St. Joseph's Boys' High School, Bangalore

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St. Joseph's Boys' High School
Post Box No. 25003,#27,Museum Road
Bangalore, Karnataka
Type Private School
Motto Latin: Fide Et Labore English: Faith And Toil
Established 1858
Principal Rev.Fr. Clifford Sequeira, S.J.
Enrollment Approx. 2,000
Number of students LKG - 10th (ICSE) and 12th grade (ISC)
Campus size 2.7 acres (11,000 m2)
Houses St.Andrews, St.Davids, St.Georges, St.Patricks.
Color(s) White and blue         
Publication Josephite
Affiliation Indian Certificate of Secondary Education Examination (ICSE) and The Indian School Certificate examination (ISC)
Information +91 80 2221 4416
St. Joseph's Boys' High School

St. Joseph's Boys' High School(formerly St. Joseph's European High School) located on Museum Road in Bangalore, Karnataka, India is a boys' school. The history of the institution is given in the book "Faith and Toil" by Christopher Rego, an alumnus of the school. The school building has reconstructed, with wings of the original aging building being demolished and replaced with a modern structure. The school celebrated its 150th year in 2008. Every year old boys travel from across the globe to attend the Old Boys Day which falls one day after the annual sports day of the school.


St. Joseph's Boys High School, Bangalore (formerly St. Joseph's European High School) was founded in 1858 to offer a liberal education for the boys of European and Anglo-Indian families. After India's independence, admission was extended in the 1950s and 1960s to include all students, irrespective of race, religion or caste.

Students of all religions are admitted and put under the supervision of the religious Fathers and Brothers. The school buildings are situated in the center of the (formerly European quarter of the) city, between Museum Road and Residency Road. The now obsolete dormitories were initially housed in the upper floors.

The large open playgrounds belonging to the School give space for cricket, football, hockey and other games and forms of exercise. One of the grounds was situated in the school premises while the other, where the school cricket team trains, is called the Centenary Ground located on Mahatma Gandhi Road near the Mayo Hall. The School pays great attention to physical training and sports and has conducted the Annual Hockey Tournament for ICSE schools in Bangalore for many decades. The School also hosts a Cadet Platoon, a Boy Scouts Troop, and Debating and Literary Societies for the higher classes.

In the year 1883 when J.M. Vissac was the Rector, the school was situated on St. John's Hill at the current location of St. Germain High School, adjoining the St. Francis Xavier's Cathedral. In the tradition of visionaries, Fr. Vissac wanted the school to be located on a big campus in the heart of the City Cantonment. So he purchased a property called the Rocklands, adjacent to the Madras Bank (the present State Bank of India) and the Good Shepherd Convent. He was the architect of the stately buildings on Museum Road whose foundation stone was laid in 1894. In 1898, the school transferred from St. John's Hill to Museum Road and brought with it 100 boarders and 89 day scholars.

The school grew in strength and by 1913 had 239 boarders and 183 day scholars. To accommodate these larger numbers, two new blocks were added to the original block and an immense playground called 'New Fields' was purchased in what is now Vittal Mallya Road. Originally a tank bed, this tract of land had to be drained to prepare play fields for the students. In 1910, the school adopted the High School Examination System giving up the Old Matriculation System. It is around this time that the school is believed to have taken on the name, St. Joseph's European High School. The University meanwhile, had also abolished the F.A. and replaced it with the Intermediate Arts Exam.

Fr. Vissac had two French priests from the diocese, Fr. Froger and Fr. Schmitt, sent to England to get qualified to teach in the school. Both would later return to Bangalore, each armed with an MA from the University of London. After 20 years of tireless service, Fr. Vissac handed over the Rectorship of the St. Joseph's Institutions to Fr. Froger, who would serve as Rector from 1903 to 1913, and then again from 1915 to 1916. The beautiful oil paintings on canvas which have adorned the walls of the refectories of the priests and the boarders for nearly a century are the works of Fr. Froger.

