Heroes of School No. 207

    The first information board within the project of Grachya Pogosyan charitable foundation was opened on January 24 at secondary school No. 207 of St. Petersburg on the eve of the 76th anniversary of a complete liberation of Leningrad from the fascist blockade
   The project dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Soviet people Victory in the Great Patriotic War was announced by Pogosyan charitable foundation in spring of 2019. Its essence is to install information boards inside the school buildings with the names of graduates  Heroes of the Soviet Union, Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory, Heroes of Russia and Honorary Citizens of cities, districts, regions of the country and abroad if such have not been installed to date.

The project was initially announced among schools in the Central District of St. Petersburg, since the majority of schools and gymnasiums opened before the Second World War, whose graduates went to the front, are concentrated in the Central District.

A lot of work was done to update the project. Thus, at the end of 2019, an international conference “Heroes of our school: dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Great Victory” was held in Moscow, at which leaders of fractions of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, competent committees of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Defense of Russia, veteran and public organizations of Moscow and the CIS as well as representatives of educational institutions were invited. Each of those present supported the initiative and expressed the importance of such projects to preserve the historical truth for the younger generation.
School No. 207 was opened in 1936 and its first pupils were children from neighboring crowded schools, children of repressed parents and, finally, pupils of the nearest Latvian-Polish orphanage. Since then, the school has been working without interruptions. With the outbreak of World War II, many of the city’s schools were reequipped into hospitals and assigned to military units, but school No. 207 continued to operate, teaching children even in blockade times. Many of its graduates went to the front and died, immortalizing their names.

The following names are stamped on the information board: a graduate of 1939, senior sergeant Viktor Nikiforovich Slesarchuk, reccommended by the command to the rank of a Hero of the Soviet Union in December 1944, but who died in March 1945 and did not recognize that he was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War of the 2nd degree; Vladimir Melamed, a graduate of 1939, who died in 1944; Viktor Bodin  a graduate of 1941, who died in 1944; Elizaveta Petrova, a graduate of 1941, in whose honor the village of Petyärvi was renamed into the village of Petrovskoye in Priozersky district of Leningrad region, within which territory she died in 1944. As well as a name of a graduate of 1940  Viktor Birinsky  who went through the whole war and survived to this day. All these data are carefully kept in the school museum and transmitted to new generations of students.
A proposal to install an information board in school No. 207 belongs to Margarita Mudrak, Chairman of the board of St. Petersburg Association for International Cooperation,  a long-time friend and associate of an educational institution, who knows firsthand about the great charity work of Grachya Pogosyan Foundation.

The opening ceremony was attended by Head of the Central Region administration, Maxim Meiksin, adviser to the Governor of Leningrad Region, Yuri Oleinik, chairman of the board of St. Petersburg Association for International Cooperation Margarita Mudrak, Head of education department of the Central District Nelly Simakova, Head of MD Liteyniy District Pavel Dainyak, director of St. Petersburg gymnasium No. 171 Tamara Kibalnik and President of the Charity Fund Grachya Pogosyan. The dear guests included a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, a graduate of this school Viktor Matveyevich Birinsky (97 years old), and one of the creators and keepers of the school museum, a resident of the besieged Leningrad Yuri Chistyakov.
 The guests were welcomed by Director of school No. 207, Vyacheslav Korovkin, who organized an excellent reception, as well as Heads of the Board of Trustees of the school, teachers and students.
While opening the board with the names of the heroes of school No. 207, philanthropist Grachya Pogosyan emphasized the importance of preserving our common history undistorted.  
 The duty of our generation is to adequately convey the information about the pain, heartache and difficulties experienced by Leningraders. And this information board is important not only for you, but also for future students of the school,”  the philanthropist emphasized.
Head of the Central District administration, Maxim Meiksin, also noted the importance of patriotic education.
 Now it is a very important time for young people to know about the Great Patriotic War, to remember the events that took place in our city and our country. We defended not only the independence of our country, we defended the opportunity to speak our native language. It is very important,  said Maxim Semenovich. He thanked the foundation and its President, Grachya Pogosyan, for this project, thanks to which the students will see the names of their predecessors, who gave their lives for the freedom of the country, and be proud of it.

Advisor to the Governor of Leningrad Region, Yuri Oleinik, noted that despite the abundance of information about the blockade of Leningrad, there are still many dark spots. And such projects, forcing to raise information about unknown or forgotten heroes, are necessary nowadays.

And Viktor Matveyevich Birinsky, a graduate of the school and a veteran of the Great Patriotic War, spoke about his military career. His story was told very modestly and Viktor Matveyevich said that he doesn't suppose himself a hero, but for the current students of school No. 207 he is a true hero  a hero of their school.

Margarita Fedorovna Mudrak emphasized the careful attitude of the school, its teachers, students and, of course, its Director, to preservation of the institution history, which is of considerable importance in preserving the historical truth on a national scale. She also noted a huge work carried out by Pogosyan Charitable Foundation, thanking the patron for implementation of such a significant projects.

Yuri Pavlovich Chistyakov, a resident of the besieged Leningrad, a keeper of the 207th school history, spoke about the school’s work during the years of the siege, about the trials that fell to little Leningraders during that difficult time, and about the strength of their spirit.
The opening ceremony of the information board at school No. 207 turned out to be very touching due to an excellent organization in which today's students participated along with the teachers. They led the ceremony, telling the story of each hero whose name is stamped on the board, performed a musical composition in memory of the victims, and conducted a fascinating tour of the school, where they told the story of an album sent by Scottish women during the war in support of the women of besieged Leningrad.

At the moment the plans of Grachya Pogosyan charity fund include an implementation of the project in the next school of the Central District of St. Petersburg.