A narrative of the journey which led us to call our school:
School No. 4-JY. COUSTEAU
by Alla Yershova et Yves Omer
In May 1992, Saint Petersburg School No. 4, specialized in intensive French education, in conjunction with Lycée Perrier de Marseille, organized a school exchange in Marseille. Among the festivities, there was a reception at the mayor of Marseille’s office, under the aegis of the mayor, Mr Gaudin. During the exchanges, when presenting our school, its number: No. 4, surprised the mayor. At the end of the reception, he spoke to the director, Alla Yershova, and said: “I thought that in Russia only the concentration camps had a number. In Europe, schools are named after famous men. ”
This remark had upset us. Back at the school, all, teachers, parents, pupils, faced with this inquiry, agreed to find a name of a French icon. We drew up a list for a vote. There were people like Diderot, who was very famous in Russia, but there were other names, especially that of a famous explorer, known throughout the world for his films, which were broadcast at the time every Sunday on Russian TV and watched as a family, discovering the underwater world with great joy through the stories of his team: “The Underwater Odyssey of Captain Cousteau”.
Of course, he was the winner and it was decided unanimously to call the school: “School N ° 4, Jacques-Yves Cousteau school”.
“Childhood is the most intense moment of Life … JYC”
In order to obtain the approval of Captain Cousteau, Mrs. Alla Yershova, the head of the school, sent a letter to the Museum of Monaco, because during the trip to Marseilles we visited the Museum, where he was the director. The letter replied that, since he was no longer the director of the Museum, we had to contact Captain Cousteau at his Paris office, which was done thanks to the attached address.
We took advantage of our stay in Paris, during the school exchange with the Parisian college Pierre Ronsard, to visit the Captain. Head A. Yershova, accompanied by R. Apatovskaya, Head of French Language Education, were received by the Captain Cousteau and his wife Francine Cousteau on the premises of the Cousteau Team. During the conversation, JYC was keenly interested, along with his wife, in the life of the school, in the activities of the students while looking at the pictures of the schoolchildren we showed them. Cousteau was impressed by the range of disciplines taught in French at school. Thus he accepted that we could inscribe his name on the pediment of our school.
Thanks to the monthly magazine published by the Cousteau team at the time, we were able to set up a partnership with the information received and also to know the list of schools bearing the name Cousteau.
In preparing for the inauguration of our new pediment, the professors and pupils wrote the hymn of the Cousteau school together. This hymn is sung at all festivals, especially recently and under the aegis of the current director, Mrs Tatiana Robertovna Berlina, during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the school dedicated to the French language. It is a hymn that expresses the joy and love of children towards their school.
The shield, worn by the children on their uniform, was the occasion to give free rein to their imagination through the contest to create it.
They also created the mascot of the little dolphin with a backpack, which proudly goes to the Cousteau school.
A “Cousteau Practice” was created, a small museum that collects all the documents, paintings, photos, travel cards of the Cousteau Team.
The father of two pupils, a sculptor and a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, sculpted a bronze-like bust of the Captain despite having never met him, thislarge bust that can be seen in the entrance hall of the school.
The inauguration of the new pediment of the Cousteau school took place on 25 May 1994. High personalities of education and the city attended this “Baptism”, as the Captain called it. It was an event of great importance to all of us, students, teachers, parents who had invested themselves with pleasure, joy and interest in this event. The Cousteau team had sent a representative. All were able to see the exhibition of the activities of the Odyssey Team, and the presentation of the glorious life of Captain Cousteau.
Each year, during Science Week, scientists from all walks of life, humanists, ecologists come to animate this school with their presence and meet at the “Cousteau Practice” in the tradition of knowledge.
The students are proud of their school and make their merits known by singing the chorus of their hymn …
In this short clip the school anthem is being sung by the pre-schoolers, nicknamed the Calypsians, in their red, blue and white uniforms which are representative of the Cousteau colours.
“… Glory, Glory to our school which bears the name Cousteau …”
On the Vassilievsky Island,
There is a school that is even seen in France
Proud to bear the name of Jacques Yves Cousteau.
Chorus – Happy Us (2 times)
I’m studying in the best school
Glory, Glory at our School
Which bears the name of Cousteau
II – We sing this hymn to our beloved school
That we attend with joy.
School teaches us to know Life.
We will remember, forever, our united class.
III – The school gives us the best,
Each of us will make 100 times more.
Every day I understand how much in my school,
We are taught to acquire knowledge.