Mangaluru: The Management, staff members and students of St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School here marked their centenary celebrations with a colorful and glittering cultural programme comprising of songs, music, dance and a meaningful tableau, on 2 December at Lourdes Central School Ground. Prior to this formal function, a thanksgiving Eucharistic celebration was held at 9am at St Francis Xavier Church, with Rev Fr Alwyn D’Cunha -parish Priest of Infant Mary Church, Katipalla as the main celebrant. The mass was followed by flag hoisting and prize distribution at 10am, with Hilda Clementina Pinto-ECO as chief guest. As part of the centenary celebration programmes which kicked of on 15 August 2015, the centenary celebrations committee had also organized Cricket and Throwball tournaments for the Old Students on 15 November 2015; Free Yoga classes for the public from 16-24 November; and “Swacchatha Abhinayana’ on 17 Nov. Also Yoga training for all the Bejai School, and nearby Lourdes High School students on 24 and 25 Nov. by Yoga Guru M Jagadish Shetty.
The year 1915 St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School (then recognized by the Madras Presidency as a Lower elementary school), now popularly known as “Bejai School” opened its door to educate the students and make them start a new career in their lives- and today I join you all in celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of this prestigious school managed by the Priests of St Francis Xavier Church-Bejai. The school that fosters and values initiative amongst its pupils, which had 112 students when it first opened its doors in 1915, now has 215 students (117 boys/98 girls), with eight teaching staff ( three government paid/other five funded by the management). With St Francis Xavier as its Patron and with the motto “Lucem Spero” (It is Light I Hope For), St Francis Xavier Hr Pry School which is very well known for its ideology of religious tolerance, should attain a special place in district’s education map.
Several generations of students have spent their formative years in this School, carried their future education and have gone on to make their mark in the worlds of business, public service, education, health, law and in so many other areas, in the process making enormously valuable contributions to our economy, our community life, and our progression as a society. Many well known people have passed through this school and have acknowledged benefiting from the holistic education they received here and from an environment which encourages every girl/boy to realise her possibilities and reach her full potential. The pupils are very fortunate to benefit from a school and dedicated staff that continues to take a holistic approach to the education of its students, integrating the social, personal and academic aspects of educational provision. And during the centenary celebration on 2 December, the past and present students and teachers of this prestigious school joined together and marked the historic 100 years of St Francis Xavier Hr Pry School in retrospect.
The celebration began with escorting the various dignitaries of the function to the venue, followed by a prayer song invoking God’s blessings. After the welcome dance, the dignitaries were escorted to the dais, followed by welcome address by Lona Rodrigues-the Headmistress of the School. The audience was predominantly of mixed citizens comprising of parents, teachers, nuns, priests, adults and kids. The school children gave mesmerizing performances which received loud applauds from the audience- no doubt the entire cultural programme to mark the centenary celebrations of their great school was simply amazing and awesome. Three cheers to the organizers and the teachers who had put all their efforts in arranging a fabulous extravaganza.
The programme was inaugurated by lighting the traditional lamp by Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza- Bishop of Mangaluru along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- MLA J R Lobo, MLC Ivan D’Souza, MCC Mayor Jacintha Alfred, Rev Fr Jerald D’Souza-Secretary-CBE, Rev Sr Rita Vas-Provincial superior UFS, Rev Fr Robert D’Souza-Principal, Lourdes Central school, Michael Fernandes- Ex MLA, EX-MLC, Nagaraj Shetty-Ex MLA, Lancelot Pinto-Prakash Salian-Roopa D Bangera-all MCC corporators, Venkatakrishna-senior lawyer High Court, Nirmal D’Souza-Vice president of PPP, Charlotte Patrao-Secretary,PPP, Gilbert Vas-President-SVP,Bejai; Jagadish Shetty-VP of centenary Committee, and many others.
The centenary souvenir was released by the Bishop, followed by felicitations of various dignitaries. Ex-Correspondent Rev Fr Godfrey Saldanha was felicitated, followed by felicitations of retired Headmistresses namely- Lilly Pinto, Nelly Tauro, Catherine D’Souza, Vivian Lasrado, Lidwin D’Almeida, Concepta Noronha, Precilla Rodrigues- and the present Headmistress Lona Rodrigues. Jagadish Shetty-VP of the centenary committee was also felicitated for his dedication and commitment to the project. MLA JR Lobo, MLC Ivan D’Souza, Mayor Jacintha Alfred, Rev Fr Jerald D’Souza and others speaking during the occasion complimented the school management and staff for their glorious 100 years in nurturing the students with the best education, qualities and manners. EX-MLA/MLC and old student of this school, Michael Fernandes (brother of politician George Fernandes) while addressing the gathering and recalling his happy days as a student of SFXHP school, proudly announced his contribution of Rs 21 lakhs towards the school development and other benefits.
Addressing the august gathering Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza said, ” It is indeed a proud moment today while this school is celebrating 100 years, where thousands of students have exited through this school and are in better positions throughout the nation and world. We need to compliment and show our gratitude to the management and staff of this school for providing wide range of extra-curricular activities which is impressive. Meanwhile, the strong focus on the care and support of all students and on providing a positive learning environment allows pupils to develop into well-rounded young people prepared to face life with confidence; a confidence that the values which they have embraced, and the skills and knowledge which they have acquired, will equip them well in building their future lives”.
