Tirupattur – Don Bosco
The history of the Salesian Aspirantate with its school Comprises of different stages
Stage 1 (1933) Right from the beginning the early foreign Salesians, of different nationalities were interested in promoting indigenous vocations. In the late thirties they had experimented with a handful of them already. But some of the foreigners were sent to concentration camps during II World War.
Stage 2 (1943) The official inauguration of the aspirantate was on 3.7.1943 with 12 aspirants. The dream of having many Indian Salesian vocations is ardently expressed in the hymn “Cor Jesu sacratissimum…” composed by Fr.Jose Carreno the Provincial of that time.
The number of vocations increased slowly with the blessing of the Sacred Heart. Aspirants were accepted from VIII Std, and the Matriculation syllabus under Madras University was followed. But the school had no recognition.
The need of a regular recognized Matriculation school was felt keenly, especially, as the boys who dropped out after two or three years, had to return home, and join the same class they had left years ago in their own native places. They had no regular transfer certificates.
It was some relief when permission was given to X std students, to appear for the Matriculation Exam as private students above twenty years of age. The first batch appeared in 1949 and did very well. The staff was all Salesian.
Stage 3 (1951) The dream of regular High school was finally realized in 1951. together with the permission to open the Sacred Heart Intermediate College, the Matriculation High school also was recognized by the Madras University. The College was at first a junior engineering college. But later, facing some difficulties it was changed into an academic college. A sprinkling of day scholars were admitted into the Matriculation school. The students were mostly aspirants.
Stage 4 (1968) In 1968 the High school was shifted to the present site, two K.M. from the college campus. Later the name of the school was changed from Sacred Heart Matriculation School to don Bosco Matriculation School. Little by little the number of aspirants grew to nearly two hundred. Day pupils also increased. There were many lay teachers.
Due to the successive division of the Madras province into Bombay, Bangalore, Andhra, and Sri Lanka delegation, the admission to the aspirantate from the other states diminished. For convenience, aspirants began to be kept in Tanjore, Madras and Pannur. In Tirupattur their number began to diminish.
Stage 5 (1978) With the introduction of the Higher Secondary in 1978 the numbers of aspirants and day scholars increased. The school flourished. It became the envy of the neighboring schools, with its beautiful setting, play grounds and palacious buildings. The teachers were happy because they were given government scales of pay.
To serve the junior boys of the school VI VIII St.Charles Hostel was run by the St.Chalres sisters at our request, catering exclusively for our boys. It was built by the money given by Fr.Guezou. it was closed in 1988 at the orders of the then Provincial Fr.Vincent Durairaj.
Stage 6 (1985) With the help of Rev.Fr.Guezou a hostel was constructed at the other end of the compound to house about 100 students. It was meant mainly for students from Yellagiri. But because of certain difficulties, it was closed in 1998, diminishing somewhat the strength of the school.
Stage 7 (1999) As years went on, the burden of paying of the salary according to government scales became heavier and it was felt more keenly because of the lesser number of the Salesian staff. The government increased the pay scales considerably from time to time with various allowances at different stages. In spite of some increase of the school fees, the Management realized that the situation could not continue. In 1996 new teachers were given consolidated pay. There were only three options. First, to raise the fees further: the second, to come to a compromise with the staff for a lower scale of pay fixed by the management, and third, to close down the school, and seek some other place for the schooling of the aspirants.
At present the school is working under the second option. Here was also an additional possibility for the senior teachers, who could be transferred to other Salesian aided High schools, when occasions arose by departure or retirement. Actually three senior teachers have left, naturally weakening the Don Bosco staff. The newly appointed teachers work on the new lower scales of pay.
The new aspirants to the XI Std recruited from vocation camps conducted different places every year join the aspirants from Tanjore and Pannur. Those who come from Tamil medium have a great disadvantage because of their lower standard in English language. They have to make a great effort to come up to the standard of boys who have come from the English medium.
