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The Colégio Marista Rosário

23/09/2004: Brazil

Situated in the centre of Porto Alegre, the Colégio Marista Rosário is commemorating this year the centenary of its foundation. It is considered to be one of the most important centres of education in the south of Brazil. During its whole existence, it has educated thousands of young people who share today the same cultural, scientific, Christian and social formation. It was founded in 1904 by French Marist Brothers who had been invited to respond to the need of the young people of the capital for a more solid education.

Brothers Géraud Dethoôr and Ambroise Michel took over the direction of the school, Nossa Senhora do Rosário, which was operating in two rooms in the parish of the same name. They had come to help Father Hipólito Costábile and Bishop Cláudio José Ponce de Leão by providing an education for the boys of the parish who, up to this stage, had had no schooling.
It started with forty-five students and, one month later, one hundred and ten students had already enrolled. These students were mainly of Italian descent but some were also of Syrian-Lebanese descent. Students from all races were willingly accepted. The results from this Marist education were evident very quickly and soon enrolment places in the school were in heavy demand. The classrooms were relocated to a larger site close to the Cathedral and, finally in 1926, the College moved to premises on Independência Avenue where it is still situated today.

The actual building, heritage listed in the city, has witnessed with its students and teachers the evolution of Porto Alegre throughout the last century. The site had housed the official State High School, a large boarding school for boys, and it had been the birthplace of one of the great state universities, the PUCRS. It has seen great changes in the capital. From the time of the trams which, at the start of the century, climbed the elegant and aristocratic Independência Avenue bordered by its mansions, until the present day with the hustle and bustle of the offices, businesses, hospitals and a sea of cars invading the College’s environment, the Rosário has continued to strengthen its position as an educational icon in the region. By moving in different directions it has influenced and continues to influence the history of this region and the history of the whole country.

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