Maryknoll Fathers' School

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Maryknoll Fathers' School
Chinese: 瑪利諾神父教會學校
Mfsbadge.png
Location
2 To Yuen Street, Tai Hang Tung, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Information
Type Government funded co-educational, primary, secondary
Motto Truth and Loyalty
Established 1957
School district Shek Kip Mei
Principal Mr. Ho Lik Sang
Grades P1 – U6
Affiliation Maryknoll (Roman Catholic)
Website
Mfs new wing.jpg

Maryknoll Fathers' School is an aided school with primary school and secondary school sections, located in Tai Hang Tung District in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

The medium of instruction is English for the secondary school section.

History[edit]

In the 1950s, the Government of Hong Kong was faced with large numbers of immigrants from the mainland. The hills of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island were covered with wooden shacks. Their inhabitants were vulnerable to various risks: fires, landslides, epidemics. The Shek Kip Mei fire of 1953 left 53,000 homeless. The Government began to focus on the provision of public services: safe housing, medical care and, not least, education.

Fr. Peter A. Reilly was a Catholic priest of the Maryknoll Fathers. He had served the mission in Wuchow, Kwangsi from 1941 until the Communists came to power and expelled him from China. He came to Hong Kong in 1952. He was forty years old. Fr. Reilly served the area of Kowloontsai, where thousands of refugees lived. He set up a tiny mission in a small wooden hut and cared for the poor in many ways. One of the things he did was to set aside a study room and to hire teachers to provide education for the children of the area.

Fr. Reilly applied to the Government for permission to build a subsidised school. He was given permission not only to build the primary school he had hoped for, but also for a subsidised secondary school, the first of its kind in Hong Kong. Fr. Reilly had the help of Mrs. Tong Yu Sheung Woon, then headmistress of Yan Pak School. She brought her educational experience to the inception of and preparation for the school. During 1957, Fr. Reilly and Mrs. Tong enrolled students and hired teachers while the school was being built alongside the stream after which Tai Hang Tung (which means, literally, "big stream east") was named. Fr. Reilly became the school's first supervisor and Mrs. Tong its first principal.

Maryknoll Fathers' School

26 September 1957 marked the day of the official opening and blessing of the school. Rt. Rev. Bishop Lawrence Bianchi and Governor Sir Alexander Grantham presided over the ceremony.

1959 brought forth the first graduates of the secondary section. They had worked hard and achieved excellent results, bringing great encouragement to the school staff. Fr. Reilly and other Maryknoll priests and brothers had helped to teach the students English, ethics and religious studies. Many students received the gift of faith and God's call.

Motivated by these successes and the need to provide education for the children in the district, the Maryknoll Fathers applied to the Education Department for an expansion of the school by the acquisition of a site behind the school. The request was approved. On 17 February 1966, Rt. Rev. Bishop Frederick Donaghy, former bishop of Wuchow, blessed the New Wing, which provided space for a library, twelve new classrooms, improved science facilities and a hall that could seat five hundred.

In January 2009, the primary section moved to a new campus at 11 Hoi Lai Street, Sham Shui Po. It became a full-day school in February that year.

Fr. Reilly served as supervisor for the rest of his life, until his death at St Teresa's Hospital in 1994. Fr. John Geitner took up the post from 1995 to 2011 and Fr. Michael Sloboda from 2011 until today.

Mrs. Tong Yu Sheung Woon died in November 2005 in Toronto, Canada at the age of 94. Currently, the principal of the secondary school is Mr. Ho Lik Sang and the principal of the primary school is Mr. Ng Wai Man.

Achievements[edit]

In 2008, two secondary school students Lau Tak Kin and Lau Tak Shing (not related) were awarded second place in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) for their invention of an "anti-bump lock" that can counter bump keys. Two minor planets (25065 and 25073) were named in their honour. In 2014, another student Kan Wing Yi was awarded second place in the Intel ISEF for her invention of biodegradable bandages that are breathable and do not cause allergies. A minor planet (31313) was named in her honour.

Alumni Relations[edit]

The first official alumni unit is the Maryknoll Fathers' School Peer Counsellors Alumni (MFSPCA). Established in 1996, it aims at maintaining contacts for ex-Peer Counsellors, mentors of student mentoring scheme held by the Counselling Department. From time to time MFSPCA holds activities, such as Christmas Snowball, summer outings, pen-pal scheme for its members.

In 2005, the official alumni unit for all graduates was established. Currently the lifetime membership is HKD$1000, alternatively members can pay an annual fee of HKD$50. The unofficial Vancouver chapter of the alumni unit is most active at the time of writing (August 2005).

The annual Watermelon Cup, held just after final exam in the summer, is a famous activity for graduates to compete in with current MFS students.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°20′03.07″N 114°10′22.94″E / 22.3341861°N 114.1730389°E / 22.3341861; 114.1730389