Hush Listen to the staccato silence descend across continents as the air rarifies with a million gasps of breathlessness at the very whisper of the name.
St.Bede's as in a flash it conjures a mosaic of myriad images, opens the floodgates of submerged memories and sets the hearts of a multitude aflutter
It's true. St. Bede's has always been magical. Located on the shores of the Marina in Madras, standing distinctly between the Santhome Cathedral on the
left and the Russian embassy on the right, the school has nurtured in true Anglo-Indian style the growth and education of countless number of students since
its inception in 1907, and its boarding has been home to thousands of Anglo-Indian boys over the last century.
Our promoters are great inspirers to the society. Their mission lies in educating young minds and also in bringing up strong citizens for future India.
Their mission is a mark for educators. Which states that no child is left behind.
A century that's right! Soon after Lord Curzon announced the new scheme of European education for the whole of India in 1906-07, the Bishop of Mylapore,
Dr. Theotinius Vieira de Castro opened a school separate from the San Thome High school for the benefit of Anglo-Indian children. It opened with 55 pupils
in a rented building on the premises of the present school for the deaf and dumb on Santhome High Road. The first Batch of High School candidates from
St. Bede's appeared for the European High School examination in 1909, and one of its students emerged topper in the Presidency. In 1914 the school shifted
to a nearby location, and the new St. Bede's boarding was started with just three inmates. However, it was not until 1934 that the school was able to move
to its permanent premises.
The story of the Boarding though goes back much further as it traces its roots to the Santhome Orphanage which was started sometime in the 1820s by a
Portuguese Augustinian friar Manuel de Ave Maria for poor children of European parentage and Anglo-Indians. It is one of the oldest orphanages of its kind
in India, and back then it marked the first step towards a great dream - an institution for Anglo-Indian children. In 1909, the Orphanage with 35 boys was
handed over to the Salesians by Bishop Theotinius, and the incomparable Fr. Tomatis set about reforming the Boarding's precursor giving it its distinctive
culture that is visible until today. He built a chapel, a stage, a new kitchen and organized a brass band that is even now the pride of the school.
He ensured that the boys received Holy Communion and provided them with better food, clothes and books thereby boosting their morale like never before.
Shortly after his death, the Salesians handed over the institution back to the Diocese of Mylapore in 1928, but by then the number of boys in the orphanage
had grown to 280.
The Salesians were however back in 1956 as caretakers of the school (with its new buildings) and the boarding (now merged with the orphanage) thanks
to Archbishop Louis Mathias, a Salesian himself and known for his daring and foresight. The team led by Fr. Tuena as rector and Fr. John Mallon as principal
took the school to newer heights. Fr. Tuena even started a preparatory school opposite St. Bede's (with Fr. Charles Restelli as its first principal) that
is now the St. Dominic Savio Matriculation School, and is celebrating its golden jubilee this year.
And yet what has endeared St. Bede's to the country has been the sporting talent that it has nurtured over the years. Right from the time the school
won the Coronation Sports held in 1911, through being crowned European school champions from 1923 to 1930 to all the inter-school titles it has been winning
post-Independence, St. Bede's has dominated other teams in the field of athletics, hockey, football, basketball and volleyball thanks in main to the natural
skills of its Anglo-Indian players and sportsmen. The sporting torch of St. Bede's, though less scorching, is still kept aflame even as other games such as
cricket and tennis have been added to its illustrious kitty. The school not only has a spacious campus with all sporting amenities, but also boasts of a huge
playground near the lighthouse (allotted by the Government in 1916) that can accommodate several matches at a time. Residents of Santhome would be familiar
with the daily march of the Anglo-Indian boarders in league shirts and shorts from the school to the playground and back.
This being the centenary year, plans and celebrations spearheaded by Fr. Joe Andrew, Rector and Fr. Michael, Principal are already in swing.
Besides the inaugural mass at the Santhome Cathedral on Jan 31st, the feast of St. Don Bosco, the school has held a cultural programme, a fancy fete
(in aid of St. Dominic Savio School) and also a sports meet for Corporation schools. The administration has also come up with a three-point objective
called the triangular proposition (see Box), a cursory reading of which shows clearly the presence of foresight and vision.