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Eugene PowerLooking back over Loyola’s first 50 years, we would like to give some kind of a short summary of what happened here in those years. To begin with, Loyola is rather proud of its humble beginnings. It was begun in January 1947, by two Calcutta Jesuits, Fr. Cecil Leeming and Fr. Robert Drugman. The School premises were the Chhotanagpur Regiment Club, situated on the property now belonging to Loyola School. This was adjacent to two football fields which became attached to Loyola.

Looking back over Loyola’s first 50 years, we would like to give some kind of a short summary of what happened here in those years. To begin with, Loyola is rather proud of its humble beginnings. It was begun in January 1947, by two Calcutta Jesuits, Fr. Cecil Leeming and Fr. Robert Drugman. The School premises were the Chhotanagpur Regiment Club, situated on the property now belonging to Loyola School. This was adjacent to two football fields which became attached to Loyola.

F. A. IraniThe School ran during the day, but at nightfall the Club members took over in the bar, the billiards room and the card room. On some nights dances were held in the auditorium.

The building was never meant for a school. Classrooms had to be put in nooks and corners and were often separated by nothing but curtains. There were 44 boys altogether in Stds. 4 and 5.

One year after the Calcutta Jesuits had started the School, a group of Americans came to help out in January 1948. They were Fr. Fasy, the Superior, Fr. Dineen, a Maths teacher, Fr. Enright, a Labour Relations man, and two Scholastics, James Keogh and Anderson Bakewell. They had made a month and a half journey by merchant ship through the Suez Canal from New Orleans to Bombay. In that year the works of the Catholic Church in Jamshedpur began to be taken over by Jesuit Missionaries of the Maryland Province, U.S.A.

It seems that the intermediary whose influence brought the Jesuits from America was an American Steel-maker with a capital S who rose up to be General Manager of the Tata Iron and Steel Company. His name was Mr. Neil Haley of Gary, Indiana. Backing him was Sir Jehangir Gandhy, also, one time Director of Tata Steel. Sir Jehangir and other officers of the Steel Co. were eager to have a Jesuit School here since many of them were products of Jesuit Colleges.

S. MathewsAmong the pioneer Jesuits at Loyola were Fr. Carrol I. Fasy, the first Rector, who had been in a Japanese concentration camp in the Philippines, during World War II; Fr. Herbert Covely, who 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. The 1949 prospectus has 7 Jesuits on the roster.

In the early days, on the 4½ acres leased for the School, were a kitchen and some out-houses that were used as classrooms. It is said that the school bus was also used as a classroom. Mr. Ramashanker Pandey, our first Hindi teacher, lived in a small, one-room quarter in the compound. Mr. Pandey had just come from his first teaching assignment in Darjeeling. It is estimated that he was then abut 20 years old. He has continued to teach at Loyola even to the present time (1995).

Mr. Rama Shankar Pandey in a class photoEach year several new American Jesuits joined Loyola. They were mostly young men in their 20’s who were still Jesuit students doing a three-year stretch (Regency) if teaching in their training. These men looked on India as a land of adventure and were young enough to go adventuring with the students of the School in the mountain ranges around the city. One of them was rather typical, Anderson Bakewell, who was a professional mountaineer. He was a friend of Hilary of Everest and joined expeditions with his team. He was invited to go on an expedition that was preparatory to the Everest attempt, but he was not able to get permission from the Jesuit Superior in Rome to join the team. This was a great disappointment because, if he had gone on the preparatory climb, he probably would have been with Hilary in his triumph with Tenzing and Hunt in April 1953.

The gradual growth of Loyola can be seen in the following enrollment figures:

Students Year Students 
1950 107 1970 1200
 1952 255 1980 1358
1953 300 1990 1970
 1955 496 1993 2120
1960 837 1995 2300

At Loyola the job of the Principal has always been invested with a lot of prestige. That seems only natural since he has “power of life and death” over the student body beginning with admission time when he makes the final choices. He is the staff member who comes most in contact with parents and students. He must know each boy or girl and their family background if he is to do his job well. He addresses the Assembly every day and gives his daily exhortation and instructions. So it is only-natural that when we look back at the history of Loyola, we associate each period with the man who was Principal during that time. Also it seems that at Loyola, each Principal has had a special personality to put on his era. As the Principal went, so did Loyola go.

