Everything is related to 1921, when the American Red Cross of Youth founded, according to the wishes and needs of the Albanians themselves, the Albanian Vocational School, the first and the only one of its kind for a long time. Over the years, it will be known as the Technical School of Tirana.
The American Youth Red Cross built a model program for technical assistance, aiming to establish an institute like “Robert College” in Albania.
“For the success of the school’s goal, I will make available everything of value that I have,” said with a special passion John Kroll, one of the creators of the school.
For the Technical School of Tirana to become a first-class institute, its management had to be taken over by an experienced person, “an enthusiastic man, with sound judgment, perfect personality and initiator”. This would be Harry T. Fultz, 34 years old, a professor of mechanical arts at the University of Chicago, a postgraduate professor at the College of Education, also a science graduate from the Armor Institute of Technology.
October 1922: Harry Fultz arrives in Tirana. He would run the Technical School until 1933. Talent as a lecturer and administrator, inexhaustible optimism, were crucial to the existence, revitalization and growth of the school. Fultz together with Charles A. Hollingshead, one of the first members of the teaching staff and other American and Albanian lecturers and instructors, consciously dedicated themselves to the students and the issue of education in Albania.
The Technical School provided students with special theoretical and practical knowledge with a wide range of professional programs. It had a power plant that gave light to the city and its own printing press. She undertook construction projects, carried out numerous sports and cultural activities and published the well-known newspaper “Laboremus”. Thanks to quality programs, school graduates were admitted to the most prestigious universities in the US and Europe. 32 students were enrolled in 1921.
500 students were enrolled in the years 1932-1933; 150 graduates graduated, most of them employed in state bodies or various sectors of the country’s economy. Thus, the Technical School of Tirana played an important role in educating young people with a sense of patriotism, discipline, love and respect for work. “Try to make Albania a country worth living in,” said Harry Fultz. The school was nationalized in 1933 as a result of the great influence in the Albanian society together with other foreign schools in Albania.
In 1947, the school was renamed the “The Polytechnic 7th of November” while maintaining its technical profile. She continued to train specialists in various fields of economics through academic subject programs intertwined with programs of internships and extracurricular activities. The positive image of the American Technical School in Tirana was deeply ingrained in people’s minds, despite attempts to discredit or minimize its importance. This was clearly reflected after 1990, at a time of great democratic change.
In 1992, the Albanian-American Harry Fultz Foundation was founded in the United States with Johan Fultz Khontos as president. The purpose of this foundation was to support the school to follow in the footsteps of the traditions of the Technical School in Tirana, on the same path that Harry Fultz followed; the full formation of young people and their contribution to the development of modern Albania.