Adonis Diaries

My 6 nieces and nephews graduated from: St. Joseph High School (Kornet Chehwan, Lebanon)

Posted on: December 1, 2013

My 6 nieces and nephews graduated from: Story of St. Joseph High School (Kornet Chehwan, Lebanon)

In 2002/2003 St. Joseph High School (SJS) celebrated the 40th anniversary of its re-foundation in 1963 as a trilingual school. Was it a story of great success?

My 6 nieces and nephews who graduated are doing fine and 5 of them finished university, and one is pursuing a PhD in London. 

As you must know, Lebanon officially recognizes 18 religious sects (kind of self-autonomous social organizations with independent financial and economic networks).  Each of these religious sects (Christians Moslems, Druze… Not including Jehovah Witnesses or Scientology) have their own “private schools” and private universities.

The same goes with billionaires (old and new money):

1. First, they buy a political position (a seat in the Parliament or minister in the government in order to secure immunity from prosecution), and the pieces of the puzzle fall nicely in place.

2. Second,  they purchase one of the old bank licenses in order to “whiten” the money

3. Third, the own a university that graduates thousands of students. As this private university expands to include medical field, the billionaire purchase a hospital.

4. This billionaire politician grab one of the multitude of institutionalized “Black Boxes”, like funds for displaced refugees, emergency disaster reconstruction, reconstruction of south Lebanon, waste collection, bottled water, waste treatment facilities, importing gasoline and fuel, distributing gasoline and fuel…

5. They establish private “charitable association” and health insurance businesses…

6. They open up a Mall

7. They purchase shares in supermarket chains…

The filthy rich few Lebanese:

This is what I read from SJS achievement:

1. St. Joseph High School, through constant growth and development, became one of the major catholic schools in Lebanon, owned by the Maronite clergy
2. Its quality education that made its alumni well appreciated and respected in the most prestigious universities around the world,…
3. Its personalized and spiritual touch that produced highly positive and entrepreneur members of society and in church,…
4. Its educational trilingual system (Arabic, English and French), which was followed by a number of schools and proved itself to be pioneering in today’s globalization and world unification,…

This great success story was due to the vision of late bishop Elias Farah who took the initiative to re-found St. Joseph School and did not allow any pressure or opposition to slow or cause the failure of the project.

Bishop Farah had set the tradition of sending priests of the Diocese to prepare their PhD. in the U.S.A. and return to be rectors at S.J.S.: Bishop Roland Abou Jaoudeh, Bishop Paul Sayyah, Bishop Camille Zaidan, Fr. Simon Faddoul, Msgr. Richard Abou Moussa

He sought the help of the Jesus and Mary Sisters, of the Marianists and the Marists brothers whose input in the first years of the school was a major factor in SJS’s success. A special tribute should be given to the Sisters of J.M. who spent the longest period and left a profound mark on our school.

With the succession of Bishop Youssef Bechara to Bishop Farah, in May 1986, S.J.S. enjoyed the remarkable leadership of an educationist who had the charisma of helping the school to grow and develop even during the darkest days of the war.

But this recent success story should not make us forget a first one.

The old building (the offices of the Rector and central administration…) is an eloquent witness of the glorious past.

By opening its doors to students in September 1884, Saint Joseph Lebanese School in Cornet Chahwan was about to start a new glorious era.

Some documents mention the existence of a previous school, but the new school, thanks to the vision and determination of Bishop Youssef Geagea and his successor Bishop Youssef Zoghbi, did make a difference.

By its prestigious building, by its multilingual program, by the selection of its teachers, by its wide and strong relations with other centers of learning, the new school gave the Lebanese society philosophers, writers and statesmen, and the Maronite Church a highly educated clergy.

Rich by the legacy of its past, full of life and dynamism in its daily operation, looking towards the future with hope, confidence and determination. (End of success story)

I recall priest Simon Faddoul who had a great voice and build a new theater where my nieces and nephews participated during Christmas time and at the end of year in very professional shows.

Note: The modern private and expensive schools in Lebanon are a far cry from the Little Schools of the first half of the 20th century


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December 2013

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