Darjeeling-One of the oldest boys’ institutions in the hills, St. Joseph’s School, on Tuesday kicked off its 125-year celebrations that will continue for a year.
Popularly known as North Point, due to the school being situated in that area of Darjeeling, the school first started out on February 13, 1888, at Sunny Bank in Darjeeling town. It was much later when the Jesuit priests, who run the school, felt the need for a permanent site that the school was relocated to North Point in June 1891 with classes starting the very next year.
“It feels great that the school has completed 125 years and like in the past is still inculcating in students not only education but also traditional values like compassion, conscience, commitment among others so that they have an overall development and a good character when they leave school,” said Fr Shanty Matthews, rector of the school. “However, we have also taken care that the students get the modern infrastructure that a school should have,” he added.
“We started off the year-long celebrations of the school by inaugurating a new auditorium. His eminence, the Archbishop of Kolkata, was also present on the occasion,” said the rector.
Apart from the inauguration of the school auditorium, Tuesday’s programme also included prayer services. In the days to come, the school will be hosting many other events till October. Among the programmes lined up are a film festival in April, a cultural festival in May, a school fest in August and a whole week of programmes in October which the school alumni would also take part in. The main attraction that month will be a musical play organised by the school itself.
If the school started out with 193 boys in 1899, today it boasts of hundreds of students not only from different parts of India but also from across the world. There are even students from places like Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Canada among others.
In the past, too, the school had students from different places. The school alumni included people like nephews of the then Shah of Persia in the Fifties, along with other royal families like Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the former King of Bhutan, Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, the former King of Nepal, and Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, the former King of Nepal.
Of course, the list of prominent alumni does not seem to end with royal families. Other eminent personalities having studied there are Yeshey Zimba, the Prime Minister of Bhutan, jazz artist Louiz Banks, Hollywood actor Eric Avari, world billiards champion Michael Ferreira and many more who have made it big in their chosen fields.