Maryknoll Father's School
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A Brief History of MFS

The history of Maryknoll Fathers' School, in many ways, parallels the development of Hong Kong in the past sixty years.

In 1957, Hong Kong was experiencing a time of turbulence and almost explosive growth. It is difficult for many born in recent years to comprehend the difficulties faces by Hong Kong officials and people in dealing with the huge numbers of incoming mainlanders and their social and spiritual needs. The hills of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island were strewn with wooden shacks. Their inhabitants faced the hazards of fires, of landslips, of epidemics and similar calamities. When the authorities realizes that the people did not plan to return to their mainland origins, it became necessary to make long-term provision for safe housing, for medical care and for education for the many youngsters whose parents clamoured for schools.

Faced with this challenge, the HK Government and many religious and social organisations cooperated to build and operate schools in areas which previously had been empty fields and hillsides. Among these groups, the Maryknoll Fathers took their place in answering the needs of many parents and their children. In Kowloontsai area, Fr. Peter A. Reilly, M. M., had already been working for three years, following his expulsion from his former mission work in Wuchow, South China. In addition to a social canter and a small church, a study room and hires teachers provided some rudimentary education for the youth of the area. But Fr. Reilly realised that more was needed and he applied to the Education Department for permission to erect a subsidised school. He was given permission not only for a desired primary school, but also for an unexpected bonus - a secondary school.

The task facing Fr. Reilly was daunting. Fortunately, he found a most willing and able ally in the person of Mrs. Tong Yu Sheung Woon, the school's first principal, who brought all her experience and skills to the tack of organising, enrolling, hiring and guiding the first pupils and teachers in both primary and secondary sections. As originally planned, the primary school was a 12 classroom, double (AM & PM) vernacular and coeducational six-year school and the secondary school was to consist of parallel streams of Form 1 to 5 English and C. M. 1 to S. M. 3 classes with 12 classrooms and additional science rooms. The two buildings were erected alongside the stream or nullah from which Tai Hang Tung (Big Nullah-East) District is named.

All during 1957, the work of enrollment and hiring went along with the actual construction of the school buildings until the long-awaited day of Official Opening and blessing with Rt. Rev. Bishop Lawrence Bianchi and his Excellency Sir Alexander Grantham presiding. On the 26th September, 1957, these dignitaries and a large number of participants showed their support for the Maryknoll Society and for the dedicated efforts of Fr. Reilly, Mrs. Tong and their co-workers.

Following the dedication of the school in 1957, the task of developing and improving its educational work continued. The first graduates of the secondary section emerged in 1959 from the Form 5 and S. M. 3 classes. The excellent results achieved by these earliest "old boys and old girls" gave great encouragement to the staff. Of course, students in those days were very highly motivated since success in examinations was the main avenue to recognition and status in society. At the same time, Fr. Reilly and other Maryknoll priests and brothers assisted in teaching English, Ethics and religious studies and numerous students received the gift of faith and God's call.

The success of the secondary section and the expanding need for education in the district encouraged the Maryknoll Fathers to apply for an expansion of the secondary school to double its size. The Education Bureau approved the acquisition of the site behind the school for a new wing which was completed in time for the new term in September, 1965. The school was honoured to have Rt. Rev. Bishop Frederick Donaghy, M. M., formerly bishop of Wuchow where Fr. Reilly had served for over 20 years, to bless the New Wing on 17th February, 1966. It provided space for a much needed library, 12 additional classrooms and improved science facilities. A hall with section for 500 provided room for public examinations and school ceremonies.

In the following years, Maryknoll Fathers' School experienced, as Hong Kong itself, a time of consolidation and steady growth. With the passage of time, the Chinese Middle School section was phased out and the secondary section became a four-stream Anglo- Chinese school from FI to FVII, with matriculation classes in Arts and Science. It is estimated that over 6,000 graduates have come from the school to enter all walks of Hong Kong Life, as well as in various countries around the world.

During all these years, Mrs. Tong worked tirelessly to build up the school's administration and traditions. She was also active in many the advisory boards and educational bodies and receive numerous honours and recognition. She retired as Principal after a full twenty years of service in 1977 and is admired and remembered by many of her colleagues and graduates who benefited by her zeal and devoted service.

The school has been enriched by the contributions of its late founder, Fr. Reilly, who died on 19th June, 1994, but also by the many other Maryknollers who taught or otherwise helped the school and its students and by the many fine principals and teachers, including Mrs. S. Y. Tong, Mr. Leo Leung King Chee, Mrs. Chan Lai Mee Fong, Mr. Ho Nga Yen, Mr. Lee Chi Pui, Mr. Tam Yiu Pui, Mr. Leung Hoi Tin and Mr. Lobo Ho Lik Sang, principal since 2013.

Nor can we forget the efforts of the primary school staff and its principals, including Mrs. Elizabeth Tao Cheung Kwan Woon, Mrs. Amy Mok Wong Yin Mei and Mr. Ng Wai Man, principal since 2008.

All of us now involved in our Alma Mater, Maryknoll Fathers' School, hope that this brief history will remind you of the part the school has played in the lives of thousands of Hong Kong's people. Let us all work and pray that the solid foundations laid forty years ago will be even stronger in the years to come. 

5th School anniversary Year Book




2 To Yuen Street, Tai Hang Tung, Kowloon, Hong Kong TEL: (852) 2777 5117  FAX: (852) 2778 5871