75 glorious years! Presentation Convent Hr. Sec. School celebrated its platinum jubilee in the year 2011. On this joyous occasion, we look back with a sense of gratitude and satisfaction at the enormous contribution made by this institution in the field of education.
We now invite you to take a journey down the memory lane as we retrace our steps, to the journey which began in Ireland.
Nano Nagle – The Lady with the Lantern
Nano Nagle – the Lady with the lantern, a woman who pioneered Catholic education in Ireland was born to very wealthy parents in 1718. This was a period in Irish history when the English imposed the oppressive Penal Laws, which severely limited the Irish people. It was a crime of treason to educate the Irish and it was forbidden to practice the Roman Catholic faith. Therefore, Nano had to leave the country and go to France to be educated. On her return to Ireland, the sight of the people who lived in appalling poverty, oppression and degradation deeply distressed Nano. Soon she set about alleviating the misery and improving the lot of the poor of Ireland. Nano knew that without education there could be no permanent change possible in the society. Realizing also that the Irish were deprived of both faith and education, at great personal risk, Nano opened her first hedge school in 1754 with an enrolment of 35 girls. Soon she had seven schools in and around Cork city. In this way she took a stand against some of the injustices of her time.
Nano educated the poor children during the day, visited and nursed the sick and the suffering at night carrying a lantern. This lantern became a symbol of the Presentation Sisters through out the world. In order to carry on the great task began by her, Nano founded the Presentation Congregation in 1775. After having spent her life in service of the poor and the downtrodden, Nano Nagle, the trailblazer went to her eternal reward on 26th April 1784. It is to be mentioned here that in the year 2005, Nano Nagle was voted as Ireland’s greatest woman of the millennium for her contribution in the field of education and in particular for pioneering girls’ education in Ireland. Nano’s spirit of selflessness, her undaunted spirit, her determination in the face of persecution, her struggle for justice, her devotion to the poor and her particular love for the children have become a source of inspiration for all the Presentation Sisters all over the world.
The Presentation Sisters.
The Congregation of Presentation Sisters is a worldwide network of Catholic Religious Organization founded by the valiant and saintly woman- Nano Nagle in 1775, in Ireland. Living up to the legacy left behind by this visionary, the Presentation Sisters respond with compassion to the needs of those made poor and challenge the unjust structures, which threaten the dignity of the human persons. Today the Presentation Sisters and associates work in five continents across the globe and follow in the footsteps of Nano Nagle in promoting the rights and dignity of human persons. We are involved in a variety of ministries like education, holistic health, spirituality, faith formation, social work and pastoral work.
Today Presentation presence can be felt not only in the cities but also in the remote villages of Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab and in the interior bushes of African Continent. We strive to keep the flame of Nano’s lantern burning bright by reaching out and touching the hearts of human persons, offering them support and a resolve to live with dignity and honour. We take up issues like human rights violations, exploitation of natural resources and gender discrimination. Our N G O status in the U N enables us to use the means of advocacy and lobbying to represent these issues effectively.
Beginnings of Presentation Convent School Srinagar.
Maharaja Harisingh, the last ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir required a distinguished school for the children of his subjects. So he requested the church head of Kashmir to request the Presentation Sisters of Rawalpindi to open a school in Srinagar. For this purpose the Maharaja allotted 10 acres of land on the banks of the pristine river Jhelum on lease .
The founding members of Presentation Convent School, Srinagar were Mother Peter Conway, Mother Sacred Heart, Mother Annuncita, Mother Xavier. After receiving the invitation , the Sisters treated from Rawalpandi via Uri and reached Kashmir after the journey of three days. On reaching Kashmir, the sisters rented a house on the banks of the Dal Lake at Boulevard and started their school on 17th March 1936. Most of the students were foreigners, mostly the children of British families living in Srinagar.
A few students from distinguished families were also admitted. The school had boarding facility in the initial years, which was discontinued later. While they stayed in the rented house in Bouleward and conducted classes there for the students, the actual building was being constructed at Rajbagh. On 15th June, 1939 the school building was officially opened. The cost of starting the first school and then constructing the second school and the convent was borne by the government. The school was co-ed until 1977. We were granted recognition for B A degrees for women but the college department was closed down in 1947 after the partition when the govt college for women was opened in a former palace building on the hotel road, later renamed as Maulana Azad Road. Unfortunately a devastating fire on 12th January 1965 completely destroyed the school building and the second storey of the house. The first storey and the impressive clock tower remained to tell the tale.
Our presence today.
Located on the banks of the Jhelum river and surrounded by the lofty poplars, mighty oaks and majestic chinar trees , this temple of learning can boast of wonderful infrastructure and sprawling lush green grounds. The magnificent and enchanting clock tower still stands tall shrouded in mystery. Our school without doubt is a jewel in the crown of Kashmir valley and in a unique way it adds to the beauty of this paradise on earth. From the portals of this temple of learning have walked out thousands of young girls who have proved their mettle as they carved a niche for themselves in diverse fields within and outside the country. The school has successfully reached 75 years of excellence. From its modest beginnings in 1936, it has grown and spread its branches much like the awe-inspiring oak trees.
