Sunday, Sept. 1 marked the start of the new school year in Estonia, with students all over the country attending ceremonies and getting reacquainted with school friends and teachers. One upper secondary school (Gümnaasium) in Kohtla-Järve, Ida-Viru County, opened its doors for the very first time, welcoming just over 320 students. The school teaches in the Estonian language in a region with a large proportion of native Russian-language speakers.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said that the school has been seen as more than just a new school, from the outset.
"It has been a new way of thinking - how to find common ground, focus on the good, base oneself on the future, develop the best, and involve everyone in taking our beloved Estonia forward," he said, according to BNS.
Education minister Mailis Reps (Centre), added her appreciation of the new school's vision in becoming a center of initiative for the region.
"Involvement of students in the creation of the school, which has seen them take an important role in its shaping, is certainly commendable. We are happy about the fact that the school has managed to attract teachers from all Estonia," she said.
The school's principal, Hendrik Agur, says he wants see the new school, which will employ over 40 teachers, evolve as a "flagship of sciences and natural sciences, an educational gem in Ida-Viru County, open to creativity and free minds," BNS reports.
RKAS real estate company manages the school's buildings. RKAS CEO Kati Kusmin said that a modern learning environment and energy efficiency are the keywords characterizing the school and its facilities.
"Kohtla-Järve upper secondary school is a near-zero energy building; the study environment is well thought-out and logical. I believe that students and the local community alike will embrace the new school building quickly as they would their own homes," Kusmin said.
A ceremony marking the opening of the school for its inaugural academic year was attended by Jüri Ratas, Mailis Reps, Kohtla-Järve Mayor Ljudmila Jantšenko, and other dignitaries, representatives of the school and local community (see gallery). It also featured a recital by pianist Mihkel Poll.
Editor: Andrew Whyte