Historical overview of the establishment and operation of the Athienou Primary School and Athienou Gymnasium.
During the period of the Ottoman domination
Athienou’s Primary School was founded in the middle of the 19th century AD. Unfortunately accurate written records of its establishment and the first years of its operation are not available. Information has been drawn from narratives and written texts of older teachers and elders of the community.
Based on this information, the first teachers were priests who had little education. Their names were Papanikolaos, Papayiannakos and Archimandrites Sofronios , all originating from Athienou.
A community school was established around 1865. The first teacher in the community school was Panagis (his surname is not known) from Nicosia, who was paid with a “grossi” a week. Later in 1869, Mr. Michael Timvios was appointed as the school teacher, a graduate of the “Nicosia Scholars school”.
In 1873 the first school building was built in the community, with the contribution of Bishop Filimonas of Gaza, whose origin was from Athienou. By that time, the school was housed in a building belonging to the church of St. George, a building that nowadays accommodates the community Sunday School.
During the period of the British domination
In 1879 inspector Spencer finds Athienou school closed because of lack of resources. Soon the school had resumed its operation, even though there is no information about the exact date. It is clarified that all the information above is related to the Boy’s School. A girls’ school began its operation in the community around 1910.
In 1925 a new school building was built in the community (the building that Athienou Primary School K.B’is currently housed) with the donation of Michael Georgiou and the Boy’s School is transferred to it. The new school was named “Michael Boy’s School”, after the name of its donor.
Thus, the Girls’ School was transferred to the 1873 building (first school building).
Later, in 1958, a new school building was built by the State where the Girls’ School was transferred (the building where the Athienou Primary School K.A’ is currently housed). Throughout this period, the children’s attendance at school was both during morning and afternoon.
The years from Cyprus independence till present.
As soon as after the independence of Cyprus, in 1961-62, the Boys’ and the Girls’ Schools were abolished, and the Primary School of the community became mixed, for both boys and girls. At the same time, two levels (circles) were created, the lower level (grades 1 – 3) named as Athienou Primary School K.A’ and the higher level (grades 4 – 6) named as Athienou Primary School K.B’. Afternoon attendance continues throughout this period until 1971, when it is abolished in all schools in Cyprus.
In 1974, despite the fact that the community was being evacuated during the tragic events of the Turkish invasion, the school year began on September 15 as usually, even though with a limited number of teachers and studentsφ. With the resettlement of almost all residents of the community, around mid-December of the same year, the school returned to its regular work.
Some difficulties in the availability of space were faced with the creation of a High School in the community in 1978.
Until 1974 the students of Athienou were offered the opportunity to attend high schools in the capital city because of the community’s short distance to Nicosia. However, because of the results of the Turkish invasion and in addition to the many other tribulations that it brought to Athienou, the distance from Athienou to Nicosia became much longer and thus made the establishment of a local Gymnasium imperative.
Furthermore, the establishment of a post-invasion school would undoubtedly help the community, being in the United Nation Buffer Zone, to be sustained culturally, socially and nationally.
The decision was taken in May 1978 by the State Council of Ministers, and Athienou Gymnasium first started in 1978 with 190 students and 15 teachers. Τhe first school principle was Mr. Nikos Spanos.
With the operation of the Gymnasium, the lower circle of the primary school (Athienou Primary School K.A’) was transferred to the Primary School K.B’ building, to which new classrooms were added.
Thus, till recently, the two schools (K.A’ and K.B’) were housed in the same space.
Athienou Gymnasium continues to function in a newly built, modern building, in line with the visions of all those who have struggled for its foundation by conveying knowledge and a serious level of spiritual creation.
An important step for the community was the creation of the Community School Board in the 1960s, which has helped to improve the conditions of learning within the local schools, cared for the maintenance and expansion of the school premises and, in general, the upgrading of the local education.
The work of the local Community School Board is definitely admirable, and also decisive for the high level of education in the Municipality of Athienou.
The request for the construction of a new gymnasium was placed in 1978 when it first opened a High School in Athienou that was temporarily housed in the existing facilities provided by the two primary schools.
Efforts have been intensified since 1995 when new additions on the school buildings and in the schools’ playground in order to meet the basic needs of all three schools (the two primary schools and the high school) have been unable to continue due to lack of space.
In late 2001, the construction of the new Athienou High School was announced by the Ministry of Education and Culture.
For the proper siting of the building, the preparation and approval of the plans and in general, all that is required for the construction of a building, numerous time-consuming procedures were followed.
For more information, please visit the school’s website at http://www.schools.ac.cy/gym–ath–lar/
New Athienou Gymnasium
The new Athienou Gymnasium, which has been the result of co-ordinated and collaborative efforts that lasted a decade, opened its gates and welcomed the first teachers and students in September 2009. The new high school is a modern, functional and spacious building that radiates and emulates the lights of education in the youth of Athienou for the decades to come.
Built in the western residential area of Athienou, it gets easily noticeable by the visitor due to the altitude difference with the rest of the area and is undoubtedly a special gem for our municipality.
The project was financed entirely by the State with a total expenditure of EUR 5.5 million.
Congratulations to the inspirers, constructors, financiers and all those who contributed to the creation of the New Athienou Gymnasium.
Opening of the New Athienou Gymnasium
On Friday, October 22, 2010, the opening of the New Athienou Gymnasium, a modern and well-equipped building, was held by his Excellency President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr. Demetris Christofias. During the ceremony were present the Metropolitan of Trimythounta Mr. Varnavas, the Minister of Education and Culture, Mr. Andreas Demetriou, the Municipality’s Priory, members of the Larnaka District Administration, the Larnaka District Inspector, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the presidents and members of the local school board and of the Gymnasium Parents Association, State Officers, the Mayor of Athienou and the members of the Municipal Council, as well as a large number of Athienou residents.