Richard Butler was born at Connamady Westmeath on the 9th of April, 1883. He went to school run by the Marist Brothers. He did well at school at the end of which he joined the Christian Brothers novitiate at Baldoyle in 1898 taking the name Eugene. The years 1903 to 1907 were spent, at Richmond Street, Dublin, Clonmel and Nenagh. This was a period of calm before embarking to the great mission of India. The foundation stone of the new school was laid on March 8th 1940 and it opened on January 7th 1941. Br. Butler was appointed its first principal. His policy was to admit boys in the lower classes and let the school grow by adding a class each year. He judged it easier to mould and fashion the boys into the spirit of the Christian Brothers.
Br. William Keogh was born on the 8th March 1903 in the country Tipperany, Ireland. He entered the Christian Brothers juvenate at Baldoyle on the 6th of August 1918. He received the habit at St. Mary’s Marino on the 7th of October 1919. On Christmas Day 1920 he made his first vows and sailed for India the following April. In January 1941, he came to the founding community of St. Columba’s and two years later, was appointed principal. For the next six years, both as an Administrator and as a teacher, he laid the foundation of the great school which it is today. He kept St. Columba’s in excellent trim. There was a fine spirit amongst the students and the examination results were of top ranks. He formed a fine library in St. Columba’s which was particularly well stocked in fiction.
Br. Joseph Crease came from a close knit family from Liverpool, England. The cease brothers attended St. Edward’s College, Liverpool. The death of his early teens did not deter him from his early resolution to join the Christian Brothers. Br. Crease arrived in Quilon, Kerala, on the 18th of November 1935 to reach in the newly acquired St. Aloysius High School. Early in 1950 when he was appointed superior of St. Columba’s. From small beginnings the school had grown to a strength of 600 by 1950. Br. McKeogh had been fairly successful in stemming the ever-mounting tide of admissions.
Br. B.C. Morrow had read a fear amount about India in his teens. Occasionally he spoke to people who were home on leave from their work in India. As a result he developed a keen interest in India and its people. In 1929 he, accompanied by ten other sailed for India and reached Calcutta after five weeks. Br. Morrow joined St. Joseph’s College, Calcutta. In 1955, he became Principal of St. Columba’s. Soon after, he succeeded in completing the construction of what is not known as the Junior School. During his tenure, standards that were already high rose even further and the students distinguished themselves in public competition.
Br. Leonard was born in December 1920 in Country Cork, Ireland. At the age of 15 he joined the Christian Brothers Association. He shoes Xavier as hi name, after the patron saint of India, St. Francis Xavier. He saw ships setting sail for India at the port of Eastham, England, which made him want to go India. Then in 1961 he was assigned to the staff of St. Columba’s School. At the end of the year he was made the Principal. Br. Leonard recalls his days in St. Columba’s School with great love & affection. He found that the school “intend on excellence, personal & corporate, moral, aesthetic & intellectual. A happy rapport was seen between the teachers & the students. Over-all there is a spirit of loyalty to one another that made light of difficulties that arose from time to time.”
He became the Principal of St. Columba’s in 1966. Brother John Steinmayer was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1928 and attended one of the Christian Brothers’ Schools in that city. In 1944 he joined the Christian Brothers. On the completion of is training period, Br. Steinmayer taught in Clonmel, Thurles and Mount Sion, Waterford. He made his final Profession as a Christian Brother in 1953 and in October of that year he came to India. He was appointed Principal to St. Columba’s as Principal in 1966. It was during these years that an Arts stream was introduced in Class 10 to cater to those students who had no particular aptitude for Science.
Br. J.N. Foley was Principal of St. Columba’s from 1969 to 1975. On his arrival, he found St. Columba’s a well established and flourishing school. He was inspired by a highly competent staff and working with talented groups of boys that would have been the envy of anyone anywhere. Br. Foley recalls the excellent co-curricular activities provided for the staff for the all-round development of the boys. Art exhibitions were frequent throughout the year, as were Dramatics, Debates, Quizzes (The Bournvita Quiz was won outright). Boys Scouts played a big part. Games, both Inter-class and Open, were very popular. Swimmers made their marks in numerous Delhi and Inter-State Meets, as did the layers of Tennis and Table Tennis.
Br. Oman was born in Dublin, Ireland, 1922 on Christmas Day. He had a happy and normal childhood and completed High School in Dublin itself. Soon after, in 1938, at the early age of 16 years, he joined the Christian Brothers. He received the requisite training to teach and subsequently taught in a little country town for over 8 years. Thereafter, he departed for India and arrived in the autumn of 1950. On 1st July 1975, he was appointed Principal of St. Columba’s School which had a formidable reputation of excellence in all spheres. During Br. Oman’s tenure, the number of applications for admission rose mercurially from 400 in 1975 to 1000 in 1977. His years at Columba’s gave a tremendous fillip to the overall standard of the school.
George Santayana one wrote: “Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness...... Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In such a spirit he decided on a voyage in time back to 1981 when he took over as Principal from Br. R.B. Oman. St. Columba’s in 1981 had about 3100 pupils. The challenges as he saw them were primarily to ensure that numbers did not get out of control and to instill in the boys finishing school a pride in themselves, a pride stemming not from wealth or position or parental prestige, but from a true understanding and appreciation of their personal dignity and capabilities.
Br. Carmo Naronha was born on the 4th of February, 1951. He attended St. Columba’s School and studied in the school till 1966. While in class IX, he left to continue his education in Goethals Memorial School, Kurseong, as Preparation before joining the Christian Brothers. He was appointed Principal to St Columba’s in 1987. He was the tenth Principal. He brought to the office the bonhomie and closeness that he is still remembered for. Br. Noronha strove to develop a school community which included parents, teachers and staff.
A Columban from the Batch of 1962 Br. W.A. D’Souza took over as principal of the school in 1990. Asked by ex-Columbans (being one himself) how it felt to be back here where it all started. He was delighted, excited and indeed proud. Though the school had grown enormously over the years, the feeling of “family” was still very evident. The school community:- Brothers, Staff, Parents and Students were encouraged to co-ordinate every effort in the teaching-learning process. There was a constant challenged to promote the harmonious growth of the whole person-a synthesis of faith, life and culture.
Br. Simon Coelho began his studies in Our Lady of Salvation School, Mumbai, run by the Christian Brothers, before joining the same Congregation. Having completed his training and studies in Shillong he has been teaching since June 1979 in Calcutta, Mount Abu and Shillong. In May 1988 he was called to be Principal of St. Edmonds School, Shillong for 7 years before working with the underprivileged in St. Peter ’s School, Mavjrong, also in Meghalaya. In June 1996 he took over the Principal ship of St. Columba’s from Br. W.A. D’Souza and having completed a successful 6 years here in Delhi is now on the leadership team of the Brothers in India overseeing the 20 institutions run by them.
Both Brothers were ex-students of St. Columba’s.