", and is currently a fourth-year science and maths programme student at the High School in Nova Varos.

During her high school years, she took part in many Serbian and French language contests. In 2022 she won third prize at the Serbian language National competition on the topic "The blue grave of Milutin Bojic as an Eternal Memorial." That same year, she won a special award at "The future of the European union" French language contest, and also paid a visit to the French embassy with her French professor. She has a great passion for writing and world literature. Her desire is to study at the Faculty of Organizational Sciences, University of Belgrade.

Andrea Saponjic | awarded work | "Honor your father and your mother" | "Professor Borivoje Jelic" award

Andrijana Ranitovic

Andrijana Ranitovic


"Honour your father and your mother"

The aroma of pastry, perhaps with cheese
Coffee cups clinking, and preserve dishes too,
Only that is called happiness and peace.
And that tranquility - that is family.
That love and tenderness - that is home.

The cradle rocks, the mother sings.
Joy and hope enter our home.
And while the baby dreams sweet dreams,
One thought prevails in us all -
May it be happy, that's our call,
And, above all, may it be alive and a healthy soul!

And, in the blink of an eye, the school is starting,
And a younger sister is here.
Learning numbers, reading, writing.
And a chain-like sentence to fear:
"Never start a quarrel first!
Drifting and fighting are cursed."

A sweetheart already? How time flies...
They don’t recognize their boy, once mild
It’s as if he's no longer a child.
What's to be done? At a loss for words they shout:
"Alcohol and cigarettes are out."

And suddenly he goes his own way,
to another town, for work or study,
parents no longer hold any sway
yearning to see him any which way,
to hug him and fuss over him,
to offer him the best sarma,
to pack him up some and see him on his way.
For no one cooks like Mamma
Whatever some mad cooks may be tempted to say.

The aroma of pastry, perhaps with cheese,
Coffee cups clinking, and preserve dishes too.
Only that is called happiness and peace.
And that tranquility - that is family.
That love and happiness - that is home.

The original entry by Andrijana Ranitovic

The original entry by Andrijana Ranitovic

"The poem under the code "THE SUN", has illuminated this contest with its poetic rays. The poem consists of six differently rhymed and metrically uneven stanzas. Within the stanzas, the verses are chronologically arranged and harmoniously rhymed, which gives melody to the poem. Repeating the first stanza at the end gives it a lyrical effect. The poem is a poetically vivid expression of family values and it chronicles family life in which the parents are its creators and witnesses.

The author defines the set topic in a vivid and profound manner. The aroma of the pastry and the clinking of coffee cups in the home she calls happiness and peace, family is peace and home is love and tenderness. This recognition speaks of the respect for the one who created such a home and family. One needed to have a poetic gift in order to address the set topic in verse and to be enamoured enough of poetry to be able to put such important concepts into verse."


Author Lela Markovic,
member of the jury

The biography of Andrijana Ranitovic

A fourth-year economic technician programme student, Andrijana Ranitovic writes poetry and takes part in different literary contests.

Andrijana Ranitovic was born on 30th March 2004 in Nova Varos. She is a fourth-year economic technician programme student at the High School in Nova Varos.

Andrijana has two other sisters and, in her own words, has always been an emotional and sensitive being who loves life and enjoys it. With a lot of imagination and feeling that she possesses, she has started writing her own poetry and has been taking part in different literary contests. She has recently won a recognition award in a Serbian Literary Society contest for her participation in a literary contest "The endless blue circle."

Her aim is to study at the Pedagogical faculty and become a nursery teacher. As a sensitive and caring person, she thinks that time spent with the children would help her retain her inner child.

Andrijana Ranitovic | commended work | "Honor your father and your mother" | "Professor Borivoje Jelic"

Kalina Rakonjac

Kalina Rakonjac

Code: АКОРД77 (CHORD77)

"Honour your father and your mother"

Since we were children, somebody took care of us. Our parents, of course. Owing to them, our childhood was filled with love, care and joy. But they are not the only members of our family. Our family also includes our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and our relatives.

Our grandad would frequently show us, his grandchildren a tree with names. He would say: "This is my father, your great-grandfather who had five other brothers", and so on. We would look curiously at the big map of names and some strange branches, and grandad would later add our names: Kristina, Kosta, Vuk, Aleksa and lastly, my name. I'm glad I have my own place on my grandad's tree, my very own branch. A twig, really, since I am an only child. But there are also my relatives, so I am not alone. We are all one family.

In the village, grandad would teach us what is property and what is "our land". He would lift up his arms and say: "Those are your meadows, your woodland, your streams." We would look into the distance, and look for boundaries and fences, but could find none. For our birthdays, he would give us alder, hazel, ash and cherry trees. We would merrily lean against the saplings to see who had grown the tallest.

Our grandmother would teach us how to behave and to respect one another, especially our neighbours and acquaintances. She would lay out a table before us, full of treats, not in order to feed and treat us, but rather so that we would get to know each other better and to feel more secure in each other's company. At feast days, at Christmas, at Easter and other family occasions we would fill the entire house!

We would also stretch out our branches on our grandad's tree, just like alder, ash, hazel and cherry trees would stretch theirs. We breeze on the wind of life, free and secure, for our roots are deep and strong.

Original entry by Kalina Rakonjac

Original entry by Kalina Rakonjac

"Entry AKORD77 (CHORD77) apart from its obvious technical qualities, content-wise stands out with a very clear message and an exceptionally inspirational perception of family as analogous to nature. Its contents bring light into the soul of the reader, and presents very pleasant connotations related to the family in its wider context, which remind us of the deep, invisible roots that stand behind the visible branches of our lives."


Presbyter Oliver Subotic,
member of the jury

The biography of Kalina Rakonjac

Kalina Rakonjac is a first-year science and maths programme student at the High School in Nova Varos, who plays the piano and takes part in many extracurricular activities, including basketball practice.

Kalina Rakonjac was born on 7th March 2008 in Uzice. She lives in Nova Varos, where she attended the Primary School "Zivko Ljujic" as an A-grade student. She is a recipient of the "Vuk Karadzic" diploma. She concurrently attended the elementary music school Prijepolje (Nova Varos outpost) and plays the piano.

She won first place in the duet category at the International contest "The Musical Imprint", which took place in Vrnjacka Banja. At the Fourth Piano Competition in Uzice she got a Recognition award for her rendering of the composition "October" by Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky. In the seventh grade she won third place in the regional junior cartoon competition "Little Pierre".

She is a first-year science and maths programme student at the High School in Nova Varos. She is an excellent student who takes part in many extracurricular activities, such as: choir singing, foreign languages club, marking important occasions, author portrait painting, playing various piano pieces...

She won first place in the literary contest for Saint Sava's Feast Day on the topic "In front of a medieval fresco painting".

She also trains basketball in her free time.

Kalina Rakonjac | commended work | "Honor your father and your mother" | "Professor Borivoje Jelic"

The Managing Board members of the "Petar Mandic" Endowment give heartfelt congratulations to all the award winners, wishing them to continue on the path of multiplying their God-given talents. We thank all the participants in this year's literary contest for the "Professor Borivoje Jelic" award for their participation and wish them success in the future.

We give special thanks to the Director Branka Rakonjac and to the teaching staff of the High School in Nova Varos, for their willing cooperation and invested energy, thus enabling the competition to be held in accordance with all the relevant rules and standards.

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Serbian Business Registers Agency, Republic Serbia