Fr. Michael Eather (1936 - 2008)
(Principal Nov 1993 – Jun 1998)
After his arrival in India in January 1960 Fr. Michael Eather spent more than three years combining learning Hindi with teaching in a variety of educational institutions ranging from St Mary’s High School, Samtoli, to St Xavier’s. This included two short spells in the Teachers Training Institute, Sitagarha, (now, Primary Teachers Education College). To an extent these years defined Fr. Eatherl’s career; he was a dedicated teacher and has spent years on practical research on methods of teaching Primary School children.
His years devoted to training Primary teachers had convinced Fr Eather that here was a subject calling for more expertise and research than his Jesuit training had provided. So he took a year off from 1972 to 1973 and studied for a Masters degree in Education at the Ateneo de Manila.
Following up on this Fr Eather spent almost ten years teaching and doing research in a school in the village of Tundtoli in the Mahuadanr area, in Latehar district. This resulted in his compiling and publishing a set of new style textbooks for English and Mathematics. He was appointed Principal of St Xavier’s in November 1993.
Fr. Eather took two bold and popular initiatives in his administration of the school, which were to give the school a radical reorientation for the years to come, namely the introduction of Standards 11 and 12, and the admission of girls. Both of these steps had been considered ten years before but at that time the Governing Body had deemed them inopportune. In 1995 he also started a study centre of the National Open School.
In the summer of 1998 Fr. Eather retired from the school to devote his time fully to seminars on teaching and to special coaching in spoken English.This kept him busy until his death on February 28, 2012.