“It should be noted that the school accepts pupils without any discrimination of caste, creed and gender, and they offer free education-with a aim to train, teach these 215 children to be the future responsible citizens of India. The most important person in a school is the teacher-A teacher’s role involves more than simply standing in front of a classroom and lecturing. In fact, even though a teacher spends the majority of the day in the classroom, the actual teaching component is only part of the job. An effective teacher understands that teaching involves wearing multiple hats to ensure that the school day runs smoothly and all students receive a quality education and good manners” added the Bishop.
He concluded his speech saying, ” Teachers also design lesson plans to teach the standards and provide engaging activities, while taking into account each student’s interests and instructional needs. Perhaps the most important roles teachers fill involve interacting with students, They are chaperone’s at school functions and coaches of school sports. That’s what the teachers of SFXHP school have been doing all these years. Therefore, all those who have been touched, inspired and cared by these SFXHPS should express our thanks and gratitude to them for helping shape our ideals and beliefs. They taught us to respect our elders, practice self-control, diagram sentences, memorize poems, genuflect in Church, say our prayers, reflect about our lives, “what we did, what we should have done and what we failed to do” and how to clap erasers and carry our books and bags to the school”.
Speaking to mangalorean.com, Ronald Fernandes-Bejai, a old student of SFXHP school and also ardent reader of our website sharing his thoughts on his Alma mater said, ” Being one of the centenary committee members I feel proud to be an old student of this school, where I attended early schooling here. The education what I received from the teachers here has made me what I am now. You don’t have to get education only from English medium schools to be successful in life- many of the ex-students who have passed out from this school have become leaders, politicians, judges, lawyers, doctors, sportsmen, journos etc. No name a few- renowned orthopaedic surgeon Dr Nodu Subraya Bhat, Ex MLA/MLC Michael Fernandes, Venkatakrishna-Senior lawyer High Court-they all attribute their success and achievement in their lives to this school. Long live St Francis Xavier Higher Primary school-Bejai for more centuries in nurturing the students with the best education, qualities and manners”.
Prizes were distributed to the winners in various competitions held during the centenary celebrations, and donors were offered mementos for their support and encouragement to the school. Ex-Headmistress Precilla Rodrigues proposed the vote of thanks, while SFXHP school teachers Nirmala Sylvia D’Souza and Felcy D’Almeida compered entire formal programme very professionally with a few thoughtful punchlines. Team Mangalorean feels proud to be associated with this memorable event as media support and giving wide coverage during the celebrations. The programme ended with a colorful and meaningful tableau depicting the “Life of St Francis Xavier and the birth of this school” performed by the hundreds of the school children-Kudos to the choreographer Vinod Gangolly .
In conclusion, You too will leave this school and go out into the world to place your unique mark on your communities and societies. My wish for you is that, like the generations that have gone here before you, most of you will look back on your days in St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School with great gratitude and affection. In years to come you may not remember all of the mathematical theorems that you learnt here, or the other subject, but you will remember the friendships, the support and the security that came with knowing you were part of the St Francis Xavier family.
Wherever you may find yourselves in the world in future years, you will always remain connected in a profound way to the people you share this hall with today; the people who have played such a significant part in your formative years and who will remain central to your memories of the place you will always think of as ‘your’ school. Finally, to the past headmistresses/teachers and the present HM Lona rodrigues and teachers who taught/teach their students back in the “good old days/and present,” and also for their other services, they deserve our “thank you” and “God’s blessings.”
Therefore, all those who have been touched, inspired and cared by the management of this school should express your thanks and gratitude to them for helping shape your ideals and beliefs. They taught you to respect your elders, practice self-control, diagram sentences, memorize poems, genuflect in Church, say your prayers, reflect about your lives, “what you did, what you should have done and what you failed to do” and how to clap erasers and carry your books and bags to the school. Don’t forget your Alma Mater- support in whichever way you can, you will be blessed.
In conclusion, to the present students, You too will leave this school sooner or later and go out into the world to place your unique mark on your communities and societies. My wish for you is that, like the generations that have gone here before you, most of you will look back on your days in St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School with great gratitude and affection. In years to come you may not remember all of the mathematical theorems that you learnt here, or the other subject, but you will remember the friendships, the support and the security that came with knowing you were part of the St Francis Xavier family.
Wherever you may find yourselves in the world in future years, you will always remain connected in a profound way to the people you share this hall with today; the people who have played such a significant part in your formative years and who will remain central to your memories of the place you will always think of as ‘your’ school. Finally, to the priests, nuns and teachers who taught their students back in the “good old days,” and also for their other services, they deserve a big “thank you” .
Happy 100th Birthday wishes to St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School-Bejai from Team Mangalorean. We also wish the present headmistress Lona Rodrigues and the bevy of teachers all success in the years to come. Long live St Francis Xavier Higher Primary School!
Long live St FrancisXavier Higher Primary school-Bejai.