The School’s History

The building, where the Upper-Secondary School Complex currently resides, was being built from 1913-1914 as a residence of an evangelic school. It was located on the corner of Station and Wessel Streets (at present they are called Sikorski and Staszic Streets). The construction was finished on 10th October 1915, with further prospect of building a gym required for artistic and entertaining purposes. The school had 16 classrooms, 5 science and handiwork rooms, shower rooms, toilets, and the caretaker’s flat. The building costs amounted 175 000 marks. 

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 In 1942 on the highest floor there was an exhibition of regional museum, collected by the local pastor, Ryszard Hassler. The museum had 4-6 thousand archaeological pieces, sacral art, document records, prints, antique weaponry, and photographs. In the 1930s the north wing was extended, and in 1928 a sports and assembly gym was built. Its cost amounted 100 000 marks. After finishing the construction the museum pieces were moved into the gym’s attic. In 1945 they were scattered, and some of them became the basis for creating The Regional Museum of The Notec District.

From 1948 the school’s building was the house for an 11-year comprehensive school (primary and secondary). From 1953 it was a Pedagogical Secondary School, then a Vocational School Complex, later it was Medical Prep School, after that it changed into Comprehensive Secondary School.

In 1976 the School Complex came into being. From 1999 the school has been supervised by the authorities of the Czarnkowsko-Trzcianecki District, based in Czarnków. On 14th October 2005 the School Complex changed its name into Upper-Secondary School Complex and was named after Henryk Sienkiewicz.

kazimierz pochwalski portret - henryka sienkiewicza

Henryk Sienkiewicz 1846 – 1916

            Among the most wonderful stars of Polish literature Henryk Sienkiewicz is the brightest. He was a writer, whose work was much needed by his fellow countrymen. He reached the exclusive Artistic Pantheon that consists of the Nobel Prize for Literature winners.

            In his early youth, H. Sienkiewicz wrote poetry, and as a prose writer he debuted in 1872 with his novel In Vain. He used a pseudonym “Litwos”. To his most noted works belong his historical trilogy comprising of  With Fire and Sword (Ogniem i mieczem,1884), The Deluge (Potop, 1886), Fire in the Steppe also called Pan Michael (Pan Wołodyjowski, 1888), also Quo Vadis (1895), The Teutonic Knights also translated as The Knights of the Cross (Krzyżacy, 1900), In Desert and Wilderness (W pustyni i w puszczy, 1912), and The Polaniecki Family (Rodzina Połanieckich, 1894).

            Henryk Sienkiewicz was born in Wola Okrzejska, into an impoverished gentry family. From 1858, he attended a secondary school in Warsaw, where his family settled in 1861. Later he went to Warsaw University, where he begun studying law, which he did not finish, but transferred to the Institute of Philology and History.

            He worked as a reporter, essayist, reviewer, and editor. As a correspondent of Gazeta Polska (The Polish Gazette) he went to North America, he travelled extensively, visiting most European countries, Turkey, and hunting in Zanzibar.

            Sienkiewicz was married three times. Curiously enough, each of his wife had first name Maria – Maria Szetkiewiczówna who died in 1885 of tuberculosis; Maria Wolodkowiczówna, divorced in 1895; and Maria Babska.

            He spoke on public and political matters, especially against the Prussian policy of Germanization, and in favour of the autonomy of the Kingdom of Poland. In 1905 he won the Nobel Prize for lifetime achievement as an epic writer. Some of his works were adapted into screen. The first two films, one French and one Italian, were based on Quo Vadis?, both versions were made in the early 1900s. The French government made him a knight of the Legion of Honor.

            Henryk Sienkiewicz died on 15th November 1916 in Vevey in Switzerland, where he was buried. In 1924, after Poland regained its independence, the writer’s ashes were placed in St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw.