I am Martin Dinev. I’m 19 years old and I am a student at FINKI (Faculty of Information Science and Computer Engineering), where I started my first year of studies in October of 2019. I studied 4 years in the vocational high school SOU “Nikola Karev” in Strumica, where I studied to become an electrical technician. I’m from Pirava, a village close to Valandovo, where in a family of 5 I was raised by my parents, who were full time farmers, and my two older sisters. The desire to make my family proud, and the incredible teachers at my high school, were a motivational boost that shaped my future.
The choice for enrolling in a vocational high school was a life decision that I’m happiest with. There I met so many excellent teachers whose involvement and dedication in our education was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. They sought to bring out our talents and they offered us the help we needed to achieve our accomplishments. In just a few months, I took part in my first Olympiad – the Experimental Physics Olympiad – where I placed first in the freshmen category, winning my first ever gold medal. It was this Olympiad that started my high school competitions journey, from my first time participating in national mathematics and informatics competitions, to being qualified for competing on international levels after just one year of progress.
What I have experienced in high school helped me realize the importance of having both a great drive for success, passion in what you are doing, as well as having the right direction and the teachers to show you how to achieve success as efficiently as possible. I would often find myself thinking about how everything could have been different, if only I were given these opportunities during my primary school education. But a great message would have me say “Don’t be disappointed, be motivated, be proactive”. My motivation was fueled when in my second year of high school, I found out about “The School Of The Future”. That’s a school that was created with a goal of preparing students for competitions. Amazingly, the creators were just students. Students with a desire to share their knowledge and learn more through teaching.
Thanks to the MIT student Kliment Serafimov, who provided me with a full scholarship to attend the school, and my own high school “Nikola Karev”, that supported me in moving to the capital city so that I can attend the classes, I was able to experience and enjoy being among students who share the same passion for problem solving as I did. My takeaway message was the seed of an idea, that I can too help in making education more accessible.
As just a high school student, I continued with my focus on preparing myself for the international Olympiads, in which I have participated 10 times, having the opportunities to visit Romania, Spain, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Japan and other countries. Coming from a farmer’s family, there were financial challenges that as a child I did not expect to experience. But nonetheless I was still able to attend all of my Olympiad events thanks to the great support that I got. First, from my family to whom I can’t be more thankful to; my high school, that I hope I’ve made proud; and Valandovo’s municipality, that even awarded me the “November 6” award of 2018 for the affirmation of the municipality in the field of education. Their support also included the technology that I used as a programmer through high school and helped me in my training for the Olympiads.
And thanks to the Computer Science Society of Macedonia I was introduced to Macedonia2025. I’ve been part of the Macedonia2025 talented students support initiative since its very beginning, which was in my last year of high school. At the time I was working on my first ever educational project, under mentorship of my friend Kliment Serafimov, the educational website Karel. Karel is a platform for young students to familiarize themselves with coding, but also with the world of problem solving. And thanks to the support of the wonderful people from Macedonia2025, I was able to present my work on the international event Infomatrix, where it was awarded a silver medal amongst projects by students from 46 countries.
Upon my first year as a university student, I knew that the key to success is working hard. With this in mind I started with giving regular weekly lessons to younger students who were preparing for competitive programming; I participated in the Generation Unlimited event for developing digital solutions for inclusion; I took extra credits at university; I started a part-time internship; I participated in and won first place at the student’s competitive programing event CodeFu; and so much more. I will continue working hard to finish university with a perfect GPA, but more importantly, with an experience that will make everyone who supported me proud.
Macedonia2025/ Giving Back to the Homeland
Every experience that we go through as students is necessary for our later development; an uncertainty for career choice could only help us understand our working identities. I am fulfilled when I teach other students, I am fulfilled when I make new friends, I am fulfilled to know that I have the support to do that. Everything in life is a story, and as students we have the greatest opportunities to make our stories something worth writing about.