173 years of Mitrovacka gimnazija
Drawing out the portrait of Mitrovica High School takes us back 170 years back, when on the 2nd of July 1838 by the order of the Royal War Council of Mitrovica, in the main 3-year school there was opened the first department of the 4th grade. In the November of the same year that same department officially began to work. It was the beginning of the writing of the biography of one of the oldest and most respectable institutions in this area.
In the next school year, 1839, the second department opened which worked by the syllabus of a grammar school. These two departments were turned into a small ‘real school’, by the order of the Royal Ministry of War in the year of 1851, where the teaching was preformed according to the syllabus of Austrian grammar schools and so called ‘real schools’.
The majority of the archived files written in the German language, which are stored in the History archive ‘Srem’, tells us of the first years and the first steps of Mitrovacka Gimnazija.
In the year of 1863 the third department was opened, the opening of the fourth department, which lasted for two years, followed eleven years later,. Firstly it existed as a Risarian school and then as an independent real school’, and by the Royal order from 1887, Mitrovacka gimnazija was gradually turned to a 4-year real Grammar school, the only school of that kind in Srem and Slavonija. In the beginning of the 20th century the 5th and the 6th grade were opened.
Most grammar school pupils were the children of the officers, merchants , craftsman and wealthy peasants. From the founding to the period of the Bahs absolutism the grammar school was attended by over 260 pupils. The main task of the Grammar school was to give general knowledge to its pupils, which would enable them to attend the classes of European universities.
Well saved archive files testify that from the abolition of the Military border in 1881 to the First World War, Mitrovacka gimnazija was attended by 1,982 students. At that time, interestingly enough, one of the most important educational means was beating the children.
The subjects that were taught in the grammar school changed over time adjusting to the state needs and requests of the Ministry of Education. When the First World War started, it stopped its work. It was reopened in 1917 when the war front was far away from this area. In 1918 Grammar school opened departments of the 7th and the final 8th grade. With enthusiasm and excitement it participated in the building of a new common state of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.
Teaching in Mitrovacka Gimnazija was preformed in a couple of buildings at the same time.
Lack of adequate space was a major problem. Although the issue of the construction of school buildings was brought up several times, it was not until the 1928 that its realization began. A new building construction started on the 12th of April 1928 in honour of one of the favorite Serbian rulers King Peter I Karadjordjevic. By the decree of the king Aleksandar, the grammar school was named “State Real Grammar School of King Peter I, the Great Liberator’. A striking new building was officially opened on the 15th of June, 1930. The educational process has been preformed up to the present times. Between 1941 and 1944 the Croatian outlaws were monitoring the Grammar school. The school years were again interrupted by air strike alerts, sounds of airplanes and fire truck sirens. During the Second World War five professors and sixty students were killed, and eighteen students fought and died during the war. At the end of the war, Grammar school continued working in completely changed conditions. The communist ideology colored a long period of its existence. By the reorganization of the school network in 1953, the primary school was separated from secondary grammar school. In that way two primary 4-graded and 8-graded schools were formed out of the Grammar school. In the sixties, new reorganization took place and Grammar school got two more departments, natural-scientific and socio-linguistic. In those years, Grammar school got the name ‘Ivo Lola Ribar, the name it was to carry for the next half of the century, until the year of 2007, when its name was finally changed into “Mitrovacka Gimnazija”. Reforms of 1974 slowly started to shut down Grammar school, but luckily these unsuccessful experiments did not last long. Today Mitrovacka Gimnazija is the oldest, and by its results the most successful school in this part of Serbia. Over its one hundred and seventy-three years of existence the crucial knowledge came to numerous academics and some of the most respectable people in science, language and literature. Mitrovacka gimnazija was attended by Mileva Marić-Einstein, Vasa Čubrilović. Miloš Đurić, Slavko Vorkapić, Dragoš Cvetković. Petar Milošević, Vojislav Đurić, Petar Krančević, Siniša Kovačević, Petar Milošević, Petar Kralj and other important people in the fields of art, culture and science.
Future generations, which are to leave this always new and creative institution will leave a mark in the time to come. The period of life they spent in Mitrovacka gimnazija will come to signify the most valuable and beautiful thing that has happened to them in the process of intellectual and physical growing up.
Written by Đorđe Domazet