Carmel Higher Secondary School (Tamil: கார்மல் மேனிலைப் பள்ளி), is a legendary school for boys situated in Ramanputhoor, Nagercoil. It is recognized and aided by the Government of Tamil Nadu and located in a sprawling, lush green campus of around 50 acres. The school is currently administered by the Society of Jesus, Madurai Province.
The plan was undertaken by Roman Catholic Bishop of Quilon, Aloysious Benzigar, O.C.D., to open an English School together with boarding quarters for the use of Catholics of the southern and Tamil-speaking portion of the Diocese. Benziger was a Swiss-born Carmelite of the Belgian province. He was in Carmel Hill, Trivandrum, from 1905 to 1931. He conceived the idea of re-founding a Carmelite community in Goa during the third centenary of their martyrdom, in 1938. The scheme was decided on in 1919 and a building 300 ft. long was put up at Ramanputur in the vicinity of Nagercoil. Carmel Higher Secondary School was established in 1922 as a middle school, English medium. The building was solemnly blessed by Fr. Lucas, O.C.D., the Prior General of the Carmelites. The school began with the preparatory class and first form under the management of Bernard Gonsalvez, and with Antony Pereira, BA, as headmaster. In 1925 these were succeeded by Paul and Martin Fernandez. By then it was a full Middle School with 120 students and 6 teachers on the rolls, with 40 boarders.
After the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kottar was formed, the first Bishop of Kottar Lawrence Pereira enlarged it to the status of high school, in 1936. According to the regulations of the Directorate of School Education, the school was given permanent recognition as per the regulation No 1952/Z117 of 04-12-1934.
From 1936 to 1946 the Brothers of Charity from England managed the school. From 1947 to 1950 the Salesians of Don Bosco took over but returned it to the Diocese of Kottar in 1950. From June 1959 Jesuits from Madurai province took charge and added the Higher Secondary School division. From June 1986 to June 1994 it reverted to the Salesians of Don Bosco but the Jesuits from Madurai Province returned in July 1994 and have managed it since.
Today there is a statue of Jesus Christ in the entrance of the school, where the inauguration of the school was held. There was once a building, demolished to construct Machado Lab in 2000, situated in front of today’s canteen. It was the first ever building of Carmel Higher Secondary School, Nagercoil.
Poor students are assisted by the waiving of school fees, a morning meal scheme, and works of charity in collaboration with the Carmel Alumni Association.
Activities and organizations include NCC, NSS, Scouts, Junior Red Cross, and LASAC.
Troop No 501, NCC Army wing, was started in 1999 by the headmaster of Carmel Higher Secondary School, A. Maria Sigamony, with the assistance of the rector Fr. S. Ignatius, S.J. A troop of 100 cadets was initiated by M. Arul Rajan as the caretaker.
M. Arul Rajan is a PG Assistant in Carmel and serves as First Officer. He holds the "C" Certificate and has undergone two Officer Cadet Refresher Training programmes conducted at Kamptee, Nagpur. Under his training, five cadets in four consecutive years have participated in the Republic Day March Past at Rajpath, New Delhi. Cadets have attended the Republic Day camps, launch camps for RDC, National Level Trekking camps, National Integration camps, Advanced Leadership camps, Inter Unit Competition camps and many Combined Annual Training camps every year. State government scholarships were won by 40 cadets, the Cadet Welfare Society Scholarship by 12 cadets, the Best Cadet Award by 7 cadets, and the SAHARA scholarship by 7 cadets. Apart from the scholarships, many shields and trophies are displayed in the school NCC Unit office.