Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Loyola School Jamshedpur: Till the echoes ring again


 It was the January of 1947, when two Jesuits, Fr. Cecil Leeming and Fr. Robert Drugman from Kolkata (then Calcutta) leased a premises from the then Chhota Nagpur Regiment Club, situated where Loyola School stands today.

 With its humble beginnings, the school ran during the day while in the evenings club activities resumed. The makeshift classrooms were often separated by nothing but curtains and catered to a total of 44 pupils up to standards of 4 & 5

 The two Jesuits were a year later joined by a group of Americans who came to help out – they were Fr. Fasy, the Superior, Fr. Dineen, a Maths teacher, Fr. Enright, a Labour Relations man, and two scholars , James Keogh and Anderson Bakewell.

Making the month-long journey onboard a merchant ship through the Suez Canal from New Orleans to Bombay, soon the Catholic Church in Jamshedpur became home to Jesuit Missionaries of the Maryland Province, U.S.A.

 The intermediary who brought the Jesuits to Jamshedpur from America was none other than American Steel-maker Neil Haley who rose up to be General Manager of the Tata Iron and Steel Company. Supported by Sir Jehangir Gandhy and other officers of the Steel Co. thus began the humble beginnings of a Jesuit School which would nurture products for generations.

 The Jesuits were high achievers themselves, Fr. Carrol I. Fasy, the first Rector, had been in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines, during World War II; Fr. Herbert Covely, passed the Hindi Matriculation examination in a year’s time, and translated Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” into Hindi for a Loyola production; Fr. Mathews and Fr. Anderson Bakewell, who were both Eagle Scouts, and formed the first Scout Troop at Loyola; Fr. Ed. McGrath, of Labour Relations fame; Fr. Quinn Enright, founder of X.L.R.I.; Fr. Simon Kirsch whose name is identified with Physics at Loyola; Fr. Edward Dineen, Master of Maths.

 At Loyola the job of the principal, apart from being highly prestigious comes with a lot of ‘gravitas’. Each period at the school was/is intrinsically linked with the man who was at the helm. At Loyola, each Principal bought their own personality and personal brand to the job.

 The first principal in 1947 was Fr. Cecil Leeming, a famous athlete from Darjeeling and Calcutta. The next was Fr. James McGinley. (1948 – 1952). He seemed a meek, gentle man, but before he left Jamshedpur to study in Rome, he had gained a reputation for being a tough disciplinarian.

Fr. McGinley was followed by Fr. George Hess in 1952/53. He was at Loyola for ten years until 1963. These can really be called the ‘formation’ years of the Institution. During his time Loyola moved into the grand new building of two storeys and spacious classrooms, a contrast to the original makeshift arrangement.

In 1959, the school, under his leadership, began the expansion of the school to cater to the demand for increased admissions.

 The next principal was a surprise package, Fr. Lawrence J. Hunt, S.J. Fr. Hunt made no pretensions of being a profound scholar, but he had been in administration at a Jesuit University in the United States before he came to India. He wasn’t fluent in Hindi but his simplicity, enthusiasm and friendliness were catchy. He was a man of ideas and extremely resourceful too.

After Fr. Hunt came Fr. Kenneth Judge as Rector-Principal (1967-70) who was a thorough educationist.

 Fr. Frank McGauley stepped into the shoes of Fr. Judge by becoming Rector-Principal of Loyola School. (1971 – 1974) A tall man at over 6ft, he famously wore Size 14 shoes. He prided himself in his athletic ability, especially baseball. Fr McGauley took Loyola to new heights academically with the help of Mr. Philip Allencherry as Vice-Principal, and Fr. Antoine Roberts as his Assistant Principal Loyola made a stunning turn in the Cambridge Certificate Exams.

 In 1974 Fr. Michael Love took over as Principal from Fr. McGauley. Fr. Love was Principal from 1974 to June 1976 after which he left to pursue a Masters’ degree in English Literature from the United States only to return as Principal in 1978 and held the post until 1981.

 Fr. Freddie Menezes was Principal when Fr. Love was away from Loyola.

