A Brief History of the School
The Founder of the School, Fr. John Moore, an Australian Jesuit missionary, came to India in February 1951. After some months of studying Hindi in Ranchi, he came to Hazaribag in late l951 as Principal designate of the new St. Xavier’s School. There he and Br. Nicholas Bilic, a wonderful carpenter and builder, worked hard to have St. Xavier’s ready for opening in January, 1952. Over some years the boarding section grew and day scholars also increased. Fr. Moore was appointed both Rector and Principal in 1957. The Senior Cambridge examinations were held at Loyola School, Jamshedpur for the batches of 1955-57. From 1958 the Senior Cambridge examinations were held at St. Xavier’s, Hazaribag itself.
The original dormitory which was converted later to dining hall
Over the years Fr. Moore acquired more adjacent land. The numbers both in the boarding and the day section of the school increased. Fr. Moore guided the school till May 1965. After a short break he went to Bokaro Steel City to found a similar school there. In May, 1965 Fr. Maurie Dullard became Rector and Principal. He continued the policies initiated by Fr. Moore. In 1968 when Fr. Dullard was appointed Superior of the Jesuit Hazaribag Region, Fr. Michael Doyle was appointed Rector and Principal of St. Xavier’s.
In 1970 Fr. Kevin Cronin took his place and directed the school till 1975. In June 1975 Fr. Peter Jones became Rector and Principal. As numbers were still increasing Fr. Jones added a third storey on the senior school building. By the beginning of 1978 St. Xavier’s ceased being a boarding school. For an interim period from January-June 1978 Fr. Bob Slattery was Principal.
Fr. Bill Dwyer became Principal of St. Xavier’s in June 1978. The same year the senior section of St. Robert’s Hindi Medium School opened on the same campus. St. Xavier’s shared its facilities with St. Robert’s Boys High School. In 1982, St. Xavier’s applied for and was granted affiliation with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi. In 1984 the first batch of students appeared for the Secondary School Examination conducted by CBSE. Fr. Dwyer was succeeded by Fr. Bernie Donnelly in 1985. He was Rector of the St. Xavier’s Jesuit Community in 1985-90. For about seven months in 1989 Fr. Phillip Crotty was acting Principal of the school.
In November 1993 Fr. Michael Eather succeeded Fr. Donnelly as Principal. Already during Fr. Donnelly’s time as Principal there was much discussion about converting St. Xavier’s to a co-educational school. This change was implemented by Fr. Eather in 1995. The same year the school began its Higher Secondary (Plus Two) section. These additions entailed several changes in class-rooms and other facilities. He also established an accredited centre of the National Open School (presently, National Institute for Open Schooling – NIOS). Since that year the NIOS centre catered for, among others, prisoners in Hazaribag Central Jail. Each year close to a hundred students register for the secondary examinations of the Open School.
Fr. Michael Eather relinquished the office of Principal in May 1998 at a period of considerable turmoil in the school. He was succeded by Fr. Pradeep Shail. He steered the school ably to tide over the crisis with the help of Fr. Paul Horan who returned to as Vice Principal of the high school section. During Fr. Pradeep’s time as Principal (1998-2008), Fr. Pradeep directed the enlargement of the laboratories, construction of the building near the entrance, now christened the “Cronin Block, and additions of the Junior School and the Plus Two building. In 1999, St. Robert’s High school moved to its current location near VinobaBhave University and was succeeded by Fr. Pradeep Shail. Fr. P. J. James took charge temporarily for the period during 2000 while Pradeep was away completing his Tertianshipin Sydney.
Fr. P.J. James had returned from the USA with a Ph. D. in Educational Leadership by early 2008 and became Principal at the beginning of the school year 2008-09. Under his leadership the school continues to prosper as in the times of the earlier Rectors and Principals. Some of the many positive changes brought about by Fr. James are the launching of the school website, the revival of the school magazine with the new name ‘The XaverianXpressions.’ The opening of the sprawling library with an enviable collection of books, computers with internet access and the construction of a grand entrance on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee were other recent innovations.Amenities on the campus for the students and staff were improved. A gymnasium was established with help from HOXA, flower gardens, paved drive ways, and a rationalized system for entry, exit and parking of vehicles were other additions to the infrastructure. Fr. James also introduced the diagnostic test, ASSET (Assessment of Scholastic Skills by Educational Testing, conducted by Educational Initiatives, Ahmedabad), to the students of Standards 3 to 9. Frequent communication with parents through circulars, setting up of a Parents’ Consultative Committee and the restructured parent-teacher meetings were well appreciated initiatives.
What has been common to the Rectors and Principals is that they have been youthful Jesuits intent on building up a new school. Each person has contributed to the building up of a St. Xavier’s tradition. The very youthfulness of the school was a great advantage for moulding a school with a new spirit, for embracing the challenging advances in education, and for adding a contribution to first Bihar and then to Jharkhand.. Naturally much has been accomplished but St. Xavier’s at 60 still retains its youthful spirit, open to all that is good and promising in Indian education. Its former students, the alumni/alumnae, manifest by their very lives the deep influence the school has had on their life values and life style and the school regards them as its very precious treasure.