Moodubelle: Brief history of fifty golden years of St. Lawrence High School - Part-III

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By Dr. Eugene D’Souza

Part-III: Towards expansion and achievement of excellence



Moodubelle, 26 December 2009: With a strong foundation and gradual progress of St. Lawrence High School and PU College, the expansion of the institution and striving towards achieving excellence in academics, sports and other activites became the goal of  the Correspondents, Principals, teachers and students. Since Fr. Paul Sequeira became the Principal of St. Lawrence PU College in 2003, in collaboration with the Correspondents, he has been working towards the expansion of curricular and co-curricular activities of the institution and also expanding the infrastructural facilities to the benefit of the students by providing laboratories, an improved and extended playground, sanitary blocks and provision for midday meal.

Following the retirement of John Menezes, Fr. Paul Sequeira, who had been a lecturer of English in St. Lawrence PU College since 2002, was appointed as the Principal from 1st January 2003. He has been a forward looking and dynamic personality and had the good opportunity of being the Principal during the tenure of Fr. Charles Lewis, Fr. Valerian D’Souza and presently Fr. Joswey Fernandes.

The circle was complete when  Fr. Valerian D’Souza, who was the Assistant Parish Priest while the high school was in its infancy and who had worked along with the parishioners during the ‘sarthi’ for the removal of the hillock in front of the school, came back  to Moodubelle after many years as the Parish Priest and Correspondent in May 2003. The chief achievements of Fr. Valerian in Moodubelle were the construction of an entirely new church in honour of the patron saint of the village, St. Lawrence, the shrine of St. Lawrence, the Presbytery and the English Medium School building. The large and beautifully constructed church is the testimony of Fr. Valerian’s vision and the generosity of the people of Moodubelle. He also asphalted the road connecting the church with the College-High School Complex.

As the Correspondent of the St. Lawrence group of educational institutions, Fr. Valerian provided a separate and well equipped Principal’s office, water taps for washing hands and plates before and after the midday meal for the students and a cycle shed. During the Silver Jubilee of the Pre University College, other infrastructural facilities such as a better staff room for the Pre University lecturers and a resting room and the office of the College-High School were renovated, compound wall till the playground was constructed, the main Pre University College building was given a face-lift and a garden at the entrance of the College was laid.

Realising the importance of the Computer education to the students, Fr. Valerian provided computers for the newly set up computer laboratory in the Pre University College. He was instrumental in persuading the Syndicate Bank to open a branch in Moodubelle near the College Complex. During the tenure of Fr. Valerian as the Correspondent, the Science Section in the Pre University College was started in 2008 as a memorial of the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Pre University College. For the future development of the institution, Fr. Valerian purchased 1.35 acres of land towards the west of the high school building which will be used for sports facilities.

As the principal of St. Lawrence PU College and the High School, Fr. Paul Sequeira took efforts in improving discipline in these educational institutions. He endeavoured to enhance the quality of education by organizing seminars and workshops in the College and sending the teachers and lecturers to attend various conferences and workshops conducted at other places. Even students were deputed to other educational institutions to participate in seminars and competitions.  In order to have proper coordination between the teachers and parents, Fr. Paul started the Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) in 2005. Similarly, to promote the interaction between the past students of the PU College and the High School, Fr. Paul revived the Old Students’ Association in the same year.

One of the significant achievements of Fr. Paul as the Principal has been the starting the midday meal for the PU College and High School students with the initiative of the Lions Club of Moodubelle that sponsored the project for one year. Thereafter, the midday meal programme has been conducted by the college-school management and the staff. Since two years, the Karnataka State Government has been providing grants for the midday meal of the high school students, whereas the PU College students pay a nominal fee for their meals.

In order to develop moral fabric of the students and promote their hidden talents of the Pre University students, Fr. Paul started Moral Science classes and Cultural Activity classes (CA classes). To expose the students to computer literacy, he introduced the computer course on voluntary basis which was later made compulsory to all the students-both PUC and high school. With the help of the Syndicate Bank, he made arrangement for 600 chairs and a TV set for the students. He also secured a Xerox machine for the institution which was sponsored by the Karnataka Bank. The students were provided public phone facility within the campus so that they were not required to go out for communicating with their parents or guardians during emergencies. The students were also provided with water purifiers in order to have safe drinking water.

