Fr. Pius Fernandes, who was the Principal of Loyola from 1992-2002, has been awarded the National Teachers Award 2005. The list of awardees is prepared by the HRD Ministry and the awards are presented on Teachers' Day each year. Teachers Day is celebrated on September 5, the birthday of Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, the great philosopher, statesman and educationist who served as the President of India. The award is given to teachers selected from across the nation for their "contribution to the development of the country through education". Fr. Pius received the award from the President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, at the Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on September 5, 2006.
Dr. Kalam, himself a great scientist and a teacher, honored Fr. Pius for his great work and dedication. The President also mentioned that two out of the four most influential teachers in his life were Jesuits. He said, "Father, I am a Jesuit product".
Fr. Pius was one of the longest serving Principals of Loyola School. The School's Golden Jubilee was celebrated during his tenure in 1997. He was also responsible for building the Junior School Block, Millenium Storey, Inigo Block (Alumni) and the St. Joseph's Block.
Fr. Pius Fernandes is also remembered as the exuberant President of Loyola Alumni Association (LAA) for the decade he was with Loyola School, Jamshedpur. His enthusiasm was contagious and LAA grew and spread under him and acquired the shape and stature that we see it as today. It was under his leadership that LAA became one of the founding members and an active participant of the Federation of Jesuit Alumni Associations of India (FOJAAI). Incidentally, the current President of FOJAAI is a Loyolean, Mr. Ronald D'Costa.
He is now the Principal of De Nobili School, FRI, Dhanbad, a school started by Jesuits from Loyola School, Jamshedpur.
Fr Pius inherited his love of teaching from his parents. His father, late Rosario Fernandes, was the headmaster of a school, and his mother, Mrs. Dulcine Fernandes, had rendered services as teacher. Fr Pius had his schooling in St Mary's School at Kundapur and higher secondary from St. Aloysius College, Mangalore. He joined the Jesuit order in 1971 and graduated from St. Xaviers College, Ahmedabad. He went on to do earn his post graduate degree from Pune University. Fr. Fernandes has served as vice-principal of St. Joseph's College, Darjeeling before his stint at Loyola.
When contacted, Fr. Fernandes expressed surprise and said with charachterisic modesty: “I never expected it. It belongs to hundreds teachers with whom I worked for the last 25 years, and to thousands of children who 'shaped me' into what I am today. I have learnt more from the children, than what I taught them! I dedicate this honour to them! I do feel humble!”
You can contact Fr. Pius Fernandes, SJ and convey your wishes to him.
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