BVS Parsi High School: Nurturing Students in an Orderly and Trusting Environment

Human beings might be mortal, but their name and work remain to show generations that they were here. Those who remain immortal through their work are the ones who brought about a change and left an indelible mark. And what better way to bring a change than education? When one provides for education, one is changing not just a person, but generations to come. One such influential soul, who changed the destiny of the Parsis in Karachi was Seth Shapurji Hormusji Soparivala, by gifting them the school now known as Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School (BVS).

Turning Grief to a Gift

Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School started as a small Parsi Balakshala in the year 1859. In 1869, Seth Shapurji lost his beloved wife, Bai Virbaiji. In May 1870 Seth Shapurji, who had been so far the greatest benefactor of the school, donated a sum of Rs. 10,000/- on the condition that the school be named the Parsi Virbaiji School. The opening ceremony was performed on 24th September 1870 by the then Commissioner of Sindh, Sir William Mereweather. Thus, started the legacy of BVS which now celebrates it’s 160th year of service to the society.

Growing with Time

The Balakshala which began in 1870 remained a Vernacular School for Parsi children, teaching Gujrati, Arithmetic, Writing, History, Geography and some needlework upto 1875. All the teaching was done through the medium of Gujrati. In 1875, the school reached the status of an “Anglo-Vernacular Institute”. In 1875-76 the school was officially ranked as a 2nd grade ‘Anglo-Vernacular School”. The period from 1920-1946 was momentous. The School now raised to the status of High School from Middle School, saw the extension of the school building, the birth of the Pioneer Technical High School of Sindh and was renamed Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi High School on July 25th, 1922.

Up until 1947, the school was open to Parsi children only. But in 1947 at the request of the founder of the nation to the community and the Principal Mr. Behram Rustomji the school opened it’s doors for the very first time to non-Parsis. In 2010, the School introduced the AKUEB (matric) and CAIE (Cambridge) Board. In 2012, students appeared for their first examination in both the boards. The students have achieved many milestones throughout these years by securing positions and distinctions in the respective subjects.

Coming Together for a Greater Cause

The school through all these years has seen many benefactors who have enriched the school and raised its prominence to where it stands now. Year 1904 saw the eldest son of the Founder, Seth Khurshedji Soparivala, lay the foundation stone of the present school building on Victoria Road. During 1920-1946, the second storey of the building was completed. Numerous other donors helped build the newer section of the school. Golwalla Dining Hall (1932), the Limbuvala Classrooms and Drawing Hall (1935-37) and the Dadabhoy Mama Workshop Building (1946) were built. The Nullah Land was purchased in (1941) due to the efforts of M.R.K Sidhwa. In 1909 the school observed its Golden Jublee and an appeal was sent to N.H.Wadia Funds in Bombay to present a sum of Rs. 3,000/- to the school to upgrade it to a High school level. In 1919, the Cowasjee and Virbaiji Variawa family set up a trust fund to feed and cloth the poor Parsi students and to date the “Bhojan Fund” does just that. In 1940, through the generosity of the Fakirjee Cowasjee Family, the school secured the spacious playing field on Sangster Road.

The school has also been served by several progressive and thoughtful people as Principals. Mr. Jamshedji Framji Master was the Headmaster in 1870. He was followed by Mr. R.J.Dastur. Dr H.B. Pithwala next took over and proved to be a dynamic and foresighted Principal. In 1958, the school celebrated its Centenary under Mr. Behram Rustomji. Mr. Behram Ardeshir Minwalla took over as the Principal in 1965. From 1967 to 1972 Mr. Rustom V. Divesha was the Principal. Mrs. Deena Mistri took the charge as the Principal of the School and retired in 2004. From January 2005 to May 2005, Mrs. J. Nadirshah was the Principal. Mrs. Kermin Parakh then took the School’s charge and is serving the school as the Principal currently.

Providing Holistic Education

The school has a holistic approach towards education. It is committed to providing an education which serves the intellectual, social, moral, physical and emotional needs of the child. All aspects of the school’s organization, curricular and co-curricular activities are child-centered, aiming to develop young people who show an ability to think critically, solve problems efficiently, become lifelong learners, have a sense of understanding and compassion for others and have the courage to act on their beliefs. The curriculum optimizes potential and builds personal responsibility. The school is dedicated to the individual development of attitudes, skills knowledge and responsibility essential to successful achievement in school and society.

Apart from Educational activities, for co-curricular activities the school has a cricket team, hockey team, swimming team, tug of war, badminton, table tennis team, a volley ball team, basketball, futsal and football team. The school arranges the inter-house tournaments with the students representing the four houses:

Soparivala (Light Blue)

Lancelot (Red)

Quaid-e-Azam (Dark Blue)

Rezashah (Green)

BVS has two fully stocked libraries, one each for the Primary and the Secondary School with over 10,000 books, periodicals, magazines etc. It has three computer labs for Primary, Secondary and Cambridge Sections. Each lab has 41 computers for students to enhance their computer skills. BVS has 06 Practical Labs divided as 02 Biology (AKU/ CAMB), 02 Chemistry (AKU/CAMB) & 02 Physics (AKU/CAMB). The School’s Health Care Services provides comprehensive health facility to the students and staff of BVS at a well maintained clinic on the premises of the school. It also has a canteen where hygiene homemade snacks are available at reasonable rate for students.

Preparing Students for Life

The school has a very active Scouts Organization which students can join from Grade III onwards. With a moto that says, ‘BE PREPARED’, scouting prepares students to face dangers, to survive in the most difficult situations, to be responsible citizens, inculcate spirit of brotherhood, and loyalty. The BVS school also has a band that plays an important role in the essence of the School. Students get a chance to learn and play various musical instruments like drums, tambourines, clarinets, trumpets, etc.

Art is part of school curriculum and the school takes pride in the Art Room. The Art Club was initiated in 2014, by the Principal, Mrs Kermin Parakh with the objective to provide opportunities to students and enhance their talents. Besides academics BVS also offers a co-curricular subject, Personal & Social Education (PSE). It aims at a balanced personal, social and moral education programme where students are given the opportunity to explore and communicate their values and beliefs on wide range of topics.

The Robotic Club focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, takes a holistic approach towards life-long learning and development. Teaching robotics to students throughout their schooling can increase their ability to be creative and innovative thinkers and more productive members of society.

The HoodBhoy Science Society aims to develop student’s creativity and inculcate the habit of exploration in them. The society arranges for science exhibitions, competitions, debates and discussions, workshops are more.

The Scrabble and the Chess Club in BVS started in 2007. Over these twelve years, the Virbaijeeites have brought laurels to the School and the Country both nationally and internationally winning 12 World Championship titles and numerous appreciations globally.

 With the motto TOWARDS THAT BEST LIGHT Virbaijeeites surge forward in all walks of life and will continue to do so for decades to come.

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