 Fr. Richard Pereira, who was one of the leaders of Jesuit education in India, was Principal of Loyola from June 1976 to Dec. 1977. In 1978 he continued as assistant to Fr. Love for the primary school. He remained at Loyola for nearly three years during which he introduced the Open Classroom concept in the junior classes and the famous Environmental studies which became one of the outstanding features of the school, now discontinued.

 Fr. Rocky Vaz stepped onto the stage of Loyola School as Rector-Principal in 1983. He was Rector up to July 1988 and Principal up to July 1987. He was born and brought up in Jamshedpur, and was a Loyola Old Boy. During his years as a student at Loyola, he was an outstanding athlete and excelled in hockey and football. Fr. Vaz’s final contribution was to push through the new Plus-2 classes and to introduce co-education in Classes XI and XII.

 Further more, Fr. Vaz revived the Loyola Old Boy’s Association and rechristened it as Loyola Alumni Association. Under his enthusiastic guidance, the Old Boys became a powerhouse in organised fund-raising for the Loyola Free Clinic which is ongoing till date.

 Loyola’s next Principal was another Loyola Old Boy, Fr. Eric Cassel, S. J. who graduated from Loyola in 1958. Fr. Cassel brought many a talent from his Jesuit training to his job as Principal. He was an outstanding administrator, writer, orator and teacher.

 Under his aegis, the school celebrated the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Ignatius by way of the production of the famous Broadway opera “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Coat”.

 The mantle of Principalship at Loyola was then passed on to Fr. Pius Fernandes, S.J. on July 9, 1992 who went on to become the longest serving Principal of Loyola till 2002. Under his leadership the Junior School Block was constructed in 1997. The Vocational Service block too was built during his tenure.

 Fr. Augustine Vattamatam, S.J. succeeded Fr. Pius as Principal in 2002 and held the post until 2007. An able administrator, he initiated the construction of the new library block now known as the “Knowledge Centre”.

 Fr. Victor Misquith, S.J. became the principal in 2007. Under his leadership the “Knowledge Centre” and Digital Library was inaugurated. He further went on to lay the groundwork of the state of the art Fasy Auditorium.

Fr. Sebastian Puthenpura succeeded Fr. Misquith in 2013. The new Fasy Auditorium construction was completed in 2015 under his leadership. He was also credited for creating the Loyola Archives in partnership with Loyola Alumni Association.

The mantle of Loyola went back to one of its most popular Principal Fr. Pius Fernandes, S.J. in 2017. He is popularly known as the ‘Jubilee principal’ in Jesuit circles as Loyola celebrated its Golden and now Platinum jubilee under his leadership.

 75 brilliant years, here’s looking forward to celebrating another 75 years of our Alma Mater and more…

 Live Loyola, Love Loyola, Jai Loyola

 Till the echoes ring again……………..

By Amrita Bedi , Batch of 99, Loyola School


  1. I joined Loyola School in 1961 in Std 3 and graduated in 1969 . The years spent at Loyola School were really the best period of my life ; formative years. My love for maths was all because of Fr Dineen and for English due to Mr D’Souza and Fr Roberts.
    Loyola is a great school. Wish the best to the faculty, teachers and the staff for years to come. Jai Loyola.
    Raghavendra Mathur
    Class of 69

  2. I took admission in 1963 when principal was Father Hess a tall man with a smile on face.My class teachers were Mr. D’Souza, Mr. Ward, Mr P. Allenchary, Father Robert took our English. The daisipline was so good that I learned many things. Father Hunt, Father Kennedy who was very strict and FatherJudge.Father Graham with his back color dog in a jeep,we always saw.
    Loyola is a great school with good teachers in JAMSHEDPUR. Wish the best to the faculty and staffs in near future.
    Jai Loyola. Amar Nath Pandey

  3. Being a student from the years 2010-2019 we witnessed several changes while still being in school , from the old to the present grand Fasy Auditorium to the knowledge centre and many more are waiting since I left for higher studies.
    I still get to see all those favorite spots in my dreams and nostalgia hits hard after I wake up ! How outspoken and confident I am , Alhamdullillah , is definitely a result of the training from our teachers.

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