St. Lawrence High School, Moodubelle: A Journey Through 60 Years of Education - Part II


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By Dr. Eugene DSouza
Bellevision Media Network

Towards Greater Progress:

St. Lawrence High School, Moodubelle that was started in 1959 under the leadership of Fr. Abundius D’Souza, built with the sweat, labour and donations of the people and ably guided by the experienced headmasters and teachers  was progressing successfully towards providing quality education to the students of Belle and surrounding villages up to SSLC. After the transfer of Fr. Abundius D’Souza, the founder and Correspondent of St. Lawrence High School, Fr. V.G.F. Rego took up the charge of the school as the headmaster and also carried on his pastoral responsibilities as the parish priest of St. Lawrence Church, Moodubelle in 1969. He served the institution and the parish till 1976.

 

Fr. Alexander Lobo was the next visionary who took up the responsibility of the parish of Moodubelle as the parish priest and the Head Master of St. Lawrence High School in 1976. Realising the need to expand on what was built by his predecessors, Fr. Alexander Lobo thought in terms of providing a Junior College for the students of the high school and of other high schools in the neighbourhood for continuing their education after the SSLC rather than seeking admission to PUC in Junior Colleges of distant places such as Shirva, Udupi or Kallianpur.

 

 

Fr. Alexander Lobo secured the necessary permission for the Pre University College from Bishop of Mangalore Dr. Basil D’Souza in July 1981 and started the Pre University classes in the same year. Meanwhile, he extended the facilities for the institution by providing a hall and a stage for performing cultural programmes and plays. Another important achievement of Fr. Alexander Lobo was that he succeeded in having St. Lawrence High School, Moodubelle as an examination centre for the SSLC students, who otherwise had to  travel to colleges in Udupi to appear for this examination. For his contribution in the field of education, Fr. Alexander Lobo was honoured by the Karnataka State Government by conferring on him the prestigious ‘Rajya Prashasthi’ Teachers’ Award on the occasion of the Rajyotsva.

 

Another innovative measure undertaken by Fr. Alexander Lobo was the facility that he provided for the SSLC students in the school during the night time for study. He was aware of the problems faced by the students while studying at home. Hence, he persuaded the parents to send their children to school in the evening for additional coaching and study who continued practicing their lessons even during the night. Fr. Lobo provided these students simple dinner and breakfast in the morning. Due to these measures, the SSLC results of St. Lawrence High school began to improve. It was chiefly due to the efforts of Fr. Alexander Lobo that St. Lawrence High School was granted permanent recognition by the government in 1979.  

 

In 1983, Fr. Alexander Lobo was transferred to the Rosario High school, Mangalore and Fr. Marian Pinto from Rosario came to Moodubelle as the next Principal of St. Lawrence PU College (1983-1984) and Fr. Harold Menezes was appointed as the Parish Priest and Correspondent of educational institutions. During their tenure, the Silver Jubilee of St. Lawrence High School was celebrated with great success in 1984. On this occasion the foundation stone for the Silver Jubilee Memorial Building, that is, the present Pre University College Building was laid by Rev. Dr. A.F. D’Souza, then the Vicar General of Mangalore Diocese on 12 January 1984. Fr. Harold Menezes completed construction of the ground floor of the present Pre University College.

 

 

 

In 1984, Mr. John Menezes who was a lecturer in St. Mary’s PU College, Shirva was appointed as the Principal of St. Lawrence PU College and  St. Lawrence High School. He served these institutions for the longest period of 18 years under the guidance and direction of  successive Correspondents:  Fr. Harold Menezes, Fr. Joseph John Saldanha and Fr. Charles Lewis.

 

 

Fr. J.J. Saldanha provided a hall on the first floor of the Pre University College Building. His other contribution towards the infrastructure of the institution include-toilet block for the high school students (boys) and provision of drinking water facilities.

 

 

Following the transfer of Fr. J.J.  Saldanha, Fr. Charles Lewis became the parish priest and the Correspondent. He was a soft-spoken and holy priest who continued to work for the progress of the institutions. Realising the growing importance of the English language in the age of liberalization and globalization, Fr. Charles Lewis started  St. Lawrence English Medium School in Moodubelle. He also constructed  the residence for the priests and also the parish hall.

 

 

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 of St. Lawrence Composite PU College from 1 January 2003. He had the good opportunity of being the Principal during the tenures of Fr. Charles Lewis, Fr. Valerian D’Souza and 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 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.

 

 

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 is being used for sports facilities.

