100 years of education in San Thome

It is celebration time at St. Raphael’s Girld School. A celebration of a different kind – the school’s centenary. Featured here are milestones in its history.

Founded by Mary of the Passion (Helene Marie Phillippine de Chappotin de Neuville) in 1877 in Ooty. St. Thomas Convent was the first in Madras zone and was set up in 1888 in the St Thomas Cathedral campus. In 1895, the nuns moved to Rosary Church Road. They were initially called as Missioner of Mary and later in 1882 it became as the Franciscan Missioners of Mary.

In 1913, Mother St. Michael, the then Provincial Superior for India, Burma and Ceylon asked to open a school for young girls of Mylapore. She was a foreigner. St. Raphaels opens the same year with mostly non Christian girls. About 10 girls were admitted. They had maroon uniforms. The senior students used to wear half saris.

In 1929-30, the School was placed under the government as parents of the girls wanted them to appear for public exams. Medium of education was English – until 1946.

In 1947, Tamil and Telugu medium was started. This was done, as there was lot of Telugu speaking population in the area.

In June 1950, the English medium sections were separated as Rosary Matric School. The blocks stood on Palace Road (Papanasam Sivan Road). The Telugu medium abolished by 1970.

In 1980, a radical change in policy of admissions was made. Need of that hour was to open the doors to economically weak, socially backward children of Mylapore. Even those who had got admission at other schools for one reason or other were welcomed here. Academic excellence may have suffered but the nuns were focused on service to less privileged.

In 1978, school upgraded to Higher Secondary School as was the case with many other city schools. The school’s strength was about 800.

The platinum jubilee was celebrated in 1988. Walter Dawaram, then Police Commissioner opened the jubilee sports meets and Archbishop Casimir presided over a key event. Sister Hycintha was the Head Mistress here during this period. She served here for 11 years and was a native of Kerala.

Today, in its centenary year, the school’s strength is 2028 students. They have both English and Tamil medium. The school also promotes extra curricular activities like junior red cross, NSS, guides, eco clubs.

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