Carmel H.S. School, Nagercoil

The Vincent Era: Rev. Fr. Vincent Fernandez, who was a strict disciplinarian, continued as headmaster and correspondent during this period. He maintained coveted discipline and brought the school into prominence by his systematic and devoted work. During his stewardship, which spanned over 15 years, the school was enjoying the enviable position of being the best-run-school and made the unbeaten record of being first in academics as well in athletics and games in the whole of Travancore state. It was during his tenure of office that a student of Carmel M. Manuel secured the first rank in the State in ESLC (1939). Similarly another student Ivan Jacob won laurels in sports and games at the state level who later became a world class athlete. The proud alumni of this period and admires of Fr. Vincent Cherish this period as the “Vincent Era”.

The Second World War, (1930-1945) coupled with the political move for Independence of the nation, hampered and shifted the activities of the Brothers. Worse still they had to leave India because of the ‘Quit India Movement’ (1946), sad and broken hearted at leaving the school they loved so much, but with the only comfort that they had done to the school the best that a religious order could.


Salesians of South India: Bishop Lawrence died on 5th January 1938. His lordship Dr. R. Roche Agniswamy D.D. of the Society of Jesus was consecrated as the second Bishop of Kottar in 1939. When the Brothers of Charity left the school in 1946, the bishop invited the Salesians to take up the management of the school, with the fervent desire of making Carmel a centre of academic excellence.

Rev. Fr. Peter Cratti SDB, an Italian Salesian Priest was made the manager and a layman Mr. M.C. It was promoted as headmaster. With the political interference in the educational policy by the government when sir, S.P. Ramasamy Iyer was the Diwan of Travancore State, Carmel, like most other Christian churches in the district, suffered a serious setback. After a brief spell of three years, the Salesians withdrew from the school in April 1950 due to some conflicts.


The Silver Jubilee: The Silver Jubilee of the School (1947) coincided with the independence of the nation and was celebrated by the staff, students, alumni, public and management in a modest way with the humility and thanks giving. It was also a moment of stocktaking and serious planning for the future of the school, fetching laurel for the school. He also took special efforts to improve the hostel and boarding of the school and brought back the glory Carmel had enjoyed during period of the Brothers of Charity. He also organized annual religious retreats for the students as well as staff members. It was, indeed, a period of academic excellence, infrastructural expansion and spiritual rejuvenation. The heavy inflow and increasing strength of students bespoke Fr. Machado’s caliber and his concern for the school and the parishioners and public hailed him as the very soul and pillared strength of the school. Honouring his extemplary service, Fr.Machado was awarded the state Best Teacher Award. He was also the recipient of the National Best Teacher Award.


In 1950 the management of the school was again in the hands of the diocese and was managed by the diocesan clergy. It was a period of managerial instability and cracks developed in the high academic standard and discipline so jealously guarded by the Brothers. The boarding, which was the pride of the school had to be closed because of the dwindling number of inmates. The percentage of results in the annual examination that remained high during the golden period of Fr. Vincent Fernandez from 1932 to 1944 sank to be low of 50% during the period between 1944 and 1959.


Arrival of Jesuits: The Bishop of Kottar, with a view to restoring the prestige and the glory of the school and to upholding catholic religious values, establishing new standards and rejuvenating the diocese, entrusted the governance of the Carmel High School to the Society of Jesus, the largest Roman Catholic religious order. It was a sort of mutual non-profit strategic education partnership with the Jesuits to avail their involvement and service for strengthening the educational and ecclesiastical base of the diocese.

This made Carmel part of a global network of about 4000 institutes of higher education run by the Jesuits around the world whose prime objective was promoting integral formation of students through educational institutions established by themselves and those entrusted to their care. The teachers, parent and public very much welcomed the management being entrusted to the Jesuits as they thought, and rightly so, that it would bring about a total change on Carmel campus since the Jesuits have already won accolades for their competence, conscientious service, commitment to justice and selfless devotion for work both educational and evangelical.


Headmaster Par Excellence: Rev. Fr. Albert Machado S.J., a colossus in secondary education as headmaster and correspondent, led the first Jesuit team in 1959. He offered his selfless, sacrificial service, gave a new direction and face to Carmel and took it to great heights of glory. Immediately on assuming charge, he resolved t improve the educational and infrastructural base of the school for keeping pace with the changing dimensions of secondary education all over the country. He built a new block of tiled building to accommodate the larger strength of students who started thronging in after the advent of the Jesuits; he completed the construction of the chapel (1964) with his own family funds preserving its architectural elegance as designed by the Brothers of Charity, named it the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and dedicated it to the school.

