THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS HIGH SCHOOLS AND THEIR FOUNDERS
– PART 3 (Final)
Edwin’s daughter, Sybil D’Souza, did her basic education in Panchgini. She returned to Goa in 1941 and continued her studies in Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, Parra.
She taught at Botelho’s from 1954 to 1960. She fondly recalls the following teachers who taught in the SHJHS, Anjuna during her time: Ms. Ivy Fernandes from Gaumvaddi (late Manuel Xavier’s daughter;) Ms. Zita Dias from Mazalvaddo (late Dr. João Dias’ daughter) - she taught from 1954 to 1975; Ms. Agnes Vales from Vagator; Ms. Angela de Souza from Igreja vaddo (late Aureliano’s daughter;) late Ms. Jessie D’Souza from Voilo Vaddo (late Diogo Antonio’s daughter) – she taught from 1958 to 1994; she started off her teaching career with a monthly salary of Rs.30; Ms. Rose Mendonsa from Mazalvaddo; Ms. Noemia de Souza from Chinvar (Dr. Willie de Souza’s sister – now Sr. Noemia of Nirmala Niketan) and Mr. Saldanha from Assagao.
She left Goa for Bombay in June 1960. She could not attend her father’s funeral in November 1960 because we were still under Portuguese rule; it was not easy those days to travel from Bombay to Goa.
Sybil continues to live in Mumbai. She is 87 years old (Born: May 10, 1923), and is in good health, just like her first cousin, Phyllis, who is 86 years old (Born April 17, 1924).
Edwin’s son, Bernard de Souza, is in Germany. He was born on May 17, 1942. He studied at St. Britto’s, Mapusa. He was tall and thin and always had his hair closely cropped like a crew-cut. He resembled Gandhi, in his appearance and built; he also wore circular-framed spectacles like Gandhi; hence, he was nicknamed ‘Gandhi’ at school and in the village. When the movie ‘Gandhi’ was made, I immediately thought of Bernard; he would have suited Gandhi’s role better than Ben Kingsley!
Edwin’s wife, Lucia or Lucy, was very supportive of her son’s migration to Portugal. Bernard was hesitant to leave because there was nobody to look after his mother, who was quite old and frail.
But his mother was so nice and considerate that she point blank told him not to worry about her at all. She said her days were numbered and she would pass away any time, but if he missed the opportunity to immigrate to Portugal, he could face an uncertain future. He followed his mother’s wishes and left for Portugal in 1966, from where he later migrated to Germany.
Lucy lived in the first bedroom at the front right of the house. She was a pious person. It was obvious from several large statues, over one and a half feet high, which were distinctly arranged in her room, that the whole family was God-fearing. To my knowledge the statues of the following saints were in her room:
St. Rita’s - it was the only statue which was enclosed in a glass dome
St. Philomena’s - she was not de-canonized then
Sacred Heart of Jesus
Plus many small statues
Besides the main oratorio or olotor, the prayer room walls had large pictures mounted on them, about a meter high, of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacred Heart of Mary and St. Teresa.
In the Sixties and Seventies, whenever a theft was committed or people lost their valuables, they rushed to Lucy’s room to tie St. Anthony’s statue. They kept him tied until the culprit(s) was/were caught or lost items were found.
Similarly, we also used a ‘manual’ (prayer book) to catch thieves/wrong doers. The process was simple. A key was placed in the middle of the manual and the manual tied with a strong string. Two persons held the ends of the key on their finger tips. A prayer was recited and names were taken. Surprisingly, whenever a culprit’s name was taken, the manual would turn or rotate. The name was repeated at least three times to confirm the fact. Well, those were the days of faith!
After Edwin passed away and Bernard left for abroad, we would visit Lucy sometimes and listen to her sweet talk attentively. She was soft-spoken; she spoke very good English.
She lived on a simple diet: For breakfast she had one raw egg and a cup of tea/coffee. For lunch she had a bowl of soup and a little white rice. For dinner, she ate one “poyi” (local bran bread) with a glass of milk. She was the last member of Jacob’s family to live in the house, which was converted into ‘Bougainvillea Hotel - Grandpa’s Inn’ in 1988. She died in ‘Mother Heaven’ Old Age Home in Calangute.
