MISSION SCHOOLS - TRIPOLI GIRLS' SCHOOL
TRIPOLI GIRLS' SCHOOL
The Tripoli station had been occupied about twenty years, when the need of a girls' boarding-school became urgent. A day school for girls had been opened in 1856 and continued, but it could not train teachers or benefit Protestant girls in the interior. Beirut Seminary was too far and its training not adapted to the peasant girls of Akkar and Safita, Hums, and Mahardeh.
In September, 1873, Mrs. Shrimpton, an English lady, and Miss Kipp, of Auburn, N. Y., took charge of the school. In October, 1875, Miss Mary S. Hanford (now Mrs. Professor Moore of Andover) spent a year in teaching. In January, 1876, Miss Harriet La Grange began her work as head of the school, and was joined in May by Miss Emilia Thomson, of Beirut. In October, 1879, Miss Susan H. Calhoun came to aid Miss LaGrange. In December, 1879, Miss Calhoun was transferred to Shwifat, and Miss Cundall took her place, and remained until her return to America in March, 1883. In November, 1883, Miss C. M. Holmes came, and remained, with one year's absence, until July, 1894. Misses R. Brown (1886), Bird (1887), M. T. M. Ford (1888), F. M. Jessup (1895), A. H. Jessup (1896), E. M. Law, and Mrs. Shaw taught for varying periods until Miss Bernice Hunting came in October, 1896. During her furlough in 1904-1905 Miss Gillbee of England took her place.
Not less than fifteen different foreign teachers have been connected with it, but the success of the school has been owing to the faithful and continuous labours of Miss Harriet La Grange for thirty-three years. Two classes of girls have been enrolled in this school, the more aristocratic Greek girls of Tripoli, and the daughters of the fellahin of the interior. To combine these two in one school has been no easy task, but the patience, wisdom and fidelity of the teachers have surmounted all difficulties. The daughters of the city have been highly educated and fitted for the wealthier homes, and the country girls have been fitted to be teachers, and to be wives of Syrian artisans and farmers,
I was present at the graduating exercises of this school in 1885, and delivered the annual address. At the close, Nicola Beg Nofel, the most prominent citizen of the Orthodox Greek community of Tripoli, made a brief address, speaking in the most eloquent and affectionate terms of the high esteem in which Miss La Grange was held by the people of Tripoli, and of the fruit of her labours in the moral, religious, and intellectual elevation of the young women of Tripoli. it was one of the many similar testimonies given from time to time in Tripoli, Beirut and Sidon, to the high appreciation by the Syrian people of female education as conducted by the American missionaries.
The English language has been taught, and certain of the pupils have learned French, but all have been trained in the Arabic language, and in the Scriptures. In the winter of 1900-1901 a profound religious awakening moved the whole school.
The number of boarding pupils in the Tripoli school from the beginning is about 300, thirty-six of whom have become teachers in Protestant, native Greek and Russian schools. Twelve of the present pupils are daughters of former pupils.
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