No doubt almost 10% of our life is closely associated with this primary School. In other words on an average 7 long years we spent in this almamator - mostly in studying, partly playing and as a whole enjoying.......! Now this Institution, a temple of learning, Maryknoll Higher Primary School, Hosala - Barkur, is at the threshold of celebrating Platinum Jubilee in December, 2015 – 75 years of fruitful existence – 1940 - 2015 in the service Barkurians.
We were fortunate to have well dedicated teachers – I mean; at least half a dozen of them entirely dedicated their life of themselves to the profession chosen, remaining away from families of their own.......! The teachers who taught us in Class one – Agnes Fernandez and Josephine Montherio, In Class II Jethruz Gonsalves and Angeline Fernandez, Class III - Mary D’Souza......were just few names, who remained unmarried, but taken care of the students in their hand with mothers love.
Since 1940 till 1966 the School used to offer education till Class V. To coincide its Silver Jubilee Celebrations held in 1966, and in line with newly adapted Karnataka State’s new Education policy, 2 more classes were added till Class VII, (earlier they were part of High School, higher secondary studies) promoting itself from a Primary to a Higher Elementary grade, which had District level Public Exams till 1980 or so. Among others, it was these results that were the yard stick to evaluate the standard of the given school.
Quite a few teachers then enrolled in National Higher Secondary School, as teachers for Class 6 and 7, joined MHPS in 1966 - 67 – mention may be made of Shri BLN Adiga, Mrs. Elsie Carvalho etc. Around this time Sisters of Charity started Maryknoll Girls High Scholl in Barkur, adjacent to the Church, keeping MHPS as base.
During my School days, there were about 500 plus students, and each class had two Divisions with an exception in Class III & IV.
It’s a nostalgic feeling to recall our memories of childhood days. Frankly speaking I was neither a pet student nor in the good books of any of the teachers.....! Still, I used to admire and enjoy the teaching of various teachers....!
As a pampered boy at home, was reluctant to go to school, it was Teacher Agnes and Josephine somehow managed to keep me going. They were exceptionally kind and caring. We had an added responsibility to learn catechism to prepare ourselves for Holy Communion and in May 1967 we were fortunate at age 6, to receive both the Sacraments. It was a great feeling to see Bishop Basil S. D’Souza for the first time, in Barkur, once he was elevated to that coveted post, and to be blessed with Holy Sacrament of Confirmation at that tender age of only 6..!
In Class II we were bit familiarised with School atmosphere, till I reached 3rd Standard we were provided with Milk and Sajjige for lunch. Of course I was fortunate to be served my lunch at my cousins’ house in the town.
In class III Mary teacher was there and we were taught of both Geography and History of Dakshina Kannada in a very interesting style with other subjects. She was at ease to handle almost 80 children in her class..! Then we switched over to ‘time table’ with rotating teachers in Class IV. Ellie D’Almeida from Matpady, was our class teacher who taught Kannada. Maths by Chooda Poojary, Social Studies BLN Adiga, and Science - bit boring Anantha Ganiga.
Class V we had nun Sister in Flora Crasta for the first time in the history of the School, as our Class teacher as well as to teach Maths. We were exited to learn the English alphabets which were introduced by Elsie teacher. Cyril Sequeira used to teach us Kannada, Science by BLN Adiga, Social studies by Anantha Ganiga......
We had Headmaster Victor Dias to teach English in Class VI – One of the fantastic teachers, I ever had in my life. Hindi was taught by BLN Adiga, for the first time, Kannada by yet another great teacher Chooda Poojary, for Maths Cyril Sequeira, Science Elsie teacher and yet again Anantha Ganiga was there with Social Studies. I cannot recollect anything other than him used to bring rolled maps.....! Poor fellow used to come all the way from Sastan by Cycle, always looked tired and exhausted...!
It was all important Class VII where he had panel of expert teachers. First time Sr. Jane Paul taught us Hindi. Excellent Maths & social studies teacher in Chooda Poojary, HM Victor Dias for English, Science was taught by Cyril Sequeira, known for excellent experiments and drawings skills and Kannada by class teacher Anantha Ganiga.....Catechism classes also there and Fr. Stanley Tauro, just ordained, the then Assistant Vicar was our teacher. He also trained children in singing hymns etc. Once in a week in the School and after Sunday 2nd Mass in the Church.
During the course of the time, while we were in the school, teacher Josephine, Angeline Fernandez etc retired. Ellie teacher transferred to Brahmmavar, one more teacher Theresa Rosy Picardo teaching in Class V shifted to Mumbai, after her marriage..... and on the other hand Ms. Greta Gonsalves, for Class I and Ms. Vanaja Achar to Class IV joined the teaching faculty, though I didn’t get an opportunity to be taught by latter three.
One can read more about Shri Chooda Poojary, Dr. BLN Adiga, and Head Master Victor Dias in barkur online pages. We thank each one of them. Many are in heavenly abode and few are leading a retired life. We always remain indebted to them for moulding us to be what we are today.
The very location of the School has a colourful history for its credit. It was said at this same location Alupa kings Coinage Mint- Gadyana was there in early 12th Century. Not long ago when Barkur was a District Head quarter before independence, there was a Muncipal Court, and just before this land was acquired by the Church, it had a tent theatre in early 1930’s, famous for silent motion pictures.
It’s a proud moment to understand that our School is gearing up to celebrate its Platinum Jubilee in December 2015. For many it looks like the School didn’t made the expected progress. A school had a strength of 500- 600 students in its roll in 70’s now have less than 20%, a school had 15 plus teachers have just 5 or 6 now, out of which 2 may be Govt recognised, rest all are meagrely paid for their selfless services, with great difficulty by the Management and donors. Under the given circumstances, being a Kannada medium School, it may not have a great future.
We lost opportune moments to start or make it an English medium School, way back in 80’s and even in 90’s. For some, last 25 years it’s just surviving. Lack of farsighted visionaries, lethargic local leadership, complex Govt. Rules and regulations, cost involved to have required infra structure, small families – less children, and perhaps preference of parents preferring their children to study in English medium schools etc may be some of the reasons for this sorry state of affairs.
We have no hesitation to admit, so sure our old students endorse it, that we benefitted immensely from this school and it’s time to repay whatever way possible. Come out with some concrete plans to make the School self supporting, to have a perpetual succession, to serve the coming generations.
Now we have a wonderful educationist in former Principal of Milagres College, Kallianpur Rev. Fr. Valerian Mendonca as Manager & correspondent, I have observed his true concerns for this Institution and a perfect teacher in Headmistress Sr. Margarita, who served earlier, now back in the same School, are at the helm of affairs with their team of teachers and this Jubilee is a right occasion to retrospect and co-operate with them to make the ‘Mary knoll School’ the best in the locality to impart required value based education to the aspirants.