The school celebrated its silver jubilee in 1961. The bicentenary of the death of Nano Nagle – the Foundress of Presentation Sisters was celebrated in 1984. The school crossed another mile stone when it celebrated its golden jubilee in 1986. The classical movie, ‘The Sound of Music’ was performed as a play by our students at Tagore Hall to mark the occasion. It was a mega success and it was appreciated by one and all. A school magazine was published on this occasion in which Dr. Karan Singh wrote,”I have the happiest recollections of my association with this school several decades ago when Mother Peter was the principal. In my autobiography ‘Heir apparent’, I have recorded how much I enjoyed going to this school and many years later my daughter Jyotsana also studied there.”
225th death anniversary of Nano Nagle.
On 8th and 9th September 2009, the 225th death anniversary of Nano Nagle was celebrated in a grand manner. On the 8th Mr. Omar Abdullah, the honourable Chief Minister of J & K State was the chief guest. He inaugurated the newly constructed Nagle Block on the same day. The building was blessed by Rev. Dr.Peter Celestine, Bishop of Jammu, Srinagar diocese.
On the 9th Mr. Peerzada, the honourable minister for Education was the chief guest. All the students from class I to IX participated in the two days’ cultural programme and the parents of all the students were invited to witness the performance of their wards. The parents were enthralled and spellbound by the excellent performance of their children. The commencement of higher secondary was a long cherished dream come true for all of us. The First batch of class XI students were given admission in December 2009.
Platinum jubilee – (1936 – 2011)
The year 2011 is a land mark in the history of PCHS, celebrating 75 years of unwavering devotion and commitment of all the sisters and staff members who have worked tirelessly for the cause of education in the valley. On 17th March 2011 the platinum jubilee celebrations were officially flagged off. It was a very emotional and nostalgic moment for the special invitees of the day –the alumni mostly from 1937 -38 batch. It was such a delight to see them recalling the memorable days they spent here as students. A Chinar tree was planted by the alumni to mark the beginning of platinum jubilee year.A number of outreach programmes have been organized through the year to celebrate the platinum jubilee. The students from different classes along with Sisters and Teachers visited and rendered substantial assistance to the inmates of leprosarium, children in the orphanage and to the students who are differently abled. A grand programme was organized on 27th and 28th of July to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.
On this momentous occasion, a musical extravanza “ Annie” was performed by the students. It was held on two evenings to accommodate all the parents from class LKG to XII. On 27th July, Mr.Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister, Jammu & Kashmir was the chief guest and the guests of honour included Mr.Nasir Aslam Wani, minister of State for Home,Mr. Gulam Hassan Mir, minister for Agriculture, Mr.Asgar Hassan Samoon, Div. Com. Kashmir and Mr.Mehraj Ahmad Kakroo, D.C. Srinagar. His Excellency Mr.N.N Vohra, Governer, Jammu & Kashmir was the chief guest on 28th of July. He was accompanied by the First Lady, Mrs. Usha Vohra. The guests of honour present on this day were Most Rev. Dr. Peter Celestine, Bishop of Jammu Srinagar Diocese, Mrs. Naseema Lanker, Commissioner Secretary, Education & Dr.Sheikh Bashir, Chairman J & K Board of School Education.
Priests and Sisters of Jammu and Srinagar Diocese, Presentstion Sisters from Jammu and Delhi, Principals of various schools, ex-teachers, alumnae, sponsors, well wishers and parents graced the occasion by their presence and formed a wonderful audience. The programme began with the welcome address by Sr.Jyoti, the principal of the School. She warmly welcomed all the invitees to the jubilee celebrations and felicitated the Presentation family on this memoriable occasion. The mood for the evening was set with the welcome rouf, “Naw Bahar” as students of class VII, VIII, IX matched intricate footsteps in the traditional Kashmiri dance. The dancers presented a beautiful picture, resplendent in their lovely “ tilla pherans” adorned with the traditional silver jewellery. The little songs had the audience tapping their feet along.
Now was the time for the musical extravaganza “Annie”, an adaption of the hit musical of the same name. The team of directors and choeragraphers comprising Mr.George Pulinkala, Mr.Andrew, Mr.Sushant and Ms.Himani were called in especially from Delhi and they did an excellent job in training the students. Our budding dancers, actors and singers blossomed under their guidance. The costumes for the show were made and flown from Delhi as were the special lighting and sound effect systems. Our jubilee celebrations were record breaking in many ways. The school constructed a huge stage so that the show could be held in open air. The show also deserved special appreciation for its sheer magnitude for it starred a cast of 800 students ranging from class III to class XII. This was probably the first time that a show involving such a large scale student participation was put up by any school of the valley. The students on their part gave a wonderful performance without missing a step. The efforts of the school management, staff and the students were appreciated and applauded by one and all. Everyone went home feeling they had seen something different, something new.
The chief guests of both days Mr.Omar Abdullah, honourable Chief Minister of J&K State and His Excellency, Mr.N.N Vohra, Governor J&K State, spoke on the occasion, congratulating the school on completing 75 years. They also praised the school for its role in imparting quality education to the children of the valley. The school management presented mementoes to the chief guests, guests of honour and the team of directors as a token of love and appreciation. The success of the programme could be attributed to the planning, hard work, and commitment of management, staff, students and the support of parents, benefactors and sponsors who are our partners in imparting quality education.
The programme ended on a melodious note with all the students singing the school song. The audience, especially alumnae, joined in with a lot of enthusiasm. God’s benevolence could be seen in the balmy evenings which came as a welcome relief after a spell of hot, humid weather, the rain rain came at the end of the programme could only be called “ Showers of Blessing”. Our scale great heights, producing excellent results year after year, living up to the lofty ideals for which this institution has always stood for.