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East India Company era school set for 175th anniversary 

Chennai: Christ Church High School on Anna Salai, the artery road of Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, is gearing up to celebrate its 175th anniversary.

The school’s alumni plan to honor teachers and staff who have helped build up the institution on November 26, the foundation day. On its part, the school has invited all its students, alumni and teachers (past and present) to join the celebrations.

The school has produced many illustrious alumni, including principals of well-known schools such as DAV Chennai. John Varghese, the principal of St Stephen’s College, Delhi, is an old student. The school has also produced well-known musicians, actors and has added significantly to the cultural life of Madras.

Then, there are students who have served the country in the Navy and the Air Force, have joined the bureaucracy including the Indian Foreign Service and the Customs as well as Information Service.

A prominent guest at the jubilee functions will be Esther Linley Harris, a historian and genealogist of the Waller Family that founded the school in the East India Company era. She currently lives in Australia and is reportedly excited to join the dodransbicentennial celebrations.

The school began after Britons who lived in Madras (old name of Chennai) in that era sought a church and school close to their residence.

Thomas Parker Waller, proprietor of Mount Stables Company, gave a small room on the campus of the Anglican bishop’s residence on Mount Road, as Anna Salai was then known, to conduct worship services. Later, as the space became congested, he loaned them a bigger room on the campus.

When the school was opened in 1842 its students had to share space with horses.

Later, in 1843, two schools came up in the same place — one for boys and the other for girls. In 1905, the two schools were merged and reorganized, which later came to be known as European Schools.

With the help of grants from the British Government and the European School Improvement Association, a new block comprising five classrooms was added in 1928 at a cost of 40,000.

In 1947, the school acquired the status of a high school. Since then, it has served the residents of the neighborhood and beyond. With the introduction of the Higher Secondary section in the academic year 1985-1986, the history of the school took a new and exciting turn.

It was the first school that was commissioned for traffic patrol in southern India in 1966.

In the 1970s, the school tied up with the Chennai police to regulate traffic and assist pedestrians on Mount Road. The students would turn up dressed in white with red berets and gloves and regulate traffic.

Similarly, on Police Martyr’s Day on October 21, every year, the school captain and the head girl would pay tributes to the policemen who were killed in the line of duty. The event would be held at the then police headquarters on Beach Road.

Every year, the school stages Shakespearean plays at the Museum Theatre. These plays were directed by David Samuel and were highly appreciated by the public.

Source: The Hindu

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