Colegio Humboldt in Pavas will mark 100 years this Oct. 1

Staff members of Colegio Humboldt, a local, private, German-immersion school, will be busy this week hosting an eight-kilometer fun-run on Saturday and preparing for a week of activities to celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary.

The run is called the Carretera Humboldt 2012. The anniversary celebrations will kick off Oct. 1.

Although the events are occurring in such a short span of time, Renée Priess, who is in charge of communications and public relations at the school, said that the two events are completely separate from one another.

“One thing has nothing to do with the other,” she said. “They are completely independent.”

Colegio Humboldt, formerly the German School, opened its doors Oct. 1, 1912, as a kindergarten. Although no records exist of enrollment at the time, Ms. Priess estimates that the school had about 20 students that year.

Ms. Priess explained that the school closed twice in its first years. The school closed for one year within the first decade because there were no German teachers at the school. The second time World War II forced the school to close its doors, and administrators were not able to reopen it until 1956.

However, in spite of these difficulties, the school continued to grow and had to move to new locations several times, starting out in Barrio California. Then it was moved near the Atlantic train station, then to Moravia, and, in 1971, was moved to Pavas. It has remained in Pavas since.

Ms. Priess said that the school now has 910 students from kindergarten to 12th grade. She said that cultures blend among the students at the school, even though the majority of them are Costa Rican with no German background before starting at the school. She mentioned that about 20 percent of the students are a blend of German, Swiss and others from around the world.

“We have a really big mix of different cultures and different languages.” said Ms. Preiss. “A lot of students start without German.”

She explained that students start out with simple songs and activities in German in kindergarten, but by the time they reach first grade they are also being taught math in German. When they reach sixth grade, most subjects are taught in German.

Teaching that many classes in German can be challenging for the school, said Ms. Priess, because some of the teachers must be registered by the German government and must consequently come from Germany. Currently 15 of the schools approximately 70 teachers were recruited this way.

The school will devote an entire week to celebrating its 100th anniversary, starting on the exact day that the school completes the century, Oct. 1.

During that school week, students will perform music, plays and other talents throughout their days in school, except for their day off Wednesday. The week will conclude with an Oktoberfest celebration at La Rumba in San Antonio de Belén.

However, Ms. Priess explained that the run this week has nothing to do with the anniversary. Physical education staff at the school held the run last year solely because they enjoyed the sport and wanted to get students, parents and community members involved in running.

“It’s not for raising money. It’s for the fun of running itself,” said Ms. Preiss.

The fee for the race does not go towards scholarships or towards school operations, but only goes towards paying for the event itself.

The German Embassy is also pitching in to organize the race, using its contacts with the Costa Rican government and other organizations to set up the run.

The race costs 4,000 colons for children and 6,000 colons for adults. The path will start and end at the school in Pavas and circle all the way around Parque la Sabana. Persons can register for the run at either the school or at Runners store locations until Thursday.

After both of these events are concluded, Colegio Humboldt will look forward to a series of sports competitions between schools across Central America, which will take place in Costa Rica in March. In those games, the school will host four other German-immersion schools from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua.

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