Seventh-day Adventist School, Hapur, India

By Gordon E. Christo

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Gordon E. Christo, Ph.D. in Old Testament and Adventist Studies (Andrews University). Christo is retired and working on contract as assistant editor of the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists and assistant editor of the Seventh-day Adventist International Biblical-Theological Dictionary. He is currently setting up a heritage center for Southern Asia Division. Some of his research on Adventist history can be seen at https://sudheritage.blogspot.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/SUDHeritage/.

The story of Adventist education at Hapur began with Milton M. Mattison and his wife Nora who arrived in India in 1912. By January 1917 they had settled in Hapur.1 While living in an ashram near the railway station Mattison sought to acquire land for a mission station. That proved a frustrating challenge as potential sellers often ran away or just disappeared. Finally, in September he and A. H. Williams managed to purchase and register five acres of land a little more than a mile from the railway station on a bend of Meerut Rd.2 Mattison built a bungalow between February and November 1918 for one missionary family. It also housed a guest room for missionaries who might be visiting or just passing by on their way to the hills.3

Founding as a Girls’ School

Since the union already had a boarding school for boys that had opened in 1912,4 Mattison started a school for girls. Classes began January 12, 1919, with eight girls. Enrollment soon increased to 11.5 The following year Mattison had a two-story school building constructed for the North India Girls School, a structure expanded several times and still serves as the administration block for the institution.

A Boys’ School and a Training School for Boys

However, at the end of 1919 the India Union became part of the Southern Asia Division, and the India Union Training School that had provided instruction in English gave way to regional schools in the new unions that employed local languages as the classroom medium rather than English. The girls’ school shifted from Hapur to premises in Lucknow vacated by the former India Union Christian Training School.

In turn, the North India Boys School that had been established in Najibabad in 1917 moved onto the Hapur campus for the 1920 school year. F. W. Smith, who held a B.A. degree, arrived from the Garwhal Industrial School to head the institution. Classes had commenced after the summer break with 35 students ranging up to the sixth class with three teachers. Since Smith had arrived after the school year had begun, he altered little. Nevertheless, he could announce that the courses included: Bible Doctrines, Christian Evidences, Sacred Geography, Bible Story Telling, and New Testament History.6 The classrooms were quite bare. Only teachers had desks and chairs. Smith and his wife and Belle Shryock taught the classes. Mr. A. Paul served as the house father.7

The following year the school added a teacher-training program. The boys’ school had classes up to the middle level, but Smith planned to raise that to a higher level after which the boys could enter the training school intended for teachers.8 By the following year the boys’ school had 60 boarders and the training school had nine male students.9 On March 15, 1922, a church organized with 11 members. Soon another 40 members joined by baptism, including 12 students from the school. The institution still had only two buildings, one for the principal and the other for boarders. Students came from as far away as Fiji.10

The school gave special attention vocational education and work. The boys planted a mango orchard and learned to sew and mend clothes. When weaving equipment arrived, they learned to make their own clothes and sold the rest of the cloth. They also cut hair, practicing on each other in the school barbershop.11 In addition, they received instruction at a colporteur-training institute.12

In 1925 the union moved the North India Christian Training School to Lucknow and left Hapur with just the boys’ school.13 The enrollment dropped to about 30, and students had to provide their own support. Parents had to furnish clothing and bedding.14 The new church across the road from the main campus was dedicated in April 1927.

The North Agra Girls School

The union again moved schools around for 1929. It seemed a waste to operate two boarding schools for boys so the union sent the elementary level boys from Hapur to the boarding high school at Roorkee. The North India Girls’ School moved from Lucknow to the Hapur campus at the end of the year15 and some remodeling took place.16

The Upper Ganges Section was at this time known as the North Agra Mission and the school was called the North Agra Mission Girls School even though a small boys’ section did commence operation.17.

