Tiny Steps To Our School
There was no school for the children of Chuim, except a Portuguese teaching school at Pali and one in Sherly.
In 1839, a little parish school named Mount Mary Primary was started in the compound of a resident of the village. It was in this school that the great stalwarts of Chuim village like Mr. D. Fernandes J.P., Fr. Peter A. Fernandes and others studied.
From 1877 to 1888 during the chaplaincy of Fr. Elias Fernandes of Pakhadi, Chuim, he relocated the school to where the grocery store Himatlal Babulal & Co. now stands.
The school was shifted back to Chuim in 1914. Going down the slope from 51A, ‘The Nest’, one came across St. Elias School, the ground floor of which was later converted to a church. West of this school was a grotto with the statue of Mother Mary, and adjacent to that, the tennis court. The school was being looked after by St. Andrew’s Church, Bandra. Fr. Elias Fernandes of St. Andrew’s Church was appointed to ensure the smooth functioning of the school and eventually the school got its name from him.
The primary school at that time comprised of one large hall and was divided into classrooms by screens, to partition the classes. Large wooden desks and bencehes were used as class furniture. Surrounding the hall on all the sides was a large gallery about 4 ft. in breadth. The students who were punished for whatever reasons were asked to stand in the gallery. The teachers were sincere and dedicated. Some have gone to their heavenly above (late Ms. Audrey Fernandes, late Ms. Martha Fernandes) and a few are still with us viz. Sr. Vellie Fernandes, Ms. Cynthia Fonseca, Ms. Daisy Menezes, Ms. Connie Pereira and Ms. Enid Dias.
The wonderful camaraderie between the teachers and their care and concern for the students gained them due respect and they were held in high esteem. Most of the people of Chuim learnt the 3Rs (Reading, Writing & Arithmetic) from this school.
Until 1943, one could only study at St. Elias School till the first standard. Then boys had to go to St. Andrew’s School or St. Stanislaus School and girls to St. Theresa’s Convent in Santacruz, St. Andrew’s Girls School or St. Joseph’s Convent, Bandra.
During the Vicarship of Fr. Blaise Nazareth who had as his Assistant Fr. Joe Carvalho the school was shifted to a newly constructed building on the border of Chuim Village. It wa this team of Fr. Blaise Nazareth and Fr. Joe Carvalho, who bilt the new school with literally hundreds of whist-drives, several fetes and other contributions. The parish fathers also transferred their residence to these premises, and Sunday Mass began to be celebrated in the School Hall. BY 1969, Fr. Nazareth had erected a small chapel by the side of the School Hall and this functioned as the place for daily worship. Two years later in 1971, the old edifice which had served as the Church-cum primary school in the earlier days of the parish, was handed over to the Daughters of the Heart of Mary to be developed into a Community Development Centre, now known as “Nirmala Niwas”. In the same year on the 25th of December a new wing of the school was blessed by Fr. Blaise Nazareth.
The present school is affiliated to the Archdiocesan Board of Education and has moulded thousands of youth and produced great stalwarts in different parts of the country and globally too in various industries, in the field of education, engineering, medicine, law, police, film industry, doctors, entrepreneurs etc. Some of our ex-students have also joined the religious order.
The adage “Rome was not built in a day” holds true for the school too. The Priests, Principal, teachers and support staff through the years are responsible for the growth of this reputed co-educational institution. The school now caters to approximately 2500 students irriespective of caste, creed or status.
The school today boasts of a well-equipped science laboratory, updated library, state of the art computer classroom and an audio visual room. Securing about 95% and more at the SSC Boar level annually, winning trophies at various interschool level competitions and having two full-time counselors and experienced teachers, training the children with soft skills needed to combat the ill effects of society and help them to have a positive attitude toward life.
To keep pace with technological developments, St.Elias, one of the few Catholic schools in Bandra has taken a leap ahead and introduced digital learning in every classroom to enhance the learning ability of students.
Today St. Elias has 90% students coming from the low income group. Our aim is to give their children all round formation. The school has two full time counselors to help students who find it difficult to cope up with their day to day struggles, thus helping them to maintain physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological balance.