• May 9, 2013
  • 302

The 150th anniversary of the School in Turgiele

© Marian Paluszkiewicz

10th May 2013 will certainly be a new page in the history of Turgiele (Turgeliai), since almost every inhabitant of this town has been related to this institution. This school, by virtue of its functions, let alone its long history, remains eternally young. Younger with every September, as the new generations enter its ancient door.

The Paweł Ksawery Brzostowski Secondary School has experienced various times throughout its 150-year history – both – more and less fortuitous ones. 20 years ago the school was attended by over 800 students, whereas today by merely 192. Nonetheless, the headmaster, Łucja Jurgielewicz, is in high spirits, full of optimism, zeal and faith that the school is alive and it will continue to be alive.

A decreased number of students can be explained by the establishment of the Lithuanian School in Turgiele, as well as the diminishing birth rate. This concerns not only the school in Turgiele, but the whole Lithuania.

We visited the school on the eve of the anniversary festivities. To our astonishment, we discovered that there was no typical confusion or preparation madness, in spite of a wide programme of festive activities and numerous guests invited. On the contrary, the school staff had been getting prepared for the event for a long period of time, so that everything would be perfectly geared up on the day in question.

In fact, the preparations have begun since the very day of the reopen, when it was emphasized that the upcoming school year was supposed to be a special one because of the round anniversary. The whole local community should take an active part in the festivities – such a task was set by the school at the very beginning of the preparations. In this way, as many people as possible should get involved. All of them should be also aware of the fact that they live in a unique place and the motto above the entrance door – “Through education to freedom and happiness” continues to be basic and topical in this school.

Within the scope of preparations, the gym was renovated and the school museum collection was considerably enlarged.

All of these preparations were described in a nutshell. In fact, only the headmaster and the education team know perfectly, how much work and every day’s commitment hid behind the whole process.

In the interview for “Kurier”, Mrs. Jurgielewicz remarked frequently that without the team, she would not be able to accomplish this goal.

– The most significant question is to assign everyone to specific checklist items, because only in this way the preparations will not be arduous, but amusing. On behalf of the school community, we expect our dearest and nearest ones, with whom we could share the joy of celebrating such a unique moment – commented the hospitable headmaster.

Nevertheless, we know that without the participation of Mrs. Jurgielewicz nothing would be possible, not only the upcoming celebration, but also such a rich history, which is displayed in the school museum.

I used the term: “school museum”, as it is located in school, yet taking into account its full professionalism, perhaps I should use a different word. It is impressively furnished – precisely categorised, with numerous specialist branches. Such a rich historic and ethnographic material reaches far beyond Turgiele.

The school museum numbers 3000 exhibits. It was established in 1964 on the initiative of Alfred Rutkowski, a teacher, after whose death his work was continued by his wife, Helena Rutkowska. Apart from numerous souvenirs of the outstanding canon Brzostowski, there are plenty of other documents concerning other famous personages living in Turgiele and its nearest vicinity:

Józef Kobyliński, the judge of the Nowogródek district (Naugardukas), the inheritor of Pawłowo estate, his wife – Anna Korycka, the founder of the first school in Turgiele and the Orthodox Church on Michnowo (Mikniškės), Priest Paweł Szepiecki, who built two side wings of the local church and Witold Wagner, who purchased the Merkinė estate from Priest Brzostowski after the downfall of the Republic of Pawłowo (Paulavos respublika).

Nonetheless, many more could be mentioned. Amongst others, Julian Bartyś, the Polish historian and expert on the field of the Polish economy history, owing to whose work (entitled „Rzeczpospolita Pawłowska na tle reform włościańskich w Polsce w XVIII wieku” – “The Republic of Pawłowo and the economy reforms in Poland in 18th century”) Mrs. Łucja was able to enlarge the museum with such unique documents.

Another vital discovery made by the headmaster was the fact that the school in Turgiele had been established in 1862, which was also confirmed by the archival documents. The correspondence with Julian Bartyś, her uncle, proved to be essentially helpful in this process.

The headmaster must have spent numerous hours, looking through the archives. Thus, it does not come as a surprise, that the result is so impressive.

Turgiele and its nearest vicinity can be proud of such a rich history and people who lived and worked there.

Łucja Jurgielewicz is a born inhabitant of Turgiele. She could talk hours and hours about it and possibly even write some dissertations, if only she had more than twenty four hours at her disposal. Even though she is mighty active within the scope of school, she also takes time to participate in sight-seeing and artistic activities. A half year ago she brought into being a new group – “Brzostowianie” , which is directed to adults who praise with singing the fate of Pawłowo and people who used to live in this region as well.