Stage 8 (2003 – 2004) The senior teachers’ pay has been increased considerable from Jan 2001, with the approval of the Provincial Council. Newly appointed teachers are given basic pay as per the government scale from June 2001. At the request of the parents the Bosco Hostel has been reopened along with Kalvi Solai, with the approval of the Provincial Council.
Stage 9 (2003-2004) The strength of the school was increased from 679 to 740. Hence we increased a section. The computer lab was updated with 10 new computers with Internet facilities. The staff also was increased by 2 extra teachers. A special orientation to follow up the weaker students was stressed.
Stage 10 (2005-2006) The province of Chennai has decided to send the candidates for the college studies after their one year of PHS(Post Higher Secondary Aspirants). And we did not stop the candidates sending to the Pre-Novitiate but a few have been chosen to go for their studies and others were sent to the next stage of formation phase.
Stage 11 (2007-2008) The formation segments has been changed and the 10th and 12th finished Aspirants are undergoing one year of English Coaching and 12th finished candidates have been preparing to choose to sent to Pre-Novitiate or for the college studies and the 10th finished Aspirants are prepared to join in the English Medium for their Higher Secondary studies. And from this year onwards the college going Aspirants will be shifted to the college campus. This year we do not have aspirants studying in the school.
DON BOSCO –TIRUPATTUR Don Bosco Higher Secondary School
Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School begun as an Aspirantate in the Sacred Heart College premises in 1943 by Fr. Carreno, and shifted to the present site in 1968, today has a total strength of 710 pupils. Of these, 111 are Catholics (4 aspirants), 15 Christians of other denominations, 548 Hindus, 27 Muslims and 9 belonging to other religions. The teaching staff is 21 in number, 15 gents and 6 ladies (9 are Catholics). Singing class, media education, library hour, prayer experience classes are conducted daily by rotation. Catechism and Moral Science classes are taught every day in the school. School assembly is conducted daily where a Bible passage is read and explained in the morning talk. First Friday mass and confessions are also organized. Teachers’ animation is taken care of by the Salesian Management. The Rector and Confessor are available to the students during the week. Many students visit the Church during the day. There are also various Associations and Clubs, animated by the teachers: Scouts, NSS, RSP, Human Rights, Red Ribbon Club, Tamil and English Literary Associations and the Mathematical Association of India. Co-Curricular Activity (C.C.A.) classes are organized once in a week to attain the goals and objectives of personality development. Sports and games play an important role in the growth of the students. In general, the discipline is good. Students are happy and proud to study in this School. PTA meetings are conducted regularly and the teachers are also animated well. The annual retreat is organized for both Catholic students and teachers. The School is furnished with a good library, computer lab and Physics and Chemistry laboratories.
The Aspirants fall under the following categories: College students, PHS and tenth finished aspirants. The group of college students (17) made up of those attending Sacred Heart College. PHS students (19) are those who have entered the Aspirantate after their Higher Secondary or College (Technical) studies. From this year onwards, the tenth finished aspirants (26) will undergo an year of english coaching classes in view of studying their higher secondary studies in english medium. There are 62 Aspirants. The majority of the aspirants is from rural areas, mostly from the middle and lower middle classes. The PHS students are mainly from Tamil medium schools and hence find it difficult to cope with their studies. They are given a thorough English language course – prose, grammar, composition, phonetics, communicative English, etc. All the Salesians, except the confessor, handle classes for the students. Regular talks and conferences are given by the Rector separately to the groups. Oratory work and social ministry contribute to their Salesian formation. There are 7 sodalities with specific objectives. They hold meetings for half an hour every Saturday. Group night prayers on Sundays are moments of sharing their Sunday ministry experiences. All the aspirants have daily mass, rosary, Morning and Night Prayer. Besides, group masses are held monthly. Goodnight talk is given daily after night prayers by all Salesians, except the confessor. Every day they have time for personal prayer. Sacramental life is given priority. Monthly recollection is held regularly. The commemoration of MHC on 24th and of St. John Bosco on the last day of the month are held. Adoration services are conducted on Sundays and First Fridays. The death anniversaries of the Salesians who are buried here are commemorated in the Eucharist and in the cemetery. Spiritual retreat is held once in a year. Liturgical feasts are celebrated with solemnity. The Marian month is conducted from 16th July to 15th August. Don Bosco month is conducted in the month of January. Occasionally, other vocation promoters from other provinces address the aspirants. Vocation Day is conducted once a year to which newly ordained priests are invited.
