Secondary schools were scarce in Moldavia by the middle of the 19th century; only Iassy, the old capital and, starting with the year 1858, Bârlad, have been having such establishments.
Educated people dwelt on laying the foundations of a secondary school in Botoşani, the third town of the country by then, in which the inhabitants of the country provincial town and also those who lived in the northern part of Moldavia could round their elementary schooling, which only ensured them a minimum level of knowledge.
Thus, the Botoşani gymnasium was set up in 1859, the year which remained in the Romanians’ history as that of achieving the Union, the premise of the Rounded Romania and of the subsequent development towards modernization and the European reintegration.
The 1864 Education Law fundamentally changed the structure of the Romanian teaching system and in this context, the teachers and the principals of the newly founded Gymnasium intercede, make requests and also sacrifices for the setting up of the higher level grades, resembling to the high school of today.
Their endeavours are finally rewarded and therefore on January the 15th 1868, the official opening of the 5th and 6th grades takes place. The high school in Botoşani will soon overcome the inherent difficulties of the beginning and attain complete maturity after 1885, the year when pupils and teachers move into the new building, “the palace”, as N. Iorga used to call it, and the official name is changed into “Laurian High School”. The “Laurian spirit” and the “Laurian galaxy”, as Octav Onicescu named it, are both represented by illustrions principals – Constantin Savinescu, Ioan V. Luca, famous teachers – Nicolae Răutu, Emil Tocarschi, pupils and school graduates whose talent, inteligence and knowledge placed them among the outstanding representative of the Romanian culture and science – Nicolae Iorga, Octav Onicescu, Simion Sanielevici, Ion Simionescu or among the heroes who have done their duty till the end, sacrificing themselves for the country’s independence – Ion Elefterescu, Dimitrie Lemnea, a few names from a long list which we couldn’t illustrate because of the limited space.
The 1898 Law and the times when the great professor Spiru Haret was the Minister of Education showed their great effects even in Botoşani, so that, at the beginning of the century and the millenium “Laurian” is one of the prodigious institutions of the Romanian education, in which both pupils and teachers made and still make joint efforts for the ensurance of a high level educational process.
The same spiritual emulation was felt during the inter wars period. The changes that occurred in the educational process have favourably influenced the destiny of “Laurian”. The coordinates of the professional activity were the same as those during the rebellions periods: seriousness, hard work and professionalism.
The fame gained by its teachers and pupils became well known at the time. Being a pupil at “Laurian High School” meant having a status which was envied by most people. Teachers endowed with great teaching skills have outdone themselves in offering force and dignity to the institutions in which they have worked a lifetime.
Genuine teachers, like Ariton Iacobeanu, Nicolae N. Răutu, Ioan V. Luca, Mihail Gr. Posluşnicu had already become emblematic figures for the town of Botoşani. Their personality strongly influenced the minds and souls of the pupils of the time.
The impact of the war, which had brought suffering and hardships, was followed by the one of the saddest period in the history of our Highschool. During the troubled years in between 1917-1922, the teachers and their pupils carried on their activity in inadequate places such as hovels, small shops, and huts and later on in the old building that had honsed the former school “Marchian”. Once the building of the new premises, inaugurated in1922, was over, so was the ordeal of the teachers and pupils. Once again, it was proved that the spirit of fellowship characterizing the people living in Botoşani flawlessly functioned when in trouble.
The Highschool was born from its own ashes and it was experiencing its maturity stage so that at the end of the inter-war period the Highschool reached the climax of its existence. Unfortunately, the educational process will be severely disturbed by the events and vicissitudes brought about by the Second World War.
Beginning in 1938, Romania was leaving the epoch of the “controlled democracy” (M. Fisher-Galati) and was entering the long period of nondemocratic regimes of government. Obviously, the system of education and thus “A.T.Laurian” Highschool, were afflicted by the strong encroachement of the Power and the Political, by the domination of the omnipotent, paternal state over the individual and by the extreme limitation of civilian society.
Even though the historical situation was uncommon (1934-1944), the Highschool succeeded in preservingthe high stantards that characterized the inter-war period, the endeavours of the teachers resembling those of the Romanian people, who(1941-1945) were involved in the most oppresive and harsh war in its history.
Beginning, in April 1944, this prominent institution of culture northern Moldovia enters a rather tragic phase of its existence, being constrained to experience two forced retreats and losing an important part of its wealth– holding classes in a period of famine and post-war epidemic and submitting to the inferior influence of the Soviet “model” which was enforcing itself upon a large part of Europe. The Reform in august, 1948 meant the triumph of the communist paradigm in education, our school having to adjust to it or to be dissolved. In the same year, the school was, suggestively named, “Secondary school No.1” and only after the return to the superior Romanian pattern, in 1960, did it regain its own identity, being named the “A.T.Laurian” Secondary School and after 1965, “A.T.Laurian” Highschool.
The years to come meant a “mending” of the past – as far as the “communist entrapping “ allowed- a reestablishment as an institution by means of a periodical, a Museum, an annual, intensified “generation meetings”, increasing concern for material endowment.
The nineties (especially after 1985), in a country with a more and more limited freedom, meant also a financial crisis, having effects until today. Nevertheless, “A.T.Laurian” continued to be “l’école d’élite” of the Botosani county, not only owing to the value of its graduates, but also due to its special teaching staff as a result of training, schooling, human quality and modernity of Weltausschauung.
As a natural reward for the work which has been done with special sense of duty, the Highschool was ranked, beginning with 1999, among the representative schools of the country, becoming, at the same time, National College.
Looking forward to finishing the building of the new premises, the old High School, having the age of modern Romania, in an epoch which is rather sceptical and not necessarily favourable to an “élite” education, makes optimistically for the 3rd millenium. We believe that this is the sign of the vitality and the youthful aura that the young ones, the special students, as well as those who minister the Romanian education and culture and who are or feel young and who often are idealists, offer our High School.