St. Paul’s English High School is run under the auspices of the Catholic Board of Education, which is governed by the Archdiocese of Karachi, Pakistan. The school is inspired and named after the great Christian Evangelist Saint Paul (c-AD 68) a Christian Saint and Apostle.
The present day hustle and bustle of students surrounded by huge structures is a far cry from the humble settings in its pioneer years. The school was initiated as a Primary school by the Franciscan Missionaries in the year 1940 at Nau Meel (Kala Pul) to cater to the educational needs of the poor in that vicinity.
St. Paul’s school has had a nomadic past being housed in different buildings in the first 12 years since its inception. From Nau Meel (Kala Pul) it shifted to Braganza Building (Saddar), comprising of only 4 classes. In 1942 class V was started and the first batch appeared for the Primary Board Examination.
Subsequently the school was relocated to Younis Building on Frere Street as the American Military Police took possession of Braganza Building. New Classes were added. With the increase in classes the school then moved to St. Patrick’s Library situated on the premises of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Additional rooms were constructed adjacent to the Library. To meet the expanding need a room was allocated in Don Bosco’s Orphanage behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The school continued to function in this scattered state upto 1951.
With the continuous expansion of the school the hierarchy at the Catholic Church envisioned the need for a proper school building. They say “Necessity is the Mother of all inventions”. This is very true for St. Paul’s School. The need of the hour convinced the hierarchy to seek permission from the Government to transfer the Church yard an ancient British cemetery into a school. On receiving permission from the Navy, a proper school building comprising of ten rooms was constructed in the present site. Rev. Fr. Fulgence Kager assisted by Fr. Jimmy were allotted the task of setting up the school here. Due to lack of funds, Rev. Fr. Fulgence the Principal had to perform manifold duties. He was an architect, teacher, clerk, all in one. His visionary leadership helped to stimulate the teachers, staff and students to take it upon themselves to take active part in removing relics and tombstones and shift them to the rear of the building. The ground was leveled and trees were planted which were tenderly cared for. The pioneer years created a family environment where the Principal, staff and students felt a sense of belonging.
Financial difficulties were overcome by mutual help and voluntary sacrifices by the staff for the welfare and well being of the school. Truly the Teachers treated their calling as a Mission in line with their Patron St. Paul’s. They took it upon themselves to work zealously to make its name in the city of Karachi and society at large. St. Paul’s school made progress in leaps and bounds as an English Medium school.
The first batch of students were sent up for S.S.C. Examination in 1952 achieving cent percent results securing good grades in the process. In 1953, Fr. Fulgence Kager was transferred to the Archdiocese of Hyderabad. Rev. Fr. Victor Kirsten stepped into his shoes in 1953 and continued the good work till 1956. Rev. Fr. Lawry Pereira took over the reins in 1956 and the school expanded with the construction of a new floor and a front office and a new look for the building. Rev. Fr. Lawry Pereira then handed over to Rev. Fr. Armando Trinidade a true Philosopher and Educationist. The school under his able guidance reached a hallmark as a Premier School of Karachi. He not only expanded the building by constructing the second floor but also opened a nursery class and a Cambridge Section.
Rev. Fr. Armando Trinidade’s tenure (1965 – 1973) was cut short as he was elevated by the Vatican as the Bishop of Lahore. Bishop Armando was well versed in both the English and Urdu languages.
Rev. Fr. Varkey was appointed as acting Principal in 1969 and kept charge as Principal till 1973 whereupon the torch was handed over to Rev. Fr. Leslie Colaco in 1973. He was a very good educationist and an excellent hockey player.
St. Paul’s school then saw a period of stability with Rev. Fr. Joseph Paul holding the reins as Principal from 1974 to 1984. During this period the school expanded both externally and internally. New classes were added to cater the ever increasing influx of students. The class population increased dramatically as Fr. Paul had a kind and tender heart and never turned away students who sought admission in this great educational institution.
Fr. Joe Paul also appointed a number of specialized subject teachers from Sri Lanka to prepare students for the “O” Levels Examination.