The school had an extensive farm and gardens and a network of nalas “little canals,” watered the fields. Administration added a Persian water wheel to the well and acquired a water buffalo to operate it. Cement aqueducts channeled water to distant corners of the fields of sugarcane, watermelons, and squashes.18 However, in 1934 leadership reduced the school to a primary one up to the fourth standard and sent older students to Chuarkhana (in present day Pakistan). The peanut butter industry moved along with them. 19

Co-education

Older boys were taken to Roorkee,20 and the younger boys from there to Hapur.21 With a significant number of boys now, the school dropped “Girls” from the name and became known as the North Agra Mission School from 1935-1937. The boys’ hostel near the church was built in 1936 about the time that the campus acquired electricity.22

The school changed its name to Hapur Elementary School and the fifth standard shifted from Roorkee to Hapur in 1941.23 The following year it added the sixth standard.24

In the 1940s the school industries received a boost with a revival of the production of peanut butter that sold well in Delhi along with bottled tomato juice and crops of celery.25 In a couple years the work program had progressed so rapidly that it did not have enough student labor to keep up.26 Soon the division provided funds for an entirely new industrial unit that housed carpentry and needlecraft besides processing food.27 The building was completed and inaugurated in 1945.28

Principal T. R. Torkelson had a new chapel constructed and inaugurated in the expanded administration building in September 1945.29 Five years later R. F. Juriansz enlarged the chapel and added pews, expanded the girls’ hostel, had a kitchen constructed, and purchased new desks and chairs. A government inspector proclaimed the school as ahead of their government counterparts by two years.30

The name “Schoolboy Industries” arose through a naming contest announced by principal G. J. Christo in 1953. The reward was a Parker pen. At that time the school produced tomato juice, sauce, and puree; peanut butter; guava jelly; packed peas and sliced mangoes; and a drink powder with several flavors called Kooloo.31

Education in English

Except for a few years during the early twenties, the school had taught almost exclusively in Hindi/Urdu. Soon some sensed an acute need to provide facilities for a boarding school to cater to the English-speaking workers who could not afford education at the Vincent Hill School. The Northwest Union decided to start a school to serve the children of English-speaking families and requested the division to invite support from the other unions.32 The committee appointed Gerald Christo principal and business manager in addition to his duties at the union.33 It was a bold move as the only other English boarding school in the entire division (located at Bangalore) was closing its dormitory facilities as it did not enough demand. Students moved from Bangalore to Hapur.34

A major threat in 1962 arrived in the form of a swarm of locusts that swept across northwest India. However, prayers were answered as the locusts flew over the both the Hapur and the Roorkee campuses, landing beyond the school by a furlong.35

In 1964 the boarding students went to Roorkee which had also changed to English as the medium of instruction as leadership deemed it uneconomical to operate two boarding schools with similar purposes. Hapur continued as a day school till 1973 when it constructed new boarding facilities for boys.36 In 1974 the school added the eighth standard for day students only. Boarding students at that level still had to proceed to Roorkee. By 1987 the school had upgraded to the eleventh standard. When the Roorkee school started college-level courses and focused more on them, there appeared a need for the school at Hapur to provide more affordable education for workers’ and lay-members’ children. Limited boarding facilities for girls opened in the old principal’s bungalow in 2007.

List of Principals

North India Girls School: Milton M. Mattison (1919-1920).

North India Boys School and North India Christian Training School: Floyd W. Smith (1920-1924); Leonard E. Allen (1924-1929).

North Agra Mission Girls’ School: Mary Loasby (1929-1930); Mrs. R. L. Kimble (1930-1932); Mrs. H. D. Strever (1932-1933); Agness Cornelia Craggs (1933-1934); Zelpha Mattison (1934-1936); Maudie Simpson (1936-1938).

Hapur Elementary School: Belva Morris (1938-1941); H. C. Alexander (1941-1943).

Hapur Elementary Boarding School: T. R. Torkelson (1943-1948); Belva Morris (1948-1949); R. F. Juriansz (1949-1952); G. J. Christo (1952-1954); D. H. Skau (1954-1955); B. M. Shad (1955-1960); B. A. Howard (1960-1961).

SDA English Elementary Boarding School: Gordon J. Christo (1961-1962); Malcolm Stanley (1962-1963); C. A. Chacko (1963-1964); Mrs. W. F. Storz (1964-1966).

