Foundation StoneThe Fruitful Forties: Fourteenth of January 1945 was a momentous day for Jamshedpur as the Apostolic Carmel Sisters arrived in the town, at the request of the Management of Tisco to start an English medium school in the Steel City. Mr. John D’Costa graciously hosted them at Boulevard Hotel until they were put up at a bungalow in Circuit House Area. The objective of the Sisters was to impart quality education to women in India.

Sacred Heart Convent School did not have this beautiful building in those first years. It was relocated several times before it had this permanent building. The school first started functioning on 22nd January 1945 at 5 Beldih Triangle, a bungalow opposite the present Loyola School. This was equipped with just 11 benches and 2 cupboards. A handful of students were enrolled. Soon the school was shifted to the CNR Hall (the present Loyola School auditorium). As the students increased, again classes were started at Dhatkidih Primary School, which is at present J. H. Tarapore School. Later they moved to Dalma Villa, C. H. Area. By this time the need for a proper permanent building was felt so Tata Steel allocated a plot of land in Northern Town. One of the sisters, Sister Joan herself designed the building. Sir J. J. Ghandy, Director In Charge, Tisco laid the Foundation stone on 7th May 1949 and the construction of this present building was started.

5 Beldih Triangle

The Fascinating Fifties: A red-letter day for SHC was the 12th of January 1951. Lady Roshan Ghandy, wife of Sir J. J. Ghandy, was to inaugurate the school building. Unfortunately she fell ill and could not go personally to the school. But this did not deter the sisters or the administration. Overnight a connection was made from her house to the school. Just imagine, half a decade ago, and she pressed a button from her home on Straight Mile Road and the curtain rose on the plaque at the school premises. This plaque is proudly on display at the entrance even today.

The first Principal was Mother Cleopha. In those days, in fact almost till the 70’s the Principals were addressed as Mother Superior and the others as sisters. The 1st Batch of students appeared for the Matriculation Examination in 1955.

Strange though it may sound, there were boy students in the lower classes almost till the early seventies. Many of us still remember the boys chasing the girls and even pelting them with stones. School timings were from 9 a. m. till 3:30 p. m. with an hour’s break for lunch. There was a room specially for lunch (which is now the carpenter’s room) and many a student would have meals sent from home which were laid out in the lunch room all complete with serviettes, forks and spoons. As the lunchroom could not accommodate all the students many had to eat outside. Eagles swooping down and flying off with a morsel or two often troubled those who ate outside in the garden. But the lunch hour was great for playing games and making friends.

Opening PlaqueIn the Sizzling Sixties school was great fun. Besides academics the school started other activities. Two sisters, Miss Rita Mendonza and Miss Philomina Mendonza, dedicated teachers of the school headed the Bulbuls and Girl Guides. They brought fun into the school curriculum with the camps and different activities organized by them. Every Saturday children would hurry to school to be able to attend the Bulbul and Guide meetings. The March Past was a regular feature of the schools. It became more interesting as the students of the Loyola School would march past the entrance of SHC and invariably the ‘eyes right’ command would be given exactly as the girls would be spotted. Competitions soon started and our greatest rival was the Loyola School. But it was healthy rivalry and many a school romance had a happy ending with couples from these two schools. We think the tradition still continues.

The school then, was divided into four squads named Shanti, Neeti, Satya and Daya and regular inter-squad competitions were held. There was a system of giving merits and demerits, which was taken very seriously. There was a sister in those days Sr. Bonoza who would even give half a demerit! But most of the students remember her for teaching them the finest embroidery skills. Saturdays were days also for movies and many a classic was shown on a small roll up screen put up on the stage and black curtains on the windows- King of Kings, Mother India, Lassie Come Home were some we remember. Some of the Teachers Mrs. Kispota and Mrs. Violet Moss are in town even today.

In 1965 the first batch of students gave the Indian School Certificate Examination of the New Delhi Board. The papers were sent from England at that time as it was affiliated to the Cambridge Exam. Since Loyola School was already familiar with this system some of their teachers, Father Power, Mr. Paul Mathews and Mr. Ward would come and give extra classes to the students. Sister Veronique, a bubbly energetic sister, who was the Principal in those days bustled about making the students enthusiastic not only about their new course but also other activities. She was a strict disciplinarian and she would blow one whistle in the portico and within moments would be bounding up the staircase and ready on the stage for the assembly.