The teachers and students were endeared to him and he is fondly remembered by the students. His jolly and bubbly personality full of fun and laughter is remembered by all. He strived for the betterment of the staff. At the time when Rev. Fr. Joe Paul handed over to Rev. Fr. Max Rodrigues the school had grown to over two thousand students.
Rev. Fr. Max Rodrigues (1984 – 2000) strived to improve the standard of Education and the overall discipline of the school. Sensing the need of modern technology as a tool of learning he started Computer classes and added audio-visual aids like Overhead Projector to help the teachers use more innovative techniques in their teaching. The library facilities have grown during this period and subsequently. Rev. Fr. Max Rodrigues has the singular honour of guiding his band of zealous workers to help celebrate the school’s Golden Jubilee (1941 – 1991) in a befitting manner which included an Inter School Sports Meet, Fund Raising Mela, Debates and Variety Programme with a special play directed by Mr. Edward L’Esteve on the conversion of Saul to Paul titled “Road to Damascus”.
During this period the Sindh Government Denationalized St. Paul’s Urdu School and St. Thomas School and handed them over to the Catholic Board, the original administration. Rev. Fr. Max was then appointed Rector of the Campus to oversee the Urdu school with Rev. Fr. Thomas Gulfam as Principal.
To offer an outlet for the Co-ed students of St. Thomas, Rev. Fr. Max Rodrigues started an afternoon shift which is housed in the same premises of St. Paul’s English High School (Morning Shift) and under the supervision of Rev. Sr. Zita D’Cunha who was appointed Principal.
St. Paul’s Afternoon over the years has expanded in the same proportion as the Morning Shift and also has in its fold Kindergarten Classes. In the year 2000, Rev. Fr. Max Rodrigues was elevated as the Bishop of Hyderabad and in his place Rev. Fr. Anthony Martis who at that time was running the affairs of the Urdu School was appointed the Rector of the Campus.
Rev. Fr. Martis constructed a new wing adjacent to the St. Joseph’s Convent housing the Cambridge Section and the Library. With the expanding needs a second Computer room was constructed to acquaint the students to the use of computers at a very early age. A music room has been constructed over the Fee Office and an Art room adjacent to it.
Rev. Fr. Martis has added many more classes in the Primary Section. The Chemistry and Physics laboratories have been tiled and have given a new look to them.
It would not be wrong to say that Rev. Fr. Anthony Martis is a construction Guru and has taken it upon himself to construct yet another wing housing 20 classes opposite to the Cambridge building. This wing is still under construction and when fully operational will create a very vibrant school atmosphere.
If one were to look back and see the linear transformation of the school from its humble abode in Nau Meel (Kala Pul), one would indeed pay accolades to the visionary zeal and devotion shown by the subsequent Principals and the devoted and dedicated staff which St. Paul’s has always been blessed with. The pioneer stalwarts like Mr. Gabriel Indrias, Mrs. Sylvia Pinto, Mr. Samuel Cornelius, Mr. Reuben K. Malik, Mr. Leslie D’Mello, Mr. Samuel Gill and in later years Mr. George Thomas, Rev. Sr. Mary Francis and Mr. Sunil Mendis took it upon themselves to make St. Paul’s School what it is today.
St. Paul’s English High School students are now holding important positions and playing significant roles in society. The greatest happiness drawn is to see ex-students who have migrated, who come back with their children to show them their school and depict the fond memories they shared. The values they learned and inculcated in their lives. They regularly make contributions to cater to the fees of the needy students.
St. Paul’s English High School has always maintained a family atmosphere among the staff and students which is apparent in the number of Silver Jubilarians it has had and continue to have in its fold. It reflects the sense of dedication and commitment they have to St. Paul’s.
Mrs. Sylvia Pinto has the singular honour of celebrating her Golden Jubilee as a teacher and was celebrated in a befitting manner.
The St. Paul’s Staff Club was started by Rev. Fr. Joseph Paul and its first President was Mr. R. K. Malik. It provided the staff members and their families to mingle together building on a true family atmosphere in the school.