Being the first and oldest high school in Vietnam, Quoc Hoc (National high school) was originally the school for children from royal and noble families.
Established in 1896, after more than an 100-year history, Quoc Hoc building today is still a well-maintained French colonial-style construction. The school is a complex of five blocks of classrooms, a big football field, a basketball court, five badminton courts, a swimming pool, a medium-sized stadium, and also a block of dormitories.
It’s considered the largest and also the most beautiful high school campus in Vietnam. The environment is a great picture of the harmonious relationship between the red French buildings and the green background of shady trees and stone benches.
Especially in spring, when “diep anh dao” (a kind of cherry blossom) is in bloom, the picture is filled with pink dots above red thatched tile. Students often call that period of time “Pinky cloud season” and regard it as the most special time of the year.
These are the reasons why Quoc Hoc is also called “Pinky school beside Perfume River Bank” in the song with the same name. One is lucky if they have a chance to drop by the school during that season.
Not only is Quoc Hoc famous for its charming scene, it also gained prominence for its traditions of patriotism, industriousness, academic achievements, and respect for the time-honored values of teacher-student relationships.
Several Vietnamese political leaders are alumni of the school, including: Nguyen Tat Thanh (President Ho Chi Minh), General Vo Nguyen Giap, Prime Minister Pham Van Dong, etc. In addition, the school is famed for its students who are well-known poets (Xuan Dieu, Huy Can, To Huu, Luu Trong Lu), scientists (Ta Quang Buu, Ton That Tung, Dang Van Ngu), musicians (Tran Hoan, Chau Ky, Nguyen Van Thuong), or sculptor Diem Phung Thi and so on. The school also has many students who are highly awarded in many international competitions.
Tourists who want to visit Quoc Hoc High School should remember that the school doesn’t allow visits while classes are in session, which go until 5.15 p.m. everyday (though it might be easier to go through the two side gates, in fact).
What’s more, the students are very eager to talk to foreigners, especially English speakers and French speakers. The school is a wonderful place for anyone who wants to take photos against the naturally occurring foliage, understand more about French colonial architecture, or watch students in white ao dais socialize in the tranquil environment.
The gate of the school today
The gate in the past
The overview of the school today
The memorial house
The statue of Nguyen Tat Thanh (President Ho Chi Minh).
Inside a classroom