History of Our School

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Amidst the lush canefields, the large Exchange House stood alone in the Caroni plains, for three years. One day in 1950, new life was brought into the old abandoned estate in the figures of four nuns: Sisters M. Norbert Reilly, M. Madeleine, M Magdalena and M. Ethna.
Seeing the great need for a secondary school in the Couva district the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the time, Count Finbar Ryan had suggested to the order of the Holy Faith Sisters that they correct the situation. These Irish sisters followed his suggestion and bought the Exchange House for $20,000 for the purpose of establishing a school and convent. At this time a great deal 01 bush and swampland surrounded the 4 1/2 acre homestead and the once beautiful house itself was in dire need of extensive repairs and painting, The Holy Faith sisters were very proud to welcome their first 50 students In January 1951 . Most of the people in the area of this period were employed in the sugar industry and so, it was the daughters of the cane farmers and the white managers of Brechin Castle who benefitted the most from the establishment of this educational institution. The girls were attired in crisp white bodices, a maroon badge 'embroidered on the left sleeve; white socks and shoes; maroon overalls and beret. The Catholic girls who attended were usually recommended by the Priest and others who could afford ~, paid $16 a term . Through the availability of College Exhibitions some intelligent but poorer girls did enjoy the educational instructions of Holy Faith Convent, Couva. Even at the early stages of the school, a great deal of subjects were taught. These included Latin, Health Science, Maths, Geography, Religious Education, Domestic Science, Art, English and French. Also, with the influence of their European background, the sisters introduced elocutio1l;' dancing. drama and the study of the Classics, into the curriculum. During the 50's, Holy Faith Convent existed in a totally Catholic framework, At the start of the day, morning prayers were recited; the Catena Catena prayers at 12.30 p.m. and the Rosary at the end of the day. Each class began and ended with a short prayer. The cathecism had to be learnt thoroughly by every child and the entire school body attended Mass about once a month. For this occasion a different uniform was used as the girls changed Into off-White dresses of the finest sea Island cotton made by special seamstresses; a long-sleeved bodice with tucks at the front; pearl buttons; Peter pan collars and long pleated skirts . The nuns were attired in their usual garb that consisted of long-sleeved bodices with ankle length pleated skirts. A long veil was worn on the head and a long chaplet with black beads and a large crucifix was always draped from their sides. With a small student body and only four nuns responsible for the school, a warm family atmosphere was kindled. Students and teachers attended Masses and Benediction together, they even sang together in Latin and soon school and church became closely inter-related. In an even greater effort at unity and love Sister M. Magdalena soon wrote the school song which in itself represented the meaning of the great Convent and its members for generations to come. At Holy Faith Convent there was an atmosphere of love and respect and this was evident from the students as they curtsied on encountering a nun. Enclosed within the Convent walls, showered with warmth and the promise of individual attention, the girls felt secure and protected and the sisters were successful in winning many converts to the Catholic faith. After using the convent building alone, for two years. a wing, the Magdalena Mac Bride was constructed In 1953. it was also at this time that the prep and pre-junior schools were closed down. Only music and typing classes were held in the Convent House. More changes occurred at this period for It was around this time that the first two lay teachers joined the H F.C, stall. These were Mary Christian and Grace Lucas who came from strict Catholic backgrounds
A new government came into power at the end of the 1950's and this ultimately resulted In changes at H.F,C, With the Introduction of free education came the beginning of Common Entrance in 1962, This obviously led to an increase in the student population to about 300 students. The Caroni Estate generously gave more cane property to the H.F,C, nuns In order to ensure the extension of the Mac Bride building to accommodate the growing number of students. A larger building also facilitated the construction of Science Labs. This larger student body meant more teachers were needed and so young Catholic lay teachers were brought In. Soon, however, things became a little complicated for as Science was introduced into the curriculum, this highlighted the need for male teachers on staff. the first being David Naranjit who was educated at Presentation College, Chaguanas. Again H.F.C. attempted to carry education to greater heights and succeeded as A-Level classes started in .1962; although the number of students total led only three. Again, as more girls became a part of HFC, more room was needed and this brought about the erection of the Consilio-Harte Block. This large number of students saw a dwindling of the close family atmosphere -but the love was still strongly felt. In 1966, a prefect system was introduced by Maria Byron as the need for order and discipline was seen These prefects were readily identified by their maroon skirts and white shirts. By 1970, Holy Faith Convent had come of age and the foundations for an even brighter future were laid. Something was about to occur that would undoubtedly form a major part of H.F.C. history. This wonder was in the form of Mrs. P. Punch -the first lay person to become Principal. A former pupil of H.F.C., she undertook the running of the school in 1973. Extra-curricular activities bloomed in this decade. There were the beginnings of numerous clubs like the Guitar, Science, Creative Writing, Drama and the 4H Clubs. The Girl Guides was available for those interested in outdoor activities. The girls were able to learn a great many lessons on 'making the best of what you were'; 'enjoying life to the fullest'; and 'participation helps in creating a total person'. During this decade religion took a different turn as the movement towards Ecumenism started.


