chapter 5

CHAPTER FIVE

SIXTY SEVENTH MAJOR SCHOOL „VASIL DRUMEV“
IN THE TIME

The settlement and establishment of „Batalova Vodenitsa“ put the cardinal question on the education of local children on the agenda. It was closely related to finding suitable premises and teachers, providing funding for building a school. Solving these problems faced a number of difficulties and went through different stages.
In September 1926, in the neighbourhood for the first time began classes in the house of Vesselin Kostov on 19 „Gyueshevo“ Str. A first class grade with teacher Tina Dobreva was formed. Next year a second department was opened, and teachers were Dimitar Ivanov and Stefana Todorichina. Later, three classrooms were used in the house of Lisa Halphons, 31 „Payak Planina“ Str. There is another room rented on the neighboring street 1 „Ohridsko Ezero“, which was unhygienic and extremely uncomfortable for educational needs. Until February 15, 1932, the school at „Batalova Vodenitsa“ was established as a branch of the 13th „Lyuben Karavelov“ Primary School with only the first and second grades. It is then divided into a separate primary school with four grades divided into six classes. By order No 6603 of 12 December 1933 The Ministry of National Enlightenment (MNE) has ordered the initial school in „Batalova Vodenitsa“ to be named „Vasil Drumev“. Ten years later, with the same name is also called the chitalishte in the neighborhood. Therefore, it is desirable to trace the main points in the life path and the actions of its patron.
At the end of the 1920’s and the beginning of the 1930’s, the number of pupils in the capital increased rapidly, and independent school buildings that met pedagogical and hygienic conditions were only 15. For this reason, the municipality was forced to rent private premises for which it paid annual rents over BGN 2.5 million. At that time in Sofia there were 24 primary schools with 14 642 students and 17 junior high schools with 6537 children. There were 21 179 pupils in all primary schools. For them, 498 classrooms were needed, and the School Board had only 223. Preliminary estimates indicate that a significant amount of 150 million leva was needed to build new schools. Despite the economic difficulties, the building of school buildings in the districts „Bullina Livada“, „Zaharna Fabricka“, „Ivan Vazov“, „Hadji Dimitar“ and „Dobrudjanski“ started. At the beginning of 1931, citizens from the districts „Batalova Vodenitsa“, „Tsaribrodski“, „Journalism“ and „Poduene“ appeared to the chairperson of the Committee in the municipality with the request to build schools for their children in the very near future. The main reason for the request was that the private buildings used were unhygienic and inappropriate for learning activities. N. Bijev promisd that the neighborhoods where the need is most acute would be satisfied at first. Unfortunately, „Batalova Vodenitsa“ was not among them.
. Only in early May 1934 The Architectural Bureau of the Municipal Committee announced a competition for the construction of a new school building with seven classrooms and a gymnasium in the 443 square in „Batalova Vodenitsa“ neighborhood. The value of the project amounted to BGN 2 740 000. The construction period was eight calendar months after the conclusion of the contract. All the conditions for participation in the competition are described below. The requirements for stonemasonry and plaster, reinforced concrete structures and roof, joinery and glassworks, sewage and sanitary equipment, electrical installation, etc. were specified. On June 1, 1934 The Sofia Municipal Council headed by the Mayor Eng. Iv. Ivanov at his meeting approved the decision of the Committee. Two weeks later the tender was held. Interest was great. There were 19 companies and entrepreneurs who presented their offers. The Commission put Haralampy Petrov, who offered the most advantageous conditions. The contract was signed on August 8, 1934. The same day it was notarized and immediately came into force. With it to H. Petrov was assigned to build the school within the set deadline. In the period from 1 November to 1 April, due to winter conditions, the object was frozen. Construction funds covered several main directions.
