The St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School
“This will be the first school established in the modern history of the Assyrian nation outside our traditional homelands.”
The foundation stone was laid for the first Assyrian school outside of the Middle East on Sunday 20th August 2000. The St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School is due to open with the start of the 2002 school year. It will be a great moment in our modern history, and a great step towards re-establishing the foundations of our culture, and our identity. In December 1996, a committee was set up by Mar Mellis Zaia to carry out a study into the feasibility of establishing an Assyrian Primary School. The verdict was for the affirmative, and the idea of the school reached the drawing board. Mr. Donald Maseh designed the building which will contain; fourteen class rooms, an administration block to house the staff, a library that would include a reading room, a canteen, and indoor assembly hall which would also cater for physical education activities, a playground, and a car parking area.
The school will be a fully operational primary school by the year 2007. For its first school year it will begin with two kindergarten classes, thereafter two classes will be introduce each succeeding year. Upon reaching capacity, the school will consist of fourteen classes, two for each level. The number of students is expected to reach a total of 364 student. The curriculum of the school will be fully accredited by the New South Wales Board of School Studies. It will include the usual subjects taught at any other schools, which include English, Mathematics, Science and technology, etc. It will also include subjects in relation to Assyrians. These include Assyrian language studies, and studies into the Assyrian culture, and heritage.
A major aspect of the curriculum is that between the year levels two and six, the students will be taught Assyrian history, Assyrian Fairy tales, and poems, and Assyrian celebrations and cultural aspects. This will offer a place for the Assyrian culture to be nurtured, and maintained. It will be a place where the culture is taught, and practised. So what would this school mean for future for Assyrian individuals?
Firstly, all the due credits need to be given to the Assyrian Church of the East for undertaking this project. It is a great efforts, but one with many pluses. One of the main problems that we face in our community today is the clash of cultures that our youth experience. They spend the first half of their day at school, in a totally different environment to that they have to deal with during the second half of the day. It is a big issue that we have been over-sighting for many years. Another issue that our youth face, is the confusion over their true identity. With identity being a very difficult concept to define, and comprehend, many young Assyrians are left bewildered when the subject arises.
I believe that the school will be able to smooth out these issues, and many others that prove to be troublesome to the younger generations of our community. It will allow a common ground for many people of the same background, and same age to meet, and be able to deal with their problems collectively. Another big plus in such a project is the preservation of the Assyrian culture, and language. These two aspects of our lives are in many ways valuable. They are part of human history, they helped shape up today’s world. So the same way an ancient Mesopotamian piece of clay with some inscriptions on it is worth millions of dollars, so is the language, and culture we practice. Being in many ways metaphysical, language, and culture are priceless. The concept of the St. Hurmizd Assyrian Primary School holds many promises that the community hopes will be delivered. It will produce a totally different generation from those who migrated to Australia, and from those Assyrians born here. It will be a turning point in the history of Assyrians in the West.
Courtesy Nakosha Magazine - September, 2000
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