The girls had a great advantage at this time in the area of exams in that there were no age restrictions to write examinations. Indeed, this decade saw many unusual happenings at H.F.C. As the business Sector expanded in Society, the teachers at H.F.C. saw it as their duty to equip their students to deal with this growing Community, and so Economics and Principles of Business were introduced into the curriculum. The coming of the 80's brought with it a new wing, the S1. Brigid's Wing which allowed accommodation for the library and office. The staff room, once located in the Mac Bride building, is now a comfortable part of this new wing. Five classrooms are now situated on the upper level of this new building, and on the ground level, to the delight of the student body, the accommodation of a popcorn machine and a freezer filled with ice-cream and lollies. A sheltered walkway was constructed from the Mac Bride building to the office thus allowing easy communications between these two buildings. In 1986, a new Convent Residence was built at the back of the school. The West Annex was repaired and renovated in 1989 to house the typing and Computer rooms. The cafeteria was moved from the 'Pavilion' to the more convenient West Annex and soon underwent alterations making it more spacious and comfortable. In 1990 a sturdy room was built for the storage of school equipment, it also serves as a workshop for the ancillary staff. Also at this time, the guard hut at the school's entrance was repaired and painted Minor changes were made to the curriculum as Hindi was successfully introduced into the long list of subjects. P.E. was made more exciting as swimming became the high point of the students' lives as they entered form three. With the help of Mrs. Pemberton we were able to compete in Schools Intercol Hockey and Cricket as well as Zonal Sports at the National Stadium. Outstanding accomplishments were also made in the areas of the Trintoc Public Speaking and Debating Competitions and the Secondary Schools Drama Festivals as H.F.C. students displayed their many talents. Regrettably ... in 1985. we parted with two of our 'first pioneers" Sisters Magdalena and Consilio. Pioneers of our school's existence they returned to their homeland. Ireland, after many years of faithful service. Also to be separated from us was our efficient P.E. teacher Mrs. Pemberton. We would like to thank these three fine women for their extreme dedication and service to H.F.C. Four decades have marked the progress from a single convent to the seven building campus of Holy Faith Convent, Couva. Unfortunately some of our beautiful trees had to be sacrificed for the construction of new buildings to accommodate the large number of students. Each person who was privileged to be a part of the Holy Faith family is blessed with a special magic. With the help of their teachers they are able to become better, more confident people Although it is a Catholic school, Holy Faith has an ecumenical spirit that allows the other major religious group! e.g. Hindus and Muslims to practice and learn more of their religion.
We, the students of the 80's are confident in knowing that our school stands poised and ready for change and challenges, just as it was in the four previous decades. Even now, Holy Faith! Convent has joined the others in this journey into the future as it introduces: the 'age of computers'. Against the setting sun, she hold her regal head up high -the Old Convent beckons her children to join wit her to come shining through another forty years.

Source: The Past Pupils Association

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