Fr. Paul Sequeira was instrumental in starting the National Service Scheme (NSS) and Ecological Club for the Pre University students and Scouts and Guides for the high school students. In order to develop various physical and mental faculties of the students, Fr. Paul has been encouraging them to learn Karate, Yakshagana, Bharata Natyam and English Speaking.

During the principalship of Fr. Paul, the hall on the first floor of the Pre University College building was converted into laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Computer Course. The entire re-arrangement of these laboratories was done under the guidance of Fr. Arun Mendonca.

Not only in academics but also in sports and cultural activities, the students of the college and the high school have achieved great success at the district and the State level. This year (2009-2010) two students of the PU College, Divya and Vidyashree participated in the State level Volleyball tournament as the members of the Udupi District team. In the Brain Quest competition, the high school team was the champion in 2006. In the inter-school Udupi Zonal Pratibha Karanji competition, the students of the high school secured third position competing even with English medium students. The 10th standard student of the high school secured third position at the district level debating competition. In 2006, the result of the PU classes was 99 per cent and St. Lawrence PU College stood first in the Catholic Board of education and second in the Udupi District.  Leston Cornelio stood first in the Catholic Board of Education and 4th in the Udupi District.

During the present tenure of Fr. Paul as the Principal, the Silver Jubilee of the Pre University College was celebrated in 2006 on a grand scale. This year the responsibility of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the St. Lawrence High School is also on his shoulder.

Following the retirement of Fr. Valerian D’Souza, Fr. Joswey Fernandes took up the charge of the Moodubelle Parish as the Parish Priest and Correspondent in 2008. With the reputation as the Manager of the Diocesan Kodialbail Press for ten years and as the builder of the new Church of St. Lawrence at Attur, Karkala and the organizer of the celebration of the bi-centenary of the foundation of the same Church, Fr. Joswey Fernandes has vast experience in various fields.

As the Correspondent, Fr. Joswey took keen interest in the progress of the educational institutions of the parish. The planning of the Golden Jubilee programmes was done under his Presidentship. Under his guidance the main hall of the institution was renovated as the Memorial of the Golden jubilee of  St. Lawrence High School. The renovation of the High school staff room, new computer laboratory for the PUC and high school students and a provision of a generator to supply power to the laboratories while electricity fails, have been important achievements of Fr. Joswey Fernandes.

The Golden Jubilee celebrations of the St. Lawrence High School were inaugurated on 1st January 2009. As the Principal of St. Lawrence PU College and High School and as treasurer of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee, Fr. Paul has been busy in organizing various programmes throughout the year. He arranged a number of seminars to motivate the staff and the students to undertake the responsibilities associated with the celebration of the Golden Jubilee. Dr. P.V. Bhandary of Dr. A.V. Baliga Memorial Hospital at Doddanna Gudda, Udupi has adopted this institution for providing motivation and promoting mental health for the students and the staff.

As part of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of the St. Lawrence High School a number of academic, cultural and sporting activities were conducted throughout the year. The chief among them are: Creative Teaching Workshop for the teachers of the Udupi Taluka; Motivational Workshops by Dr. P.V. Bhandary; Inter-College and Schools Cultural Competitions; Spreading awareness among the students about the snakes during the Vanamahotsava celebration; and the organization of the Inter-PU College Sports Meet of the Udupi Taluka South Zone in the month of October 2009.

In order to provide better playground and promote athletics, field and court games, the existing ground is being renovated and expanded and additional land has been acquired where the work of levelling the ground and laying out courts for different games is going on with full speed. Water harvesting facility has been provided by covering the old well in the corner of the playground and making provision to drain the rain water into the hollow well.

As part of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of St. Lawrence High School, Fr.Paul has set up two funds. One fund is meant for providing financial help to the needy and poor students. The target of this fund is five lac rupees, the interest of which will be utilized to help the poor and needy students. The Old Students Association along with the Parents-Teachers Association has already contributed one lac rupees for this fund by staging a Tulu play on 21st November 2009. The other fund is the Endowment Prize Fund in memory of each of the Correspondents, Head Masters, Principals and teaching and non-teaching staff. Fr. Paul said that a number of old students have already contributed Rs.25,000/- each  to constitute the Endowment Prize Fund in memory of their favourite Correspondent, Head Master, Principal or Teacher.

