Founder Director - Mr. Harold Carver
Mr. Harold Carver, an excellent teacher in St. John's School, found certain things wanting in the education system and visualized an institution that will remove those flaws. Mr Carver started a school from residential buildings in Sector 8, Chandigarh. Through sheer dedication, foresight and meticulous planning, he was successful in establishing St. Stephen's School which now caters to over 2400 students.
Mr Carver won the coveted Derozio for Exemplary service to school education and human enrichment on November 28, 2002. He is the first serving Principal of the region to have won the award.
Mr Harold Carver was among five professionals who was presented the First Friday Forum Award for creative excellence.
The "Life Time Achievement" was given to Mr Harold Carver for his dedicated service in the field of education for 42 years on October 20, 2007.
Mr Harold Carver was honoured with National Award in 2008 by the President of India.
Mr. Harold Carver
Founder Principal, St. Stephen's School, Chandigarh
A living legend, a great teacher
Born the sixth child in an Anglo Indian family of thirteen children, young Harold grew up in a regimented manner as his father left no stone unturned in instilling the values, morals and the discipline true to the rooting of the Armed forces, and was groomed under the able guidance and stewardship of Monsignor Cyril George at the St. Joseph's Collegiate Allahabad. As a child, Mr Carver dreamt of being a Naval Air Pilot, but the Almighty had other plans as it may be a small loss to the forces, but a huge gain to the noble cause of education. Mr. Harold Carver, Principal, St. Stephen's School, Chandigarh runs through the annals of the history of the School with inputs from the School's Additional Principal Mr. Richard Ellis, and Ex Stephenian Gaurav Chhibber, MENTOR interweaves these interlocking blocks that have gone into the establishment of so esteemed an Institution.
'St. Stephen's school has been synonymous with ideals, which are pillars of education, namely discipline and integrity'
There is a unique exuberance amongst the students and the teachers as they assemble for morning prayers in the huge quadrangular area of this magnificently built school. The prayers are said and all students and staff stand silently as if waiting for what might be essential to their day's working. A fleeting smile then crosses all faces as they see the one man they revere as their confidante and mentor-Mr. Harold Carver. For a man who commands such authority, he is one who strongly believes in virtues of humanity and generosity. Mr. Carver can easily be mistaken for someone from the world of celebrities than an educationist. His students feel he is both.
Child of destiny:
Mr. Carver whose persona on stage has an unmatchable aura around it, recalls those early days when he went on stage for his first extempore. 'The first time I went to speak on stage, the topic I was given was: 'Why I like to study English'' When I saw my parents in the Auditorium I forgot everything and stood silent for what seemed ages.' He shares this anecdote with all the young students who try emulating him in all ways possible. 'Never give up', he adds with a smile. True to these words, the Man has truly lived by them.
As a young lad I was fascinated by adventure and excitement. I aspired to be a Naval Air Pilot. My dreams were however squashed when my father refused to sign the forms which would have made my childhood dream come true. For what then seemed to me as a cruel decision, in retrospect, seems like a decision made by the Lord above . Thus, the favourite teacher of all his pupils became a teacher more out of destiny's works than his own choice. The grooming of the educationist in Carver Sir is largely attributed to his Mentors namely Mr Joseph Malikail, Director of Studies, and Mr. T. A. Vyse, Principal of St. Thomas' Teacher's Training College Calcutta. As a teacher in St Joseph's Allahabad and then in St. John's School, Chandigarh, Mr. Carver was inspired by the Christian Brothers to a great extent, and has led by example with the committed and devoted approach that students placed under his care have benefited from immensely.
'A living legend, a great teacher, a best friend and lots more of such appellation are associated with him by his students'
Dreams and reality:
In 1979 my father who was ill at that time, called me in one day to discuss what he considered was important. During the course of the conversation, I understood my father's dream of opening a school. Taken aback by this sudden expression of my father's dream, I simply told him that I was confident of being a good teacher but had my own doubts over my capabilities of being an administrator. In other words, I did not want to take the risk. That was when my father said, 'You don't know. I know. I have nurtured you as a son. So I know your capabilities as a son.' These words of inspiration grew to be a guiding factor all my life thereafter. Soon after my father passed away, it was my mother who urged me to define my father's dream into a reality. By the time my mother returned from England, bookings for St. Stephen's had begun. The school which then had begun in a residential area with students from various strata of the society.
Against all Odds:
In 1991, the school shifted to a 4 acre site in the southern sector of the city. The grand plans were however put a spanner into by a group of people in the management with vested interests. The group wanted to take over the school and turn it into a commercial institution compromising on the student friendly and educative ambience the school was now famous for. What followed then proved beyond doubt the love of the students, teachers and parents for Mr. Carver. For the first time probably in India students and staff struck work and declared a strike to ensure that Mr. Carver would not step down. On October 1, 1993, the day celebrated even today as Thanksgiving Day by all the students and teachers; Mr. Carver was reinstated as the rightful principal of St. Stephen's School, Chandigarh.