Fr. Machado evolved appropriate academic strategies to achieve 100% results in the then S.S.L.C. examination No wonder, Carmel was identified on the educational map of Tamil Nadu many a time with a number of the distinctions including the state first rank secured by N. Paul Leon (1962) who later served with distinction the Kottar Diocese as the Vicar General.

His genuine compassion for the poor and needy manifested in starting the Free Noon Meal Scheme, which benefited about 150 students. He paid attention to sports and games and was the sole moving spirit in granite buildings and the new Bishop occupied the other house till the Bishop’s Palace was constructed at Ramavarmapuram in 1937. After the Bishop’s leaving, the above building was used as classrooms for higher classes.

Soon after their arrival the Brothers went ahead with construction of other buildings for the school digging a deep well, laying foundation for a bi chapel and making a well-stocked library. They also established and maintained a Boarding home for more than 200 inmates, which was found to be important part of the school. Besides, they operated a school bus for the students of the local town as well. Thus the period of the Brothers of charity was one of expansion and progress for Carmel.


Array of Jesuit Headmasters: Headmasters such as Rev. Fr. Mariadhas S.J., (1967 and 1968-1969), Rev. Fr. S. Maria Rethinam S.J., (1967-1968 and 1973-1981) Rev. Fr. R. George, S.J. (1969-1972), Rev. Fr. George Malicked, S.J., (1972-1973) and Rev. Fr. K.S. Arulanandam, S.J. (1973-1981) boosted the image of Carmel beyond measure and enabled it to grow from strength to strength and to take its pupils over higher through life. The presence of the Jesuits and their dedicated work over two decades have contributed a lot in gloriously refurbishing the image of the school to unscalable heights.


The Golden Jubilee: During the tenure of Fr. Maliakal the Golden Jubilee of Carmel (1973) was celebrated. Alumni from far and near, mostly from the local area and the nearby Kerala state came and renewed their boyhood acquaintance with one another. It was indeed a unique moment of reunion and of reliving their Carmel past, a nostalgic and unforgettable moment in their lives.

Mr. V. Maria Arputham I.P.S. former Chairman of Kerala Public Service Commission who had served as the headmaster of Carmel in 1928-1929 presided over the function. Mr. Baby John, the then Revenue Minister of Kerala state who was an old student of the school, was the guest of honour among the dignitaries.


Peace Maker: Rev. Fr. S. Maria Rethinam S.J., known, for his fortitude, courage and will power was twice missioned to Carmel by the Provincial (1973-74) and 1994-1995 to settle serious problems. Being a fearless and potent administrator, he successfully tackled the issues and peacefully restored normalcy in the school. He also enforced enviable discipline on campus, streamlined the functioning of the school and provided a conducive atmosphere in the school. Under his able academic leadership there was markedly qualitative improvement in the teaching-learning activities.


Carmel Attains Higher Secondary Status: The last in the array of Jesuit High School headmasters in Carmel, Rev. Fr. K.S. Arulanandam S.J. a seasoned administrator turned Carmel into a full-fledged Higher Secondary School (1979) when the Plus Two course was introduced in Tamil Nadu. He constructed two new blocks on the eastern and southern sides of the quardrangle for the higher secondary sections with the assistance of the Bishop of Kottar. He was instrumental in starting the Carmel extension Counter of the Central Bank of India within the school premises. The cycle shed now used is another construction put up by him. The magnitude of his achievements in the academic and athletic sphere can be best seen in the state ranks in S.S.L.C. and the district ranks in S.S.L.C and plus Two results and the laurels won by the school in sports and games.

Taking into account his proven administrative skills, proficiency in education rules, and improvements made by him in the infrastructural facilities of the schools as well as academic results in securing district ranks, Fr. K.S. Arulanandam was given the State Best Teacher Award by the Government of Tamil Nadu.


Silent Service: Rev. Fr. S. Ignatius S.J., on whom the mantle fell as the second Higher Secondary headmaster in 1981, was an able administrator and did silent effective service in the school. Being a vibrant headmaster, he was able to produce very high results in the S.S.L.C. and Higher Secondary Examinations. His efforts in maintaining discipline on campus, moulding the character of the students and raising the tone of the institution are really laudable. He was very humane and humble and was always affable to staff, students and public. He was very sensitive to the needs of the students and teachers and his way of dealing with problems strengthened the unity among the staff members and the relationship between the management and staff.


Transition of Management: The tenure of Rev. Fr. Soosai Manickam S.J., as headmaster happened to be the closing year of the contract period of 25 years. A grace period of two years was mutually agreed upon to make alternate arrangements to run the school after the transition of management form the Jesuits. Fr. Soosai Manickam was replaced by Fr. Sigamony S.J., who was with his cherubic smile and soft-spoken words led the school to pinnacle of achievements.

