St. Lawrence English Medium school Moodubelle: Reaching the peak of its natural growth

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Report and Pictures by Dr. Eugene D’Souza, Moodubelle
Bellevision Media Network

Moodubelle, 05 April 2010: During the academic year 2010-2011, the St. Lawrence English Medium School will reach the peak of its natural growth as the students in the present 9th standard will step in to the final class (SSLC) in the high school section during the next academic year 2010-2011 from June 2010. As this English Medium School was started with noble ideals and nurtured by the successive Correspondents, headmasters, teachers, parents and most importantly the students, it deserves the support and encouragement from one and all.

The last decade of the twentieth century witnessed a phenomenon known as liberalization and globalization with the government of India initiating the economic liberalisation. By this bold step of the government,  India came to be integrated with the world market and opportunities became available to those Indians who had better education and a grasp of the English language. With the passage of time people began to realise the importance of education through English medium as those who studied in English medium schools and colleges had better avenues of employment in multi-national companies and elsewhere.

There were few English medium schools in the neighbourhood of Moodubelle, in Shirva and Udupi. However, hardly any parent could send their children to these schools due to difficulties involved in travelling vast distances and cost involved in educating a child in English medium school. Moreover, such a need was not felt as practically all the children from the village used to attend the Church Aided Higher Primary School and St. Lawrence High School which had Kannada as the medium of instruction.

Though few people were feeling  the need to provide their children with education in English medium, they did not have an opportunity in Moodubelle for this and few of them who could afford began to send their children to English medium schools in Udupi. There was no concerted effort by the people of Moodubelle to start an English medium school in the village itself.

Meanwhile, in 1997, Fr. Charles Lewis had arrived as the parish priest of Moodubelle. He was also the Correspondent of the Parish educational institutions. Realising the importance that the English medium education was gaining all around, Fr. Charles Lewis was surprised that no attempt was made to start an English medium school in Moodubelle and began to devise plans to start one. As Fr. Charles was all set to initiate the procedure to start the English medium school, unfortunately, he met with an accident on 22nd November 1998 and the idea of an English medium school temporarily received a setback.

Fr. Charles Lewis

In spite of the serious accident, Fr. Charles recovered within few months and once again began to work towards establishing an English medium school and requested the Bethany Sisters to commence the Lower Kindergarten (LKG) classes in the premises of their Convent from June 1999. Thus, St. Lawrence English Medium School in Moodubelle had its humble beginning in 1999. Next year, in 2000 the Bethany Sisters continued with the Upper KG. The responsibility of running these initial classes was shouldered by Sr. Johannes. However, after two years of the KG classes, the Bethany Sisters expressed their inability to continue the English medium School due to lack of resources.

Determined not to give up his pet project of the English medium school, Fr. Charles thought of shifting the classes to the first floor hall of St. Lawrence PU College. The then principal of the PU College, Mr. John Menezes was quite cooperative and from June 2001, the English medium school was housed in the premises of the PU College and according to Fr. Charles Lewis, the Principal and the staff of the High School and PU College were quite supportive of the arrangement.

While the English medium school was in its third year, that is, the first standard, Mrs. Anita D’Souza worked as both headmistress and teacher. Initially, the parents were quite inquisitive about the viability of the school and were quite apprehensive of its continuity. However, Fr. Charles assured them that he would see to it that there would be no problem and the school would continue. As Mrs. Anita D’Souza left the school for better prospects in 2002, Fr. Charles requested Sr. Johannes to take charge of the school as the headmistress.

Though Principal John Menezes and the staff of the High School and the PU College were cooperative and supportive of running the English medium school in their premises, the noisy atmosphere that was created by the tiny tots prompted the authorities to shift the English medium classes to the west-end wing of the higher primary section for few years. One or two classes were also held in the vacant classrooms in the high school.

Fr. Valerian D’Souza

In 2003, Fr. Charles Lewis was transferred to the newly constituted parish of Kuntalnagar and Fr. Valerian D’Souza took his place as the parish priest and the Correspondent. While Fr. Valerian arrived in Moodubelle, the English medium classes were still conducted in makeshift structure in the higher primary section and high school building. Realising the fact that in the course of the natural growth of the English medium school a separate school building would be necessary and to constitute St. Lawrence English Medium School as a separate entity that would attract parents to send their children to the English medium school, Fr. Valerian began constructing an entirely new  building on the plot to the west of the cemetery with some additional land acquired from the Bethany Convent. The foundation stone for the new building was laid in 2004 by Mr. Simon Noronha, proprietor of the  Pearl Press of Dubai who was a generous donor. The new school building took quite some time due to paucity of funds and the ground floor was eventually completed by June 2006 and the English medium classes up to 5th standard were shifted to the new school  building from the academic year 2006-07.

Meanwhile, following the transfer of Sr. Johannes to some other Convent, Fr. Valerian requested Mr. John Baptist Miranda who had retired as the principal of St. Mary’s Junior College Shirva to take up the charge of St. Lawrence English Medium School as the Principal from June 2005.

With the experience of successfully administering the Junior Colleges in Madanthyar and Shirva, Mr. John Miranda had good knowledge of administering educational institutions. Meanwhile, the government policies towards the English medium schools began to create problems.

Mr. John Miranda

As per the government rules and regulations, all the schools in the State of Karnataka were required compulsorily to teach in Kannada medium up to the fifth standard. All the managements of the English medium schools submitted a writ petition to the High Court against the  government directives following which the High Court issued a stay on the government order. The government went on appeal to the Supreme Court, which also upheld the High Court order. Hence, all the English medium schools that were established before 1995 were spared from the government order of teaching up to 5th standard in Kannada medium only. St. Lawrence High School that was founded after 1995 came under the strict rules of the government. However, there was no government objection to have English medium from 6th to 10th standard.

This was the period of uncertainty and doubt that prompted a number of parents to withdraw their children from the school and send them to those schools that were established before 1995 especially for the primary section. According to Mr. John Miranda, sometimes the officials from the education departments would swoop on the school and check whether the government rules regarding the medium of instruction in the primary section have been followed or not.

In spite of these difficulties, St. Lawrence English Medium School continued to make progress. All those parents who had faith in the intention of Correspondents, Principal and teachers continued to send their children to the school and new admissions to the lower classes did not cease. Meanwhile, the school acquired the necessary permission from education authorities, which had to be renewed every year. The permission for 1st to 5th standards was obtained from the Deputy Director of Public Instruction, Udupi; for 6th and 7th standards from Director of Higher Primary Education, Bangalore; and for 8th to 10th standards from Director of High School Education, Bangalore.

Mr. John Miranda was the Principal of St. Lawrence English medium School from 2005 to 2008. During this period he succeeded in streamlining the administration and academic and extracurricular activities of the school. He acquired certain number of books for the library, sports materials and cupboards. He also organised sports meet in the small ground in front of the school and other functions to give an experience to the teachers and students in organising programmes independently.

In 2008, Mrs. Lavina Barboza took charge of the school as the headmistress who continued for one year. From 2009 up to January 2010, the senior most teacher in the school, Mrs. Malathi A. was the in-charge headmistress. However, from 16th January 2010, Fr. Maxim D’Souza has taken over as the Principal of St. Lawrence English Medium School.

Mrs. Malathi A

In the course of time, besides good education, the school began to provide the students an opportunity to get training in extra-curricular activities such as Taramandala (Science Club), Jnana Surabhi, school band, karate training, Bharata Natyam, sports and other cultural activities. The school band trained by the band Master, Mr. Joseph Pinto from Udyavar has been the pride of the school. This band had given service during the Inter-PU College Taluk level sports meet held in the PU College ground in the month of October 2009. During all the three days of the Golden Jubilee celebration of St. Lawrence High School in the last week of December 2009,  the  English School  Band was at hand to ceremonially receive the chief guests. The band also rendered its service during the Regional Conference of the Lions Clubs held in Moodubelle on 14th February 2010. Besides, the senior boys from the school were trained by Commodore Jerome Castelino to give guard of honour to the chief guests during this occasion.

The students of St. Lawrence English Medium School have made a name in participating in various competitions and at the zonal, taluka, district and even state level. During 2009-10 Taluka level sports meet, Rovita of 8th standard stood first in the Discus Throw and Einstein secured third place in Long Jump at the Zonal level.

In science and mathematics competitions, the Science Club (Taramandala) team of the school performed considerably well at taluka, district and state levels.  Roslyn Menezes (7th Std.) obtained the third place at the Taluka level, Priyashree (7th Std.) secured fourth place at the State level and Deepashree (8th Std.) and Vikas Amin (9th Std.) gained 5th position at the District level.

The Jnana Surabhi team of the school also brought laurels to the school during the last year. Reema Mathias (3rd Std.) secured 10th position at the State level, Ashish Nayak (5th Std.) got 10th position at District level and Elston D’Souza (4th Std.), Reshma Mathias (5th Std.) and Gleson Lobo (6th Std,) secured first position at the School level.

At the Zonal level Pratibha Karanji competitions, the English Medium School students secured first position in National Anthem, First position in singing patriotic song and First position in the Kannada skit competition.

Fr. Maxim D’Souza, who has passed the B.Ed. examination with distinction, is the new Principal of St. Lawrence English Medium School. Fr. Maxim is young and dynamic and is clear in his views in taking the school to new heights in terms of quality education and overall development of the personality of the students. When I met him recently, Fr. Maxim said that inculcating discipline and values in order to train the students in achieving ‘noble maturity’ is his primary goal. According to him ‘noble maturity’ means the ability of a person to know how to behave at a particular given situation.

