Tostamaa Keskkool
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  Tõstamaa School has been in the manor house since the 1921/22 academic year – so for more than 80 years. For some schools it is a lifetime but in Tõstamaa children have been taught for 315 years already.
  The beginning of public education is associated with the activities of Forselius Training College in Tartu in 1684-1688. Sigismund Segius, the first its own clergyman, wrote in his account on 19 October in 1696: “8 years ago ’the blessed Mr. Forselius’ sent a teacher from Tartu County to Tõstamaa who then taught ten children during two winters.” The teacher had been promised orally as well as in writing that the school master’s living expenses would be paid (2 rix-dollars per winter) but he hadn’t got anything. After the second winter the teacher had stayed at the clergyman as a farm-worker for the summer but the teacher had bad experiences with him. “He disgraced my bread,” sinned the teacher with ’a German housekeeper’ and after that left. In the third winter the clergyman had chosen two young peasants, who were the best pupils, to take turns to teach the children. As there were no other arrangements in school system and the clergyman’s income was too small to maintain the school teacher, it stopped working.
  The teacher had invited people in the church to come to help with the building of the schoolhouse. “The peasants agreed, dragged logs and timbered four walls, a room and a chamber without the ceiling and the roof.” The heirs to Tõstamaa manor had protested against this and banned the building of the schoolhouse: they had given the land to the church, but for the school they had nothing to give. The teacher had immediately let the priest know about this but no decision came. A piece of peasant land that had stayed empty for 20 years already was offered for the building of the school. The land was at least half a mile from the church and the road that took there had always been “profoundly  malicious”. A piece of better land had to be paid for. (Pärnu County…, p 126-127). So the building of the first schoolhouse remained unfinished. It is unknown who the first teacher was, where the children were taught or where the schoolhouse was planned to build.
  There is little information about the further school education. In 1728 the parish clerk had taught seven children. In 1736 there was one elementary school in the parish with three children. In 1764 Tõstamaa church school, where also children from Seli and Kastna learned, is mentioned first. In the same year a travelling schoolmaster was appointed to teach the children who lived farther in the parish. In 1770 the building of the new school house began because the old one served no purpose any more. The house had to be big enough to have room for all the children in the parish. The place where the above mentioned schoolhouses were situated is not known. In 1801 there had been two school houses in Tõstamaa. School teachers taught nearby children at their own places but also tested and taught children going from village to village. In the first half of the 19th  century the building of a parish school had been discussed at several church meetings but the school was never built. In 1840 there were schools in Tõstamaa, in Pootsi, in Seli and in Kastna. Tõstamaa Lutheran elementary school in the parish was founded in 1849 and the schoolhouse was built next year. The school worked until 1890 when the government required that a teacher who could not speak Russian had to resign. In connection with the change of religion Orthodox schools were founded. They were in better conditions compared to the Lutheran schools. Both religious schools worked at the beginning of the 20th century.
  At the beginning of the 20th century Tõstamaa Lutheran school was situated opposite the church (present Sadama Road 39), the parish school worked within half a mile (Mere Str.4) – it was also called an elementary school in the parish. In 1914 children were taught for three winters, in 1915 for four winters and in the parish school for two more years. (Memories of a that time student Theodor Lõõbas). Since 1921 the school works in the manor house. At first it was a 6-year elementary school, in 1944 it was named Tõstamaa Incomplete Secondary School,in 1947 Tõstamaa 7-Year School. A continuation school of domestic economy which was supported by Pärnu County Government  worked under the same roof with the elementary school. In 1920-1930 and in the first half of the 1940s the school of domestic economy worked on the first floor (entrance from the riverside porch) and  the elementary school on the second floor. At the same house there were in addition to classrooms bedrooms for both boys and girls, headmaster’s/teachers’ living quarters, two kitchens: one for the elementary school and the second for the school of domestic economy. The latter had a big baker’s oven where every week bread was baked, they also cooked themselves. The hall downstairs was used for parties (also open for the village people), and the one upstairs for physical training. The nearby school garden was also divided between the two schools: the students of the school of domestic economy grew vegetables, strawberries, flowers, berrybushes there but the part which belonged to the elementary school was worse taken care of. There were only some stunted apple trees and both the headmaster’s and the teachers’ beds.
  Tõstamaa Secondary School worked from 1953 to 1969. Its first class was that of 1957. Because of the small number of students and the rising popularity of closing down little schools Tõstamaa Secondary School was turned into 8-year school (1970-1982). The small number of students was also due to the compulsory production training because all the students did not want to become tractor drivers or go to a farm to milk cows. So instead they went to continue their studies in a town school or in some other secondary school in Pärnu district. Since the 1st September 1982 there is again secondary school with ca 280 pupils in Tõstamaa, the smallest in Pärnu County. From the second half of the 1980s up to 1999 the elementary classes worked under the same roof with the kindergarten in the centre of Tõstamaa. At first there was only the first class but later other 3 classes were added. Now the school works in the former manor houses: forms 1-12 and form 13, the so-called Toots’s class.
  Tõstamaa school works in a more than 80-year-old manor house which is built in the post-classicistic style. The first data about Tõstamaa (Testama) manor come from the year 1553. 1804 is considered to be the year when the building of the present house began. At that time the house had only one floor. In the 1860s a two-storey building with stone and brick walls, with a tin roof and with arched cellars is mentioned. The reconstruction work done in 1876-1877 was due to the new trends in architecture. Since then the arrangement of space has been the same: the corridor system which goes through the house, a large vestibule with fancy steps to the main entrance, rooms with wall and ceiling ornaments. But when white ceilings became into fashion during the first years of the Estonian Republic the manorial paintings were slightly hacked, plastered and covered with white paint, also the walls were painted white.
  In 1996 during the extensive repairs and the investigation of antiquities these well-preserved unique wall and ceiling paintings – especially fancy ones in the ceiling of the hall, were discovered. 24 buildings formed the manor ensemble (1869), among which  was also a spacious square stable-coach house with its inner court where original horses’ drinking vessels cut from one stone have preserved to this day. In the main house there are classrooms, the headmaster’s office, teachers’ workrooms, the library, the arts and crafts classroom and some storerooms; in the so-called stable house there are the school cafeteria, the sauna with shower rooms, the domestic science classroom, the up to date school boardinghouse, the computer classroom and in the former oat tower the music classroom. Behind the stable house on the fringe of the park there is the sports stadium where pupils can do athletics, play football, basketball and also tennis. The school has also its own school garden from where the vegetables and herbs grown have even reached on the pupils’ dining table.