KGF SCHOOL OORGAUM KGF
The KGF Boys’ School was established in 1900, by the John Taylor and Sons Company, to cater to the educational needs of the European and Anglo-Indian children, who were earlier tutored at home or “home schooled” by Nannies and Governesses brought in by the British Officers from the UK. These Home teachers or Governesses could impart only basic education to their wards, while other aspects of a proper school education were missing.
A Primary School was first started in the year 1900 at Nandydroog Mine. It was known as the Kolar Gold Fields Boys School, Oorigaum. Subsequently it was upgraded to a Middle School and later into a High School. Eventually, the students appeared for the Lower Cambridge and Senior Cambridge Examinations. Even though KGF School was a Boy’s School, they took in girls up to Standard 4 till around the late 1960’s. When Mr Dudley Pinto became the Headmaster, he slowly discontinued the practice of admitting girls in KGF School and it became an ‘All Boys School’.
The standard of education that was imparted in the KGF School was second to none and the school was well known for its high standards in English due to the presence of many Anglo-Indian teachers on its staff. There were no comprises on Discipline and decorum.
I began my student life in the KGF Boys’ School in Nandydroog Mine, which was quite close to our house. I spent five happy years in KGF School then moved to St Joseph’s Convent Girls’ School from Class V on wards. KGF Boys’ School was a co-educational School in those days for the primary sections. However, it later became an exclusive ‘all boy’s’ school in the late 1960s.
Admission to these schools was so easy and simple at that time. We didn’t have to stand in long queues to get the admission forms, etc. When a child reached school going age, the parents took him or her to school and he was admitted in the Baby Class, which today is known as the “Nursery Class”.
When I was about 3 ½ years old, my Uncle Freddie Bertie took me and my cousin Nigel, (his son) to the KGF Boy’s School to get us admitted in School. I still remember that first day at KGF Boys’ School. We first went to the Principal’s office to register our names. Miss Edith Pinto and Mrs. Oliver were the Secretaries in the Principal’s office and in no time we were enrolled in KGF School. The Principal Mr. Sterling asked us our names and spoke to us for a few minutes then sent us to the Baby class. Thus began our lives as students in KGF School.
My first teacher was Mrs.Borthwick who was the Baby Class teacher. She taught me my Alphabets and numbers and set me on my journey as a student in KGF School. She was also the music teacher. She would play the piano during the Singing Class and the May Pole Dance Class. Miss Mabel Pinto was my teacher in the First Standard. I remember I got a lot of gold stars for Number work and poetry in her class. Since I was interested in Knitting she taught me to knit my first cardigan when I was barely 6 years old. This training has stood me in good stead till today.
Mrs. Josephine O’Conner was my Second Standard teacher. She was a very pretty lady and was very kind to all the students. However, she could be quite strict when the occasion warranted.
Miss Delia Pinto my teacher in the Third Standard. I remember she had very long and pointed finger nails. She would pinch our cheeks and upper arms with these long nails if we didn’t do our work correctly or if she caught us talking in class.
Mrs. Monisse was the Fourth Standard Teacher. She was kind to all the students but very strict as well. No one could misbehave in her class. Any one caught talking or doing something wrong in class would be ‘wacked’ on their shins. She lived quite close to the school. Every morning we’d wait near the school gates and as soon as we saw her leaving her house, we’d rush to carry her bags for her. We were only five girls in a class of thirty boys right from the Baby Class till the Fourth Standard. Valerie Brown, Virginia Borthwick, Catherine D’monte, Geetha Sampath and myself were the five girls among the boys.
We were always given all the plum roles in the school plays and concerts because we were so few in number. Roland Benson, Daniel O’Connor, Monappa Appachoo, Sudarshan, Janardhan Rao, Robin Pereira and Andrew Edwards were some of the boys in my class.
The KGF School uniform for boys was khaki shorts, khaki shirts, green striped ties, black shoes and white socks while the girls wore navy blue skirts, white blouses, black shoes and white socks. The teachers were quite strict about us coming to school in clean uniforms and polished shoes. They would inspect our uniforms while we stood in line for the morning assembly.
One of the most delightful memories that I have of my short stay of 5 years in the KGF School was of the May Pole Dance. Dancing the Maypole was such a delightful experience. The Maypole ribbons were wound around our waists and we had to change our positions in time to the music in order to weave the required design.
Each step that we took in time to the delightful Music, ensured that the colourful ribbons intercrossed and interlaced and formed beautiful myriad designs. It was truly a sight to behold. This was one of the things that I missed when I left KGF School as I never danced the Maypole dance again in my life