The Sisters’ arrival in Finland
In 1939 Sister Kostka Schnitzmeier, who would eventually found The English School, arrived in Helsinki. She was soon followed by three other Sisters who formed the pioneer group: Sisters Wencesla Broz, Sister Claremarie Weaver and Sister Linus Boehmer.
The Catholic Sisters from Missouri, USA, were determined to establish an English school but when World War II broke out, the Sisters’ plans to open a school received a setback: the Sisters were advised to leave Finland to get to safety. After their escape to The Netherlands – and a quick escape from there, too – The Sisters of The Most Precious Blood returned back to Finland later in 1939 and lived long periods of time in Sammatti with children who they had taken to safety from the bombings of Helsinki.
Opening the school
With war debris still cluttering the streets and peace agreements being drafted, the school finally opened on October 1, 1945. Coincidentally this was also the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding Sisters of the Most Precious Blood. The school opened with an enrollment of eighteen students.
As the school grew and new classes were added every year, new premises were needed. A new building was completed in 1952 coinciding with the opening pageantry of the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki. The new location in Mäntytie, Meilahti, was close to playing fields and later a swimming pool, too.
Thanks to the foresight and courage of Bishop Cobben and the dedication and hard work of the four original Sisters, and all the succeeding Sisters, and all the lay teachers who joined them, the school started to prosper, and become what it is today: a renowned school encompassing preschool, comprehensive school from grade 1 to 9 and high school.
Since 1996 the school has been under the governance of of the Foundation of the English School.
The English School, ENGS, today
Today The English School numbers more than 700 students attending the 2-year preschool, the comprehensive school, and the high school. The school is founded upon Christian principles and all activities are guided by the concept of human dignity. Mutual respect, joy of learning, a high work ethic, honesty, responsibility, forgiveness, and a spirit of service are values the school fosters to create a safe environment for human development.