During these two years the school produced excellent results including ranks at district and state levels and it was the consummation of the cumulative efforts of preceding Jesuit educator administrators and dedicated team of creative and resourceful staff. Finally, the Jesuits gracefully withdrew from the school in May 1986 on expiry of the contract.


Salesians Again: Subsequently, the Bishop of Kottar entrusted the management of the school again with the Salesians of South India in 1986 to convert Carmel into a citadel of higher education. A team of Salesians including Rev. Fr. Stanislaus M. Fernandez S.D.B the headmaster his confreres and a few scholastics took over the management of the school. After three years he was succeeded by Rev. Fr. Lourdusamy S.D.B. as headmaster after administering Carmel for a period of eight years, they offered to leave the school because of some crisis and finally left the school in June 1994. during the above period they had constructed a huge building for the boarding and improved the school.


Jesuit Back on the Saddle: The school was, therefore, once again entrusted to the Society of Jesus in July 1994 on the strength of a mutual contract satisfying the public who clamoured for the Jesuits and the latter vowed to honour their commitment to the cause of education and scholarship. The teachers, enamoured of the lofty ideals of the Jesuits, overjoyed at the prospect of the restoration of Jesuits in the school and being privileged to be part of a global Jesuit educational system.


Historic Event: Rev. Fr. Maria Rethnam’s daring entry into Carmel amidst spontaneous public cheer despite his poor health and old age to assume charge, as correspondent in order to fulfill the mandate of the church was indeed a historic event. The same smiling and kindly Fr. Sigamony S.J., who handed back the school to the diocese in 1986 took over the Headmastership again when the new contract with Jesuits came into force and in no time restored peace and tranquility on the campus and the whole atmosphere of the school changed in a presto.


New Heights: The Jesuits have since made a lot of improvements in the infrastructure and academic activities of the school. They have constructed two huge buildings a new block on the eastern side enclosing the quardrangle for classrooms replacing the old tiled building with assistance of the Bishop of Kottar and another the Fr. Machado Science block to house the four science laboratories with the munificence of the alumni, parents, public and the staff. A new Computer course was launched in the school for Plus Two students and a computer lab was established with a dozen computers. The Jesuits have also made the campus more green and verdurous by planting hundreds of previous trees such as teak, coconut, jack, mango, margosa and manjium. Besides making these physical improvements, they started producing very high results, district ranks and state ranks in the public examinations.


Creative Work Environment: The unforgettable achievement of Fr. Sigamony was that he regenerated a warm friendly atmosphere in the school, which paved the way for better academic achievements. Colloquium, seminar, symposium, retreat etc. were organized for the staff to strengthen their unity and to motivate them for optimizing their performance. He organized refresher courses for English language teachers by experienced teachers. Training in Ignatian pedagogy was conducted for the teachers by an expect counselor Rev. Fr. Emmanuel S.J. Counseling classes were conducted for the Plus Two students by skilled counselors. The presence of the Jesuits transformed the ambience of the school, which became conducive for the teaching-learning process and Carmel has reached its pinnacles with very high percentage of results and state ranks in the S.S.L.C. and Higher Secondary Public Examinations. As a result of all these Fr. Sigamony was fittingly honoured by the Government with the State Best Teacher Award.


The Platinum Jubilee: The platinum jubilee of Carmel was celebrated with solemn gaiety for three days on 28, 29 and 30 January 1998. The highlights of the celebration were a rally from the stadium in the town to the school, a Science Exhibition involving students of Carmel and of other schools, and held with the assistance of the Science Centre, Tirunelveli and the ISRO, Trivandrum, Interschool Competitions, release of First Day postal to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations, cultural programmes by Kalai Kaveri, Folk songs by Pushpavanam Kuppusamy and Patti Mandrnu by Solomon Pappiah and his team and another by Members of Veeramamunivar’s Peravai. Other important events were the opening of the Platinum Jubilee Arch at the main entrance of the school, laying of foundation stones for Fr. Machado Science Block and also for a dais inside the quadrangle. Staff, students, parents, public, alumni, illustrious old students of the school and a few dignitaries took part in the celebrations.


Infrastructure Map: As you enter the Carmel campus through the Platinum Jubilee Arch on the road you pass by the cycle-shed and see the majestic main building and other blocks enclosing the quadrangle on the right, the beautiful garden in front, the vast spacious playgrounds contiguous to the school premises, lying in the backdrop of bosh housing colony with a semi-urban pastoral setting, Fr. Machado Science Block on the left, the old tiled-building which housed the old boarding beside, the big Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the centre flanked by the new hostel building and the Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel at the centre flanked by the new hostel building and the splendid double storeyed Father’s residence, the mess room behind the chapel. Arul Illam housing the hostel beyond it, surrounded by clusters of mango trees and coconut trees, an avenue leading to the hostel canopied by thick overgrowth of tamarind trees and a thick bush of bamboo trees, a fertile palm grove interspersed with coconut trees, plantain trees, precious manjium and teak trees in between and hundreds of different varieties of trees scattered all over the campus providing a lush green environment.