As the school flourished the need was felt for another block to accommodate the Kindergarten classes. The Students of the First ISC batch to collect funds staged the first ‘My Fair Lady’. Zarin Kabi the English teacher directed the play. Sr. Veronica even took the actors to Calcutta to see the film “My Fair Lady”. Of course it was not a musical but it captured the hearts of all those who witnessed it. Mrs. Shireen Dotivala and Ms. Roshan Dastur acted in the play and are here with us. The present KG block, which was completed in 1969, was built from the proceeds of that show.

Silver JubileeThe Spectacular Seventies started with the celebration of the Silver Jubilee. The staff staged ‘The Christmas Play’ for the students and parents. We can still picture Teacher Violet as Mother Mary.
1974 was a unique year. Students of SHC were divided in 3 Batches and answered 3 board exams- the last batch of ISC, The first batch of ICSE and the Matric exam.

The world was ready to modernise and Sacred Heart Convent, as usual, was in the lead. With the new curriculum of ICSE the Science Laboratories came up in the late 70s. Again space was needed for expansion and the Primary Building and the Hostel were built and inaugurated. Those were the days when the sisters changed their garb and we would see a few sisters in sarees. One of them, Sr. Doris was spectacular. You could often see her drive a scooter or a van though she was officially the Bio teacher. An eminent principal in the late seventies was Sr. Marie Eugene, who had come from Australia and brought a lot of class and polish to the school.

The sisters who thought mind and body should both be exercised, always encouraged extra curricular activities. The Annual Sports Day became a regular hit. The March Past,drills and formations were practiced regularly. At first the Sports were held at school itself. Then for a few years they were held at the XLRI grounds. The venue of the Sports Day was then shifted to the Keenan Stadium. You would often see many of the teachers including, Mrs. Nargis Madon, Ms. Lalita Sareen and Mrs. Bulu Tyagi on the field throughout the day in the hot sun, marking the field and directing the students. But finally the students presented splendid displays for the parents. In the Golden jubilee year the Sports day was organized at JRD Sports Complex and SHC was the first school to use the Sports complex for school sports.

The Exciting Eighties saw Sr. Flavian as the new Principal and she introduced a host of new activities in the curriculum. The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme was started and, on the sports field, as well as the quizzing arena, SHC students entered the National and International levels.

The first opera, staged by the school on a large scale was ‘The King and I’. Faranah Patel, and Simone Singh were some of the students who took part in it and were propelled into careers unknown to SHC like modeling and the theater. Other famous productions of SHC were ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, Twelfth Night and a Hindi play ‘Badi Buaji’. All these were indigenously produced with teachers directing, doing the stage props, designing the costumes as well as playing the piano. The school staff handled everything.

My Fair Lady

The Novel Nineties saw the dawn of the Plus Two section and for this an additional floor was built and the Hall was shifted to the 3rd floor. The Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 1995, which saw the emergence of ASHA, the ex-students association. Many ex- students joined enthusiastically and became life-members. Mrs. Daisy Irani became the Founder President and Mr. Ronald D’Costa (also an ex-student) became the Vice President. One of the major projects of ASHA was starting a counseling Cell for the students. 2 teachers, Mrs. Nargis Madon and Mrs. Kashmira Kotwal, were specially sent to Bangalore and trained for it. We also had 2 entertaining shows by Remo Fernandez and he was so impressed with the SHC girls that he even dedicated a song “Munni munni” to them. The communication award given by Mrs. Rita Bhimani, an ex-student was instituted by ASHA

ASHA kicked off the 3 day Golden Jubilee celebrations with reminisces of the former years. The School students celebrated the Golden Jubilee by staging a Medley of songs from English classics for the parents.
During this period the All India National Conference for schools was held by UNESCO in Sacred Heart School which was a feather in our cap and the NOS was started.

In the new millennium, with the guidance of Sr. Teresita Mary, we are all set for the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations and we hope to soon witness the Platinum Jubilee too.

As we enter this Diamond Jubilee year it is our hope and ASHA, to set the pace for SHC to scale new heights with you students at the helm of affairs as a part of the ASHA family.