The institution of St. Mary’s High School (S.S.C.) has become a part of our lives and has a glorious history. How did it all begin?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ST.MARY’S (S.S.C.) SCHOOL:
Source: A history of St. Mary’s by Fr.J.H.Gense S.J.
First existed the church of St. Annes in Nesbit Lane named after the generous Armenian lady, Mrs. Rose Nesbit, who built it in 1787; originally as a chapel. Soon a school was built too and side by side existed for 196 years, though the school became St. Mary’s Institution much later, in 1864 about the same time James Clerk Maxwell discovered electromagnetic radiation, often called the greatest discovery in Physics in the nineteenth century. Maxwell did for electromagnetic radiation what Newton did for gravity – gave science mathematical tools of natural force!
St. Mary’s Schools (S.S.C. and I.C.S.E.) are run by the Jesuit fathers and brothers. This Catholic religious order called “The Society of Jesus” was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola in Europe in 1540. Jesuit education draws its inspiration from the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. More particularly it is based on the ideas of St. Ignatius of Loyola which gives education it’s distinctively Jesuit stamp.
In 1930 , St. Mary’s Institution consisted of 2 schools in one house, and administration of the European and Indian sections with 14 classes was a nightmare for its headmaster. The Inspector of European schools remarked cryptically: ”The 2 schools in one building ,should become one school in 2 buildings”
Formation of St. Mary’s English Teaching School:
This was the original name of our school; now called St. Mary’s High School (SSC). The illustrious Fr. Domnic Berenguer S.J. (1927-1933) who was Rector got a brainwave. Around 1933 the old building called “Khusroo Lodge” fell vacant as the hostel for women it housed was shut down by the nuns. So Fr. Berenguer suggested 2 separate schools under one Rector – The European School with a boarding for Anglo-Indians (now called St. Mary’s School- ISCE) in the compound of St. Anne’s Church and the English Teaching School for Indians (now called St. Mary’s High school – S.S.C.) at Khusroo lodge.
a) The 2 schools have separate headmasters for efficient administration.
b) Less interference between schools allowing each to flourish on its own merits and talents.
c) No “over-crowding” or discrimination in the classes.
Fr. Berenguer’s idea was accepted and Khusroo lodge was altered on the double with long corridors and classrooms and by June 1933 the premises were ship shape. In October 1933 the “English Teaching School” was inaugurated solemnly by the Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University although the school already admitted students and opened earlier in June 1933. By December 1933, the Inspector of European Education, Mr. Hudson Davies secured for it the right to send up students for the Matriculate Examinations and thus it became a full-fledged high school.
It is hearting to note that in June 1933, Fr. T. Molina, headmaster of St. Mary’s European school, relinquished his post to take charge of St. Mary’s English Teaching School and this gesture laid to rest the misgivings of the Catholic Indian community that their children were being discriminated.
In their annual school report of 1935-1936 we are told St. Mary’s had a glorious total of 1000 students -520 in the English Teaching School and 480 in the European School. A thumping success as was remarked by Mr. Hudson Davies in his report: “I am very glad to see that this year the school has managed to do so well and also break away from the European side and have a permanent home”
– condensed by Colin D’Souza