De Nobili School, Dhanbad

De Nobili School, Dhanbad

By 1955, the area bout Digwadih was fast becoming the leading industrial area of North India. In Dhanbad there was a large railroad center and the Institute of Mines. In Sindri there was Asia’s largest fertilizer plant. On October 19th 1955, Fr Fasy wrote to Fr Provincial William Maloney, quoting words of Fr General : “A School in the area would be the effective way of getting into a sphere where the Church’s social doctrine and practice is desperately needed.”

In September 1955, Fr Francis McFarland arrived at the Fuel Research Institute, Digwadih. He took temporary quarters in a garage before the opening of De Nobili School; later on he moved to one of the FRI bungalows. February 2nd 1957 was the formal opening of De Nobili School. It began with 42 students in 3rd, 4th and 5th standards. The syllabus was that of the Cambridge Schools. Fr McFarland, besides managing the school, was parish priest of Sindri and Gomoh, which at that time were separated from Dhanbad parish.

In 1956, the construction of a permanent school building was begun at Jealgora, a suburb of Dhanbad. It was started by Fr McFarland and the first building programme was designed and directed by him. Land was donated for a school building by Mr Banwarilal Agarwalla, a local businessman. In 1962 the building was completed and occupied by 280 pupils. Additional Jesuit staff was recruited, first Frs Eugene Welch and Edgar Graham, later Frs Covely and Judge.

During the years 1967 to 1971 a large building programme was implemented and the school was able to cater to 1000 boys from all parts of the area and staffed by a faculty of six Priests, a Brother and several Scholastics.

In 1968, Fr Thomas Peacock, the latest arrival from America and the last but one of the American missionaries to come to Jamshedpur Vice Province, was assigned to De Nobili and took charge of the Chemistry department. He was a veteran missionary from Burma.

A year later, Fr Richard Kenna, the very last American missionary to arrive, was assigned to the school and was director of the primary school and a teacher.

In 1971, new rooms were added for the classes and more accommodation for the Jesuit faculty and guests. The Primary School block was separated from the Main School and a new science block was designed and built by Fr Hess. Due to his efforts, the School had a close-circuit educational television set-up. The first showing of which was a physics experiment conducted by Fr Hess himself.

At this time, there began an “outreach” in the form of an evening school which gave some 70 local village children an opportunity to study and there was a special English course organized by Fr Power for about 60 local college and high school students.

When Fr Hess left De Nobili School in 1979, he left behind not only a well set-up school with a towering new five-story science block, but also six Branch Schools as well. This was one of the finest and most original contributions to the educational efforts of the Jamshedpur Province, and to what is being referred to, almost a decade later, as lay collaboration.

Years Superiors Years DNS English, Principals
1963-66 Fr. George Hess SJ 1956-62 Fr. F. X. McFarland SJ
1966-69 Fr. Joseph Kennedy SJ 1962-79 Fr. George Hess SJ
1969-74 Fr. Lawrence Hunt SJ 1979-85 Fr. Fr. Eric Cassel SJ
1974-75 Fr. James Keogh SJ 1985-91 Fr. Hilary Lobo SJ
1975-77 Fr. Lawrence Hunt SJ 1991-96 Fr. Victor Misquith SJ
1977-78 Fr. John Prabhu SJ 1996-96 Fr. James Santhanam SJ
1978-79 Fr. Joseph Lacey SJ 1996-98 Fr. Flavian Topno SJ
1979-80 Fr. Francis McGauley SJ 1998-00 Fr. Chandy SJ
1980-82 Fr. Francis McFarland SJ 2000-02 Fr. Saleth Soosai SJ
1982-88 Fr. Carl Dincher SJ 2002-07 Fr. Pius Fernandes SJ
1988-90 Fr. Eugene Power SJ 2007-09 Fr. George Fernandes SJ
1990-95 Fr. Kuruvilla Verunkal SJ 2009-2013 Fr. Sebastian Puthenpura SJ
1995-97 Fr. John Guidera SJ 2013 – Fr. Sunny Jacob S J
1997-00 Fr. Kuruvilla Verunkal SJ
2000-06 Fr. Woolsie Rodrigues SJ
2006-07 Fr. Pius Fernandes SJ
2007- Fr. George Thana SJ

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