The first principal in 1947 was Fr. Cecil Leeming, a famous athlete from Darjeeling and Calcutta. He is now 84 years old and writes from Calcutta about his days at Loyola. From what he says, we can see that even that early Loyola created a life-time loyalty in those who taught and studied here Fr. Leeming writes: “In 1947 I arrived in Jamshedpur. I did the running of the School. Happy days! My best boy was Jimmie Desai of Straight Mile Road. Every year, we added two more / classes, one on top and one below.

“But all good things come to an end. I left behind my carefree, happy youth to become Hostel Superintendent in Calcutta.” I said, ‘Goodbye, Adieu and Farewell’ to my happy days in Loyola School, Jamshedpur, never to return to it. A few boys still write to me, but all is fading in the mists of time’.

The first American to become the first Jamshedpur Jesuit Mission Principal 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 who used the cane freely. Those who know the gentle Fr. McGinley, now 78 years old, find it hard to believe that he is still remembered for his caning propensities by men who knew him 40 years ago and never forgot that cane.

(Fr. McGinley left for his heavenly abode on 17th October, 1994. R.I.P.)

Fr. McGinley was followed by Fr. George Hess in 1952/53. Fr. Hess was destined to become famous as an educator at Loyola and all over India. He was at Loyola for exactly 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 stories and spacious classrooms, a contrast to the original makeshift arrangement.

Loyola School from the air in 1956 

We have to digress to tell about how that new building came about. It was financed fully by donations of the Catholic people of the United States who were our friends and were interested in our educational and other work in India. They were truly generous and showed their love for the new India which has just received its independence. The first part of the main building contained 25 large classrooms that could comfortably hold more than 40 students. Along with these there were living quarters for the Jesuits and spacious rooms for administrative offices, laboratories, chapel and sanitation facilities. The new building was dedicated on 24th October, 1954. The Foundation Stone was laid on 20th December, 1951 by Sir Jehangir Ghandy.

As an administrator, Fr. Hess was known for his methodical and steady procedures. He was deeply imperturbable under stress and never lost his temper or control, although at times there might be a little twitch in his voice to show he was human.

In those days, before smoking fell into disrepute, he smoked a pipe when he was working alone in his office. His reflective puffing after meticulously filling it with his special brand of tobacco, was quite symbolic of his character, it meant that with his pipe he could calmly weather any emotional storm of his staff or any outbreak on the part of the students.

He was always judicious and fair, but at the same time demanding. His motto for the teachers was “A day’s work for a day’s pay “. The School has certain rules for the teachers and George Hess took them seriously.  After a while the teachers gave up trying to break down his adherence to the just rules of the School. They met a stone wall; but this did not cause resentment. It gave a sense of security and peace. The teachers and students began to accept the fact that he was a man who stuck to his word when it was rational and just. It was hard to beat his arguments.

Perhaps one of the strengths of those days was the monthly Teachers’ Meetings that  Fr. Hess held. Each meeting was prepared by one of the teachers on a particular topic. During one year we used a Jesuit Manual or Handbook on the different aspects of Jesuit education. Each month a teacher was given a chapter of the Manual to master and present for discussion. The topics were: examinations, class discipline, punishment, remedial work, class management and extra-curricular activities, to name a few.

These sessions were not always glamorous or thrilling but they were the backbone of continued formation of the Teaching staff.

Here we need another digression to mention an important step of Loyola maturation. Loyola became mature enough to have a campaign for funds here in Jamshedpur in order to add a new floor after less than ten years from the original construction. In 1959, the School, under the leadership and planning of Fr. George Hess, began to collect the huge sum needed for proper expansion to meet the demand for more admissions. The basis of Fr. Hess’s campaign was a pictorial booklet with some pointed text to open up the pocket books for education. A study of the booklet would convince the most tight-fisted. It made one reach for his or her pocketbook.