In the first half of the 20th century, the school curriculum embraced the subjects required for the Government High and Middle School Examinations, and those for the Cambridge School Certificate, Junior and Preliminary Examinations. The School was recognised by Cambridge University and senior candidates could obtain Certificate A of the General Certificate of Education or GCE. The boys prepared for Preliminary Cambridge in Std. VI, for the Middle School in Std. VII, for Junior Cambridge in Std. VIII, and for the High School and Cambridge School Certificate in Std. IX.

With Independence in 1947, the school lost many of its earlier privileges. During British rule, Anglo Indian schools had received special grants as aid for teacher salaries that were significantly higher than at the Indian SSLC schools. The umbilical cord with Great Britain was cut soon after when the continually rising exam fees of the University of Cambridge, a result of post-war inflation, coincided with a severe foreign currency crunch in India. The Government of India unwilling to release foreign exchange for students to appear for these examinations, put in its place another. The Anglo Indian Association under the leadership of Mr. Frank Anthony, its President and Member of Parliament, organized the Indian School Certificate Council which developed two examinations at the end of Classes X and XII called the ICSE - Indian Certificate of Secondary Education and the ISC - Indian School Certificate respectively. The erstwhile Anglo Indian Schools now began to prepare their students for these exams. The weekly tests have also since been discontinued, with unit tests and quarterly tests now conducted in their place.

The school follows the ICSE syllabus up to Class X. In 2005 the school expanded its curriculum at both ends. It added Classes I through IV and extended the high school to include the ISC at Class XII. The year 2007 included another first: Class XI was expanded to include girls. Today there are about 60 students per section and three sections in the middle and high school. The other classes have fewer students.

Another major change over the years was the dissolution of the in-school boarding house which used to house boys from ages 8 to 16, in 3 separate dormitories. While they lived exclusively on the school premises, they were allowed the luxury of one out-of-school outing privilege each month, on its last Saturday. The health of the boarders was entrusted to a Medical Officer and the facilities included a large infirmary and a special room reserved for the infectious diseases, where matrons attended to special needs. A monthly lantern lecture addressed various educational topics and on special occasions, drama, music, and cinema shows were screened in the School Hall.

In 2001, construction started on the new school building under the stewardship of Fr. Michael John, the Principal from 1994 to 2006. This would last for six years, ending in 2007. The new facilities, along with the improvements, offer a more modern and aesthetic environment while keeping with the public school traditions that originated in British India; notably, the Roman Catholic chapel, the refectory, and the residential quarters for the priests.

The Houses[edit]

The House system is a feature common to Public Schools in India especially Christian run schools (based on an equivalent system in England).

The four houses are named after the patron saints of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom:

The houses compete with one another in academics, games, track and field sports, aquatics, arts, literary, dramatic and music competitions.

The current captains and vice-captains of the batch 2013-2014 are as follows:

St. Andrew's House

Captain      - Raul Aranha
Vice-Captain - Abhishek Babu

St. Patrick's House

 Captain      - Chirag Raju
 Vice-Captain - Shreyas Titus

St. George's House

  Captain      - Herman Menezes        
  Vice-Captain - Saidatta Kuttappa

St. David's House

   Captain      - Jason D'Silva
   Vice-Captain - Jaffer Aleem

The 'Society of Jesus' Association[edit]

As early as 1841 Bishop Bonnaud planned to start a Catholic High school in Bangalore. But this proposal took concrete shape only in 1854 when the priests of the Missions étrangères de Paris (MEP) bought a plot of land for a sum of INR 1000 at St. Johns Hill. Bangalore Fr. Bouteloup had a house constructed in 1854 at a cost of INR 3000 and this was named St. Joseph's Seminary. This house also contained an orphanage and a residential school.

