Hernandez Albrecht School


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By Maria Luisa "Marichu" Vadillo:

The Hernández Albretch School was located in an old mansion on Laborde street between Princesa and Obispo avenues. The school was owned by the Hernandez Albrecht sisters: Anita, the eldest and the institution's director, who taught sewing in the afternoons; Graciela, the firmest of all and the most feared by the students; and Mimi (Emma), the sweetest and most loving sister, who taught painting and drawing. Receiving a "te felicito" or "Congratulations" from Mimi as a result of one of your drawings was a special prize.

At one time, the school went up to the eighth grade, but in later years it reached only the sixth. Classes started at 8 in the morning with Anita ringing her bell (which was later replaced with an electric buzzer) and ended at 3 pm., again with the ringing of the bell. At the end of the school day we would always find the well-known vendors at the school exit with their ice creams, pirulís (cone-shaped lollipops), and grated coconut candies that we loved so much.

On the second floor of the building Mimi gave her painting classes to students who stayed after school. We had a big yard where we'd jump-rope and play ball at recess, as well as the fountain patio, where we girls would play "las prendas" (a game where one tries to guess who is the person hiding a trinket in their clasped hands).

The school had a horn and drum marching band trained by Pepe Carballeira, and its members would stay after school once a week until 4 o'clock to rehearse. The band would appear in all the parades and processions in Cárdenas.

The 1952 band with their banner, and at the mothers' monument in 1954.

Catechism and preparation for First Communion were handled by Mimi, and Father Carbonell would come to give the older children religious talks. First Communion was celebrated in the month of April at the Parish Church, and it was always followed by a breakfast of hot chocolate at the school.

This school, through which an imense number of Cárdenas' children passed, also saw many teachers that were fond to all, such as: Lolita Neyra, Elenita Pons, Urania Moncalián, Silvia Casanova, Conchita Herrera, Inesita Diaz, Lourdes y Marta Gonzalez Morera, Maricusa Piñera, Nenusa Romillo, Rosario Cubas, Perlita Moré, and many others that escape my memory. The school's concierge was Eulalia, who lived with her family at the school.

The school's alma mater was written by Elmer Moncalián, father of Urania and Hilda, who also taught at the school on occasion. The school's coat of arms consisted of a white shield with the letters CHA in blue and red.

Translation by E.J. de la Fé

Kindergarten, first and second grades in 1947

Starting in the rear, from left to right:
1st - Srta. Rosario Cubas, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Jorge Rodriguez Triana, Jorge Rodriguez, Jorge Mario González, Cecilio Gonzalez, Felito Barrera, Tony Feliú, (?) Toledo, Jose Antonio Jimenez, (?) Mesa, Srta. Conchita Herrera, Juan Jorge Mendez, Srta. Silvia Casanova;
2nd - Santos Ballesteros, (?), Isabel Escoto, Mary Bouza, Marta Reyes, Elena Menéndez, Edy Vega, Clara Celia Piloto, Ena San Martín;, (?), José Eng
3rd - Rolando Jimenez, (?) Toledo, Conchitica Antunez, Hildita Presas, Cheny Perez-Alzola, Gloritica Ruiz Medina, Bértila Valenzuela, Maruja Morales, Emilia Carreño, (?), Marilín de la Torre, José Eng
Front - René Diaz, Osvaldo Reyes, Olga Mesa, Nancy Neyra, (?), Maruchi Rodriguez, Marichu Vadillo, Elena Núñez, Raul (?).