An enigmatic personality at times, Mr. Harold Carver has ushered in many a novelty in the field of education that spans a period of over 43 years says Richard Ellis, Additional Principal at St. Stephen's. As goes the age old adage-'Rome was not built in a single day'; so runs the chord of sentiments at St. Stephen's School, Chandigarh. The School owes its very existence to the extreme resolution and grit that overcame many an impediment to being regarded today as one of the premier educational institutions. The fact lies endorsed in the milestone of the School which is celebrating its Silver Jubilee year; a glorious achievement that stands testimony to the making of the School. It has been a labyrinth of odds that sum up to the underlying fact that the very concept of St. Stephen's School was initiated in 7 very small rooms in a residential area. Today the School stands proud in a campus that has infrastructural facilities comparable to the very best in terms of global standards. The firm resolve to fight against all odds to realise a cherished dream has scripted a unique story of an undaunted spirit that believes in never giving up and always aiming higher.
'One can only better oneself with perseverance'
A Missionary Zeal:
'Mr Carver was educated with the very best in terms of a missionary zeal, and that is reflected in the yeoman service in all his endeavours associated with the noble cause of education. A very pious and God fearing person, he has exemplified the true spirit of selflessness and devotion in providing free education to those belonging to the economically weaker sections, students with special needs and of dyslexia and it is nobly reflected also in his deeds that have won him many an accolade, laurels or citation' says Mr. Richard Ellis. However, Mr. Carver brushes it aside with candid humility saying 'Humble is what humble does'. His immense and endearing love for his students is very much observed as he goes about nonchalantly attending to all their needs and his patient hearing makes him a Principal unmatched as his office door is forever open to the patter of tiny and not so tiny feet.
An Eye for Perfection:
St. Stephen's School has won the 'Best Garden' Award in Chandigarh in the school category three times in a row. This aptly summarises Mr. Carver's absolute devotion to the cause of environmental issues. The school showcases a beautiful Japanese styled garden that can easily be compared to the very best in Chandigarh; arguably the best planned city in India. The school building has been designed with every minute detail being taken into consideration that pertains to the classrooms, laboratories, staff rooms and a latest state-of-the-art air conditioned auditorium. The auditorium is equipped to stage many a stellar performance, and each aspect has undergone careful thought in presenting only the very best a school can offer 'Perfection in quality'.
His penchant for perfection is also reflected in St. Stephen's winning many laurels and in recent times the St. Stephen's Football academy won the under 15 Manchester United Premier Football league in Goa defeating professional clubs of India thus becoming the undisputed Champions of India; no mean feat for a school club and now will represent India at Kuala Lumpur in June 2008. St. Stephen's Cricket Academy also has achieved many a distinction that showcases the disciplined approach under his tremendous guidance
St. Stephen's truly exemplifies the glorious achievements by way of its ambassadors who have shone bright on the National and International arena - to mention a few - Abhinav Bindra, an Olympian, an Arjuna Awardee and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna recipient - Mohammed Tanveer, a National Champion in Carrom - Jaideep Taluja, represented India in Seoul in Football - Raghu Mahajan who topped AIEEE, IIT JEE, and was second in ICSE all over India - that lays testimony to the honest fact that theirs is a story of inspiration from a mentor indeed.
A Disciplined Outlook:
St. Stephen's is but incomplete if Mr Carver is not sighted in every nook and cranny of the school, be it the auditorium, classroom, garden, laboratory, sports field or even the toilets to say the least, that reflects a very strict disciplinarian. The staff and students are very aware of the high expectations in all issues relating to punctuality, dress code, campus behaviour, protocol where upholding the traditions of St. Stephen's is crucial. This is also evident in the concept in School wherein the closing of class periods is not indicated by the ringing of the bell, but by the watches worn on the wrist; for every minute counts. Aptly put by Mr. Carver 'Time is no man's slave, but master of all'.
A Good Samaritan:
The mind is limitless to infinite possibilities, and its reflection is in the deeds, thoughts and actions of an individual. 'Mr. Carver epitomises the goodness of humanity, and many who have been closely associated with him swear by his acts of generosity and the many who have come to him in need of any form of possible assistance have returned joyous and satisfied', sentiments echoed by many. He is always there to lend the helping hand, or a sympathetic ear to all who need it and provide an immediate response in many a way as well. His kind acts and gestures have earned him the blessings and wishes of all close and far.
Humility in Diversity:
Mr Carver is 'humility personified' and despite being a recipient of many awards; he remains deeply rooted to grounds of sincerity and humility. He is the recipient of prestigious awards like the 'Henry Derozio Award' for exemplary service to School Education and Human Enrichment, awarded by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, the Best Principal Award at the 7th National Science award, First Friday Forum Award for creative excellence and remarkable contribution to institutional infrastructure, Tara Chand Saboo award for life time achievement, Indian Christian League for Service to Humanity and many more. My day begins with a prayer 'Lord let me be humble today in all that I do, say or act' and this is what I ensure is reflected in every moment of my life and is evidenced in the humility with which he greets all who enter his office.
Semper Sursum :
The experiences of all the trials and tribulations in establishing St. Stephen's School with a difference, has only been achieved with the determination and grit that overcame all adversity with a simple saying, 'Never give up, try again'. One can only better oneself with perseverance and it is this belief coupled with inspiration that made Mr. Carver the legendary educationist that he is. His inherent traits of Leadership blended with a steel resolve to achieve the very best in providing a holistic, child oriented and an all round development of personality for children is very much evident in the par excellence of performances in his School. Be it in academics, literary activities, cultural activities and sports, St Stephen's very much lives up to its Mentor, Confidante and Guide Mr. Harold Carver. His motto Semper Sursum-meaning 'always aim higher' has found its true reflection in the School and all in it.
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