The Special School and Educational Complex named after Colonel Jerzy Strzałkowski at Sochaczewska street 4 in Leszno,
is the institution that started its history in 1967.
On average, 170 pupils are attending school every year.
The educational complex consists of such parts:
- Special Kindergarten
- Special Secondary School
- Special Gymnasium
- Basic Special Vocational School
- Industry Special School of 1st grade
- Special School adapting to work
- Boarding School.
The main building of the school is situated in Leszno, not far from Warsaw, but additionally, pupils and teachers are allowed to use the building in Julinek, where there is also a paddock for animals, stables, and a riding pavilion.
Every year the school organizes the annual Day of the School Patron and the Day of Japanese Culture. In connection with this, workshops on Japanese calligraphy were held at the school even in 2022. The main aim of the school is to promote and encourage children to Japanese culture and their interest in this country, so that they feel a connection with the Patron of the school and, consequently, with the history of the Polish Siberian Children.
There is a great variety of interest groups at school. Especially for schoolchildren, there is also special help provided by specialists in typhlopedagogy, сanisterapy, hippotherapy, surdopedagogy, and others.
The origin of School`s Patron
In the 1980/81 school year, the headmaster of the Special Secondary school in Leszno was Zdzisław Wachnik. Then, in 1982, on the initiative of the director, the contact with a soldier of merit in World War II, a commander, a founder of the Insurgent Special Forces “Jerzyki”, a great friend of children and youth, Colonel Jerzy Strzałkowski was made. With the support of the Colonel, an acquaintance with “Jerzyki” was established – former soldiers, as well as former students of Jerzy Strzałkowski – the youth from the so-called “Children’s Republic” from Mazurowa. For many years, there were meetings with Strzałkowski and his pupils, appeals of the fallen in Palmiry – Pociesze and a patrol run “Trail of Struggle and Martyrdom”, in which the pupils of the Center also took part.
On January 1, 1984, the State Educational Institution changed its name to order no. 176 of the Superintendent for Education and Upbringing for the Special School and Educational Complex, operating based on their statute.
On May 4, 1991, Colonel Jerzy Strzałkowski died. In September 1993 students and teachers started a campaign “The Campaign of the Hero”, the aim of which was to obtain for the school the name after Colonel Jerzy Strzałkowski.
On May 10, 1994, the Center received the banner and was named after the dead honorable Colonel.
The connection of Colonel Jerzy Strzałkowski with Japan
Because of the October Revolution and the Civil war in Russia,
the Polish children who had been living in Siberia and Manchuria lost their homes and faced poverty.
Among those children was also Jerzy Strzałkowski.
Thanks to the help of the Japanese Red Cross and the Polish American community,
the children got the opportunity to come back to Poland by ships of the Japanese Merchant Navy with numerous stops through Japan,
the United States, and Great Britain.
In 1922 by one of such ships, 12-year-old Jerzy returned to Poland. After arriving in the country,
Jerzy with other children received help and shelter in the specially prepared for Children Educational Center in Wejherowo.
After the outbreak of World War II, Jerzy Strzałkowski was assigned to the 36 P.P. of the Academic Legion in Warsaw with the rank of Second Lieutenant. In October 1939, a partisan organization was established under the name of Uprising Special Forces, to which the National Army soon added the word “Jerzyki” in honor of the organization`s commander Jerzy Strzałkowski.
In addition to his partisan activity, Jerzy Strzałkowski conducted educational and upbringing campaigns for children and youth. He held the first institution for war orphans in Warsaw, where children found at the railway stations, on the streets, and under the ruins of houses were sent.
He provided humanitarian aid to the Jewish people, and conducted hidden educational activities in the ranks of “Jerzyki”.
In 1973 Jerzy Strzałkowski received his retirement. In honor of these several decades he had devoted to education and upbringing, he was given the nickname of “Father of thousands of children”.
During the next 18 years, he conducted extensive social activity, including participation in numerous social organizations, and disinterestedly aided in setting so-called difficult matters in employment offices, hospitals, schools, and workplaces.
He supported people in need with money from his modest income of retirement, he organized and attended numerous meetings in schools, orphanages, and educational centers which are aimed at promoting and consolidating knowledge about the “Jerzyki`s” struggle for independence among youth and children.
Resources of quotes and information (references):
From the materials published on the official website of the Special School and Educational Complex in Leszno:
Publication written by employees of the Special School and Educational Complex in Leszno, pub. in 2010
From the official website of the Special School and Educational Complex in Leszno: