Saint Mary's College, Trinidad and Tobago

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Saint Mary's College
College of the Immaculate Conception
CIC Logo small.png
Motto Virtus et Scientia
Virtue and Knowledge
Established 1 August 1863
Type Government assisted
Affiliation Holy Ghost Fathers
(Roman Catholic)
Principal Mr. Nigel Joseph (Acting)
Teaching staff 76
Students 1196
Location 75 Frederick St.,
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Campus Urban
Colours Blue and White
Website [1]

Saint Mary's College (popularly known as CIC, which stands for College of the Immaculate Conception) is a government-assisted Catholic secondary school situated on Frederick Street in the heart of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The school was established in 1863 with only a handful of students but enrollment today is close to 1200. The school's motto "Virtus et Scientia" is Latin for "Virtue and Knowledge". It is an all-boys school except for the lower- and upper-sixth forms, which may admit a few select girls at the beginning of each academic year.

St. Mary's College is a seven-year school that prepares students for the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate known as "CSEC" at 5th Form and the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) level examinations.

The school offers education in a vast number of fields in the sciences, humanities, business studies and economics. St. Mary's College is known as one of the best schools in the country and students completing their A-Levels from St. Mary's consistently win the prestigious national scholarships offered by the government for academic excellence, including the President's Medal in 2005. The school also produced the regional top performer in the Environmental Sciences category in 2011.

History[edit]

In 1859, the Queen's College School was founded on Abercromby Street in Port of Spain by the Trinidad and Tobago Government, which provided five teachers. In 1860, shortly after arriving in Trinidad, the Roman Catholic Archbishop Ferdinand English condemned the Protestant Collegiate school absolutely. For their secondary education, Catholics in Trinidad had either to disobey the Archbishop or attend St. George's College, which was moribund and had "never fulfilled the needs of the young".

Louis de Verteuil, the leader of the Catholic party and Mayor of Port-of-Spain since 1859, proposed a solution to the Archbishop and was commissioned by him to go to Rome where he attempted to persuade the Jesuits or Oratorians to found a college in Trinidad. This attempt failed but at the suggestion of Mgr. Talbot, Private Chamberlain of The Holy Ghost Fathers, whom Louis had appointed, Archbishop English got in touch with the newly founded Congregation of the Holy Ghost and of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On 7 June 1862, he wrote their superior General, Rev. Father Schwindenhammer, the letter at the top of this document requesting assistance in setting up a new college in Trinidad. Archbishop English died three months later, but the Holy Ghost Fathers - Fathers Guilloux and Sundhauser - still came, arriving in Trinidad on the morning of 7 July.

By 1 August 1863, St. Mary's College had opened on the site of the old St. George's College the southernmost part of the present St. Joseph's Convent) with fourteen pupils, of whom eight were boarders and six day pupils. The school was advertised in the newspapers. The courses taught in the college at that time included Latin, Greek, English, French, Spanish, History and Geography ancient and modern, Science and Mathematics, and Music. English and French were the school's official languages at the time.

Boarders were required to pay 192 dollars per year and day boys 6 dollars per month. The elaborate Sunday or dress uniform was black but the weekly Day uniform included grey pants and a straw hat. Archbishop Louis Joachim Gonin came into Trinidad in 1864 and remained as Archbishop until his death in 1887. During this time, St. Mary's College was under considerable pressure, financially and otherwise, for though the Archbishop was a very holy man he was also very demanding and hard to get along with.

Three times - in 1874, 1877 and 1880 - decisions were taken by the Holy Ghost authorities to abandon the work in Trinidad, ostensibly because of shortage of personnel but largely because of personal difficulties between the superiors and the Archbishop. The insistence of the Catholics of Trinidad and of the Propaganda of the Faith in Rome, effectively prevented the priests from leaving.

College song[edit]

Out of the shadows of the past they come to cheer us
Boys of the old brigade of gallant CIC
And our thousand voices ring in mighty chorus
College of St. Mary's onto victory
Yonder our colors white and blue are proudly waving
Down the field our team comes sweeping crashing through
We’re urging them on
They’re dashing along
On, On
Fearless and strong
Go the boys of St. Mary’s College
Glorious throng...
Loyal sons of the old white and blue
Brave hearts and true
Write her name in triumphant story
Onward march on
Boys of CIC to glory

Notable alumni[edit]

St. Mary's College alumni have achieved prominence in many fields, including politics, business, law, music, journalism and medicine. St. Mary's College has produced two of the country's Presidents and two Chief Justices, fifteen former and current Members of Parliament and two Catholic Archbishops of Port of Spain. They include:

  • Brigadier Carl Alfonso MOM, former Chief of Defence Staff
  • Desmond Allum, SC
  • Mr Justice Ivor Archie, Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Wayne Bowman, journalist
  • Captain Arthur Cipriani
  • Sir Ellis Clarke, first President of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Rt. Hon. Justice Michael De La Bastide, former Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Francis Escayg, musician
  • Commodore Anthony Franklin HBM, former Chief of Defence Staff
  • Bishop Malcom Galt, Bishop Emeritus of Bridgetown
  • Pelham Goddard, musician
  • Robin Imamshah, musician
  • Ken Gordon, businessman
  • Mr Justice Roger Hamel-Smith, former Justice of Appeal
  • Senator the Hon. Timothy Hamel-Smith, President of the Senate
  • Archbishop Joseph Harris, Archbishop of Port of Spain
  • Sir Solomon Hochoy, first Governor General of Trinidad and Tobago
  • John La Rose, publisher and cultural activist
  • Quintin O'Connor, union leader
  • Archbishop Anthony Pantin, former Archbishop of Port of Spain
  • Mr Justice Gregory Smith, Judge, Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Keith Sobion, former Attorney General

For the graduating class of 2008, 85% of the A Level students went on to further study at tertiary education institutions at the University of the West Indies, and several top universities in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. In A-Level/CAPE, there was a 98% pass rate in 2008 and a remarkable 100% pass rate was attained by the graduating class of 2011.

External links[edit]