30 May 2008 Commemoration of ORTs first school in Odessa A plaque commemorating ORTs first school in Odessa has been unveiled in a ceremony at the building which housed it between 1896 and 1917. ORT opened the Trud Jewish vocational school in Odessa in 1882, two years after the organisations founding in St Petersburg. It was the first vocational school to be instituted in the south of what was then the Russian Empire. The ceremony has brought to life just how historically significant ORTs contribution has been, said Slava Leshchiner, Director of the World ORT Representative Office in Ukraine and Moldova. This school was a pioneer in the field of vocational education. The idea of vocational and technological education is flourishing in Odessa and ORT continues to pursue the highest standards in our schools just as we did a century ago. The plaque is the sixth to be fitted on Odessas historic sites of Jewish interest by the Israeli Cultural Centre. The first such plaque was placed on the building where the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff, was born. The original ORT school provided high quality training in iron casting, which was a highly sought after skills at the time. Throughout Odessa you can see evidence of ORT graduates craftsmanship, Mr Leshchiner said, from manhole covers to the wrought iron surrounding the monument to the writer Alexander Pushkin. You could say that ORT is literally part of the fabric of this city. At the unveiling ceremony, the Deputy Mayor of Odessa, Alexander Prokopenko, said he was proud that his city was a safe and secure home to people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. The Jewish community has made a major contribution to the history of Odessa, Mr Prokopenko said. And ORT itself makes a large contribution to the co-existence here. And Alla Oshmiansky, the First Secretary of the Israeli Embassy in Ukraine, said it was important to commemorate ORTs first school in Odessa. ORT played a very important role in the development of the Jewish community, Ms Oshmiansky said. The ceremony also attracted the presence of Nikolai Skorik, the Head of the Odessa regional administration, and Jaffiq Zarko, the Jewish Agency for Israel representative in the city. The building is only a block away from the ORT Odessa school which was opened in 1995 and currently provides high quality Jewish and general education for 400 students aged between six and 17. The school offers a wide variety of technology and vocational courses, in particular ICT and robotics. ORT in Ukraine operates six schools and 10 vocational training centres in 13 locations.