St. Joseph's School - North Point, Darjeeling

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St. Joseph's School, North Point
St Joseph's.jpg
Darjeeling, India
Type Private
Motto Sursum Corda
("Lift Up Your Hearts")
Established 1888
Founder Fr. Henri Depelchin, S.J.
Rector Fr. Shajumon, S.J.
Enrollment 1220
Colour(s) Blue
Quadrangle St Josephs School Darjeeling.jpg
Fraser Hall
A statue of Our Lady of North Point
The front view of the Main building

St. Joseph's School, popularly known as North Point, is a private day and boarding school owned and managed by the Jesuits in Darjeeling, India. The school was originally called St. Joseph's College until the college section broke away from the school section.[1] The name North Point came about because the school is in that area of Darjeeling. The Kangchenjunga mountain range forms the backdrop to the school, with Grecian columns and cuneiform windows enclosing an eye-catching quadrangle in the centre.

The school was opened on 13 February 1888, at Sunny Bank in Darjeeling town. There were eighteen boarders and seven day scholars on the rolls. Numbers soon increased and the need was felt for more ample grounds. Property was procured by Fr. Henri Depelchin, S.J., the founder, on the town limits at North Point. The foundation stone was laid on 27 April 1890, and on 18 February 1892 the new building received the first North Pointers. In 1899, the student body consisted of 193 boys.

Towards the end of 1908, Sir Andrew Fraser gave Rs.21,000 to the school. The money was used to close in the quadrangle completely. With this the number of students increased to 290. In 1947, the year of Indian Independence, the number reached 422, including 93 college students.

There was a steady increase in the numbers of day scholars, and the school became more international. There had always been a scattering of English, French, and German boys. Students from China, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Burma, and Indonesia started arriving. In 1954, 28 nationalities could be found in the college, including the staff. At one time there were Americans, Czechs, and Armenians with a mixture of religions, including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and Hindus.

Initially, the Jesuits who ran the school were from Belgium; in the late 1940s Canadians slowly took over. Even their number diminished until the last remaining was Fr. Van Walleghem.

Notable alumni[edit]

North Point is seen as "the Harrow of the East".[weasel words] Its alumni include the royal families of Nepal, Bhutan, Cooch Behar, and Burdwan. Notable alumni include:


Twin Towers Gate

The building of the structure, in 1888, was entrusted to Brother Eugene Rotsaert, who leveled the site. Before building could begin approximately 2,000,000 cubic feet (57,000 m3) of rock and soil was removed by a force of some 2,000 men. Below the school site, the Maharaja of Burdwan had an extensive field known as Ladbrooke Farm. It was acquired on long lease. The work at North Point proceeded under the lead of Brother Rotsaert. By 10 May 1889 the excavation of the foundations was complete and construction began. The foundation was blessed on 27 April 1889, and the school was blessed by Fr. Depelchin on 8 December. In 1892 E.H. FitzGerald joined the staff and remained until his death in 1945. Classes reopened on 18 February 1892, for the first time at North Point.[2]

In spite of financial difficulties, material improvements were managed from the first year of its existence. The dormitories were paneled, dressing-rooms were fitted out, and the equipment of the two laboratories – for physics and chemistry – was improved.

In 1893 an unsightly mound which stood between the building and Lebong Road was removed.


Fr. Henri Depelchin, SJ

The house system was introduced in the 1950s. All the boys are assigned to a house.

Four houses — Ashley, Garnet, Campion, and Southwell — were established with a boy prefect each. There are no records of those after 1938.

In 1952 the present system was introduced. The houses were named after deceased Jesuits who had served many years at North Point.

  • Depelchin House (red) was named after the founder of St. Joseph’s College and builder of North Point, Fr. Henri Depelchin, S.J. (1822–1900).
  • Fallon House (blue) was named after Fr. Joseph Fallon, a former prefect and rector (1913–1919). Fr. Fallon later became Superior of the Bengal Mission. He returned to North Point and died here in 1952.
  • Laenen House (yellow) was named after Fr. Denis Laenen who taught from 1901 until his death in 1946.
  • O'Neil House (green) was named after Fr. Edward O'Neil who had been a teacher and then the prefect. Later he was appointed rector of St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.
School Song

Hurrah for our home in the mountains!
Hurrah for the monarchs of snow!
For the land of the forests and fountains,
And the torrents that ever flow! (bis)
Toil up from the valley below;
Lift your hearts to the breeze and the glow;
And our school on the hill
Here a cheer for it still, Hurrah!
As onward through life we go!
From the sweltering South and the Islands,
Form the plains where the hot winds blow,
We have met in the heart of the highlands
At fair India gates of snow. (bis)
Toil up from the valley below...
Here a hand to a faltering brother.
Here a lift for the lame and the slow,
And we stand, boys, like men to each other
As onwards through life we go. (bis)
Toil up from the valley below...

Academic sessions[edit]

The North Point academic year is February–November.


Sports history[edit]

In 1893 Darjeeling residents were surprised by the excellence of the school sportsmen.

St. Joseph's met St. Paul's for the first time in a cricket match on 3 April, and the result was a victory for the North Pointers. Ten days later they won again in a season of mostly victories. Cricket flourished under the wise and firm direction of the captain, F. Boswell, who led the team from victory to victory. At the close of the year the team made a tour of Calcutta. During the year the first cricket pavilion was erected.

Sports now[edit]

The Duke of Edinburgh Shield in cricket, the Herlihy Cup and the Jack Coffey Cup in football, and the Pliva Shield in hockey have been won by the school. The major sports seasons are cricket, football, and hockey. Other sports like basketball, volleyball, table tennis, squash, lawn tennis, athletics, swimming, billiards, boxing, and gymnastics are played as well.


The class nine passed students go on a 15-day adventure course before they attend class 10. Courses are offered by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute on Birch Hill. From 1970 onwards, in the first week of February the boys who are about to begin class 10 return for a two-week course in mountaineering.

In popular culture[edit]

Fraser Hall, the PD building and the auditorium as seen from the football ground

The school has been featured in films by Raj Kapoor, Satyajit Ray, and Anjan Dutt, to name a few.

For many years, the school put on tw, full productions on the Fraser Hall stage. Standards were so high that representatives of the British Council expressed their amazement and said they had not seen as high a level.

Films were screened once every two weeks in Fraser Hall. Every other week the boys were shown interesting documentaries that added to their general knowledge.

Publications and media[edit]

According to the EW Survey of Schools, conducted by Education World magazine, North Point is one of the best boarding/residential schools in the country.[3]North Point is ranked as the best boarding school in West Bengal and the third best boarding school in India in the Education-World C-fore Survey 2016.

School's experiment with honesty.[4]

Old students head hillwards for reunion.[5]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°02′40″N 88°15′45″E / 27.0445°N 88.2625°E / 27.0445; 88.2625