One of the photographs in that booklet turned out to be a symbol of Loyola. The photo showed the front of the School. There were lined up, about one or two feet high the first sprouting of seven beautiful palm trees. That was 35 years ago. Now those trees are as high as the building, standing straight like sentinels. They clearly represent the human growth that has been going on at Loyola during those long years.

This fund campaign of Fr. Hess, Rector-Principal, was an all-Jamshedpur affair. The Teaching Staff visited shops and families all over the city in a door-to-door campaign, Fr. Hess and the other members of the Jesuit Staff had conferences with Directors of the various Companies. The satisfactory result of the fund-raising can still be read at the entrance of the School on the plaque on which the names of the major donors are mentioned. Of course, the amount represented there seems like a very small amount today. But in those days the rupee had its full strength, it seems.

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 in a Jesuit University in the United States before he came to India. He had just about landed in India as a green freshman. He knew no Hindi and never did learn it well. But he had a simplicity and universal enthusiasm and friendliness that were catching. He immediately settled into the groove. He was a man of ideas who could get other people to do things for him in sports, dramatics, Maths, programmes, counseling and fitness programmes. He was an enthusiast and an optimist, a man of energy, who liked long to sessions late into the night.

A feature of his regime was the Morning Assembly. His theme or motto was always the same, namely : Loyola is the best school in India. This was his slogan, not to be taken literally, but a statement of his pride in our School.

Fr. Hunt was Principal here from 1963 to 1967. Soon after this he started his second career as Director of the Damien Society in Dhanbad which has done such remarkable work in the eradication and control of Leprosy or Hanson’s disease.

After Fr. Hunt came Fr. Kenneth Judge, His four years at Loyola as Rector-Principal (1967-70) were a seasoning period for Ken. He had his troubles at Loyola because he rightly tightened up on certain irregularities that had crept in. He was perhaps the most scientific of our educators. Single-mindedly he planned his life to be an educationist. First of all he insisted on taking a year out to go to Allahabad University to study Hindi at the heart of the Hindi literary world. Although he was in his forties, he joined the undergraduates and stayed with them, cheek by jowl, in the student hostels. After a year he came away with a strong knowledge of Hindi. This was a proof of his very high intelligence which was one of his obvious strengths.

Later he again took the bull by the horns by spending a year in the United States to get a Master’s degree in Education at Columbia University, New York, which is one of the world leaders in educational innovation.

After coming back to India, he added another important arrow to his quiver. He took on the job of Principal of St. Xavier’s High School, Chaibasa, St. Xavier’s is a completely Hindi medium school for ‘adivasis’, with an enrolment of about 600 boys. This experience in the Bihar Matric type of education was invaluable for him later on when he moved to what became his life’s work, the founding of the Loyola College of Education in 1977.

Fr. Frank McGauley stepped into the shoes of Fr. Judge by becoming Rector-Principal of Loyola School. (1971 – 1974) He was six-footer and wore Size 14 shoes, the same size as Fr. Hess’s. He prided himself in his athletic ability, especially baseball. He was Mr. Sportsman ‘par excellence’, and still kept up with all the scores in baseball and other American sports. As far as is known, he did not become a cricket player. Mr. 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. During his time Loyola reached its peak in the Cambridge Certificate Examination results, especially in English. Fr. McGauley was man of inventive imagination and Puck-like humour, a great leg- puller. He gave a certain lively, unpredictable character to school life, and had many unusual talents in handling disciplinary problems. At one time there was a spate of writing unedifying and scurrilous phrases on the school wall. He spread the rumour that he was an expert in identifying hand-writing and that he would catch the culprit by analyzing the script on the walls. His claim was not bluff because he really was a hand-writing buff of some expertise. The painful episode stopped.