Fr. Maxim D’Souza

Fr. Maxim says that the education imparted to the students in the school should enable them to develop their inner qualities and talents. Education should be holistic and it should provide along with knowledge an opportunity for all round development of a student and enable him or her to grow as a fine human being and a responsible citizen of the country.

Other than the existing avenues that are available for the students to develop their talents such as Science Club, Bharata Natayam classes, band training, karate classes, etc. Fr. Maxim wants to provide other facilities to the students so that they can be fully prepared to meet the challenges of modern time. He intends to provide computer and English speaking classes to the students to develop their skills, School Parliament to develop their leadership qualities, civic sense and responsibilities aand debating club for the high school students to develop their oratory skills, promote confidence and logical thinking. In order to promote writing ability of the students, Fr. Maxim also has a plan to promote the Wallboard Magazine. Moreover, he wants the children to develop an interest in sports and games so that they can achieve full physical and mental maturity.

Fr. Joswey Fernandes, the Parish Priest and Correspondent is quite happy  that the English Medium School has been established in Moodubelle has provided an opportunity to the people of the village, especially from the middle and lower middle families to avail the facility of the English medium education for their children. He expressed satisfaction that the school will be reaching the apex of its natural growth with the present 9th standard students stepping into the 10th standard during the academic year 2010-2011.

Fr. Joswey Fernandes

Speaking further, Fr. Joswey said that it is not an easy task to run an English medium school without any grant from the government.  The parishioners and the generous donors have been supporting the school since its inception. There is a lot of competition in this field as there are a number of schools that have sprung up in different places. The quality of a school can be maintained by providing good infra structure, trained staff and other curricular and extra-curricular activities to the students. The construction of the first floor of the school building will be completed by May this year. There are already a number of extra-curricular activities in which the students have shown their interest and proficiency. Fr. Joswey further said that still more facilities such as computer education will be provided to the students.

Fr. Joswey expressed his happiness at the cooperation and support of the parents. He said that whenever meetings of the parents and teachers are convened, a large number of parents make it a point to attend these meetings and participate constructively in the deliberations during these meetings. They make useful suggestions to be considered by the school management.

For the growth of any educational institution the students are very important. If more and more students take admission in the school, it becomes more viable and can sustain itself without much outside support. Fr. Joswey says that the people of Moodubelle both in the village and abroad have been very supportive of St. Lawrence English Medium School. However, for the further progress and excellence many more things are to be done and the school entirely depends on the good will and support of the magnanimous people of Moodubelle.

As St. Lawrence English Medium School reaches the peak of its natural growth with the commencement of the 10th standard from the academic year 2010-2011, Bellevision wishes the school management, Principal, teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and students all the best and hope and pray that St. Lawrence, the patron saint of our parish will inspire and guide all those who are associated with the school in future as well.


Comments on this Article
Naveen shetty, moodubelle Thu, January-27-2011, 7:04
nice all the best
Sr.Viola A.C, Belle / Mangalore Sat, August-7-2010, 10:49
Congratulations!Happy to seemy native place rising to the zenith of success and development. All the best and good luck.
Ramesh S, Mumbai Wed, April-14-2010, 7:49
Good job .... Finally we have a modern and full fledged English medium. Wish you all the best sirs
leo, manipal Sat, April-10-2010, 4:10
can somebody please provide contact details of the school?
Edward Menezes, Bantakal/bahrain Tue, April-6-2010, 3:22
WOW finally we got a beautiful English medium School in Moodubelle,It s an dream come true for us,Good Job Rev.Fr.Joswey Thank you very much Dr.Eugene for the report and photographs may Almighty bless you all.
Dinesh S, Belle / Mumbai Tue, April-6-2010, 2:32
Thanks all the teachers, Principal and correspondent for giving us a English Medium school in Belle
Pravin Barboza, Moodubelle Tue, April-6-2010, 11:22
Its great to have a English medium school in Belle. Its a great achievement and everyone should support the school as only the English medium school can provide more opportunities for our children in this globalised and modern competitive world.
Naveen Mendonca, Moodubelle Mon, April-5-2010, 2:04
A modern English medium school is Moodubelle s major priority today. Thanks to the correspondents and teachers for their hard work inspite of so many uncertenities over the years. It is a fact the Kannada medium school is losing its importance due to social and economical reasons which no one can stop. Hence let us all support Fr.Maxim to raise the standard of this school so that our children do not go to outside schools.
Francis L.Lobo, Belle Mon, April-5-2010, 8:40
it is very great to see all the smiles of our people of belle in belle vision.and it is great to have such qualified personalities who cover the topics.
magdaline lobo, dubai Mon, April-5-2010, 1:36
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