top of page

May 13, 1996

Founding of the "Sankt Lorenz" school by Father Lorenz Gawol and Vladimir Samuilovitsch Gorelik. The foundation day is celebrated every year in the school. At the beginning of the 1996/1997 school year, 17 students reported. The official approval (initially for five years) to found a private elementary school under the title: "Christliche Schule St. Lorenz" was granted on May 22, 1996. 


The first school building

The "Sankt Lorenz" school begins in this house. It is called the "sister house" in Korneewka because from March to November 1995 two nuns, Sr. Maria Koon  and Sr. Helena Lorenz, from the community of Eucharist lived here, who Father Lorenz Gawol in his support work. Father Lorenz Gawol bought the house from the Windholz family, who left for Germany in 1995. 


The first school

The first school children come to school in the morning. After initial doubts, more and more parents want their child to learn at the "Sankt Lorenz" school. While only 17 children were registered when school started in 1996, two years later in September 1998 there were already 98 pupils. This is accompanied by an increasing lack of space, which will lead to a pronounced construction phase in the next few years. 



The first school year

Father Lorenz Gawol, Sr. Maria and Vladimir S. Gorelik, the first director of the "first Christian school". Gorelik died tragically on April 7, 2000 in a traffic accident. Vladimir Samuilovitch (Jewish descent), father of 7 children, was initially the director of the state school. When he was dismissed from work in the course of an operation, he contacted Father Lorenz. At the end of April 1995, Gorelik gave him the idea of founding a Christian private school. 



The 2nd school building

Already in 1997 the school moved to a larger building, which the people of Korneewka called the house "Gulder" (flowers, Kazakh). The district library was located here in Soviet times.  Till 2000, classes were held here. Today, after many renovations, the project's kindergarten with about 80 children is located here.


2000: Moving to the new school

Due to the growing number of students, a new building will soon be sought. In the immediate vicinity is the Communist Party building, which, like all municipal buildings in Korneevka, was in a very poor condition. After the renovation, the school year 2000/2001 begins in this house. 


September 1, 2000:

At the beginning of the school in 2000, after the tragic death of Vladimir Gorelik, Ludmila Alexandrovna Barabash became the second director of the school. Father Lorenz Gawol takes on the task of Vicar General of the newly founded Archdiocese of Astana. He remains close to the school and the people. 


November 2, 2001

Father Lorenz Gawol is appointed prelate by Pope John Paul II. At a personal meeting in September 2001 during the Pope's visit to Kazakhstan, he asked for the blessing of the school.

A few weeks later, on November 2nd, 2001, Father Lorenz died of cancer. He bids farewell to the school's staff, saying, "See you in heaven!"



In 1995 Father Lorenz Gawol, looking for supporters, found a sympathetic ear in the community of the Franciscan nuns of Vöcklabruck. In 1995 the first sisters came to Kazakhstan to help in the German village of Tonkochurovka. 

In search of a suitable successor, Father Gawol turns to the community of "Servants of Jesus and Mary", which has been involved in the school project since 2000. 



After the first school year in the new building, the school year 2001-2002 begins. This group photo clearly shows how much the project has grown in the first five years. In the village, the school is called the "Pastors' School" in memory of Father Lorenz, who died on November 2nd, 2001 dies in Berlin. He leaves a spiritual testament to the school, where he recommends the sentence to the staff and students: "The best foundation of every life is truth and love!"


2001-2002: Brisk building activity

With the growing number of pupils, brisk building activity also begins: Former municipal buildings in the vicinity of the school, which fell into disrepair in the 1990s and were used for building materials, are bought up and gradually renovated: the polyclinic becomes a boarding school for pupils, the conscription office becomes a dorm for teachers, the Agrobank the church building. This large construction activity is only possible because numerous supporters in Germany and Austria, as well as many aid organizations such as "Kirche in Not" and "Renovabis" are helping.


2001-2002: The bank becomes the church

The former Agrobank building is about 150 meters from the school. Like all other municipal buildings, it was used for building material very quickly after the end of the Soviet Union. In the end, only the concrete walls were left. In June 2002 it was bought and renovated. The ground floor soon became a large church room, where the congregation still gathers for services to this day. The first floor became the vicarage.


November 11, 2002: Martinsfest 

The first St. Martin's festival with a lantern parade took place in 1996, the year the school was founded. While this tradition is well known in Europe, Father Lorenz is entering completely new territory in Central Asia. Nevertheless, the St. Martin's celebration is very well received by the children and also by the population. After the procession and the play, the goose dinner with the various school classes traditionally follows. At the same time, poor families are supported, the students collect food and clothing for the needy in the village. 


2003: The first high school graduates

At the end of the 2002/2003 school year, our first high school graduates will graduate. Some of them have been with the school since the beginning, others came as "lateral entrants". It is very gratifying that everyone finds a place to study at a university.

bottom of page