…The first cosmonaut corps was created in 1960. Their families moved to the town when the first residential buildings appeared. And in particular, the most famous is number 2. All the “firsts” received apartments in it. But hundreds of specialists worked at the Cosmonaut Training Center: doctors, engineers, scientists. And they also had wives, husbands, children. Therefore, the question of school immediately arose. It was built in 1965.
Yuri Gagarin’s daughters will study here and many years later the granddaughter of the first cosmonaut will go to first grade. German Titov, Pavel Popovich, Alexey Leonov, Boris Volynov, Andriyan Nikolaev, Valery Bykovsky, Vladimir Komarov brought their children here…
Interesting fact. The first teachers’ meeting in the history of Star City was not held at the school, but at a nearby sports field. It was there, sitting on logs, that the teachers discussed the curriculum. And Alexey Leonov became the chairman of the first parents’ committee in the history of the school. His two daughters attended school. I had to solve many issues: organize excursions and track my progress.
“Aleksey Arkhipovich participated very actively in the life of the school, he wanted the children to have all the best,” says Elena Afanasyeva, advisor to the school director for education and interaction with children’s public associations. -His great pride was the school swimming pool, whose construction he managed. And it was thanks to Leonov that they began to teach English at an advanced level at school. A second foreigner was added shortly after.
In general, school life and everyday life at the Cosmonaut Training Center have always been closely intertwined. In 1976, the first foreigners began to prepare to fly to Zvezdny. Many of them attended classes: they talked about their countries and shared their impressions. For example, during his training as part of the crew of the Soyuz MS-03 manned spacecraft, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet became a great school friend.
September 1, 1966. Yuri Gagarin and his wife take their daughter to first grade. Photo: TASS photo chronicle
“Children from all over the Shchelkovsky district came to us and we organized a poetry competition in French,” recalls Olesya Slozhenkina, current director of the school and French teacher. – And always the special guest of the contest was Thomas Pesquet.
By the way, the students themselves also managed to travel around the world. So, the school was friendly with educational institutions in the state of New York, so the children practiced English, as they say, “in the field.”
Years of friendship connect the Star City school with the first Latin American space conqueror: the Cuban Arnaldo Tomayo Méndez. In his homeland, Mendes actively participates in the international action “Gagarin’s Lesson.” He tells young Cubans about the feat of Yuri Gagarin and the heroism of the scientists and engineers who made the star man’s dream come true. He also remembers his flight as part of the Soyuz-38 crew in 1980, when his companion was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko.
Yuri Romanenko’s son Roman also studied at the Star City school and also became an astronaut. As is the son of cosmonaut Alexander Volkov, Sergei. But in local classes, both Roman and Sergei are known not only as Heroes of Russia, having completed two and three flights, respectively. They are mainly remembered as “kind and intelligent boys.” This is what Klavdia Shubicheva calls them, who at one time headed the school named after VM for more than twenty years. Komarova.
“The children of astronauts never became arrogant or dazzled,” shares Klavdiya Andreevna. – I always tried to get the kids to help the elderly and organized trips to nursing homes in the Moscow region. They brought their drawings and gave concerts. One day, Roma Romanenko and a classmate came to my office with a guitar: “Can we also sing at the concert? Do you want to listen?”
– They say that thanks to you the tradition of subbotniks appeared in Zvezdny?
“When I first arrived at school and started meeting my parents, as funny as it is now, I was alarmed by their seriousness,” says the interlocutor. – I wanted to communicate personally with the father of one of the students: a question arose regarding the studies. And then a man in uniform comes in: “Did you call me?” “I didn’t call, but I invited,” I reply. I realized that very disciplined people work in Star City. And I decided to organize a cleaning day, to which everyone would come, both children and parents.
Klavdiya Andreevna remembers the first labor camp. Like cosmonauts, officers with big stars on their shoulder straps, the city workers gathered near the school. We divide the territory into squares. Everything is clear, cosmic.
…The school has custom desks for Roman Romanenko and Sergei Volkov, installed during the “Gagarin Lessons.” It is possible that in the near future another one will appear – Denis Matveev. He remains the last student from the school to be in orbit: last year he worked on the ISS for 194 days.
“Vladimir Matveev, the cosmonaut’s father, still works in the medical service of the Cosmonaut Center,” says Elena Afanasyeva. -Denis was interested in technical sciences from a young age; he graduated from the Moscow State Technical University. Bauman. Of course, we were very happy when another of our graduates joined the ranks of astronauts.
Over more than half a century of history, Star City has developed its own traditions, stemming from Yuri Gagarin. For example, a daycare center was opened almost immediately at the school. But a little later a separate building was built, according to an innovative project by students of the Moscow Institute of Architecture. Shaped like a spaceship, it still surprises with its enormous windows that go from the floor to the ceiling. Yuri Alekseevich brought gifts from his trips abroad: carpets, paintings. That’s why the children in Zvezdny kindergarten always played with cars on luxurious Persian rugs…
It was Gagarin who proposed naming the school after cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov, who died tragically in 1967. Komarov’s daughter and son studied at Zvezdny. And the bust of the two-time Hero of the Soviet Union, who greets the students at the entrance, was made by the brilliant sculptor Andrei Golubev, also a graduate of the “school of stars”.
And today all first graders of Star City are solemnly accepted among the “young Gagarinites.”
Where else, tell me, did so many children of astronauts study and study? Where have so many graduates already become astronauts?
Once upon a time at school there was a pioneer squadron named after the first cosmonaut. The pioneer movement disappeared, but the “young Gagarinists” remained.
But of course, the Star City school doesn’t just live in the past. After a recent renovation, it became an educational complex. If in 1965 less than a hundred children studied at school, now there are almost a thousand. The school named after VM Komarov includes the Lastochka kindergarten, Sunday school and music school.
– A child residing in Star City, from kindergarten to 11th grade, remains within the same educational complex. This is important,” says Olesya Slozhenkina.
What about academic performance? Are there really no bad students or hooligans among students?
“Of course, children are different,” the director laughs. – But most kids study well. For example, two years ago thirteen gold medalists came out of these walls and four scored 100 points on the Unified State Exam. Our graduates enter MSTU. Bauman, at MIPT. But many people connect their lives with the humanities and foreign languages, because they are taught at an excellent level here. So far, all the guys have two foreign languages on their agenda: English and French or German to choose from.
By the way, since 2019, the school has become the only venue in the Moscow region for the championship of professional excellence for schoolchildren and university students “Young Professionals” in the field of “Space Systems Engineering”.
“At regional competitions, our students always take first place,” notes Olesya Yurievna.
It is obvious that academic success is a merit not only of the students, but also of the teachers. Many of them have been working at the school for decades. Young people also come.
“Every year we conclude specific training agreements with our graduates,” says Olesya Slozhenkina. – So, after a few years, our students return to their home school as teachers.
…When you arrive in Star City, you have the feeling that time here is somehow “very mixed”: history is very close to the future. Once upon a time the first cosmonauts and those who prepared them for flights made this place the heart of Russian cosmonautics. And today new space explorers grow and study here.