Bosco Hostel, closed in 1998 and reopened in 2001, accommodates only students from Std. IX to XII of the School. Students of Stds. VI to VIII are accommodated in the hostels run by 2 office staff members. Another floor is being constructed over the present building to accommodate the students of Std. VI to VIII. Two Salesian wardens, together with 2 lay sub-wardens, look after the 80 hostel students. It is a multi-religious group, comprising 44 Catholics and 36 Hindus. The hostel has given about 5 vocations to the Congregation. Career guidance is given regularly to the Stds. X and XII. The students are motivated to reflect about their future through occasional talks given by the wardens. They receive a well planned and organized formation at various levels.
There are more than 886 active past pupils in the Past Pupils’ Unit of the School. The Executive Body meets regularly once a month, while the General Body meets once a year. They help the school by providing scholarships for poor students, and strive to maintain a cordial rapport among themselves and with the Salesians.
There are, at present, 5 night schools for children from Stds. V to XII in the following places: Don Bosco, Annandapatti, Chinnamookanur, Sagayanagar and Kanamanthur. Every centre has a teacher to look after the children. The remuneration for the teachers, Rs.500/-, is sponsored by the CFCA. Except the Don Bosco Night School, the rest have both boys & girls. The total number of children who come to the night schools is 255 (boys 165, girls 90) with 102 Catholics. Besides the celebrations of feasts like Talents Day, Children’s Day, Christmas, Don Bosco Feast, etc., there are also talks on leadership, self-motivation, self-esteem, etc., organized for the children during the year. “Earn while you learn”: is a project of the night school children, for the purpose of making the children “less dependent” on their families for their “school expenses”. At present, about 30 children benefit from this project. The Administrator, with a cleric and the 21 PHS candidates animate 298 children in 6 oratories distributed in 6 villages. Prayers, games, academic coaching classes, family-based human values (this being the year of the family – strenna), etc., are imparted to them. They have an annual retreat, picnic and oratory day etc. The PHS students meet the night school children every Sunday afternoon and teach them moral values by means of songs, games etc. Fr. Andrew, from Sacred Heart College, together with a cleric from the house and the college going aspirants, visit the villages around, and animate them through various media skills. They leave by 6.00 p.m. and return by 8.00 p.m. every Sunday. Through the CFCA, the institution helps 28 students, who are helped monetarily with Rs.600/- per month for their education. The Rector, together with the Administrator, looks after this group. The “Adopt a Granny” (AAG), sponsored by Help Age India, is a programme supported by people from the UK for aged people. The Don Bosco community helps 15 aged widows. About Rs.25, 000/- per term is received and distributed to feed, clothe and provide medicines. The Rector monitors the proceedings together with the Administrator. Funds are also raised by the students on various occasions to help in the education of: poor school students of Don Bosco Mat. Hr. Sec. School, children of the domestic workers, deserving students from the neighbouring villages and in the housing project of domestic workers.
Don Bosco H. S. School
Tamil Nadu 635601
Don Bosco, Tirupattur
Aspirantate and school (English Medium). Has a farm of some 35 acres of land. There is a hostel for school boys.
This aspirantate was in S.H. College earlier and was shifted here in 1972. Runs evening schools for the poor.
Fr. Berchmans is Rector