SDA English Elementary School: Steven J. Phasge (1966-1972); Santosh Mishal (1972-1973); Noel Curtis (1973-1974); O. Vincent Jonathan (1974-1977); Charles Shad (1977-1980);

SDA Secondary School: Sukendu Bairagee (1980-1982); Herald James (1982-1983); Cecil David (1983-1984); Christopher J. David (1984-1985); Daisy Singh (1985-1986);

SDA Secondary School: Cecil Shad (1986-1988); John Bara (1988-1990); O. Stalin Jonathan (1990-1991); B. M. Jawath (1991-1992); J Jonathan (1992-1993); Lamm Fanwar (1993-1996); Rajan Thamby (1996-2005).

SDA Senior Secondary School: Attar Singh (2005-2010); Rajesh Chand (2010-2015); Attar Singh (2015-  ).

Sources

“Announcement: Concerning the Closing of the Boarding Section of the Bangalore Middle School.” Southern Asia Tidings, October 1, 1961.

ARH, January 15, 1925.

ARH, May 9, 1929.

Blue, I. F. “Visiting the Field.” Eastern Tidings, June 1, 1921.

Blue, I. F. “Visiting the Field.” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1921.

Blue, I. F. “With our School in the Northwest.” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1935.

“Calls and Placements of Personnel.” Northwest Union Committee Minutes, January 10, 1962.

Christo, G. J. “Would You Like to Win a Parker Pen?” Eastern Tidings, December 15, 1953.

Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1919.

Eastern Tidings, June 1, 1920.

“Hapur Boys School.” Eastern Tidings, February 1, 1921.

“Hapur School.” Northwest Union Committee Minutes, August 18, 1961.

Hunter, D. W. “Notes from the Northwest.” Eastern Tidings, November 1, 1934.

Johanson, A. J. “New Boarding Facilities in India.” ARH, August 15, 1974.

John, C. N. “Locusts and Mission Schools.” Southern Asia Tidings, September 15, 1962.

Juriansz, R. F. “News from Hapur Mission School.” Eastern Tidings, November 15, 1950.

Lowry, G. G. “Educational Work in the Northwest.” Eastern Tidings, January 15, 1935.

Mattison, M. M. “Hapur Mission Station.” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1919.

Mattison, M. M. “North India.” Eastern Tidings, November 15, 1917.

Mattison, O. O. “News from the North.” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1941.

Mattison, O. O. “Northwest India Union.” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1943.

Mattison, O. O. “Northwest Welcomes Pastor Ham.” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 1944.

“News From Our Union Superintendents.” Eastern Tidings, April 15, 1945.

“News Notes.” Eastern Tidings, May 1, 1922.

Pohlman, Edward W. “First the Blade, Then the Ear: Department of Education.” Eastern Tidings (Golden Jubilee Supplement), September 15, 1945.

“Recommendations Regarding Hapur School.” Northwest Union Committee Minutes, January 10, 1962.

Sandberg, T. E. “Investiture Services in the Northwest.” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 1946.

Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Second rev. ed. Hagerstown MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1996. S.v. “Hapur Elementary Boarding School.”

Simpson, “Hapur Happenings.” Eastern Tidings, July 15, 1936.

Simpson, “Report from Hapur Station.” Eastern Tidings, June 15, 1931.

Simpson, P. K. “Hapur Mission Station.” Eastern Tidings, August 15, 1930.

Smith, “Teachers’ Institutes at Hapur and Chuharkana.” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1926.

Smith, Floyd, “Where Working with the Hand Pays: North India Boys’ School, Hapur UP.” Eastern Tidings (Uplift Special, 1922), February 1, 1922.

Southern Union Worker, July 15, 1920.

Streeter, E. R. “Our Schools in the Northwest.” Eastern Tidings, August 15, 1942.

Williams, A. H. “Northwest Union.” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1929.

Notes

  1. M. M. Mattison, “Hapur, North India,” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1917, 5.

  2. M. M. Mattison, “North India,” Eastern Tidings, November 15, 1917, 3.

  3. M. M. Mattison, “Hapur Mission Station,” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1919, 1.

  4. Edward W Pohlman, “First the Blade, Then the Ear: Department of Education,” Eastern Tidings (Golden Jubilee Supplement), Sept 15, 1945, 2.

