05/05/1999 11:24

Malala Catholic Secondary School

The original buildings of what was to become Malala High School (first called Lourdes College) were built of bush material in 1956/57 by Br. Alois Niermann and Fr Piet Hesen, the parish priest of the area. His original idea was to set up a central primary school for Catholic children of the Bogia and Karkar areas. Fr John Feeley came up from Alexishafen to run the school for the first years. From the very beginning Bp. Noser insisted that only English be used there.

In February 1958, Fr John Wald, SVD, longtime headmaster at Kondiu, Simbu, was moved by Bp Noser to Malala to substitute for Fr John Kolnik, who was away on study leave. In 1959 Fr Kolnik became Malala High School's first principal and held that position until 1970, when he had to resign because of ill health. During his tenure the school developed to the point that in 1921 it had 335 male students and a staff of 22 from 11 countries. This was the year the SSpS began to build up a presence, which eventually came to their taking over the entire school.

The first SSpS Sister on the staff was Sr Jane Frances Millane. Next came Sr Maria Burke, and then over the years: Sisters Ingeburg Pircher, Roswitha Mey, Heline Senft, Teresita Artita, Raingarde Webhofer, Gondulphine Donkers, Maria Caritas Schmitz, Imelita Jacobs, Pia Sogon, and Claire Marie Patik (CHM).

One of the first effects of Sr Jane Frances' presence was to make the school co-educational within a year. In 1993 the school enrolled 284 boys and 296 girls.

By 1994 Sr Jane had been at Malala for 27 years, most of the time as headmistress. It was her most successful year. Just two years after her school had been raised to the status of a national high school, which admits Grades 11 and 12; it took top honours over all other national high schools in PNG. Of its first-ever Grade 12 graduating class of 61 students, 25 were accepted by UPNG and 27 by Unitech.