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Medhane Alem School was founded by His imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I. It was the fourth modern school after Menilik II, Teferi Mekonnen and Empress Mennen School for Girls. It opened its doors as a boarding school, on Tikimt 27 1924 E.C. (October 17 1931) for 85 orphans to pursue academic and vocational training. The then famous architect, Lij Hailemariam Gezmu, was appointed as the first principal of the school. There were five Ethiopian, four French teachers and a large contingent of auxiliary staff.In September 1926 E.C. the school accepted additional students. The student population grew from 85 to 360. According to the lone surviving student among the first 85 students, Ato Belachew Gezmu, the school was named