  5. Compare Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1919, 1, with “Hapur Elementary Boarding School,” Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (1996), s.v. “Hapur Elementary Boarding School.”

  6. Southern Union Worker July 15, 1920, 2.

  7. Eastern Tidings, June 1, 1920, 6.

  8. “Hapur Boys School,” Eastern Tidings, (Uplift Special 1921), February 1, 1921, 12.

  9. I. F. Blue, “Visiting the Field,” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1921, 5.

  10. I. F. Blue, “Visiting the Field,” Eastern Tidings, June 1, 1921, 5, 6.

  11. Floyd Smith, “Where Working with the Hand Pays: North India Boys’ School, Hapur UP,” Eastern Tidings (Uplift Special, 1922), February 1, 1922.

  12. “News Notes,” Eastern Tidings May 1, 1922, 6.

  13. ARH, January 15, 1925, 15.

  14. Smith, “Teachers’ Institutes at Hapur and Chuharkana,” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1926, 7.

  15. ARH, May 9, 1929.

  16. A. H. Williams, “Northwest Union, Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1929, 6.

  17. P. K. Simpson, “Hapur Mission Station,” Eastern Tidings, August 15, 1930, 6.

  18. Simpson, “Report from Hapur Station,” Eastern Tidings, June 15, 1931, 6.

  19. D. W. Hunter, “Notes from the Northwest,” Eastern Tidings, November 1, 1934, 7.

  20. I. F. Blue, “With our School in the Northwest,” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1935, 5.

  21. G. G. Lowry alludes to this in “Educational Work in the Northwest,” Eastern Tidings, January 15, 1935, 5.

  22. Simpson, “Hapur Happenings,” Eastern Tidings, July 15, 1936, 6.

  23. O. O. Mattison, “News from the North,” Eastern Tidings September 1, 1941, 5.

  24. E. R. Streeter, “Our Schools in the Northwest,” Eastern Tidings, August 15, 1942, 3, 4.

  25. Ibid.

  26. O. O. Mattison, “Northwest Welcomes Pastor Ham,” Eastern Tidings, January 1, 1944, 3.

  27. O. O. Mattison, “Northwest India Union,” Eastern Tidings, May 15, 1943, 2, 3.

  28. “News From Our Union Superintendents,” Eastern Tidings, April 15, 1945, 4.

  29. T. E. Sandberg, “Investiture Services in the Northwest,” Eastern Tidings January 1, 1946, 5.

  30. R. F. Juriansz, “News from Hapur Mission School, Eastern Tidings, November 15, 1950, 4, reports also on the bountiful harvests from the farm.

  31. G. J. Christo, “Would You Like to Win a Parker Pen?” Eastern Tidings, December 15, 1953, 8.

  32. “Recommendations Regarding Hapur School,” Northwest Union Committee Minutes, January 10, 1962, #61-46, 9; “Hapur School,” Northwest Union Committee Minutes, August 18, 1961, # 61-214.

  33. “Calls and Placements of Personnel,” Northwest Union Committee Minutes, January 10, 1962, # 61-47-23, 10.

  34. “Announcement: Concerning the Closing of the Boarding Section of the Bangalore Middle School,” Southern Asia Tidings, October 1, 1961, 12.

  35. C. N. John, “Locusts and Mission Schools,” Southern Asia Tidings, September 15, 1962, 7. Though John asserts that not one of the locusts came to the school compound at Hapur, the author, then a young lad of 10 years of age, did see several fall to the ground on our campus as the swarm flew overhead. Because a young man who lived on the campus fried and ate them, the incident stands out in my memory.

  36. A. J. Johanson, “New Boarding Facilities in India, ARH, August 15, 1974, 24.

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Christo, Gordon E. "Seventh-day Adventist School, Hapur, India." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 10, 2021. Accessed January 19, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8G8P.

Christo, Gordon E. "Seventh-day Adventist School, Hapur, India." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 10, 2021. Date of access January 19, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8G8P.

Christo, Gordon E. (2021, January 10). Seventh-day Adventist School, Hapur, India. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 19, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8G8P.