Lê Hồng Phong High School

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Lê Hồng Phong High School for the Gifted
Lycée LHP.jpg
by Nguyễn Hoàng Việt, alumnus, 2003-06
Hồ Chí Minh City
Type Co-ed, Public
Established 1927
Principal Nguyễn Thị Yến Trinh
Faculty 152
Enrollment 2045
Campus Urban, 20 acres
Color(s) White and Navy blue

Lê Hồng Phong High School for the Gifted (Vietnamese: Trường Phổ Thông Trung Học Chuyên Lê Hồng Phong; formerly known as Petrus Ký High School) is a highly selective high school in Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam. Established in 1927, the school is one of the oldest high schools still operating in Vietnam.


The school was the third high school founded in Saigon by the French colonialists, after the Collège Chasseloup-Laubat (now Le Quy Don High School) and Collège de Jeunes Filles Indigènes (now Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai High School). In 1925, Architect Hebrard de Villeneuve was commissioned to design a school in Chợ Quán.

On 28 November 1927, a temporary branch of Collège Chasseloup-Laubat, called Collège de Cochinchine, was founded in Chợ Quán for native students. The branch was under the management of the Board at Collège Chasseloup-Laubat.

Petrus Ký High School during construction
Petrus Ký High School during construction
Petrus Ký High School gate in earlier times

The construction of the school was completed in 1928. On 11 August 1928, the interim Governor-General of French Indochina, René Robert, signed Decree no. 3116 to establish a native French secondary school (Lycée), combining Collège de Cochinchine and about 200 pupils from Collège Chasseloup Laubat. The Governor Blanchard de la Brosse named the school Lycée Petrus Trương Vĩnh Ký, for the Vietnamese Catholic who served the French colonial government. The school was known as Petrus Ký High School for almost a half-century.

In 1941, the school was temporarily relocated to the Pedagogical College of Saigon due to the war. It resumed its regular teaching activities in the same year, at its own establishment. In 1945, the school was temporarily closed after evacuating to Tân Dĩnh district. It re-opened in April 1946 in a seminary on Lucien Mossard street. It returned to Chợ Quán in 1947.

In 1961, it became a secondary school in the Southern Vietnamese educational system. In 1976, the school was renamed after a former general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Lê Hồng Phong, and became a high school. In 1990, it was made a high school for the gifted students. Its current name is Lê Hồng Phong High School for the Gifted. Unlike most other high schools in Vietnam, the school admits its students by entrance examinations.[citation needed]


A faculty of about 160 teachers, chosen from the top candidates at the National University of Education in Ho Chi Minh City, serves about 2400 students in three grades from 10th to 12th. Lê Hồng Phong conducts a rigorous entrance examination for admission. Its long-standing prestige as the foremost high school in the area attracts many applicants from South Vietnam and the competition is fierce.[citation needed] Students sit for exams in mathematics, literature, English, and must write a paper on one of the eleven subjects offered in the classes for majors. Students applying to the bilingual Vietnamese-French programme are admitted on a different panel.[citation needed]

In the 2006-07 academic year, the school admitted 250 students into 12 classes for majors and 400 students into 8 classes for non-majors.[citation needed]

Lê Hồng Phong High School playground
Main gate

The school offers 12 classes for majors, each specialising in a single subject including: Mathematics, Physics, Computer science, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, History, Literature, English, French, Chinese and Japanese. Students in these classes do not have to pay tuition fees.[citation needed]

Upon applying to Lê Hồng Phong, applicants must specify the section in which to study. A section is a study programme in which the student chooses to specialise in three out of the eleven mandatory subjects. The entrance examination papers for each section differ in level of difficulty of each subject.

  • Section A: Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
  • Section B: Mathematics, Chemistry and Biology.
  • Section C: Literature, History and Geography.
  • Section D: Mathematics, Literature and foreign languages.

Students in the classes for non-majors pay nominal tuitions. The bilingual French-Vietnamese programme is taught in both languages. At the end of 12th grade, students attend two examinations: the Vietnamese National Baccalaureate and the Bilingual Baccalaureate recognized by the Francophone community. The prominent student organisation at Lê Hồng Phong is the Youth Division of the Communist Party of Vietnam. The organisation organises annual recreational and charity events, many of which have become school traditions.

Almost 100% of the school's students pass the National Baccalaureate examination and more than 90% gain entrance to universities and colleges.[citation needed] The school is a strong contestant in the national and international student academic competitions. In the school year 2006-2007, 291 students from Lê Hồng Phong won the City Student Academic Aptitude competition in 12 subjects and 23 students won the National competitions. It is one of the two best-known high schools in Hồ Chí Minh City, together with High school for the Gifted (Nang Khieu High School).[1]


  • In 1989, the school was awarded the 3rd Level Labour Medal by the President of Vietnam.
  • In 2001, the school was awarded the 2nd Level Labour Medal by the President of Vietnam.
  • In 2007, the school was awarded the 1st Level Labour Medal by the President of Vietnam as per Thanh Nien Online.