Associations and Activities: The school now has Boys Scouts, National Cadet Corps. (N.C.C.), National Service Scheme (NSS) Red Cross Society, Young Student Movement, (Y.S.M.) LASAC, Interact Club, Carmel Alumni Association, and Parent Teachers Association (PTA). Other Activities of the school include Science Forum, Astro Club, Literary Association, Fine Arts, Sports and Games, Quiz Club, Science Exhibitions, Educational Tours, Spiritual Retreats, Catechism, Music, TNPCEE coaching etc., Regular school Assembly is another important feature of the school. Art Extension Counter of Central Bank of India is functioning in the school campus for the welfare of the staff and students. The school has a good library, which contains thousands of books in different subjects and encyclopedia volumes and reference books in Tamil and English. Equal importance is given to curricular co-curricular and extra curricular activities too. Periodical, class wise, Parent Teacher meetings are organized to bridge the gap between the school and the parents. Religious activities of the school include daily prayer and Bible reading, regular catechism classes, first Friday mass, periodical confession, annual religious retreat, and sermons for vocation during summer vocation computer training, special talent development, fine arts training competitions in elocution, essay writing and training in instrumental music etc are provided to the students.


Old Verterans in the New Dispensation: The present team of management comprises six members four priests and two brothers. The key persons among them are the Superior Rev. Fr. Ignatius S.J. who is non but the former headmaster Rev. Fr. William S.J., who had been the Superior cum Asst. Headmaster cum warden during the earlier Jesuit regime.

With the entry of the present headmaster, the school underwent a sea change all because of the reforms brought team has a preferential love for the poor and downtrodden and is taking extra efforts for the uplift of the poor and weak students. Special coaching is also offered to the high scores of the school in order to sustain the motivation and to keep alive the tempo and momentum of their academic excellence. The silent zone observed in the morning before school hours and at noon after lunch and the special study classes in the evening and the special coaching classes for high scorers deserve special mention. Provision of separate lab facilities for middle school and High School students and installation of an astronomical telescope are recent improvements made by the Jesuits.


Cosmopolitician Atmosphere: Thanks to the Jesuits, Carmel wears a cosmopolitician atmosphere and has a highly competitive academic environment as it draws students from various schools, quarters and background transcending all sectarian barriers and at times even from neighboring overseas countries like, Ceylon, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia etc., Carmel has produced bishops, administers, doctors, engineers, educators, scientists, lawyers, judges, political leaders, I.A.S. and I.P.S. Officers, U.N. Officials, priests and business magnates working in our country and abroad. There is literally a ‘craze’ among parents of all communities and from all state of society, for their children’s admissions in Carmel primarily because the parents are fully convinced that Carmel and Carmel alone can promote the integrated growth of the students and ‘make a student a man’ in the real sense of the term.


The Jesuit Impact and ethos of the School: Thus in keeping with the Jesuit motto Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the greater glory of God), the Jesuits have provided a sound academic as well as religious atmosphere and the school has won blushing honours. The Jesuit regime in Carmel is indeed a blessed period in the annals of the Carmel Higher Secondary School. The Jesuits have always helped the school to perform better in academic, athletic, co-curricular and religious activities and the school is growing in all spheres true to the school motto ‘Excelsior’ (Ever Higher). The Jesuit priests in Carmel foster physical, mental and spiritual growth in the students with their 450-year-old tradition of Ignatian pedagogy and Jesuit ideals. The Jesuit educator – administrators have always endeavoured to impart value-based education and worked for justice in higher education. What indeed is remarkable about the teacher-learner friendly Jesuits is that they never, never lose their priestly identify.

As such the governance of the school by the Jesuits has largely changed the ethos of the school in at once promoting merit and scholarship, catering to the needs of the poor and the downtrodden, and disseminating spiritual inspiration and cultural consciousness. The Jesuit ‘neighbourhood ministry of reaching out the outreached, particularly those who are in dire need of the Jesuit help is relevant in the content of the recent developments in the school. The impact of Jesuit education on the diocese is easily discernible on the spiritual regeneration and socio-economic uplift of its people and that is what makes the period of the Jesuit in Carmel campus singularly unique and socio-educationally more significant and relevant. Carmel, in short has come to symbolize academic excellence, spiritual inspiration, economic uplift and social justice. Indeed, Carmel, in the hands of the Jesuits, has always led the students to its scholar Ignatian Pedagogical of human excellence.