On February 8th, we had the pleasure of hosting Doru Căstăian, a philosophy professor, on our campus. He addressed the community on the topic “How to Live a Good Life” – the second conference in the series “What’s Worth Learning?“.

The experience of discovering the significant impact that behaviours like constant reflection, moral ethics, and balance have on individual well-being was an enlightening exercise, demonstrating to everyone present how we can incorporate philosophical concepts into our daily lives to enhance our educational, professional, and social experiences. 

We take pride in sharing with the entire community Doru Căstăian’s reflections following his visit to Avenor. For us, his visit was a learning experience for which we are grateful, as well as an opportunity to get to know each other.


For me, a teacher with twenty years of teaching experience in a (single) state school, but who has dealt with numerous schools within the system over the years, the visit to Avenor felt like stepping into an educational wonderland. At Avenor, I witnessed operational ideas and principles that I had previously encountered mainly in literature—a blend of rigour, adherence to rules, and social and intellectual openness. These elements transform a mere school organisation into a flourishing and dynamic educational community.

No, please don’t assume I’m naive or that I’ve been captivated solely by the (impressive!) infrastructure or the understated glamour that subtly suggests we’re in a prosperous community. I’m actually referring to the intangible connection that reflects on the children’s faces, who are truly the most important here. It’s about the invisible bonds where healthy routines are embraced. Here, curriculum leaders pose genuine problems both theoretically and practically, rather than simply going through the motions with trivial matters. I’m talking about the prevalent collaboration among teachers, where sharing ideas and overcoming mistakes with integrity and bravery are commonplace. Moreover, parents are integral members of the educational community, respected and consulted, yet not granted every wish despite their contributions.

Ultimately, I’m also referring, to the ongoing learning process of teachers, their efforts to explore, observe, and absorb insights that contribute to the school’s ongoing relevance and competitiveness.

In short, Avenor is a school community from which we all have a lot to learn, including how to build a (healthier) relationship with the state system and its rather bureaucratic, old-fashioned tendencies.

In matters of education, I don’t subscribe to singular solutions. I believe in the necessity of both public and private education. Schools like Avenor, accredited in both state and international systems, present an opportunity for us, for the sake of our children, to transcend tribalism and dichotomous thinking.

Certain good practices and constructive ideas from Avenor can be adopted tomorrow (or today) in any of the public schools at no cost or minimal costs. That’s why I encourage every school director or inspector to make an immediate visit here. Any open-minded individual will leave inspired and enlightened after interacting with the school community here, especially since Avenorians are open, empathetic, and willing to help.

Lastly, a word about the school’s people, perhaps its most crucial asset. Children and teachers (and parents, although my interactions with them have been fewer), resemble those in any school in Romania. The same familiar hum to any seasoned teacher’s ears. The same curiosity that has always resonated with me, the same young minds eager to unfold as soon as they’re encouraged.

For a moment, I closed my eyes and dreamed that every school in Romania would have at least some aspects of Avenor.

I don’t idealise, and certainly, we could critically assess certain ideas and philosophies underlying such an educational approach. I couldn’t help but reevaluate my old ideas (developed in several texts over the years) regarding the benefits and limitations of entrepreneurial models and methods in education. But beyond all this, the visit to Avenor was more than just a semi-social event for me; it was a profound experience, a joy, and a revival of hope.

It is possible.