In 1931, Fr. Felipe Neri Mendonça, an outstanding educationist and a strict disciplinarian, took over as the Principal of St. Joseph’s High School, Arpora. It was the only school which did not come under Diocesan Society of Education at the time but it was subsequently handed over to the Society.
Pre-liberation, Catholic Institutions were universally governed by ‘Concordat’ – An agreement between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state on religious matters.
This often included both recognition and privileges for the Catholic Church in a particular country – in our case it was Goa, India Portuguesa. There were no Societies then but schools were known as ‘Bishop’s Schools’.
Post Liberation, village parochial schools were closed down and each parish was asked to establish a new school in the village.
The Holy See had appointed Dom Francisco da Piedade Rebello as the Apostolic Administrator of Goa.
Since under the Indian Law, societies could be formed, Fr. Mendonça approached Dom Francisco and expressed his desire to form a society to run schools, but his idea was turned down.
The Archdiocese of Goa appointed Fr. Mendonça as the Diocesan Inspector of Schools. With this feather in his cap, he affiliated three more schools to St. Joseph’s High School and formed a cluster of four schools.
Those schools were: Sacred Heart of Jesus High School (SHJHS), Anjuna; St. Francis Xavier’s High School (SFXHS), Siolim, and St. Thomas High School – Boys (STHS – Boys) Aldona.
In 1954, SHJHS, Anjuna, was taken over by Fr. Felipe Neri Mendonça, a powerful personality then.
He assigned Fr. Peter Fernandes from Bhatti, Anjuna, as the first Director of the school. One Robert D’Souza was posted as the Director of SFXHS, Siolim.
Students from SHJHS, Anjuna and SFXHS, Siolim, who wished to continue to study beyond the 4th Std. shifted to St. Joseph’s High School, Arpora, where they completed their Matriculation. The process of changing Primary school to the Secondary in Arpora was known as ‘Feeder Program’.
Of course, students had to stealthily cross Goa’s borders and answer their final exams of S.S.C. Examination Poona or Bombay Board in Maharashtra, as Goa did not have an S.S.C. Examination Board then. Fr. Lyons got St. Joseph’s High School recognized by the University of Bombay in 1897, and the school sent its first batch of students for Matriculation Examination in 1900.
In 1964, the Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, Anjuna, was registered under St. Joseph’s Educational Society, Arpora, Goa.
Fr. Olgo Rodrigues took over as the Director of the school from Fr. Peter Fernandes in the early Sixties. He passed away in January 1968. He was one of the most appreciated priests in Anjuna. No wonder, people from all walks of life attended his funeral; it was the best attended funeral at that time.
Classes in SHJHS, Anjuna, were gradually increased to the 5th Std. followed by the 6th and the 7th Std.
In June 1968, late Fr. Olgo was succeeded by Fr. Alipio Mascarenhas. He served the school for eleven years and thus became the longest serving Principal of the school.
It was Fr. Alipio’s ambition to take the school forward. Therefore, when he took charge of the school, his first priority was to have a new school building, as the house in which the school was accommodated was in a very bad shape, and to upgrade the classes from Std. VIII to Std XI – the old SSCE.
The 8th Std. was introduced in 1971 followed by the 9th Std. in 1972.
When Fr. Alipio took over as the Principal of the school, they were paying Rs.200 to Mr. Arthur/Ms. Wicky as rent of the premises of Botelho’s House. This was when tourists began to arrive in Anjuna and they paid much more for houses like the school premises.
Obviously, discontent was expressed by the owners of the house but the school management could not pay them more than what they did. Moreover, the premises were not worth a hike in the rent.
The school management wanted to get out of Botelho’s house and move to a new place but they were not in a position to do so.
The Chapel did not have a suitable plot. So, Fr. Alipio began the search for a suitable plot to set up school premises.
Fr. Alipio met with Rui Monteiro, who was quite an influential person then, as he worked as an ‘empregado’ (officer) in the Administração das Comunidades de Bardez, and was a member of the Confraria, and discussed the matter with him. They in turn approached Ms. Zita Dias who was on the staff of the school.
