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Fr. Joseph Edamaram S.J.

The Jesuit Society was established in 1542. Excellent education for all-round development of children was one of its main concerns. There are about 850 Jesuit educational institutions spread all over the world. Loyola School is an important link in this global network. It is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee with a series of programmes spread over the academic year 2021-2022. Jubilee is an ideal occasion to look back at the different stages in the school’s development, to assess its achievements, and to remember those who made it what it is today.

Every good institution is first born in someone’s mind, and it takes years of hard work of many people to translate that dream into a reality. Shortly after the formation of the Kerala Province of the Jesuits in 1960, its first Provincial, Rev. Fr. Joseph Edamaram S.J., dreamt of a good English medium school in Trivandrum. Loyola School is the embodiment of that dream.

With Fr. K.V. John S.J. as the first Principal and just 36 students on its rolls, the school started functioning under a borrowed roof at Palayam in 1961. With a view to making it a boarding school, it moved out next year to the Monvila campus where Fr. P.C. Antony S.J. served as the second Principal. Thanks to the efforts of the third Principal, Fr. Antony Vachaparambil S.J., the school was transplanted in 1963 to the present campus. This move was significant for two reasons—one, it led to the introduction of the ISC course of study, and two, it provided the school with its own soil where it could strike roots and grow tall and luxuriant.

Any major infrastructure development was not possible for the next two years because of the fear of the land being acquired for the CTCRI. During this period of uncertainty, the school functioned in a semi-permanent building, and Fr. Thomas Anthraper S.J. and Fr. John Kunjaparambil S.J. served as the 4th and 5th Principals. 1965 -70 may be called the first major phase of infrastructure development. Fr. Kuncheria S.J. was the Principal during this period. The construction of the front part of the present ICSE Block was begun in 1967 and completed in 1970. A good playground also came up during this period.

Fr. A. E. Makil S.J. became the Principal in 1971 and he got a single storey building constructed in 1972 for the Junior School. Fr. Maurice Stanford, a Canadian Jesuit, guided the destinies of the school from 1973 until Fr. C. P. Varkey S.J. took over in 1976. Fr. C.P. Varkey added the SSLC stream to the already existing ISC scheme of studies. In 1983, he constructed another wing parallel to the ICSE Main Block.

Fr. Varghese Anikuzhy S.J. became the Principal in 1983 and was privileged to be in that capacity when the school celebrated its Silver Jubilee. Fr. Philip Thayil S.J. became the Principal in 1987 and the major development of his seven-year-tenure is the third wing which makes the present ICSE Block complete. On the academic front, he got the ISC course up-graded to the 12th standard. Fr. Manimala S.J. and Fr. Kuruvilla Cherian S.J. served as Principals from 1994 and 1997, respectively, followed by Fr. Varghese Anikuzhy S.J. in 2000. In 2013, Fr. K P Mathew S,J, became the Principal. In 2014, Fr. Devassy Paul S.J. took charge as Principal. In 2020, Fr. PT Joseph SJ became Principal.

For reasons of space and safety, the old Junior School was demolished and replaced by the present CBSE Block in 2002. A children’s park also came into being shortly afterwards. The construction of this Indoor Stadium was begun in 2005 and completed in 2009.

Loyola School, however, is much more than a cluster of buildings. It is the unique atmosphere on the campus, the warm personal relation that exists at all levels, and the aggregate of individual and collective achievements in different fields that define its essential being.

On the academic front, this school has been doing well in all Board exams ever since it presented its first ISC batch in 1968. This year’s results is a repetition of the usual success story - 100% pass in all the ICSE, ISC, CBSE and HSS streams, with a large number of Distinctions. Academic excellence is only a natural bi-product, and not the ultimate aim, in the Jesuit concept of education. Here, the emphasis is on the integral development of the individual - the intellectual, emotional, social, cultural, moral, athletic and artistic dimensions of his personality. And all the facilities and activities here are meant to promote holistic growth, and not any lop-sided development. This school has been providing excellent facilities and coaching sessions for promoting sports and games, especially cricket, basketball, and football. And it has been reaping the reward in the form of numerous victories at District, State and National levels. A large number of Loyolites have been on State-level teams or above.

In the forty-five-year history of Loyola Basketball Tournament, the school almost always reached the finals and has lifted the cup 16 times. In terms of participation, it is one of the most prestigious tournaments in and around Trivandrum. Cricket has been a passion here and the Loyolites had proved their mettle way back in 1979 when they became the State Champions. And the Loyola Cricket Academy, which was started in 2002, has been promoting the game in a bigger way by conducting regular coaching and by arranging for better exposure elsewhere in India and abroad.

Quiz has been the real forte of Loyola, especially after weekly quiz programmes were introduced in 1976. For more than two decades Loyola has been winning an average of half a dozen quiz trophies at state level competitions or above. Maybe, quizzes and debates are meant for the intellectually inclined. The artistically disposed are provided equal encouragement as well as platforms for displaying their talent. School youth festivals are memorable for the level of participation and the standard of excellence. About 75 per cent of students appear onstage with one item or another in every youth festival.

Every year, the school organizes an average of fifteen interactions with eminent personalities from different fields. The most memorable of these interactions was the one that the students had with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in July 2009 in this auditorium. A few other luminaries who had been to this school are Mother Teresa, and two Jesuit Generals—Rev. Fr. Peter Arrupe S.J. and Rev. Fr. Peter Hans Kolvenbach S.J.

NCC has a major role in the maintenance of an atmosphere of discipline and decorum. It is an indication of Loyola’s acceptability that it was one of the four schools in the entire State in 1966 to get sanction to start an NCC Air Wing unit. And the contingent created history by being adjudged the Best Troop in Kerala in 1968 and 1969. The present cadets here try to maintain the level of excellence their seniors have been justly famous for. In Social Service too, Loyola has an exemplary history. Among the social service initiatives of the past, special mention may be made of the Medicare Centre begun in 1975 where a large number of doctor-parents offered free service and treated an average of 200 patients twice a week.

Parents realize the fact that education is a participatory process and their role is as important as those of the pupils and the educators. For this reason, they have been supportive of all projects and programmes of the school. The unique relationship that exists at all levels at Loyola centres on trust and mutual respect. There is no conflict of interest between the management and the members of the staff who live and disseminate the Jesuit ideal of Magis.

The teacher-student relation too is very healthy here. Students are encouraged to be inquisitive, independent and confident; they are free to question and even to disagree, as long as they exercise this freedom with a sense of responsibility. That is why there has not been any instance of unrest on the campus, or vengefulness in anyone’s heart. This also explains why students love this school when they are here, and love it more after they pass out.

Senior Loyolites consider Loyola their ancestral home and keep in touch with it through a network of relations. Loyola Old Boys’ Association is one of the best of its kind in India and it is involved in most of the activities of this school. ‘Back to School’ has become a regular event, and last year, it was the turn of the 1985 batch to come home to Loyola with their family and spend a whole day here, inspiring and interacting with the present students. The school has received quite a few formal awards. In a sense, Loyola’s greatest reward is its true ambassadors - resourceful men with integrity of character. They include thousands of highly placed Loyolites serving all over the world and all the Loyolites who hold fast to the values of life irrespective of the state of their fortune.