 

Fr. Paul Sequeira


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  Sequeira 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. 

 

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 he  encouraged them to learn Karate, Yakshagana, Bharata Natyam and English speaking.

 

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 had vast experience in various fields.

 

Fr. Joswey Fernandes


As the Correspondent, Fr. Joswey took keen interest in the progress of the educational institutions of the parish. During his tenure as the Correspondent, the Golden Jubilee of St. Lawrence High School was celebrated in the last week of December 2009. 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 failed, had been the  important achievements of Fr. Joswey Fernandes. 

 

Golden Jubilee Celebration-December 2009:

The Golden Jubilee Celebration of St. Lawrence High school was held on three days: 28, 29 and 30 December 2009. Prior to the evening function, the three-day golden jubilee programme began with the solemn thanksgiving mass with Fr Wilson LV D’Souza, secretary of the Catholic Board of Education as the chief celebrant at 9 am. 

 

The golden jubilee inaugural function was preceded by a grand and colourful procession of students, teachers, villagers and guests from the Church Higher Primary School ground to St Lawrence High School, that proceeded through the main road and church compound.

 

Commodore Jerome Castelino(VSM) retired Naval Officer hoisted the school flag, thus inaugurating officially the three-day Golden Jubilee celebrations of St. Lawrence High School. Soon after, Fr Wilson L V  D’Souza, inaugurated the expanded and renovated playground, The inaugural programme in the college hall was presided over by Fr Wilson L V D’Souza. Following the welcome address by the principal, Fr Paul Sequeira, prizes were distributed to the high school and PU college students for their achievements in academics, co-curricular and sports activities  by Commodore Jerome Castelino and Fr Wilson D’Souza respectively.

 

 

Following the opening ceremony of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of St Lawrence High School in the morning, the main function was held at 5.30 pm in the evening of 28 December 2009, which was presided over by Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore. The Chief Guest of the function was Lalaji R Mendon, MLA representing Kaup constituency.

 

After the formal welcome by Fr Joswey Fernandes, correspondent of St Lawrence Educational Institutions, the Golden Jubilee function was inaugurated by Lalaji R Mendon by lighting a few of the fifty lamps that were arranged in circular forms to indicate the 50 years of St Lawrence High School, Moodubelle’s service to the people. Dr Aloysius P. D’Souza unveiled the portrait of late Fr Abundius D’Souza, founder of St Lawrence High School, and offered floral tributes, followed by other dignitaries.

 

Endowment prizes were distributed by Manjunathiah to meritorious students of SSLC and PUC classes, who had scored highest marks in their respective public examinations and those students who had excelled in extra-curricular activities and sports. Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza inaugurated the Endowment Prize Fund constituted to honour and perpetuate the memory of the founder, correspondents, head masters, principals and the members of the teaching and non-teaching staff. All those persons, who had sponsored the Endowment Prize Fund and had donated generously for the Golden Jubilee Fund, were felicitated and honoured. Here a special mention may be made to the highest donation of five lacs of rupees made by William Aranha from Canada and the Bellevision (UAE).

 

 

The second day of the three days celebrations on 29 December 2009 was observed as ‘Guruvandana’ that was devoted to remember and honour all those Correspondents, Head Masters, Principals and members of the Teaching and Non-teaching staff, both past and present for serving and nurturing St. Lawrence Educational Institutions with dedication and commitment. The Guruvandana programme was presided over by Rev. Dr. Baptist Menezes,  the then Episcopal Vicar of Udupi District.

 

Rev. Dr. Valerian D’Souza, popularly known as the ‘Builder of Modern Belle’ received the honour on behalf of all the Correspondents. On this occasion retired teachers and members of the non-teaching staff were felicitated.

 

Following the stage programme, the Pre University students presented verity entertainment programme with group singing, folk and group dances and skits. A special mention may be made of the tableau titled “Our School-Yesterday-today and tomorrow” depicting the story of the foundation of the High School, its progress and present developments in the year of the Golden Jubilee. Another tableau showed   the glory of Emperor Ashoka the Great, the Kalinga War and his conversion to Buddhism.

 

 

30 December 2009 was celebrated as ‘Alumni and Parent-Teachers Association Day’. In the morning there was a get-together of the Old Students of the institution. The Old Students participated in varieties of ’fun games’ and had a gathering in the newly renovated St. Lawrence PU College hall where they expressed their feelings about their alma mater and exchanged ideas.