Zita immediately mentioned about the search of a plot to her brother, Benigno A.E. Dias, known to all as ‘Benny’, who generously consented to donate a big plot to the flourishing institution at Tembi for the construction of a new school building. This was sometime in 1974.
It was the far vision of Fr. Alipio Mascarenhas, which set the ball rolling in 1975.
At first, they wanted to build new premises of the school behind Botelho’s house but the place was not sufficient. Moreover, the parties concerned did not agree to the proposal.
The next problem was to raise finances.
Although Fr. Alipio visited every house to collect aid/donation for the new school premises, the response was not very encouraging.
Therefore, Fr. Alipio wrote to the Holy See asking him for help to build the new premises of the school.
God heard our prayers and the Holy See came to our aid by sending Pound Sterling 12,000, which was a big amount in those days. The public also put in their efforts and the villagers and well-wishers whole-heartedly joined and contributed to make the project a success.
The foundation stone was laid. It was blessed by the Patriarch, Raul Gonsalves on November 27, 1976.
The following writing is inscribed on a slab on the front wall of the school:
This plot of land is donated
To the Sacred Heart of Jesus
High School, Anjuna
By Mr. & Mrs. Benigno A.E. Dias
In loving memory of his late father
Dr. João Mariano Prudencio Dias
As a token of appreciation, a yearly mass is offered for the soul of late Dr. João M.P. Dias. Recently, names of Mr. and Mrs. Benigno A.E. Dias have also been added to the standing instructions of yearly mass.
Full foundation of the school was laid but only four classrooms were initially built at the back of the present building. Primary classes were transferred from Botelho’s house to these classrooms in the fol1owing year.
Later, as the construction of the building progressed, students were required to walk the distance between Botelho’s house and new premises at Tembi to attend classes in both premises. The ground floor was completed first and then the top floor.
The school was conducting classes only up to Std. VIII. So, Fr. Alipio’s next priority was to bring it up to the SSCE, which he did. The first batch for the Board Exam was sent up in the academic year 1974-75.
Classes of the 8th, 9th and 10th Standards were held in two rooms, with partitions, in Bruno Lobo’s house, across the street, adjacent to Tukaram’s posro or shop, around 75 meters away from Botelho’s house.
To get the recognition of the SSCE Board, it was necessary to have a laboratory, library and sports equipment, which were introduced in time before the first SSCE batch was dispatched. The laboratory was donated by Kenneth Nunes.
During Fr. Alipio’s tenure, the posts of Headmaster and clerk were created, which was a novelty in those days.
Fr. Alipio was succeeded by Fr. Francis D’Mello followed by Fr. Luciano Fernandes.
It was left to Fr. Diogo Fernandes to give the finishing touches to the building, which has 14 large rooms, a spacious office, a well-equipped laboratory and a big multi-purpose hall to suit all functions for all occasions.
Fr. Diogo has also to his credit the planning and completing of the commercial complex opposite Our Lady of Good Health Chapel, which is now bringing in a regular income for the Confraria.
For the benefit of students, a library with around 4,000 books was introduced to build up their knowledge; a water cooler was added to satiate everyone’s thirst on the premises; new toilets were installed in addition to the old ones, and a compound wall was raised to keep everyone within bounds of the new premises.
Unlike before, the school had the capacity to sustain total attendance in the morning itself. The inconvenience borne by the teachers and students to come in the morning and evenings finally paid off with the above construction work.
In 1983, the management of St. Joseph’s High School, Arpora and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, Anjuna, was transferred from St. Joseph’s Educational Society, Arpora, Goa, to the Diocesan Society of Education, Panaji, Goa, under Rule 74.7 of G.I.A. Code – Ref. Notice No.SJESGA/82-83/21 dated 21/3/1983.
At the Golden Jubilee of the school in 1985 – actually, it should have been its Diamond Jubilee - as a memento of the golden day, a spacious and well-ventilated office was built for the school. Initially, the office was at the back of the building.
