History of the school

A Brief History of Spiru Haret National College

The establishment date of our school may be considered the 5th of September 1913, when some of the classes of “Matei Basarab” High-School moved into the building on 1, Brătianu Street, set up with their own management, archives and administrative staff. This new unit would later take on the name of Spiru Haret, in memory of the man known as “the visionary minister of our education”.

At the head of the teaching staff was Ștefan V. Nanul, former student of literary critic Titu Maiorescu, whose PhD paper in linguistics on the Istro-Romanian vocabulary had been published in Leipzig. Nanul served two terms as principal, between 1913 and 1928, with a break between 1920 and 1926, when he held office at the Ministry of Education, at first as Director General and later as Secretary General.

The list of staff members led by Ștefan V. Nanul included names of highly qualified teachers such as: Nicolae Moisescu, BSc, former lecturer at the Institute of Animal Physiology and the Institute of Botany, Constantin Moisil, PhD in Letters and Philosophy, a student of Nicolae Iorga, and also founder of the Romanian school of numismatics and corresponding member of the Romanian Academy, Nicodem Locusteanu, BA in Letters and Law, Latin language teacher, editor of Romanian Academy prize winning books and former Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Education, Dimitrie Papadopol, BA Berlin University, French and German language teacher, former school inspector, who substituted Ștefan Nanul during his time at the ministry, and Iosif Frollo, BA in Letters, French language teacher for three decades, whose  memoirs are a genuine historical source to testify to the  “Spiru Haret” visionary spirit kept alive in the school.

The name of Spiru Haret Middle School was obtained through the endeavour of its first principal, Ștefan V. Nanul, and the institution functioned as such starting with the 1st of April 1916.

On the 12th of December 1918, on the initiative of principal Nanul, the first celebration of the school patron, Saint Spiridon, was held. It was the beginning of the main traditional event of the college, Alumni Day.

The school was officially granted the title of Spiru Haret High School by royal decree in 1920. The application for the title asked “… to kindly bestow on us the great honour of linking our school to the name of the founder of our secondary education. Bearing the name “Spiru Haret High School” would be more than a humble proof of our immense gratitude to him. It will be, for us, a creed to confess and also an urge to honestly work in the field of our nation’s culture”.

In December 1923 Vasile V. Haneș, PhD in Letters, BA in Law, together with a group of senior students  published the first issue of Vlăstarul school magazine, “one of the longest-lasting college magazines”, according to literary critic George Călinescu.

Today’s location was inaugurated on the 16th of October 1927. The new building, to which the parents’ association had contributed significantly, hosted Science and Modern Studies classes where the poet Ion Barbu taught Mathematics to students among whom C. Noica, I. Moisil and A. Elian were to be found.

An impressive result was achieved in the 1927 Baccalaureate exam, when “Spiru Haret” High School of Bucharest topped the national charts ranking "first in the country” with its 24 graduates.  The highest individual mark was that of Mușat I. Ioan (9.20).

The valedictorian of the 1937 class, Gheorghe Florian, equalled the performance.  Nevertheless, his promise of a bright future was not to come true as he died in a Communist prison.

The erratic stage in our high school’s history after Gheorghe Florian’s great achievement could be described as a struggle between democracy and totalitarianism. Inside the school the attachment to the tradition of Spiru Haret and the old values was on the rise. From the outside, the Communist regime fighting to gain ground was trying to dismantle all the cultural emblems of the past. The school’s traditional multiculturalism and its well-known ethnic and religious diversity were soon to come under attack.

While beginning with 1941, due to the war, some of the students and teachers were forced to leave for other schools, later on the school welcomed a wave of students from Basarabia, Bucovina and Transylvania. Between 1944 and 1948, students from all the social strata found warmth and understanding here.

Then in August 1948 the entire Romanian education system was re-organised on the Soviet model. That meant that the teachers’ contracts were cancelled and new teaching staff were recruited, with the aim to remove any persons considered unreliable or hostile to the new regime.

As atheism was the new doctrine, the high school celebration, Saint Spiridon’s Day, was moved from the 12th of December to the 2nd of December.

The name of Spiru Haret was removed from the high school frontispiece. The evening classes of I.C. Frimu High School No. 3 moved into the building of the former Spiru Haret High School.

At the same time, “Spiru Haret” students were scattered to other Bucharest high schools. The building in Italiană Street received students from Gh. Lazăr High School. The institution then gained the name of Boys’ High School No. 9.

Starting with the academic year 1954-1955, the official name of the institution was Secondary School No.12.

Only in 1965 did the institution return to its traditional name: Spiru Haret High School, Bucharest. Also, on the initiative of its principal, Mrs. Aurelia Teodorescu, the publication of Vlăstarul magazine was resumed in 1968, after an abrupt stop in 1943.

Starting with the academic year 1972-1973, following the Communist party line of accelerated industrialization of the country which required training labour force and despite the lack of proper infrastructure for the new type of vocational classes to be introduced, the school became Spiru Haret Electro-Technical High School No. 5. Having failed in her efforts to revive the old tradition, Mrs. Aurelia Teodorescu resigned from the position of principal.  

Throughout the following decades, the high school’s evolution was complex and contradictory, between the attempts at preserving its educational brand and the continuous downward trend, as it actually housed two schools in the same building: the vocational secondary school and a foremen training school.

One positive event however was the series of symposia and exhibitions organised in 1976, upon the 125th celebration of Spiru Haret’s birth. On this occasion, the International Committee for Moon Denominations of the International Union of Astronomers entered Spiru Haret’s name on the map of the Moon, assigning it to a crater on the unseen side of our planet’s natural satellite.

After 1990, the high school returned to its traditional structure and name and to its old traditions. Vlăstarul magazine resumed publication and December 12th was adopted as the high school anniversary day under the name of Alumni Day.

Officially as of the 15th of February 2000 Spiru Haret Theoretical High School became “Spiru Haret” National College of Bucharest, on the initiative of its principal, Mr. Adrian Pascu. A new stage in the evolution of the institution began.

On the 5th of September 2013 “Spiru Haret” National College became a centenary college, with full rights in the Centenary Colleges Association.

Holding firm ground in the past and cherishing its tradition and history, Spiru Haret National College looks forward and welcomes the future.