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The Principals Report

This year of grace 1956 has heralded a glorious chapter in the annals of Campion School.  It will go down in the history of the School’s life as one of precious memories and of historical significance, for it marks the factual establishment and permanent recognition of Campion School as a full fledged High School.  

To begin with, we were fortunate in being able to open the XI Std., though with only nine students in it, and thus felt that we had reached the standard of a Senior Cambridge School; we had come of age, as it were, and attained a stature that could now enable us to stand abreast of the other Cambridge Schools in this country.  We now had a Senior Cambridge Class at last!  and hoped to send up the first batch of Campionites for a public examination!!

But to carry out this cherished ambition we had to tap the right sources and obtain the required permission to embark on such a perilous, but nonetheless necessary, venture.’  Without much ado we applied through the right channels for these permissions.  We asked Cambridge and the S.S.C. Board for the requisite recognition to enable us to send up candidates for the Senior Cambridge School Certificate Examination and for the Secondary School Certificate Examination respectively.  Seemingly pretentious as it might appear to the unambitious, we requested Cambridge to grant us the highest recognition possible, that of the “A” CERTIFICATE.  Our friends in the educational line, who were well versed and experienced in such matters of Cambridge policy, told us that this request was we nigh an impossibility:  Campion was a small school and just come out of` its shell, and to ask for Grade “A” CERTIFICATE and from Cambridge was at best wishful thinking; a dream never to come true.  Cambridge had never granted an “A” CERTIFICATE to any School at the beginning of its career.  Its usual mode, of .procedure was to grant a “B” CERTIEICATE for, a period of three years as a probationary measure and only after the lapse of that time, it would issue an “A” CERTIFICATE or an extension of the “B” CERTIFICATE for another period of three years

As if, by an irony of fate, Cambridge did the apparently impossible.  On 29th of May we received through the Educational Inspector, unexpected and entirely soul-satisfying news that Cambridge had recognized Campion School as an “A” CERTIFICATE School with full permission to present candidates for the Senior Cambridge Examination from November-December 1956. So there was the grand magna charta before our very eyes.  - incredible, but true. And as if that were not enough to break our hearts for bliss, two days later we received another official notification from Poona to the effect that the S.S.C. Board had recognized Campion School as a full` fledged High School, authorizing us to present candidates for the S.S.C. Examination from March 1957. That was sufficient to fill the heart of any Principal; to rejoice the heart of any School.  Campion, whose ambition has now been fulfilled, is grateful to both Cambridge and to the S.S.C. Board for such privileges and elaborate concessions.  

After six years of fluctuating fortunes, of distress and uncertainty, of fear and disappointment, during which, I may now reveal publicly to you all, the School was twice on the verge of being closed, and at least on one such occasion, a circular was already prepared for publication which purported to inform the parents of our boys that Campion  was closing for good at the end of the current year; despite all these moments of stress and strain, we have finally succeeded not only in surmounting the minor peaks, but in actually scaling the summit! For we have, in other words, so far been able to persuade three of our tenants to vacate our premises for higher cause.  Next we managed to renew at least the frontage of the old residential building, a product of the Victorian age, into a modern facade, neat, tall and streamlined.  Finally, as we have adumbrated above, we have received official recognition for Campion from both Cambridge and Poona, and for such scholarly, urbane and dignified munificence we bow our heads in humble gratitude to God Almighty.  

This year we have had the honour of presenting 8 candidates for the Senior Cambridge Examination.  All our eyes are now focused on these 8 Campionites - the first batch of a long procession to follow, please God! - who two days ago finished their final Examinations.  And it is gratifying to mention that both the Masters and the pupils of the XI Standard have worked indefatigably throughout the year to attain, with, the time at their disposal, the maximum efficiency possible.  The future now rests in the hands of God  

As far as numbers go, we have reached the record number of 382 this year, which is a little above the number we should have; but the repeated and pressing demands for admission have been constant and many have had to return disappointed. Yet I am glad to be able to say that only two classes, the VI and the VII, were above the number of 35, which should be the maximum for a class.  Most of the classes did not even reach the figure 30 due to the fact that, thanks to the extension of the building, we were able to have two sections in Stds.  III, IV and V which enabled us to keep down the numbers in each class.  Next year, I am afraid, we shall have to content ourselves with only one class in Std. III for want of space. The Staff too has been considerably enhanced with such doyens in the educational field like Mr. Denis Roche.  Mr. A. de Sales and the return of the prodigal, Mrs. Mildred Grant, from England. Prof. P.J. Saldanha took up, the music of the school in lieu of Mrs. D. Grimmer.  Miss Muriel Colaco has worked as a temporary part-time teacher since the month of June.  We have now on the Staff 8 Masters and 11 Teachers, all of whom are qualified and experienced and whose devotion to the School is incomparable.