It is a coincidence that Fr. Joswey is the Correspondent of  St. Lawrence High School as it celebrates the Golden Jubilee and will be the guiding light during the celebration of the centenary of the foundation of St. Lawrence Church at Moodubelle. Fr. Joswey has been a great pillar of strength for Fr. Paul who has been working hard as the Principal of St. Lawrence PU College and High School to see that various programmes scheduled for the Golden Jubilee year of St. Lawrence High School are properly conducted. 

The present student strength of St. Lawrence High School is 261 and staff strength is 9. The St. Lawrence PU College has a total strength of 318 students and 15 staff members. The non-teaching staff in the institution is 6.

The Golden Jubilee Celebration of St. Lawrence High school has been scheduled for three days-28th, 29th and 30th December 2009. During these three days eminent personalities will be attending various programmes to honour the past and present Correspondents, Head Masters, Principals, teachers and members of the non-teaching staff, parents and old students. The Golden Jubilee Function on 28th December 2009 will be presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, the Bishop of Mangalore. Get together of old students, fun games, felicitation programmes and cultural bonanza have been planned during these three days which would be attended by thousands of parishioners, guests from other parishes, old and present students, their parents, donors, guests and many others.

While celebrating this great event of Golden Jubilee of St. Lawrence High School, that was founded fifty years ago, let us not forget the founders of this great institution, Fr. Abundius D’Souza and all those who supported the idea to have a high school in Moodubelle. We cannot forget the efforts taken by Fr. Theodore Lobo in the collection of funds and working personally at the construction site of the high school building; Fr. Valerian D’Souza who worked with the parishioners during the ‘sarthis’; all those who donated whatever they could from money to rice and paddy and those who rendered voluntary service (sarthi) for nearly two years so that the high school would have a decent playground.

It is our bounden duty to remember with respect all the successive Correspondents who provided excellent infrastructure to the High School-PU College Complex, all those Head Masters and Principals who administered these institutions with discipline and foresight, the teachers who provided  the knowledge and transformed the lives of thousands of students, members of the non-teaching staff who assisted in running these institutions smoothly and all the old students who have the sweet memories and interest of these institutions deep in their heart and all the parishioners and well wishers who have been supporting the noble cause of education through St. Lawrence  High School and PU College. May the Patron St. Lawrence bless these educational institutions and protect and guide them in future endeavours.

Bellevision, under the present President-Valerian Alva and former presidents along with its hundreds of members has been in the forefront in providing monetary support and wide publicity to the Golden Jubilee Celebration of St. Lawrence High School which has been the Alma Mater of most of its members. By publishing the profiles of some of the eminent past students and the brief history of  fifty golden years of St. Lawrence High School on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee, Bellevision has tried to repay a bit of the debt of this great institution. Bellevision congratulates Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the Correspondent, Fr. Paul Sequeira, the Principal and the Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee, the teaching and non-teaching staff, the present students and the parish community for organizing this great event and wishes great success to the Three Days Golden Jubilee Celebrations on 28th, 29th and 30th of December 2009.  

Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle

(In writing this ‘Brief History of Fifty Golden Years of St. Lawrence High School-Moodubelle”,   i have been greatly helped by Fr. Paul Sequeira, who not only provided me necessary input but also took me to meet a number of elderly persons who were present while St. Lawrence High School was founded and those who contributed by voluntary labour (sarthi). I gathered a lot of information through my interaction with them. While expressing my gratitude to all these volunteers, i am extremely grateful to Fr. Paul for the encouragement that he gave me for writing this history. I am also indebted to my past teachers-Sadananda, Benny and Willie Masters and also Albert Noronha, the retired member of the non-teaching staff for the valuable information that they had provided me in reconstructing the history of the high school. I am also thankful to Padmanabha Nayak, the retired high school teacher, Charles Quadros, who presently works in the PU College office, and my old friend, Victor Castelino, whose articles gave me an insight into the history of St. Lawrence High School. Finally, I wish to thank the Bellevision for giving me an opportunity to present the history of St. Lawrence High School on their website-Bellevision.Com)


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