The ruins of the Republic of Pawłowo are located in a unique area of the Šalčininkai District Municipality. Briefly speaking, the rests of walls and fundaments of the buildings that once belonged to the nobility are silent witnesses of the previous glory, being one of the most important destinations of the tourists, school trips and guests visiting this region.

However, in respect of the school celebrating its anniversary, it is worth emphasizing that the first references of its existence date back to 1729. This school was affiliated with the local church. The Primary School was established in 1769 in the Republic of Pawłowo. Paweł Ksawery Brzostowski, who was the founder of the Primary School for the local peasant children, contributed significantly to the development of education in this region. He invited lecturers from Vilnius and other countries.

In 1862 Katarzyna Kobylińska established another school in Turgiele. There were plenty of changes to the curricula and the languages in which it was thought – primarily it was probably Russian, in the period of 1921-1936 – Polish and during the World War II (1941-1943) –  Lithuanian. After the war, Russian became an official education language once again. The existence of the Polish-Russian Secondary School dates back to 1952.

The act of naming of school in 1998 was thoroughly deliberated over and eventually proved to be an excellent decision. The services of Paweł Ksawery Brzostowski – priest, writer, member of  the Confederation of Grand Duchy of Lithuania – to our country were immense. It was him, who in 1767 established a new country – the Republic of Pawłowo, located in the area of the Merkinė estate, in the vicinity of Turgiel (near Vilnius). He dispossessed the peasants and handed over the power to the local community. In 1791 this act of law was passed by the Parliament (Sejm).

Patron, philanthropist, founder of churches, publisher of his works – to cut the long story short, Brzostowski could be described in this way. His name given to the school in Turgiele demands to the continuous activity for the benefit of education. That is certainly the case in this Lithuanian town.

The school in Turgiele is more than an educational institution, which enables children to acquire knowledge. The Polish social organizations also work here – e.g. the Association of Poles in Lithuania (APL), The School Matrix (Macierz Szkolna).

Obviously, the most significant is education. Mrs. Łucja speaks proudly about the graduates who were successfully admitted to the best universities and who still continue their education, as well as the laureates of Polish, German, Russian, Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Information Technology competitions and numerous projects and actions conducted by them:

“Cleaning up the world”, “The Heap of Cents”, “Forgotten graves”, “My small Fatherland”, “The Republic of Pawłowo”, “Healthy Lifestyle” and last but not least – a competition “The best student”.

The native history is fostered truly meticulously. It is worth mentioning the educational paths such as “The Republic of Pawłowo”, “Forgotten, but rich and diverse Turgiele”, as well as the performances “The Republic of Pawłowo” and “The well-matched Neighbourhood” (fragments of a comedy performed in Pawłowo in 1794).

The school organizes numerous traditional events – The Day in Honour of Brzostowski, The Open Doors Day, The School Council Day, Mother’s Day, Grandmother’s Day. The folk celebrations are cultivated in an impressive way. It is inevitable for me to mention that the headmaster, who is endowed with magnificent voice, as a young girl won laurels in the contest Dainų dainelė”.

She is multitalented and willing to share her skills with others. Owing to this, the anniversary concert will certainly be extraordinary. It will be led by Dianą Jelmakaitė alongside Barbara Jurgielewicz-Chakashu, daughter of the headmaster, graduate of the school in Turgiele and our former colleague from the editor’s office. Mrs. Jurgielewicz let us on a secret that the school would be visited by its founders – Paweł Ksawery Brzostowski and countess Katarzyna Kobylińska, whose characters will be performed on a stage by the students and graduates of the School in Turgiele.

The anniversary festivities will be also attended by the guest from Poland, without whose help the celebration might not take place.

The school in Turgiele cooperates with the Polish ones – the 6th Grammar School in Suwałki and the Public Grammar School in Luzin (students exchange, trips, methodical courses, financial support). Owing to the association “The Polish Community” (“Wspólnota Polska”) it was possible to renovate the building, along with computer classroom and to provide the school with the sport equipment and educational materials.

The school staff is awaiting the guests from Kashubia (Kaszuby), Łomża, the Eastern District of Warsaw and other towns affiliated with Turgiele. They will be pleased to welcome all the graduates, no matter when he graduated from this school.

This special day will be inaugurated with the Holy Mass in the local Church of Assumption of the Virgin Mary. Afterwards, the whole community will gather in order to celebrate the academy, concert and to extend wishes and regards, as well as to join the party, which fits perfectly to such a special round jubilee.

May the school develop and blossom into prosperity for at least 200 following years!

Source: http://kurierwilenski.lt/2013/05/09/jubileusz-150-lat-szkoly-w-turgielach/

Tłumaczenie by Joanna Mirek w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Joanna Mirek within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu. 

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