The site that is designated for the construction is a large marshy meadow with old willows. But it was chosen because of the size of the terrain and its location in the neighborhood. On September 9, 1934, in the presence of representatives of the Sofia Municipality and the MES, the MNP and the clergy, teachers, students and citizens, was made the first sod of the new building. In a large excavation was placed a huge cut stone of Vitosha, and on behalf of the initiative committee was laid the elongated flask in a metal envelope with a message to future generations. It wished the school to be an everlasting outbreak of enlightenment and patriotism, and its graduates to be worthy citizens of their homeland. The trench was then covered with cement. Students supported the solemn ritual with long shouts of „hurry,“ and the priest ran a bunch of basil, which molt in a copper pot of holy water.
The construction of the building started in time and ran according to the terms of the contract. Some changes were made during construction, which had a positive impact on the future functioning of the school. They were dictated by the general condition of the neighborhood. It was not yet channeled and upgraded. That is why another company was commissioned to build a street sewer from the new school on „St. Vrach“ Street to the 550-meter sewerage system. In this way the low and marshy places around were drained and thus the hygienic conditions were significantly improved. On September 9, 1935, a memorandum of inquiry was established between the Architectural Department of Sofia Municipality and the entrepreneur H. Petrov. It established that the construction had been completed within certain time limits with some insignificant deficiencies. In one month the unfinished works were removed and the building was completely ready.
Soon, the long-awaited day came. On November 17, 1935, the solemn consecration of the new school took place.
The gradual shaping of a school library began. MNO allocated BGN 5500 per year for the delivery of books and supplies to the fund designated for this purpose. There were also personal donations to books, but they were still too limited. The school was regularly visited by the relevant authorities – district school inspector, representative of the Municipality and others. For Christmas, the poorest students were re-distributing clothes and shoes from the School Board and from individual benefactors. A total of 160 children were supported. On this occasion, in its issue of January 5, 1937, „Utro“ newspaper writes: „The Teaching Council at the „Vassil Drumev“ Primary School in Sofia considers it a duty to give public thanks to the anonymous benefactor G.D., who this year again bought shoes for 30 poor children at the school. That he did for the fourth time … His Christian heart, devoting more than 6000 leva annually, heats the souls of such poor children … “ Later, it became clear that behind these initials was the great merchant Vladimir Djamdjiev, who lived at 12 „Neofit Rilski“ Str. His donation continued in the following years, allocating an average of 5000 leva for the poor children from „Batalova Vodenitsa“.
The military war years (1941-1944) caused serious disturbances in the development of the Bulgarian education. They also inficted on the school „Vassil Drumev“. The most positive act is the planting of 40 poplars, 20 birches and 10 limes in the school yard. The number of classes remained unchanged – 8 in the grades and 2 in the kindergarten. The school also taught 15 Jews.
A visible upturn in the development of the school’s work in the neighborhood was noticeable from the autumn of 1946. The school building was renovated and painted. All conditions for running normal classes were provided. The number of classes for the initial course and kindergarten was restored, respectively 8 and 2. Teachers have again been increased to 10 teachers. The practice of organizing excursions to Pernik and on Vitosha routes as well as excursions to the Park of Freedom (today Borisova Gradina), Zoo and Knyazhevo were renewed. The student companies resume their activity. The Youth Red Cross organized the most events, and its membership massively increased to 200 students. An Abstinence Society with 80 members was founded. The most significant change was that the school already operated a „Septemvriyche“ organization, in which all students were required to join. During the school year 1948/1949, a lower secondary course was first opened. It included two classes in the first (fifth) grade and one class in the second (sixth) and third (seventh) grades. Thus „Vassil Drumev“ became a full primary school. Maria Katzarova, who had a high pedagogical education and rich professional experience, was appointed a director.
Since 1957/1958 „Vassil Drumev“ school was aleady registered in the nomenclature of MSE under № 67. The training included already grade VIII. The problem with the training facilities was to be tackled. A new wing was added to the old building and 1.5 million leva was spent. In this way, the school was expanding with another 6 classrooms, a teacher’s room, a physics cabinet, a furnished work-room for manual labor, dressing rooms for the physical education gym. A bathroom was built, which was used by teachers and support staff. The heating with „Pernik“ stoves was replaced with central heating, which was later connected to the „Zemlyane“ district heating plant. Under the leadership of the gymnastics teacher Atanas Hristov, a gymnasium was built and the school yard was asphalted. Cabinets were enriched with modern visuals and exhibits. Curtains, paths and carpets were bought, with which the corridors, the teacher’s room, the director’s office and the accounting were furnished.
