125 Sampaio Dória, putting at his disposal enough money to cover the rent on the building and purchase the Colégio Rio Branco’s facilities.” Once contacted, Sampaio Dória accepted the offer, selling the Colégio for 450,000 cruzeiros (Brazilian currency at that time). The first obstacle had been overcome, but another one would follow: the sale did not include the name Rio Branco, of which Sampaio Dória insisted on remaining the proprietor. Opening a new school would require complex procedures and time-consuming administrative arrangements that would have been impossible to complete in time for the start of the second semester of the school year. Existing connections among several Rio Branco and Colégio Pedro de Toledo teachers led to the idea of proposing that teacher Joaquim Thomaz de Aquino — the owner of the former institution— create a new unit in the district of Higienópolis to receive the students from the school that had closed down. Upon acceptance of that proposal, Colégio Pedro de Toledo’s Higienópolis Department was implemented with teacher Roldão Lopes de Barros in command. The problem of students, parents and collaborators had been solved. Shortly afterwards, it became possible to make the Colégio autonomous again, separating it from Pedro de Toledo and recovering its original name Rio Branco. A federal decree issued on March 26th, 1946 made the Colégio Rio Branco official, which name has been maintained to this day. Senator José Ermírio de Moraes did not intend to be the Colégio owner. After making an invaluable contribution to saving it, he decided that he would donate it. And it was out of that decision that the Fundação de Rotarianos de São Paulo would be born soon afterwards. Tradition in Sports Since the beginning of activities at the Colégio, the practice of sports has played an important role in its pedagogical project. With suitable facilities, incentives to students, great teachers and a modern orientation, the Colégio has always stood out in this regard. As early as 1930s, the prospectus of the institution emphasized that quality: “In our sports court, students play all kinds of sporting games during their gymnastics or recreation hours. Boarders, semi-boarders and even some groups of day students have several soccer teams that compete for championships with each other or with teams from schools located in the state capital or upstate.” In a chronicle recalling his time at the Colégio in the 1930s, writer Paulo Bonfim corroborates that description by saying, “At Rio Branco, we’d play soccer on a small dirty field and compete, in the newly opened swimming pool, for the ‘Vigor Trophy’, against São Bento, Mackenzie and Escola Alemã. We trained swimming with teacher Edmur, and later with Kanichi Sato, who would have us work out even in July (winter in the Southern Hemisphere), at night.” At construction on the building on Avenida Higienópolis, as well as in its subsequent modernization projects, space for sports was always a priority. Special importance was attached to this principle in the project for the Granja Vianna unit, where there was a large area available. According to Fritz Francisco Johansen Jr. – vice-president and secretary of the Board of Directors of the Fundação between 1975 and 1996 –, José Ermírio de Moraes Filho (then president of the Fundação) had ambitious plans for the location, along the same lines as American school campuses: “For that reason, investments were made in a soccer field, athletics tracks, and a semi-Olympic swimming pool.” That concern was also present in the activities of Lar Escola Rotary, where, as reported by Herbert de Arruda Pereira, president of Rotary Club de São Paulo at the time of creation of the Fundação, and subsequently a member of its Board of Directors for several terms, “in 1951, construction started on the swimming pool for the dual purpose of facilitating hygiene by way of the daily shower and enabling the beneficial exercise of swimming.” Taking an active part in inter-school tournaments, the Colégio gained great prominence on that front over time, having pioneered the adoption of modern practices in various types of sports. A defining example of its distinguished work was the creation of Rio Branco Rugby Clube in the 1970s, on the students’ own initiative. Rugby became a highly important sport at the Colégio, to the point of one of its rugby teams being the first ever to represent it out of the country, on a trip to Argentina in 1982. The club was one of the pioneers of that sport in Brazil, and while being independent, it maintains its strong connection with the Colégio, which is present in its name, values, history, colors and emblems, and includes rugby lessons that are currently taken by students as an extracurricular activity.
Livro Comemorativo dos 70 anos da Fundação de Rotarianos de São Paulo - Uma história de ideias e ideais
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