Spearheading the endeavour stands out a name in letters of gold – Rev. Fr. Justin D’souza. As say the old residents, “No words can sing his glory. His good work goes out to prosperity.” Late Fr. Justin D’souza was principal until 1922, Late Fr. Herman Mendes followed by Fr. J.C. Fonseca. Fr. Justin D’souza became principal. In 1946 Rev. Fr. Walter D’souza took over the reins from Rev. Fr. Justin D’souza. The School ran classes up to standard IV. The school began to attract students of all castes and communities.Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Pereira took charge in 1948. He had great plans and high ambitions for uplifting the school. Against all odds and at great cost he began to make headway towards building a high school. A wall was built around the school and church compound and a fountain to aid beauty to the premises. A trained and qualified staff of teachers was engaged and this attracted more and more students from outside Orlem as well. He got the grounds cleared of trees and made a large playground available to the boys and girls, thus providing sports facilities. Standing to his credit and proof of his determination are standards V, VI and VII which he started, notwithstanding obstacles to the high school venture.Rev. Fr. Peter Gomes took over from his predecessor in 1953 and continued the good work started by him.
Rev. Fr. Frank Noronha began his ministry in June 1956 as a Manager of St. Anne’s. He enlisted the aid and expertise of experienced educationists. Among them were Miss Lazarene Baretto, Rev. Sr. Beatrice Chaves and her band of Sisters – The Poor Sisters of Our Lady and later Rev. Fr. Philip Lobo and Rev. Fr. Octavian Dias. All these dedicated persons contributed to the growth of the school in their own way so that St. Anne’s marched forward slowly but steadily.
By now the high school had become a pressing need of the day demanding the most urgent attention and Rev. Fr. Frank Noronha rose to the challenge. He undertook the herculean task of building such an immense structure and to his credit goes the establishment of a full fledged St. Anne’s High School as known today. Late Valerian Cardinal Gracious blessed the foundation stone of the new school building on 28th February 1959 at the present site. Sr. Beatrice had the honour of inaugurating the new establishment in 1959.
The first batch of students appeared for the Board Examination of March 1960. Rev. Fr. Philip Lobo took over the role of Principal in June 1961 under Fr. Noronha as Manager. He carried on efficiently during his short term at St. Anne’s Rev. Fr. Octavian Dias stepped into the role of Principal in 1963. He worked for some time under the guidance and stewardship of Rev. Fr. Noronha, assuming full control as Manager and Principal in 1971. The school grew in leaps and bounds, going from strength to strength as it became known for the high standard of education imparted. Rev. Fr. O. Dias carried the banner for extension of the building into the left wing in 1975.
During his long ministry of seventeen years he carried the school forward giving his all to the children and the progress of the school. Rev. Fr. Denis Pereira was appointed Manager and Principal in June 1980. The well oiled machinery of the school ran smoothly, gaining in strength and reputation and becoming one of the most sought after school in the suburbs of Malad, having to its credit an impressive building, spacious playground, educational equipment and most important, a full fledged staff of dedicated teachers.
Sports has been one of the bloodstreams of the life of the school from its early days. But interest and involvement in sports’ activities, prowess in sports and achievement in the sports arena reached the height of glory under Rev. Fr. Ernest Fernandes. To him goes the credit of initiating, planning, encouraging and executing sports’ programmes. To see ‘St. Anne’s, Orlem’ featuring on the Sports’ Page of our leading newspapers, causes a surge of pride in the heart of every Orlemite and the students, teachers, parents and Principals, past and present.
Rev. Fr. O. Dias’ dream of having a full fledged college was made a reality by our young and dynamic Principal, Rev. Fr. Ernest Fernandes. In 1988 St. Anne’s Junior College was established with Arts and Commerce stream. A year later, the Science stream was made available.In 1990 came Rev. Fr. Cliffton Lobo bringing with him the winds of change and modernism. The world was brought into the classroom with the installation of the closed circuit T.V. and computers.
Rev. Fr. Ronnie Braganza took over as Principal in 1996 and continued the good work of his predecessors till his retirement in 1999. Rev. Fr. Francis Carvalho was appointed in June 1999. Fr. Francis Carvalho was both an innovator and a renovator. To him goes the credit of installing a new CCT.V. system to replace the old one. Thanks to Fr. Francis Carvalho, St Anne’s can also boast of having the latest electronics gadgets like the LCD, Laptops and also a telescope. The tiny tots of our Kindergarten enjoy the colourful fantasies and the fairy tale atmosphere specially created to make learning enjoyable and full of fun.
In June 2005 for the first time ever in the history of St. Anne’s a lay person took over the reins of St. Anne’s. Mrs. Annie Braganza present Principal of St. Anne’s High School and Junior College endeavours to take St. Anne’s to greater heights in scholastic excellence and high fibre living.Under her able leadership St. Anne’s High School and Jr. College moves from strength to strength. The school boasts of a well equipped and spacious computer room, a surveillance system and changing rooms for our sportsmen/women. Our sportsmen now use the Fr. Justin D’souza Ground for their morning practices and tournaments. The Annual School Magazine is a regular feature which showcases not only the writing skills of our children but their achievements in the various co- curricular and extracurricular activities. The school handbook has a pride of place in the curriculum with its well planned schedule and syllabus on the inside and a theme aesthetically presented on its cover page.
The school has grown in strength and reputation and achievement both academic and co- curricular, turning out droves of well trained students who are a pride to their Alma Mater in their scholastic excellence and high fibre citizenship.
Truly a mole hill has turned into a mountain, blessed by all the old pioneers, the old residents of Orlem, Principals, Teachers and students who have passed through the portals of St. Anne’s and those still under her proud and honoured patronage. That the Good Lord bless St. Anne’s High School that she may reach Himalayan heights is the prayer of each and everyone who has the honour and pride to belong to what was once called in 1916, ‘St. Anne’s English Teaching School, Orlem’.
Sources – Parishioners of Orlem and School Records