HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL
Karlovac High School is the oldest Serbian high school, located in a town eight kilometers from Novi Sad, which during the 18th and 19th centuries was the spiritual and political stronghold of the Serbs in the Habsburg Monarchy.
The most important person for the establishment of the Karlovac High School was the Karlovac Metropolitan Stefan Stratimirović, and this was preceded by the centuries-old aspirations of the Serbian population in these areas to provide quality education to their heirs. At first, only wealthier people could do it, who sent their children to a Russian-Slavic school, and then to a Latin high school, where Serbian teachers from the ranks of monks and priests taught.
Stefan Stratimirović managed to persuade well-to-do merchants of that time to give money and help establish a high school. Thus, the distinguished merchant from Karlovac, Dimitrije Anastasijević Sabadov, gave 20 thousand forints in silver. Other citizens of Karlovac collected slightly more than 13 thousand forints. The then new Emperor Leopold II showed more friendliness towards the Serbian people than his predecessors, and gave permission to the Metropolitan to establish a gymnasium.
The Karlovac High School began its work on November 1, 1792, and soon after its foundation it became the center of Serbian education, culture and spirituality. During the first fifty years of its existence, the gymnasium had six classes – four lower grammar and two higher humanities, and in 1852, it also had seventh and eighth grades.
The language of instruction was Latin, as in most schools of that time, and the following subjects were taught: German, history, geography, natural sciences, physics, anthropology, Roman antiquities, logic and morals, and later Greek and Hungarian. Teaching in the Serbian language began in 1852. Metropolitan Stratimirović chose professors and directors. Since he did not find suitable persons among the Serbs, the first few directors were Slovaks – Johan Gross, Andrija Volni, Georgije Karlo Rumi and Pavle Magda. The first Serbian high school director was Jovan Gerčić. The only woman who held the position of director was Nevenka Dobronjovska, whose directorship lasted 12 years.
For the first hundred years, Karlovac High School was located in the building of the former Latin School. During that time, over 18,000 students passed through her classrooms. The new building, in which Karlovačka is still located today, was built in 1891, according to the project of the Buda architect Julio Đula Partoš, and thanks to the funds of Patriarch Germano and his brother, Sremskomitrovak Prote Stevan Anđelić, who gave 162 thousand forints for this purpose. The new building was built in the Serbian-Byzantine style, with a richly decorated entrance.
In the beginning, the students were almost exclusively from Sremski Karlovac, and later students from all Serbian provinces of Austria and Turkey began to come to it. Since 1907, girls could follow the classes as well, but only those from Karlovac, so that they could be under the watchful eye of their parents. Within the school, there was a boarding school for poor students, and a dormitory for children of richer parents. Discipline was strict, and disobedient students were punished with beatings, school imprisonment or expulsion.
Today it is the Karlovac Philological High School. Famous domestic films were shot in the building, such as Balkan Express, Deceitful Summer and Barking at the Stars.
The Karlovac High School library is the oldest school library in Serbia. It has over 18 thousand books. Many prominent citizens bequeathed their books to the high school library. Among the valuable books, there is a phototype edition of Miroslav’s Gospel, which was donated to the library by King Aleksandar Obrenović, the Four Gospels from the 16th century, Vicenc Vuković’s Servant from 1554, the first editions of Dositej Obradović, Branko Radičević, Vuk Karadžić and many others.