Petrus Ky students in the war era[edit]

In 1940, the Petrus Ký Student Club was founded. The club organised extra-curricular activities including performing arts, sports, camping, attracting students from within and outside Petrus Ký. It was during this time that the students Lưu Hữu Phước and Mai Văn Bộ (in Vietnamese) (later ambassador) wrote "La Marche des Étudiants" song, the predecessor of the patriotic "Tiếng Gọi Thanh Niên (Call to the Young)", "Tiếng Gọi Công Dân (Call to the Citizens)" and "Quốc Ca của Việt Nam Cộng Hòa (The National Anthem of the Republic of Vietnam, National anthem of South Vietnam)".[2][3]

Within a year, the club and its activities were prohibited by the French-Indochina government. In 1942, Petrus Ký students, inspired by students in Hanoi, founded an organisation named S.E.T. (Section Exécution Tourisme). The organisation functioned as a scout programme aiming at developing character, citizenship, and personal fitness qualities. During this time, several Petrus Ký professors such as Phạm Thiều, Lê Văn Chí and Trần Văn Thanh, also subtly professed their patriotism in lectures.

As France re-occupied Vietnam, in 1948, Petrus Ký students were the leaders in the movement "Teach and Learn in Vietnamese". On 10 September 1949, the first day of the academic year, students of several schools together with scholars and parents went on strike. [clarification needed][why?] The government closed Petrus Ký and Gia Long schools and imprisoned a number of students.[citation needed]

On 9 January 1950, over 2000 students from Petrus Ký, Gia Long, Áo tím and Kỹ Thuật [...] protested in front of the Ministry of Education[why?] and then the Governor Palace. The government tried to disperse the crowd; however, the number of protesters had risen to more than 50,000. The police started firing into the crowd and Tran Van On, a student from Petrus Ký, was killed. Three days later, the city went on strike to attend On's funeral. Students from Mỹ Tho, Cần Thơ, Huế, and Hanoi came to Saigon to participate in the ceremony, carrying protesting banners. More than 1,000,000 people were present at the funeral. This was the largest funeral in Saigon since that of Phan Chu Trinh in 1925.[citation needed]

On 14 July 1954, Petrus Ký student started the movement to demand independence and democracy at the school by drawing slogans on walls and blackboards, openly supporting the Geneva Accord. On 30 March 1955, conflicts between the national army and Bình Xuyên arms broke out. Bình Xuyên's volunteer force stationed itself at Petrus Ký. On 30 April 1955, the national army expelled Bình Xuyên. On 1 May 1955, Petrus Ký students formed a committee to help victims of the conflict. The committee was able to gather considerable amount of money and aids for the people.[citation needed]

In 1970, Petrus Ký students organised a strike and a take-over of the Cambodian Embassy to protest against Lon Nol's massacre of Vietnamese expats living in Cambodia. In 1972, Nguyen Thai Binh, a school alumnus studying in the United States, participated in anti-war demonstrations and wrote a letter to then U.S. President Nixon condemning crimes against the Vietnamese people. While being deported from the U.S. back to Vietnam, he attempted to hijack the Pan American 747 as it approached Saigon. He was shot dead by a vacationing American police officer.[citation needed]

On 30 April 1975, the South Vietnam Liberation Force, headed by General Trần Văn Trà, was stationed at the school. The school was temporarily closed until July 1975 and the class of 1974-1975 took their final examinations and graduated in September 1975.[citation needed]


School year Principal
1927–1929 Sainte Luce Banchelin
1929–1931 Paul Valencot
1931–1933 Andre Neveu
1933–1938 Paul Valencot
1938–1944 Le Jeannic
1944–1947 Taillade
1947–1951 Lê Văn Khiêm
1951–1955 Phạm Văn Còn
1955–1957 Nguyễn Văn Kính
1957–1958 Nguyễn Văn Thơ
1958–1960 Nguyễn Văn Trương
1960–1963 Phạm Văn Lược
1963–1964 Nguyễn Thanh Liêm
1964–1966 Trần Ngọc Thái
1966–1969 Trần Văn Thử
1969–1971 Trần Ngọc Thái
1971-1971 Trần Văn Nhơn
1971–1973 Bùi Vĩnh Lập
1973–1975 Nguyễn Minh Đức
1975–1977 Nguyễn Văn Thiện
1977–1991 La Thị Hạnh
1991–1997 Nguyễn Hữu Danh
1997–2005 Đặng Thanh Châu
2005–2013 Võ Anh Dũng
2014–present Nguyễn Thị Yến Trinh

Notable alumni[edit]




  1. ^ City student academic aptitude competition
  2. ^ Đình Hoà Nguyêñ From the city inside the Red River: a cultural memoir 1999 - Page 100 "This "renovated music" overflowing with sentimentalism and nostalgic reminiscences soon evolved into vigorous and lively works that expressed less and less romance and languor. Lưu Hữu Phước, Mai Văn Bộ and Nguyễn-Thành Nguyên, the three medical students... Lưu Hữu Phước who wrote the lively music, was a prominent cultural figure ."
  3. ^ Robert Trando Letters of a Vietnamese Émigre 2010 Page 32 "In a corner, the piano-violin duo of Nguyễn-Trọng Thường and Đỗ-Thế Phiệt gave a rich recital of Bach, Schubert, and Strauss. The Cochin-Chinese musicians, Lưu-Hữu Phước, Mai-Văn Bộ, and Nguyễn-Thành Nguyên, composed patriotic .."

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 10°45′54″N 106°40′55″E / 10.765°N 106.682°E / 10.765; 106.682