The lady teachers in 1968 

In 1974 Fr. Michael Love took over as Principal from Fr. McGauley. Fr. Love was Principal from 1974 to June 1976 when he went to the United States for his Master’s degree in English Literature. Fr. Love was an expert in teaching Moral Science and English. If all Moral Science teachers were as good as Fr. Love in teaching his subject, we would not have any problems in handling this difficult subject. Fr. Love was Principal also from 1978 to 1981. Thereafter he went to Australia and United Kingdom to visit his family members. Eventually he left India to work in Australia where he was very successful as a Retreat Master and Spiritual Director. He died in Australia of Leukaemia on January 13, 1994.

Fr. Freddie Menezes was Principal from August 1981 to Dec. 1982 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 holds a record of being a Principal in Bombay, Jaipur, Patna and Delhi as much as Jamshedpur. He remained here for nearly three years during which he introduced the Open Classroom concept in the lower 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 upto July 1988 and Principal upto July 1987. He was born and grew up in Jamshedpur, and was a Loyola Old Boy. During his years as a student at Loyola, he was an outstanding athlete and had won trunkfuls of medals and cups on Sports Day and on the hockey and football fields.

Like Frs. McGauley and Pereira, he was a man of action and new adventures in the teaching field. He had a tremendous mind for detail and covered our Staff Bulletin Boards with charts and intricate bits of pedagogy. His special contribution was his series of Maths books which he himself wrote and published. This put Loyola on the Maths map, so to speak. He also brought some of the lay-teachers into the administration and supervisory work in the lower and middle classes. This has become a permanent feature of school life.

Fr. Vaz’s final contribution was to push through the new Plus-2 section and to introduce co-education in Classes XI and XII. For this the boy students are eternally grateful.

The additional of Classes XI and XII required expansion of the physical plant. Fr. Vaz for ahead with a spate of building. To accommodate Plus-2 classrooms on the Ground floor, the original Physics and Chemistry labs were transferred to the second floor overlooking the football and cricket fields. These now labs had provision for more students to perform their experiments. Besides these labs. He built six new classrooms and a Plus-2 library south of the basketball courts. On the east of the same courts he built four classrooms to accommodate the Kg. boys. To these were added two large rooms attached to the southern wall of Fasy auditorium.

To top it all, Fr. Vaz revived the Loyola Old Boy’s Association in a big way. Under his enthusiastic guidance, the Old Boys became a power in organizing fund-raising for the Loyola Free Clinic which is still going, although with some difficulty, for the last ten years of service to the poor.

I almost forgot yet another achievement of Fr. Vaz – the mini-stadium or spectators gallery beside the basketball courts. This gallery has turned out to be a multi-purpose structure. It is used for spectators to watch basketball games, for Graduation exercises, social functions and as a shelter during lunch on rainy days.

Loyola’s next Principal was also a Loyola Old Boy, Fr. Eric Cassel, S. J. who graduated from Loyola in 1958. Fr. Cassel brought many talents from his Jesuit training to his job as Principal. He was an outstanding writer, speaker and English teacher. As a man of ideas he introduced many improvements. One of the areas of his innovation was using a team of teachers to take charge of the lower school under his direction. He was also noted for his Morning Assemblies, which often went way overtime but which he used as a powerful instrument of educational formation of the minds of the students.

He made new progress also in the area of shared responsibility and consultation with the teaching and other staff. He was never afraid of long-winded discussions with the teachers to see their point of view and to come to a just decision.

Perhaps he reached the peak of his creativity in celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Ignatius by directing and producing, with the help of about 500 helpers, the opera “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Coat”. This was the most ambitious of all the theatricals put on by Loyola and equaled the splendour of two musicals presented by Sacred Heart Convent School a couple of years ago. On July 9, 1992 Fr. Cassel left Loyola to take up his new assignment at the Papal Seminary in Pune.

The mantle of Principalship at Loyola was passed on to Fr. Pius Fernandes, S.J. on July 9, 1992. What Loyola is Today is proof of the heights to which Fr. Pius could make Loyola soar. We wish him every success in the years ahead.


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Fr. Pius Fernandes S.J.

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