Formal inauguration of the new school premises was not held, as they could not afford to spend money on an inaugural function. However, celebration of 25 years or a Silver Jubilee of Sacred Heart of Jesus High School Building was held in 1999.
Computer classes were introduced in the school in the mid-Nineties.
In thanksgiving to the Almighty, a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Patron of the school, was erected at the entrance of the school around the same time. This initiative was taken by Fr. Urban Menezes.
The statue was generously sponsored by Franco D’Souza from Voilo Vaddo in memory of his sister, Ms. Jessie D’Souza, who passed away after serving the school for 36 years. She also served as a Headmistress of the school.
Fr. Cyril Mascarenhas (S.F.X.) took charge of the school in 1997. He came with extensive experience in the academic field spanning over a quarter of a century, which enabled him to infuse new life in the school.
Sacred Heart of Jesus High School is a co-educational Institute managed by the Diocesan Society of Education, Panaji. This society is a religion-based minority institution registered under the Societies Registration Order dated August 29, 1962 in the office of Sub-Registrar, Panaji, under Registration No.107 and under the Societies Registration Act, 1960 under No. 466.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, Anjuna, is one of the oldest institutions in this region of India, which was founded by late Alphonsus Ligouri D’Souza.
Actually, had proper records been maintained, today it would have been the second oldest English School in Goa – 1910 or earlier-2010, after St. Joseph’s High School, Arpora!
The school has been imparting an all-round training to the students of both genders by developing their moral values and intellectual and physical qualities.
The school has been recognized by the Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) Poona Board from 1973 and subsequently by the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Porvorim, and the Directorate of Education, Panaji, Goa. It prepares students for the examination of the 10th Std. of the above-mentioned Board.
The following is the list of Principals who served the Sacred Heart of Jesus High School in Mazalvaddo and Tembi, Anjuna, from the Fifties to the present:
Fr. Peter Fernandes (RIP - died in Canada)
Fr. Olgo Rodrigues (RIP)
Fr. Alipio Mascarenhas (RIP)
Fr. Francis D’Mello
Fr. Luciano Fernandes
Fr. Urban Menezes
Fr. Diogo Fernandes
Fr. Cyril Mascarenhas
Fr. Pio Furtado
Fr. Nixon D’Silva
Fr. Pascoal Fernandes
Fr. Thomas Gonsalves is the current principal of the school. He is the only parish priest to take over the post of Principal of the School. All previous priests were assigned as chaplains to Saud Saibinninchem Kopel or Our Lady of Good Health Chapel and given additional responsibility of school principal.
The old education system was very good and effective; it was value-based. Most Goans who migrated to East Africa and worked in the Railways and took up jobs on the cruise lines or merchant ships had only basic education, which then was the 4th Standard; very few did their matriculation or the 7th/8th Std.
Those who belonged to the latter category went on to occupy high positions like Managers, Directors, General Managers, etc. of firms in British colonies; some even became Principals and Headmasters of schools.
When Afrikanders returned to Goa for good, they received handsome pension. Since it was a British pension, a wife continued to receive half of her spouse’s pension after his death. I remember most Afrikanders in the Sixties laughed their way to the bank every time the Pound Sterling exchange rate soared!
Today, the Sacred Heart of Jesus High School with English as its medium of instruction is firmly established in its own fine building and has three hundred and ninety eight (398) students enrolled in the current academic year 2010-2011.
Hats off to the late Jacob C. D’Souza and his sons, late Walter D’Souza and late Alphonsus Ligouri D’Souza, who initiated the idea of educating people in the village and simultaneously carried it to Parra and Mapusa and thus created ‘the Sacred Heart of Jesus High School Triangle!’
All three of them had a dream, a vision to educate the masses for a better future, and educate they did, not only Anjunkars but people from the adjoining villages as well.
This article is a tribute to late Jacob and his family, especially to his sons late Walter and late Ligouri, who created schools, and to late Edwin D’Souza who managed the Anjuna school as a Headmaster from the late Thirties to the Fifties.
I take this opportunity to congratulate the management, staff and past and present students of Sacred Heart of Jesus High School, Anjuna on the first Centenary of the School! Cheers!