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St George's celebrates gymnasium milestone

  • Wholeschool News

St George’s International School marked a milestone in the construction of its new gymnasium – named after world record-breaking Luxembourgish cyclist Elsy Jacobs – with a topping out ceremony on Tuesday, 23rd April.

Held on St George’s Day and ahead of the annual Elsy Jacobs Festival, a two-day international cycling tournament, the ceremony was attended by the Ministry of Education’s First Government Advisor Martine Molitor, Ville de Luxembourg Chief Alderman Maurice Bauer, friends of the late Elsy Jacobs, governors and staff of St George’s, and more.

The new building is the first sports facility in the City of Luxembourg to be named after a woman. Due for completion in summer 2025, it has a double-sized sports hall, changing rooms, offices, meeting rooms and classrooms. In keeping with the school’s sustainability goals, it has many energy- and resource-saving features, including a rooftop solar farm that will generate 8% of the school’s energy needs, a green roof, low-emission heating systems and rainwater collection system.

St George’s Principal Dr Christian Barkei said it was important for the school to name the building after a well-known Luxembourgish athlete who would be an inspiration to students. “As the winner of the first women’s world road cycling championship, a world record holder for many years and someone who broke down numerous barriers in sport and women’s rights, Elsy Jacobs was our obvious and honoured choice,” Dr Barkei said.

Gaston Zangerlé, author of the book Elsy Jacobs: ‘grande-duchesse’ de la petite reine’, thanked St George’s for continuing the legacy of the famous cyclist. “Elsy Jacobs was much more than just an exceptional champion. She was the world road cycling champion in 1958 in Reims and the same year she set the world one-hour record on the track at the Vigorelli in Milan,” Mr Zangerlé said.

“Today she still embodies the fighting spirit and determination. Her career, marked by more than 300 victories, is testimony to a life dedicated to pushing the limits, not only in sport but also in the fight for equality between men and women in cycling.”

Ministry of Education First Government Advisor Martine Molitor highlighted the important role St George’s plays in Luxembourg’s educational landscape. “[St George’s] serves as a key partner and actor in shaping the future of our society. Although St George’s offers a programme in English, its priority is to adapt the curriculum to the Luxembourg context, including offering courses in Luxembourg language and culture. It is important that all students have a sense of belonging to Luxembourg,” Ms Molitor said.

“I would like to recognise the important contribution that St George’s makes to the Luxembourg economy. By integrating the children of the talented workforce coming to Luxembourg into the school community, it enriches not only their school, but also our society as a whole,” she said.

A time capsule containing stories and poems about school life in 2024, a copy of the student newsletter Hamm Sandwich and aerial photographs of St George’s and Hamm was sealed during the ceremony. It is planned for the time capsule to be opened in 2054.