Hongmaogang Elementary School Carries the Torch of Hongmaogang's Culture／傳承海港記憶─前鎮紅毛港國小
Hongmaogang Elementary School Carries the Torch of Hongmaogang's Culture
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos by Jhou Shu-jheng
The colorful, nine-year-old ship-like school building of Hongmaogang Elementary School is located behind the new Taroko Park Mall. Because it is surrounded by more than 100 evergreen trees, the first impression one gets is that of walking into a forest.
The history of Hongmaogang Elementary School goes back to 1924, during the Japanese colonial period. In 1951, Hongmaogang Elementary School changed its name to Haishan Elementary School. Today's Hongmaogang Elementary School disseminates new ideas and information to young people, and the campus carefully preserves tall trees transplanted from the original site of Haishan Elementary School. They are evidence of its cultural achievements and its connection with the past. When the original Haishan Elementary School was demolished in 2007, it moved to a new site, and the old name, Hongmaogang Elementary School, was restored. The school, which now has 92 years of history, resumed enrolling students in August 2008. During break times, students run around a campus full of trees, just as they did in the past.
Director of Student Affairs Mr. Shen You-lin says that when the trees were moved, there were concerns they would not grow well, as the soil at the new site was less salty than at the original site. However, they are now growing even better than before. He goes on to say that transplanting the trees is just one way in which Hongmaogang –a fishing village in Cianjhen District relocated in 2007 to facilitate the expansion of Kaohsiung's port –is commemorated. He explains that the interior design of the school was inspired by Hongmaogang's unique maze-like spaces. The corridors and trails at Hongmaogang Elementary School somewhat resemble the streets and atmosphere of Hongmaogang as a fishing village. By incorporating these features, it is hoped the community and pupils can share affectionate memories of Hongmaogang.
Traces of Hongmaogang can also be found on the two decoration walls inside the campus. Both are works by Mr. Li Yi-syun, an artist and native of Hongmaogang. Mr. Li incorporated elements of sailing rafts, fishing nets, floats, coral, soil, red bricks, as well as portions of artifacts and temple sculptures. Visiting Hongmaogang Elementary School may be the best way to appreciate how local residents endeavor to preserve the fading history and memories of Hongmaogang. Visitors entering the campus should turn right at the school gate so they encounter an "eco-corridor." This features native animals and plants. There is a ship-shaped stone bridge, anchor-shaped chairs by the pond in the square, and then the decoration walls. Taking a close look at these walls, the photographs of Hongmaogang, the old map, the mosaic sculptures by the sink, and Li Shu Library (built to honor Mr. Li Shu, a former teacher) will give visitors an idea of what life in Hongmaogang was like.
The stadium at the back of the campus is the venue for swimming and basketball summer camps. On the second floor of the stadium there is a climbing wall with paintings of marine animals and marine environments as its background. Before they graduate, Principal Mr. Tian Jian-jhong leads pupils through a mini-triathlon, during which they climb 8m, swim 50m, and ride bicycles to the school's old location. This gives the youngsters unforgettable memories.
The corridor around the swimming pool is lined with red bricks, a common building material in old Hongmaogang. Pupils chat with their friends in red-brick corridors of various heights. Every corner of this green campus and the trees which encircle it are connections to the old roots of Hongmaogang.