School History

As the mighty oak has its beginnings in the humble acorn, the history of Apostolic Carmel can be traced back to the passing word: a simple conversation between Sr.Theodosia with the then Archbishop of Bombay, Valerian Cardinal Gracias that resulted in the transfer of the Girls Section of St.Andrew’s High School into the hands of the Carmel Sisters. Soon after Mother Sylvia and Mother Carol acquired the present property with the school building and furniture from Reverend Fr. Henry Remedios, Parish priest of St.Andrew’s church. A new building, was erected, Mother Celine took over as Superior with Sister Aimee as Headmistress aided by Sisters Helena, Marita and Mafalda. The little band of sisters heard mass in the chapel which was then, as always, the heart of the Carmel community and proceeded to begin their apostolic work of education and social upliftment. By School in the 1960sJune 1953 the first admissions to the school began though recognition for this came only the following year for the Primary Department and the year after for the school itself. Thereafter it was allowed to function as an independent girls school with English as the medium of instruction. In 1957 the school building was extended and the new chapel was blessed. Gradually the student strength increased and cultural activities were encouraged. By 1962 the High School classes were shifted to the new building block and in 1971 an additional floor was constructed over the hall to provide a spacious library by Sr. Maria Rosa. A much required basketball court was laid to enable the students to have adequate exposure to games and physical exercise. The next year saw the construction of the Biology and Physics Laboratories over the Library to provide better facilities to students. The Sisters of the community were busy with STC work and Religious instruction as well as doing courses in Hindi and Marathi, typing and social work. The school continued to expand with more buildings on the westward side to include a Chemistry Laboratory and Mini Auditorium and later, on the other side, a Home-Science Section and another staircase. Thus the school building came to resemble the present day edifice. In 1974 Sr. Maria Rosa took over as Superior and in the following year the Higher Secondary Section was opened with the commencement of Std. IX at the insistence of the Education Department. The Gyan Seva Samiti was also established as a society and trust to govern the school. Sr.Maria Rosa headed the school as Principal for 9 years and having done an excellent job, now handed over to Sr.Astrid Alvares while Sr.Marcilia took charge as Superior. In 1977, the Bandra House became the Headquarters of the Western Province. The devoted work of the sisters and staff saw an improvement in academic results and the generous space allotted to sport paid rich dividends in the fields of Hockey, Volleyball, Basketball and Athletics and went on to represent the school at State Level. The Carmel sapling had indeed continued to grow, to flower and bear fruit. Sr.Claribelle, who took office after, remained Principal for 11 years during which time the students developed their talents in diverse fields of Dramatics and Sports and initiated the General Assembly, which gave students an opportunity to organize and participate in prayer services and stage events. As Education is at the helm of all progress, it was decided to equip the school with a Computer Room. It was Sr.Theodomira who was instrumental in accomplishing this with a splendid streamlined Computer Laboratory on the first floor to provide enough facilities for regular classes for all students. It was in this year that Sr. Muriel Rita came from the Convent at Delhi and took up the reins. With a firm belief in all round development of the students, she began activities like Debates, Quizzes, a Music Club and motivational Bulletin boards and re opened the library that has remained shut for two years. However the most urgent need of the hour at the time was to demolish and re-build the cramped premises of the Pre-Primary building as it was in decrepit condition, extremely cramped and even posed a threat to the safety of the children. A fantastic dream was realized when after much hard work and dedicated effort to raise funds, a magnificent structure of 2 floors to accommodate comfortably all the Pre Primary students plus a much needed canteen and an open hall cum lunchroom. Our youngest students now had bright classrooms, wide corridors colourful charts a music room and a stage. The Primary School was also given a new lease of life with new flooring and tiles and stairways. Bulletin boards were provided to enhance their corridors and garden patches were built along the walls. The basketball court was concretized, forming a quadrangle with the school building around. The chemistry lab was renovated and the printing room was upgraded with computers. On a more spiritual note, Carmel Treasures, a Carmel value based retreat conducted by the staff spearheaded by sisters of the congregation for class IX commenced annually and has continued since. Carmel Blossoms, an introduction to the congregation also got off to a quiet but steady start, enabling students to mingle with other Carmel students of the province. On Sr. Muriel’s departure retirement, the school was taken over by Sr. Peari Anne, who wasted no time in adding an independent Art Room on the ground floor, renovating the Secondary Teacher’s staff room and investing in a state-of-the-art school address system. The General Assemblies now boast high end technological features with colourful Power Point Presentations exhibited on a large screen, many of them created by students themselves. But perhaps the most vibrant addition to the School has been the introduction of a thirty three piece brass band, the only one of its kind in Mumbai to boast of such a large number of instruments. Kudos to Sister Pearl-Anne for leading us on to another first. The existing Audio Visual room was given a new lease of life with the implementation of syllabus based teaching aids that used visuals to enhance the lesson. An overhead LCD projector was installed for this purpose. A Teachers Benefit Fund was started to provide better facilities for the staff during their teaching years and on completion of Jubilee years. Reaching out has always been an Apostolic trait and in keeping with this, the school has a Social Service Program to create awareness among the students about the social realities that surround them. In collaboration with an NGO the school plans to adopt a slum or village school. The revival of the Road Safety Police in the school, to promote a sense of civic duty and responsibility coupled with the overall effort to make our students aware of ecological and environmental issues through workshops and seminars are both bearing rich rewards. The installation of CCTV cameras for better security around the school campus and the renovation of the School clerical office and prayer room are only some of the tasks that have been recently completed. With the upliftment of women being the prime focus, the open hall is now used to conduct a women’s Yoga class in the evenings. Thus the history of this institution is a shining example of the Apostolic Carmel dedication and perseverance and like the face of the Indian woman, Apostolic Carmel remains a beacon of hope to many generations of girls to come. In Rain Treemany ways the Apostolic Carmel School reflects the ancient rain tree it is home to. The tree has spread its branches, lending its kindly shade to the children and delighting all with its beauty. The Apostolic Carmel School in Bandra has nurtured, guided and shaped the future of many generations of students and has grown to become one of the premiere institutions in the Archdiocese of Bombay. Running like a thread through sixty years, is the all pervading presence of God; without Whose help these achievements would not be possible. The Apostolic Carmel Convent continues to grow, adapting to changing times to meet with the needs of the modern woman and shines like a beacon to the many first generation learners to whom it offers an opportunity for a better life.