From its very inception, St. Joseph’s English school was open to girls of all castes and creed. The school has a noteworthy point to its credit that St. Joseph’s English School in Calicut was the first institution for girls in Malabar area.
With such a noble beginning the school was bound to grow and develop. From the earliest days the students of respectable families largely attended the school. Having worked under the grant-in-aid and the salary system, the school commenced preparing pupils for the women’s High School Examination, ranking high in the results among the best schools in the Presidency.
In 1875 Mother Margaret succeeded Mother Mary Perillon who went on transfer to St. Joseph’s school Tuiet Quilon. Mother Scholastic came to the helm of the institution in 1899. Her name was closely linked with St.Joseph’s as she administered the school and convent for almost two decades. In 1906 St. Joseph’s school came under the Code of Regulations for European Schools.
This move led to a serious draw back. Only 15% non-Europeans were allowed on rolls which was later enhanced to 30%. With this restriction on admission of non-Europeans, many Indian pupils on roll had to leave the school. (Providence Girls’ High School was opened with English as the medium of instruction to accommodate these students.)
After Independence, the School came to be termed as Anglo-Indian School. With the formation of States, the Kerala Government removed all restrictions on the admission of non Anglo-Indians and our numbers have swelled from then on. All through the years, efforts have been made to keep St. Joseph’s School abreast of the times, in methods of teaching, technological advancement and general organizational standards. As early as 1928, Girl Guiding was started in the school and its activities have continued since then.
We recall with pride the devoted labours of all those Headmistresses who have striven to maintain the high standard of efficiency at all levels. St. Joseph’s could always boast of Mothers Gertrude, Eansswide, Canice and Joan during the years 1933- 1952 who administered the School with exceptional ability and left no stone unturned in their efforts to develop the pupils in all aspects – moral, spiritual and intellectual. We mention in a special way Mother Eugenie who as Headmistress for 12 years took keen interest in the progress of the School and maintained its high standard. We are grateful to Mothers Marina and Placidia who took charge of the convent from 1955-1958 and 1958-1960 respectively and took personal interest in all the activities of the School.
Sr. Veronique in her capacity as Headmistress spent her exuberant energies for the progress of the School. Sr. Josefina in the short space of one year as Headmistress achieved much for the school. Mother Mary took charge as Superior from 1963-1966 and left the stamp of her labours and keen enthusiasm in all the doings of the school. Sr. Antony as Headmistress from 1963- 1967 devoted all her energies to the interests of the School. Sr. Rose took her place in 1968 and Mother Fridolin took charge as Superior in 1969. Both strove to raise the School to greater heights. Sr. Giselle was the Headmistress of the school for a year from 10/6/71 to 30/6/1972. She was the Professor of Providence Women’s college before taking charge of the school. In 1972 the School got affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi and continued till 1983. Sr. Mirabelle Rego was the Headmistress of the school from 1/7/1972 to 4/6/1973. Sr. Renne was the head of the institution from 5/6/1973 to 1/6/1979. There was a great improvement in academics and scholastic activities with Sr. Renne at the helm of affairs. Sr. Sheila Paul held the reins of the school from 2/6/1979 to 4/7/1984 with meticulous care and planning and gave the school a firm footing. From 1984 onwards the students have been appearing for S.S.L.C Examination. Sr. Rosy Joseph was the Headmistress of the school from 1984 to 1996. There was an all round improvement in both academics and extra curricular activities in the school under her able leadership. The spacious and airy auditorium was built in 1989. The ground floor and the first floor of the Carmel block were built in 1996 in view of the Higher Secondary Course in future. Sr. Cicily Skaria ( 1/6/1996 to 5/5/1997) and Sr. Rosilina (6/5/1997 to 1/6/1998) took charge of the school for a year each and maintained its high standard . Sr. Sunila was in charge of the school from 7/6/1998 to 28/8/1999 and on 29/8/1999 she became the Headmistress and continued till 31/5/2002.
The changes that have taken place under the leadership of Sr. Jovita are commendable. The second floor of the Plus Two Carmel Block was put up at the cost of Rs. 16 lakhs and blessed on 15th September 2003 by Rev. Fr. Thomas Panakkal, the vicar of the Cathedral in the presence of the P.T.A. President Mr. Sreejith, the Executive members, staff and students of the school. Sr. Geralda, Our Superior and the sisters of the community graced the occasion with their presence. A separate computer lab was also set up for the Plus Two students at a cost of 5 lakhs. The compound wall of the school campus was plastered and painted. The painting of the school buildings are done regularly.
Providing modern amenities for the staff and students, landscaping the campus, and the renovation of the auditorium with modern facilities are changes par excellence. Sr. Jovita’s foresight bore fruit in connecting all the 3 main structures, the Plus Two block, the auditorium and the main High School block, thus saving all of us a lot of time and energy. Her outreach programme resulted in ‘Sophie Dale’ a cozy home given to a deserving student. Dr. Beatrix D’ Souza, the nominated Anglo-Indian M.P. (Lok Sabha) for donating 12 computers from the M.P fund for the use of the Plus Two students. May God bless her generosity.
The academic activities of our students include quizzes, exhibitions, training programmes, seminars, clubs and various competitions. The teachers impart scholastic training in school whereas various social service clubs like the Rotary, Jaycees and Y’s Lings conduct many programmes for the students. Our pupils have always upheld the motto of the institution ‘Thro Duty to Glory’ and honoured their Alma Mater. According to Sr. Eugine ‘the education imparted at St.Joseph’s has a character of its own. It has maintained standards, seen to the all round development of students, not studies alone but song and dance, elocution and play, character building and spiritual growth’ – these were her concern so that her students may well fit into a dynamic society
The activities of the school begins from June onwards. We celebrate the Red House Feast with a play on Maria Goretti and a programme to imbibe the motto of fortitude. The Literary Hour with its tongue twisters, recitation and elocution, mono-act and songs are an opportunity to tap the latent talents of the students. The National Festivals like the Independence Day and the Republic Day are solemnly observed with items to inculcate the concepts of freedom and national integration. Onam, the State Festival, is celebrated with fun and gaiety. The floral carpet, Thiruvathira Kali, boat song and distribution of articles to the poor are some of the highlights of this event. Important days like Teachers Day – September 5th , Gandhi Jayanthi – October 2nd and Sevanavaram or Labour week coupled with Blue House Feast, Children’s Day – November 14th, Institute Day – September 19th, which is the Establishment Day of the Apostolic Carmel congregation and Martyrs’ Day – January 30th are carefully organized. Christmas is celebrated to spread the thoughts of love and charity. The health care of the children is looked into with thorough dental check ups and vaccination programme to control Hepatitis B. Yoga classes are conducted to encourage students to meditate and cultivate a healthy mind in a healthy body.
Come September and the Youth Festival Fever begins. The items are many and the participants gear up for the competitions. There are solo dances like Bharatha Natyam, Mohiniyattam, Kuchipudi and the Group items like Thiruvathirakali, Oppana and Margam Kali to encourage students to preserve the artistic cultural heritage of India. Literary items in various languages of India like Elocution, Recitation, One-Act plays, Essay Writing, Story Writing, Mono-Act, Instrumental Music and songs help students communicate their views, develop their histrionic skills and produce soul music with their melodious voices and deft fingers.
Our School band is the pride of St. Joseph’s. The synchronized marching and their dexterous performance fill us with joie de vivre. The competitions in Work Experience make the participants try their hands at making teaching aids from waste materials. Squash, jam and pickles, bead work, photography, electrical wiring, silk screen printing, plastic cane work, fabric painting and puppet making are some of the craft work our students excel in.