Our school was founded in 1891. From its very beginning Ressu was a pioneer school – we were the first in Helsinki to teach humanistic subjects and modern languages, as opposed to just Latin. Ressu students – all boys – were geared towards careers in trade, industry and government.
In autumn 1892, having operated its first few years elsewhere, the school moved into a building which had previously served as a centre for physical therapy – this building now forms part of the two lowest floors in the present-day Ressu building. Because of the influx of students, a new, third floor and a new wing towards Kalevankatu were added in 1895. The building got its present form in 1912-1914 and the only major addition in the renovation project of 1980-1981 was a second staircase to improve fire safety.
The name of the school has a long history. “Ressu” - an abbreviation of the final word of the original name “Helsingin Suomalainen Realilyseo” – has always remained its popular nickname. In 1914 the school changed its name to Helsingin Suomalainen Lyseo. In 1950, as the fights between Finnish and Swedish-speakers calmed down, the name was further abbreviated to “Helsingin Lyseo”.
As Helsinki started the comprehensive school system in 1977, the school was asked to choose a new name based on its location – Kalevankatu, Kamppi or Lönnrot. However, the old students launched a massive campaign, and the school was allowed to retain its old nickname and was called “Ressun lukio” .
Together with the advent of comprehensive school, two major changes occurred: instead of the state, Ressu was now governed by the city of Helsinki, and the old boys’ school became co-educational – a fact which still amazes old students visiting the school.
Finnish educational policy is changing and becoming more international. In the past couple of decades, Ressun lukio has been in the vanguard of this educational development work. We were among the first schools to develop the present nongraded system based on courses and to use a system that allows students more freedom in choosing their subjects, courses and their matriculation examination tests.
We continue to be involved in various projects. We offer our students a chance to get an additional official certificate in the French language (DELF) or in the German language (Sprachdiplom II). Our students are actively involved in the Young Entrepreneurs programme. We serve as a teacher training school and arrange courses in cooperation with Finnish universities. Ressu is still true to its old pioneering spirit.
Last but not least, Ressun lukio became an authorized IB World School in 2002. The IB Diploma Programme we offer is an internationally acknowledged two-year programme, preceded by a preparatory year. Our first IB DP class successfully graduated in 2005. Now we have already seen 10 year groups graduate with IB Diplomas and the annual IB DP intake has risen from 25 to 40 students.