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About St. Gabriel's Higher Secondary School, Chennai (Madras) in 28, BROADWAY MAIN ROAD, ChennaiThe story of St. Gabriel’s is a fascinating one of education in Madras. If we give a detailed history of it, there may be many who would consider it a very long chronicle and skip the lines. Here we give only a synopsis of the long history which spreads over a period of more than a century.
St. Gabriel’s High School was founded in 1839 at Armenian Street, Madras-1. inIt was then known as St. Mary’s Seminary. Rt. Rev. Joseph Carew was the Vicar Apostali of Madras then. In 1883 it was affiliated to the University as a Second Grade College with F.A. Classes
In 1906 it was bifurcated into two schools. One section was meant for the Anglo-Indians. The other one was for the children, other than the Anglo-Indians. It was known as the Indian Section. The Anglo-Indian section retained the name of St. Mary’s High School. The Indian Section stayed in the old school building which was situated in the place where the present Catholic Centre stands to-day. The Indian Section acquired the name of St. Gabriel’s High School, actually on 9th April, 1907. The Brother of St. Patrick managed it for a few years.
From 1911, the management was entrusted to the Fathers of St. Joseph Mill Hill. In 1917 the school passed on to the Father of the Society of Jesus. The strength grew form 250 to 500. Loyola College was started by the Jesuits in 1924 and hence the Brothers of St. Gabriel’s took charge of the school in 1925.
The Salesian Society Steps in
In 1929, the Salesians of Don Bosco took charge of the School, under His Grace Dr. Mederlet, the Archbishop of Madras. Rev. Fr. Manrique was the first Salesian Headmaster of the school. Thus the school began to flourish under the management of his Grace Dr. Mathias, S.D.B., and Fr. Anderson was appointed as the next Headmaster.
The New Building
His Grace Dr. Mathias constructed the present building at 215, Broadway, Madras-600 001, in December, 1937. St.Gabriel’s was officially shifted from Armenian Street to the new premises at Broadway where it continues its century old work of educating thousands of children for God and country.
The present management gets its inspiration and strength from Don Bosco, the great educator of Youth. May his love for children and his devotion to their will being always guides our steps.
Fr. Anderson left for England soon after the completion of the new building.
Rev. Fr. A. Seeber succeeded him. He is still remembered for his closet association with the pupils and the strict discipline he enforced.
After the evacuation period in 1942, the strength of the school came down quire suddenly to 190 from 600 and then it rose to 350. It was the direct effect of the Japanese invasion of the Far East during the World War II.
In April 1943 Rev. Fr. A. Mariotta came from Bombay and was appointed as the Headmaster. Fr. Mariotta with his winsome smile soon won the heart of all the pupils and parents.
Thiru S. Natarajan was the only layman to be appointed as Headmaster of the School. He took over the charge of the school in 1946 as Fr. Mariotta was transferred. He was a member of the Board of Secondary Education then.
The St. Gabriel’s Secondary Training School was separated and Thiru S. Natarajan was appointed as its Headmaster, while Rev. Fr. C.A. Bout became the Headmaster of the School in 1952. Thiru V. Arunajatai succeeded Thiru S. Natarajan as the Headmaster of the training school as Thiru S. Natarajan had to leave for Delhi on his appointment as the Field Officer for Secondary Education in the Central Ministry of Education. Thiru V. Arunajatai later left the training school, as he was appointed Headmaster in a neighbouring High school.
In 1958 Fr. Bout was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Benedict Vadacherry, S.D.B. who served the school for 3 years. He continued the good work of Fr. Bout with vigour. He was then followed by Fr. Joseph Dhairiyanathan, S.D.B., who worked as the Headmaster for a year. He was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Stephen Bernard S.D.B., who is a past pupil of the school. He worked form 1962 to 1966.
He left for Rome for ecclesiastical studies and Rev. Mathew Vadacherry, S.D.B., took charge of the school. He was the Headmaster for six years. He is very well known for his untiring energy and admirable planning. In June 1972 he left the school as his services were required for Don Bosco High School, Pannur.
Again Rev. Fr. Stephen Bernard was appointed as the Headmaster of the School. he had the unique distinction of being the Headmaster of the school twice. Apart form being the Headmaster, he also had the arduous duty of being the Director of the Youth Centrep and Rector of the campus and the Correspondent of the school. He was very popular among the present and the past pupils. He had a splendid way of dealing with pupils, teachers and parents.
Rev. Fr. Stephen Bernard S.D.B., was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Y. John, S.D.B., in June 1973. He took up the task of renovating some of the class rooms. He left the school in June 1978. The school has been elevated to the status of Higher Secondary level and Rev. Fr. Jegaraj Rayan S.D.B. take place of Headmaster. Rev. Fr. Stephen Bernard S.D.B. was the Correspondent and Rector, bestows much attention on the activities of the school.
The years to come will be years of dedication in the cause of children entrusted to our care. We will strive to mould them to be useful citizens of this great country and to be virtuous in the eyes of God.
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