In September of 1959, the Dominican Monastery of St. Albert the Great in Hong Kong transformed into what came to be known as Rosaryhill School. It commenced with 197 children in the Kindergarten Section and 205 pupils in the Primary Section level of education.
However, the monastic structure used as a school building could only serve its purpose as a more appropriate accommodation was required both in the educational sense, and according to the laws and requirements of the Education Ordinance.
Consequently, the Procurator for the Dominican Missions, Fr. Eutimio Gonzalez, arranged with an architect and a construction company to build a proper school with a capacity for 5,500 students and the foundation of a structure of eight stories was laid. In 1963 a new imposing edifice of Rosaryhill School was completed, ready to receive (by then) 520 children of Kindergarten level and 1,775 pupils of Primary level. Thus the school officially became a center of bilingual learning and a programme of studies was laid down according to the three levels of basic education: Kindergarten (2 years), Primary (6 years) and Secondary (5 years).
The building in the shape of a rectangular structure is divided into two sections by a central portion of floors comprising a hall which occupies the space of two floors; a chapel also taking up two floors; a library and other special rooms occupying the fifth floor area. The western portion of the sixth floor of the building is used as a residential quarters of the friars. There were 6 priests and 2 lay brothers who made up the new community. This small group had the unenviable task of running the entire administration of the school.
The whole school on its tenth anniversary of existence already counted a total of 5,099 students, with the Kindergarten having 919, the Primary 2,318 and the Secondary 1,862.
A Department of Religion was formed as an important part of the whole organization, with a dual role of both attending to the spiritual formation of the Catholic students as well as attending to the promotion of catechetical instruction among interested non-Catholics. In 1965, the Legion of Mary was established with three presidia. Other events worth mentioning were: 1) the publication of the first School Annual in 1966, 2) the first group of Form 5 graduates was presented for the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination in 1967, and 3) in the same year, the Rosaryhill Old Students Association (RHSOSA) was formed.
Responding to the needs of the students for further academic and professional preparation especially for the purpose of pursuing further studies at a university level, the authorities of Rosaryhill School studied the possibility of offering a programme of pre-university studies. In 1969 this plan was realized, and post Form 5 classes began operating, namely, a two-year course offering subjects for both arts and science streams as well as a commercial and secretarial courses in the Business Studies Section of Rosaryhill School. Fortunately, the economical side of operating and sustaining a sizeable project like Rosaryhill School was greatly relieved when in 1982 the Secondary Section became fully aided by the Government which meant that they agreed to subsidize all the expenses of running the section.
One of the initial difficulties of the school was that of transportation because of its location. This, however, was solved with the introduction of a Department of Transportation in the school which made arrangements for 23 school buses (property of the school) to pick up students at various bus stops in different parts of the island and return them to the same stations after school.
During the school year 1983-84, Rosaryhill School celebrated her 25th anniversary since her foundation with a series of festivities, the most notable being the ones on 3rd of September with the Most Rev. Msgr. John Baptist Wu, Bishop of Hong Kong, presiding at the opening of the religious ceremonies, and on 10th of the same month with the Hon. Director of Education Mr. C. H. Haye presiding at the opening of the academic ceremonies. A special event took place on 29th of October with the priestly ordination of Rev. Benedict Lam at the Catholic Cathedral. The newly ordained priest embraced the Catholic faith when he was a student in Rosaryhill School; later on after completing his academic studies he pursued his religious studies of philosophy and theology in the Diocesan Seminary of Hong Kong, Aberdeen, before going on to the final stage.
As the educational institute expanded through the years, it gradually developed certain features which are somewhat peculiar to the School, and rather interesting. For instance, the Secondary Section has been vaguely "coeducational" in a way until a few years ago. Only in the last few years can we truly say that it has become totally coeducational with boys and girls sharing the same classes and classrooms and having the same syllabus.
It all started by having a "Girls Section" and a "Boys Section", quite different from each other with a well-defined division: classrooms and playgrounds were different, timetables were different and even teachers were grouped differently. For a few years, they even had two different Student Councils! Eventually, the two Sections became integrated and streamlined. In 1985, timetables were unified which had a considerable impact on the structure of the Secondary Section with much improved bus services and more efficient use of the teaching staff. In 1999, the lower form classes began to be truly coeducational. We stopped offering Domestic Science only to girls and EPA only to boys, but all had to take both subjects. This last change was strongly supported by the Education Bureau since it facilitated the central allocation of boys and girls to our school.
Another instance of an unusual feature is the fact that Rosaryhill School consists of Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary and Business Studies Sections where each section is conducted as an independent and regular school with its own Principal. Except for Kindergarten Section which is formally addressed as Rosaryhill Kindergarten, the rest of the sections are addressed as Rosaryhill School (Primary, Secondary or Business Studies Sections – as the case may be). These sections all housed in the same building are coordinated and directed by an overall Supervisor who acts within a framework of the School Constitution which plays an important role in the management of the entire school.
Sometime in the 1980s, the Education Department started planning the introduction of Computer Sciences as a subject to be taught in the schools and, two years later, launched the pilot teaching scheme. Although Rosaryhill School did not join the experimental scheme, she was well aware of its potentials and, in 1984, started to teach the subject to her students. In 1986, Rosaryhill School set up the first administrative computers network, connecting the General Office, Accounting Office, as well as the Kindergarten, Primary, Secondary and Business Studies Sections to a central Novell Fire Server. There were software written to keep track of student information such as accounting records, class and bus rosters, test and examination results, report and student ID cards. Today, Rosaryhill School routinely conducts classes with power point and other computer related teaching and learning aids.
Towards the end of 2005, a three-storey annex attached to the western side of the building and housing the administrative section was replaced by a new one of seven storey providing much needed up-to-date facilities for teachers and students in addition to accommodating the administrative staff. The new annex was officially opened on 18th of December 2005 by The Most Rev. John Tong, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Hong Kong, and assisted by the Dominican Provincial, Fr Bonifacio Solis, OP. The new building is part of the School Improvement Plan, partly financed by a year of intense fund raising activities and generous contributions from many quarters.
Every Catholic school is proud to have on its premises a shrine dedicated to Our Lady, the Mother of our Lord. Rosaryhill School is no different. On the eastern end of the school grounds, next to the Kindergarten play area, stands a group of white sculptured figures representing the Blessed Virgin Mary's apparition to the three shepherd children of Fatima. This is where Our Lady warmly and visibly welcomes all who, no matter what race or creed, come to Rosaryhill School in search for the Light of Truth in learning.
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