The first impulse in the effort to establish a gymnasium in Piešťany was the request of the Piešťany Town Council submitted on June 3, 1929. However, there was shortage of money at the time of the economic crisis and as a result, it took 7 years to establish the school with classes finally starting on September 3, 1936. After the entrance exams, 102 pupils enrolled in the 1st and 2nd class and were taught by three state professors and three assistants in two rented rooms.
Students came mostly from economically weaker families as they could not afford to study in another city and pay tuition and accommodation there. Financial and material assistance was granted to the poorest students. Gymnasium in Piešťany therefore had not only an important cultural but also a social role.
Since September 1, 1953, the school is housed in a historical building with beautiful renaissance features. Designed by a Prague architect Ladislav Skřivánek and built by a construction company Berta & Kováč based in Piešťany, it dominates the picturesque Square of the Slovak National Uprising right next to the Town Hall. Currently, it provides three types of secondary education to more than 600 students: 4- and 8-year-long program in general education and since September 2015, a 5-year-long bilingual program.
In the many years of its existence, the school has changed its name several times and owes its current name to one of the longest-serving school principals, Mr. Ivan Luknár. It was his vision of an active pentathlonist and ardent promoter of the Olympic and sports values that our gymnasium should follow the philosophy of the French pedagogue and athlete, founder of modern Olympic Games, baron Pierre de Coubertin and strive to raise our students according to the motto “An ardent mind in a well-trained body”. And so, since 2003 our school bears the name Gymnasium of Pierre de Coubertin and is a proud member of the international community of schools organized in the International Pierre de Coubertin school network. Every two years, selected students from these schools participate in International Pierre de Coubertin forums. The 10th edition boasting the participation of 21 national delegations from around the world happened to be organized by our gymnasium here in Piešťany in 2015.
Over the years, our gymnasium has produced more than 10,000 graduates with a high school graduation or as we call it “Maturita” diploma. Their achievements have greatly contributed to the good name of our school. Today, our gymnasium is certainly one of the best of its kind in Slovakia. This is proved by the study results of our students; the placement of individuals in many knowledge and sports competitions at the national and international level, as well as the national ranking of our school. All of this draws interest of primary school graduates, potential applicants to our school because they believe that this school gives them the best academic background.
Nina Ilavská, senior student of the 4-year program