We have just finished the Medical Inspection conducted this year by Dr. E. D’Souza, Child Specialist, and as an innovation a Dental Inspection by a highly qualified Dentist, and Professor of the Nair Medical College of Dentistry, Dr. Joe M. D’Costa. The reports of these inspections have been sent to all the parents of our boys. In the field of sport we have still a long way to travel, before we can boast of annexing a trophy.  Though we are as yet young in this department, I am glad to say that we have participated, for the first time, in official inter-school tournaments; we have played friendly matches with other schools in hockey, football and cricket.  We have enjoyed our own inter-class hockey and football tournaments and leagues. Our two Scout Troops, of which we can certainly be proud, have competed in the Inter-Troop Efficiency competition with .the troops of other Schools.  Troop “A” stood second and our B Troop came third, losing the first place by only.2 ½points out of 100. Our Scouts also won the Challenge Cup in the swimming competition with two firsts and one second.  By way of expeditions, our scouts have gone this year for trips to Anand, where they visited the Polson Dairy and the Amul Dairy; to the Camporee in Jogeshwari to Kune in Khandala, where they visited St. Mary’s Villa, and St. Xavier’s; to Sangamner in Ahmednagar where we put up a fine Rally for the benefit of the Scouts of the town; and for a l0-day Training Camp in the Kavarana Wadi in Madh Island, where we had a “Scout-Parents Day” with 125 attendants.

The Cubs too won two first prizes in the swimming Competition and, have been out to various places often in right royal cubbing exercises, this year with their active and enterprising leader, Br. R. Benavent. Our Sports Meet likewise under the able direction of Rev. Fr. L. N. Serkis, S. J. enjoyed the fullest co-operation of the student-body and the staff particularly that of the parents of our boys who acted as officials of the evening and most courteously accepted the was the inevitable burden of such a task.  Our special thanks go to Mr. G. S. Ruparel, who was the President of the occasion, and to his wife who gave away the trophies, and the splendid Shield which they presented for the best House in Marching. Our Parents’ Day again was a resounding success.  For on that day our Auxiliary Cadet Corps (A.C.C.), forty-one strong, took the oath and received the badges of rank, and together with our sea Cadet Corps (S.C.C) appeared for the first time in their new uniforms.  These two, the A.C.C. and the S.C.C together with the Scouts made the Parade this year most impressive and solemn.  It will not be, out of place to record that the Scouts gave a fire-rescue display that thrilled the audience.

The Scouts, however, were lucky to add new trophies to their collection.  Messrs Jashanmal & Co. presented a huge cup for- the best Troop of the year.  Dr. and Mrs. Byram Wadia presented another cup for the best Scout in the B Troop and Mr. and Mrs. Vasica presened one more Cup for the best Patrol in the same Troop.  We thank all of· them most sincerely for their great generosity. As regards improvements in the school, June saw new Dining Room for our boys though this had to be divided into two compartments to accommodate all, but unfortunately that had to be at the expense of the Visual Instruction Class.  The Science Laboratory too has been completed and we have only to add a few chemicals and apparatus to complete this department of science.  We have also had the inside of the school tastefully painted by Pallonji Mistry & Co. so that now our school feel attracted and challenged by its neatness and appeal. We have sent boys for the Government Grade Drawing Examinations as well as the Hindi Examinations and we plan to send more next year.  

On the 13th of November, the feast of St. Stanislaus Kostka, we started an Altar Boys’ Society for Catholic Students and the boys who joined have been coming regularly for Holy Mass every morning at 6·30 a.m. We have been fortunate in exchanging our small bus for two bigger and more comfortable ones. Again, it is a matter of pleasure to place on record that for the first time in the history of the School, we have been able to form a School Choir which sang a High Mass on August 22nd, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and again this morning for the feast of Blessed Edmund Campion.  A combined choir of our intermediate .and junior lads are now ready to compete for the Victor Paranjote Singing Competition Cup, with six songs, at Jai Hind College.  All this progress is due ,to the selfless enthusiasm and excellent training of our beloved Prof P. J. Saldanha, under whose baton, music like great poetry is bound to enhance the cultural and aesthetic talents of our boys.  Many things still remain to be done, but then “Rome was not built in a day.”  The many enterprises we have embarked upon thought onerous and risky, have nevertheless brought no little consolation in their train, and, as I said at the beginning of this rather lengthy report, these. Events will go down into the annals Campion School as unforgettable days in the years to come.  

All this has been accomplished, let me say quite clearly, not by the work of the Principal, but by the entire care of the Immaculate Heart of ‘Mary to Whom the School was consecrated four years ago.  To Her and through Her we proffer to Almighty God, our most humble prayers and grateful thanks.