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The first school founded in Bandra after Bombay passes on to the English was St. Andrew’s Parish School, Started by the Vicar, Fr. Francisco de Mello in 1780. It was started mainly to teach Catechism to the children of the parish. However by 1782 Portuguese was also being taught, as in the personal accounts of Fr. de Mello of March 1782 it is stated that he purchased 26 copies of Gramatical Portuguza, which cost him Rs.21/2.

Then in 1864 the structure was enlarged and more benches were added, indicating that the school had prospered and increased from these small beginnings by the time the year 1839 rolled in it was so far advanced that it could not be managed by the Parish Priest alone, for between 1839 and 1843 a Mestre Henriques, a lay teacher, was engaged to teach “reading, writing and grammar.” The Parish Priest concentrated on religious instruction to the students.

This carried on to 1850 when the vicar of St. Andrew’s Church was allowed two assistants, and therefore, there was no need of lay teacher. The above information has been garnered from the diary of Fr.Manuel Anthony Fonseca, who returned from Goa in 1857 after completing his ecclesiastical course there. He was appointed curate of St. Andrew’s Church and teacher of the school with Fr. Elias Fernandes, then only a seminarist as assistant.

In 1882 in the Bombay Gazetteer it is mentioned that the school had a strength of 125 boys who were taught Latin and Portuguese. About the beginning of the 20th century, Portuguese was dropped and English took its place. The Old building being absolutely inadequate for the growing need of the parish, a new building was erected in its place in 1911, with the help of a munificent donation from Mrs. M. Cardeaux and with the help of the church funds and public subscription.

In 1913 Fr. Roque Fernandes, MA took charge of the school and it was his desire to get the school recognized as a High School. In 1916 it was recognized by the Government, two years later it was raised to middle school and towards the end of 1919 it was formally registered as a High School and affiliated to the Bombay University. The first batch of students
appeared for the Matriculation in 1921.

It is astonishing to note the progress the School made in an departments during the seven years of its existence, when the following report was made in the Thana District Gazette of June 15, 1923. “Its record is particularity brilliant, it having encountered and overcome such formidable old war – horse like St, Mary’s St. Xavier and the B.E.I. Institute. Without overlooking the fostering care of the School authorities, and the splendid co –operation existing between the staff, the pupils, and the guardians, great as both these factors have been, we must acknowledge that the greatest credit is due to the teachers who have put their heart and soul into their work and shown what a band of young people can do only imbued with the right spirit”.

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June, 2022



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