My association with Campion initially began in the mid-1960s when as a little boy I accompanied my parents to attend the
and watch my elder brothers participate in the parades but then took a more permanent form when I got admitted into Campion in 1967.
It was intimidating. But fortunately Valerian was still in school and come the breaks I would search him out and hang around him and his friends … much to his chagrin. His classmates
referred to me as “Valu’s Tail” …much to my chagrin. But I couldn’t be bothered. Often a classmate would enquire “Valu is that your younger brother?” and he’d wisecrack back “no my little sister”.
Slowly I weaned off Valerian and started hanging around with my classmates. We’d play in the open space between the two buildings. In those days the space between the two buildings
was an open area as the Tagore Hall was not constructed till the mid 1970s. There was a garage between the buildings which made great cover when playing cops & robbers.
The short break and long break assemblies were conducted here.
During the monsoon a walkway connecting the two buildings was erected using bamboo and tin sheets.
Our classroom was located on the ground floor of Arthur House in the room that now houses the Art Room. Opposite our classroom in Wellesley was the canteen where among other
delicacies they sold amazing scones, patties and little packets of OK Wafers.
But our favourite place was the
It was here that every Campionite’s day began and ended. It began with the
and ended with that that quick game of
, football, cops & robbers etc after school.
Day after day Hodi would begin the assembly with “At ease all of you” Then after a brief pause "tenshun”. And would then break out into
the first few lines of the Jana Gana Mana. Mondays & Fridays were restricted to announcements. On the other three days one member of each house would
address the assembly
Assembly ended with the Prayer Before Class. Fr Bernard never followed the prescribed Prayer Before Class and always recited his own compositions which always ended with
“ To You we glory for ever and ever. Amen”
The Backgarden was quite different then. When one entered the Backgarden from the gate between the two buildings there were were
two palm trees
straight ahead that
made a natural goal for football. In later years the trees were used as a backrest/base for kitty-kitty till the same was banned.
To the right of the palms were the two cannons. There was an unspoken code that the cannons were the prerogative of the senior class. There were the swings, a slide and parallel bars
on the far right next to the exit that led to Fort Convent. Towards the centre of the garden was a water tap that the maali used to water the garden. The tap invariably always leaked and so there
was always a wet patch in that area which was the bane of many a footballer who went slip-slidin’-away!!
Right through the day the Backgarden was packed with various activities - hockey,
rugby, kitty-kitty, marbles and birdwatching.
Yes birdwatching – don’t’ forget that the garden was shared with Saint Anne’s & the Fort Convent schools!!
What wouldn’t I give to relive those magical halcyon days.
In a few months Campion will be entering it’s 75th year. A long journey since it’s modest and turbulent beginnings
when the Jesuits purchased
Wellesley House on Cooperage Road
for the purpose of housing Campion School. The tenants resisted the school and so Campion actually started in
rented premisesin in New Marine Lines on January 20, 1943
It was a truly modest beginning - a staff of four and 23 little scholars with Fr Joseph Savall sj as principal. By 1944 the students increased to
70 and Fr Savall sj introduced scouting and also organized an annual School Medical Examination
It was only on July 12, 1948 that Campion School came home to Wellesley House
on Cooperage Road.
Fr R Conesa sj took over the reins on June 4, 1949 and managed to expand the school to include the second and third floors.
In 1950 he introduced the School Magazine
with an intial print run of 230.
Then in January 1951
Fr Emmanuel More sj took over from Fr R Connesa sj
.Under Fr More sj scouting reached it's pinnacle of glory with Fr More himself as the
the General Scout Master
In April 1952 Campion got it's own red & white school bus
purchased for a princely sum of Rs 13,500.
Fr More installed a Blue Star water cooler, Introduced class libraries, provided the school office
with a Gestetner duplicator and a portable typewriter
and started the Tuck Shop.
He renovated Wellesley House in 1955
(classes were conducted in pandals in the Backgarden) and a fourth floor was erected.
In 1956 Campion School attained the stature of a full-fledged High School with 382 students on it's rolls, recognized both by the Universitry of Cambridge as an A-Certificate School, a unique
honour as well as by the SSC Board Poona.
75 years later Campion is still going from strength-to-strength. They have for five consecutive years been awarded the Best Boys Day School in India, have won football tournaments in every age group in Mumbai and have won laurels in several sports and
other co-curricular activities.