 

 

Fr. Joswey Fernandes presided over the function of the ‘Alumni and Parent-Teachers Association Day’ celebration in the evening. Rev. Sr. Eugene D’Souza, General, Holy Cross Sisters Chavanod, Switzerland and an Old Student of St. Lawrence High School was the chief guest. 

 

Rev. Sr. Eugene D’Souza in her address as the chief guest recalled her student years in the high school and said that there was close relation between the teachers and the students. She said that the teachers were dedicated, hard working and sacrificing. Along with studies, Sr. Eugene claimed that she caught values in the high school which influenced her to join the religious congregation. She was happy to return to her Alma Mater on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

 

As it was Old Students’ and Parent-Teachers Day, the past students who had shown merit and excellence in the field of their choice, all the top scorers in the SSLC examinations from 1962 to 2008 and few parents were felicitated. 

 

 

On this occasion the upgraded version of Bellevision.com website was inaugurated by Philip Mudartha.

 

As part of entertainment, the old students of St. Lawrence High School presented a Musical Concert and also a Tulu melodrama “Panande Padhrad”. 

 

St. Lawrence High School From 2009 to 2019:

During the academic year 2011-2012, as per the directives of the Education Department, the High School section was bifurcated from the PUC section, thus recognizing the High School as an independent unit. Under these circumstances, the senior most teacher of St. Lawrence High School, Mrs. Hilda Aranha took charge as the headmistress of the institution. After the retirement of Mrs. Hilda Aranha, Mrs. Sarojini D. Kamath became the headmistress of the school fro a brief period of three months. She was followed by Srinivas Ballal as headmaster for a period of five months. After the retirement of Srnivas Ballal, Mrs. Leena D’Silva succeeded as headmistress from 2015 to 2018. Following the retirement of Mrs. Leena D’Silva, Mrs. Sunitha Kamath took charge as the headmistress who still continues to head St. Lawrence High School.

 

                                  

                                               Mrs. Hilda Aranha                                      Mrs. Sarojini Kamath                                                                                                   

During the decade following the Golden Jubilee celebration, a number of developments have taken place in St. Lawrence High School. In 2013, Karnataka State level PUC girls’ National Service Scheme (NSS) Camp was held with the cooperation of St. Lawrence High School from 4 to 11 November. 

 

Srinivas Ballal


Mrs. Leena D’Silva


On the occasion of the Centenary celebration of Church Aided Higher Primary School St. Lawrence High School organized  Udupi Taluk level  Pratibha Karanji on 6 and 7 December 2013.

 

Mrs. Sunitha Kamath


Following the transfer of Fr. Joswey Fernandes in 2015, Fr. Clement Mascarenhas took charge as the parish priest of St. Lawrence Church and Correspondent of St. Lawrence Educational Institutions. Having served in various educational institutions as headmaster, and having been the Secretary of the Catholic Education Society of Udupi (CESU), Fr. Clement Mascarenhas has vast knowledge and experience in running educational institutions. 

 

Fr. Clement Mascarenhas


One of the greatest achievements of St. Lawrence High School was the successful organization of Udupi District level athletic competition for high school students on 9,10 and 11 October 2017. 

 

 

 

 

With the efforts and perseverance of teachers and students the results of St. Lawrence High School in SSLC  used to be above 85 percent from 2009 to 2018. In 2019 out of 39 students who had appeared for the SSLC examination, 38 were successful thus registering 97.5 percent result which was a great achievement. 

 

In order to provide a spacious hall for the parishioners for various functions and to the educational institutions for different programmes, Fr. Clement Mascarenhas took up the leadership of constructing St. Lawrence Community Hall which is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the Church-School Complex.

 

While celebrating this great event of Diamond Jubilee of St. Lawrence High School, Moodubelle that was founded sixty 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. 

 

Dr. Eugene D’Souza





Comments on this Article
Maurice Menezs, Belle/Udupi Tue, January-7-2020, 12:28
Congratulations dear friend Eugene You have very lucidly written 60 years history of developments of St Lawrence Church and its Educational institutions at Belle under able leadership and vivid contributions by its Priests and Parishioners. God bless you.
Ronald Sabi, Moodubelle Sun, December-15-2019, 1:15
Thank you Dr. Eugene for the both Part I 2. Very informative and nicely compiled article. A ready history for the reference of present and future generation.
Norbert, Mangalore Thu, December-12-2019, 6:25
Congratulations Dr Eugene Sir for elucidating the history of St Lawrence High school so meticulously in detail along with relevant pictures. A nostalgic recall of the past.
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