SPIRU HARET NATIONAL COLLEGE CENTENARY 2013

 

Spiru Haret National College began its history in 1913 as an extension of another Bucharest high school. Given that the classes were housed in a distant location from the main premises, however, it was autonomous from the outset, with a head and management of its own. Ștefan Nanul by his name, the first principal, who remained in charge of the school for over a decade, in no less than three years obtained legal entity status for his unit, initially as middle school and then, in 1920, having introduced secondary school classes, as high school. To give his centre of learning direction, in the words of today a distinct vision and mission, the insightful headmaster placed the institution under the effigy of Spiru Haret, the reformer of the Romanian education system and a model of dedication, hard work and self-sacrifice. With a doctorate in Mathematics at the Sorbonne and the aura of a brilliant young researcher in astronomy, Spiru Haret would have been welcomed by the French academic world with open arms. He chose instead to serve his own country, where he returned to give something back to the place where he had been born and educated. Spiru Haret High School obtained his name by royal decree in 1920.

In the spirit of this legacy the school grew and its fame spread. Ever from the beginning in 1913 it had attracted good students, mainly children from the upper class, coming here in search of bright teachers, of whom the school had more than plenty. Holding university degrees and some of them even doctorates, not so common in the secondary education of the time, these teachers were sought after by the powerful and mighty of the day who wanted their children to follow in their footsteps and get the best instruction available. It was thus that after one year only since having been granted its title Spiru Haret High School started to produce diplomats, physicists, mathematicians, poets and philosophers, in short, highly valuable people for all compartments of a functional society, as Spiru Haret himself had wished for. It produced members for the elite of the country. That was to last for more than three decades.

And that is exactly why, after The Second World War, the school was targeted by the Communist regime as a symbol to be destroyed. It began by sending away the students, whose families had already been brought down, some of them even imprisoned. Students from other schools took their place. The school changed name after name, first becoming Boys’ High School No. 9 and then Secondary School No.12, having been turned into a vocational school training electricians and foremen. The figure of Spiru Haret had long disappeared. His spirit had not. In 1965 the headmistress of the school, Mrs Aurelia Radulescu, managed to put his name back on the frontispiece of the high school, where it belonged, in the hope to rekindle the fire of the old tradition. Her success did not go beyond restoring the name of Spiru Haret High School but, even so, the emblem at least was won back.

It was under this symbol that Mr Adrian Pascu, school principal after the Revolution of 1989, revived the old spirit. He reverted to the original structure of science and letters classes and reinstated the old values, raised the standards in all areas and reinstituted traditions fallen under the dictatorial censorship. Just as hope had never died during the long years of communism, the name of the school had endured and it soon started to gather round good students. Social science and natural science classes were introduced. The school became a National College in 2000 and has been constantly standing among the best institutions of its kind in Bucharest. In 2017 it ranked sixth in the country.

From hand to hand, from mind to mind, values are passed on and resist time and tide. Spiru Haret National College eagerly awaits the future.