The Madras University was established in 1858 and hence boarders could be admitted to prepare for the matriculation examination of the Madras University. Fr. Charbonnaux, who was in charge of the school at the time, made this entry in his diary: "We decided to open a school for European boys. As a knowledge of English in necessary to our Indian pupils and that of Canarese to European boys we determined to build a wing and a kitchen adjoining the Seminary." This was the beginning of St. Joseph's College. In the nomenclature of the day, in European usage a college was what today would be called a high school and what would today be called a college would be termed University. By May 1865 a new house was built to take in the orphans and boarders of the school.

It was difficult for the three departments, seminary, orphanage and school to function in the same building. Hence in 1875 the orphanage was transferred to St. Patrick's Church and still exists as St. Patrick's Orphanage. The Seminary closed down and hence the entire campus with all the buildings was utilized for the school and the boarding house. The school had a total of 144 students, 64 boarders and 80 day scholars.

The next most important development was the change made by the new Rector, Fr. Maurice Vissac in 1882. He had the school affiliated to the Madras University as a second grade college which could prepare and send students for the F.A. (First Arts) exams. In 1884, the first two candidates appeared for this exam and qualified.

In the period during and immediately after World War I, the French Fathers - MEP were finding it difficult to staff the school. The slaughter of the young men on the battle field of Europe from 1914 - 1918 had practically destroyed a whole generation of men, some of whom would have become priests and joined the MEP. The Bishop of Mysore, Msgr. Despastures under whose jurisdiction came Bangalore at that time decided to find a suitable religious order to whom he could entrust the institutions thus freeing his priests for pastoral ministry. His efforts to get the Canons of St. Maurice from Switzerland did not succeed as well as his efforts to get orders of teaching brothers.

He had earlier tried unsuccessfully to get the Jesuits, the Priests of the Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, who were well known throughout the world as educationists to take over these institutions. The Bishop now approached the General of the Jesuits in Rome with the same appeal. He appointed a Visitor to study the matter on the spot. The visitor Fr. Van Kalken was endowed by the General with almost plenipotentiary powers to take a decision. In February 1937 he wrote to the Superior of the Jesuit Mission in Mangalore that Fr. General had approved that the Society of Jesus would accept the generous offer of the Bishop of Mysore and if the Mangalore mission of the Jesuits could not provide sufficient Jesuits then the Visitor would invite Jesuits from other Indian missions to offer their services for this work.

All St. Joseph’s institutions which included St. Joseph’s European High School, St. Joseph’s Indian High School situated at the ‘New Fields’ grounds on Vittal Mallya Road as well as St. Joseph’s College were thus transferred to Jesuit Management.

During the period leading up to World War II, the Italian Government with its leader Mussolini aligned itself with Hitler in the Axis against the British Allied troops, with the result that all the Italians and German priests were thus branded as enemy aliens and were interned. The Jesuit superiors had to then find Indians to manage the school. Fr.E.J. Jacques an Anglo Indian with an M.A. degree from the University of London and Fr. Studerus a Swiss and hence a neutral had to fill up the vacancies. And so, the baton passed on to Indian priests belonging to the Jesuit order to manage the school, which continues unto the present day.

School motto and school song[edit]

St. Joseph's Boys High School is a Jesuit school which strives to inculcate in each and every one of its students Jesuit ideals, i.e. to prepare men who will give themselves in service to others, to strive for excellence and not just competitiveness.

The motto of the school is "Fide Et Labore".

The words of the school song were written by T.Gavan and Duffy and the music composed by Rev. G. Leroy.

Ring out the battle call of Duty!
Unfurl the flag of Faith and Toil!
We deem our soul's eternal beauty
A lifelong Victor's worthy spoil
A thousand such have proudly gone before us
To win and spread our School's renown:
'This ours to swell with our voices the chorus
And with our deeds enrich her crown.
Faith and Toil, conquerless alliance
Wherein we clasp human hands unto God's!
In His control find we true self-reliance;
My hand and God's - Whate'er the odds
My hand and God's - Whate'er the odds
My hand and God's
Evil's onset hold in defiance !

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°58′15″N 77°36′13″E / 12.970895°N 77.603559°E / 12.970895; 77.603559