Lord Byron School (Gyumri)

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Lord Byron School #20
(Armenian: Լորդ Բայրոնի անվան թիվ 20 միջնակարգ դպրոց )
Lord Byron.jpg
Lord Byron
Location
Gyumri, Shirak, Armenia
Information
Founded 1950[1]
Opened 1990[2]
Specialist English
Head (since 1992) Grigor J. Harutunyan
Pupils c. 1000

Lord Byron School #20 (Armenian: Լորդ Բայրոնի անվան թիվ 20 միջնակարգ դպրոց ) was founded in 1988 in Gyumri (formerly Leninakan) following the Spitak earthquake that devastated the city, by funds provided by the British Government as well as donations raised by the British people. A carved stone cross called a Khatchkar was placed in a British school by the Armenian government in thanks for the rebuilding of this school following the 1988 earthquake.[3]

History[edit]

The school was built in 1950 and was named after the Armenian playwright Gabriel Soundukyan.[1] The 1988 earthquake occurred at 11:41 local time when most people were either at work or at school.[4]

The Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev asked for international assistance. The death toll from the quake was 25,000[4] and the school lost over 40 students and staff.[1]

The rebuilt school was opened by the United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on 10 June 1990 on her first trip to the Soviet Union.[2] Since then there has been support from Armenians living abroad. A new boiler-house was constructed and a playground were paid for by the Armenian General Benevolent Union.[5]

After the building a partnership was established between Lord Byron School and a school near to Byron's resting place near Nottingham. As a symbol of thanks the government arranged for a khatchkar (traditional Armenian carved stone cross) to be placed in the British school's playground.

Layout[edit]

The original Khatchkar that was presented to the school which is now attached to the church in Hucknall where Byron is buried.

The design for the school was by British architects. The materials, furniture and the labour required to construct the school were exported from the United Kingdom. There are six low rise buildings, they were arranged in a two by three grid and the main entrance approached one of the two central buildings. Behind the central building is the craft and dining building. To the left of the administration building is a primary building and behind that a gym. To the right is a building for language study and behind that a combined building for maths and science.[6]

Curriculum[edit]

Lord Byron school has a building dedicated to the study of languages and the school specializes in the study of English in particular.[6] The school is also known for its use of computers and for its access to the Internet.

Every January 22nd the school celebrates Byron Day.

Partnerships[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c History of Gyumri 20 School
  2. ^ a b Armenian Embassy, accessed 30 September 2008
  3. ^ Hucknall - the only two khatchkar town in Western Europe, St Mary Armenian Church, Toronto, accessed 25 September 2008
  4. ^ a b On This Day, BBC, accessed 30 September 2008
  5. ^ Armenian General Benevolent Union, accessed 30 September 2008
  6. ^ a b Layout of the school, before 1992, accessed 30 September 2008
  7. ^ Project Harmony, accessed 30 September 2008
  8. ^ Obituary, Hucknall Dispatch, accessed 30 September 2008