After 1971, when the district was renamed to „Serdika“, the population grew, leading to an increase in the number of students. It was largest during the academic year 1975/1976, when they numbered 850 divided into 25 classes. In the coming years, and especially after 1989, there was a reversal. In the 2003/2004 school year, 300 children in 15 classes were taught in the school, and in 2010/2011 students were already 240 and 13 classes respectively. The training was on a shift – only in the morning. In order to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES), many Roma children were brought by buses, mainly from the „Faculty“ district, under a program for the integration of the Roma population. In the school year 2016/2017, about 360 students were enrolled in 67 Primary School, of which only 10-12% were Bulgarian. This unit also included 3 preparatory groups for 5 and 6-year-old children, covering a total of 54 children. According to the words of director Valkov, the present residents of the neighborhood were sending their children to study in other educational institutions.
Since 2003 the school has a new anthem written by Georgi Tzoev and music by Stefka Koleva. Under the initiative of the current director, the „St. Reverend Paisii Hilendarski“ Association was established, and a chapel with the same name was built in the yard of the school, which was solemnly sanctified in March 2009. Today, the school is working on projects under „Phare“ and „Matra“ programs under the National Program of the Ministry of Education and Science „School – territory of students“, module „Development of extra-curricular activities“. In the initial course there are classes with advanced choreography studies. The school library has over 8,000 volumes of books. There is also a school of museum studies in the school. Students of various classes are interested in conducting surveys with former alumni, teachers and school staff. They collect pictures and memories of the history of „Batalova Vodenitsa“, hold meetings with elderly residents of the neighborhood. Graduates of the 6th, 7th and 8th grade participate in the „Young Journalist“ Club. They work hard on the project „Success“ and examine the case of pioneers of Bulgarian journalism Ivan Bogorov, Petko R. Slaveikov, Lyuben Karavelov and Hristo Botev. As a result, in the beginning of May 2012, they presented the first issue of the „School Life“ newspaper. At present, the young journalists continue their intensive activities and become acquainted with the peculiarities of the Bulgarian periodical press.
In 2015 67 „Vassil Drumev“ Primary School celebrated its 80th anniversary. The event was a positive consideration and wishes for further development of its potential. We, our elderly graduates, are glad that the school continues to exist and educates younger generations.
The rest of the living neighbours from the neighborhood with delight remember our neighborhood school. There we made our first steps in the studying, and the wide-open knowledge window was revealed before us. We went on foot, sometimes in bulwarks, to the school building, and always overtook the starting bell. In the first grades wrote with penholders, and each of us wore an ink cartridge in his bag. We regularly fought using school supplies. Then the ink bottles broke and imagine what was going on with the textbooks and the notebooks in the bags. Automatic pens were not yet available. They appeared later, not until the early 1960s.
„Vasil Drumev“ School was for us a school idyll. There I met some of my best friends who stayed like this for a lifetime. In the classroom I first felt the breath of the maiden body. It was obligatory for a boy to have a girl. In the 6th and 7th grade, Tanya Slavcheva Petrova sat next to me. It was a lot of warmth and tenderness that excited my teen dreams and desires. Later we met with Tanya as students at Sofia University, but everything was over. In the eighth grade, the more pushing boys began to hang and „press“ our lady classmates. This usually took place in gym classes, in intervals and after Finishing the classes. With arrogance, we tried to finger them on the busts already formed or on the asses. The first attempts at kissing were not late, but they were episodic and rather unsuccessful. Unlike today, there were no serious boyfriends, and everything remained in the sphere of primary instinct and simple ease.