Opened in June 1965 as Anita Nursery Play Centre for 3-year-olds, our young institution doubled in size within one year. In June 1966 we had 2 sections: one for 3-year-olds and one for 4-year-olds. Like all healthy institutions, we continued to grow – new classes were added yearly until the 5th standard was reached in 1972. In keeping with our growth, our original name was changed and we became known as Anita school.
The usual growing pains accompanied Anita School’s growth. Our original thatched hut was soon outgrown. Classes were scattered in different parts of the campus. Thanks to the generous gift of Rs. 25,000 given by the parents of Anita Kandaswamy, the little girl for whom our school is named, a new 4-classroom building was completed and dedicated by Bishop Eric Mitchell In 1970.
On June 29, 1985, we broke ground for our 2-storey addition to the existing building. This provided 5 new classrooms, office space, a library and a science laboratory. This new block, currently the Zion block, was dedicated on October 13th 1986.
Many donors at this stage made the expansion of Anita Methodist School possible. A few of them are:
- United Methodist Churches of the East Ohio Conference, USA
- Rev. Gilbert Stillwagon of the Mansfield District who organised the “Bricks for Anita” campaign to raise money from his District Churches
- Thoburn United Methodist Church, St. Clairsville, Ohio
- East Shore United Methodist Church, Euclid, Ohio
Even with generous donations, Anita Methodist School trusted God as our children used to sing, “Our God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing our God cannot do” to raise whatever funds were necessary to complete the construction of the buildings required for the rapid expansion of the school, at that time.
Our school library was opened in 1980, and children of the primary classes were permitted to check books out and take them home. The Cub Scout Troop of Sunbury United Methodist Church in Sunbury, Ohio, sent us 30 boxes of almost new books, to augment our collection of books, much to the appreciation of parents.
From its early days, Anita Methodist maintained a roster of well-qualified staff, all of whom were trained teachers. Several of them have stayed for a decade or more, in the long and illustrious history of the school. Some of the early veterans were Mrs Victoria Rabinder, Mrs Leela Chandy, and Mrs Ebby Manickam. All our staff then – as now – are genuinely interested in the all-around development of each child.
Not satisfied with just academic excellence, Anita Methodist had a series of exceptional music teachers, who formed a school choir that has performed on AIR and produced musical dramas, under the tutelage of Miss Carolyn Halsted from the USA. Miss Linda Samuel from Scotland, Mrs Kathy Spagnoli from the USA, and Mr Victor Philip also shaped the musical talents of the students in those years.
While we have many co-curricular Clubs for our students today, the Bul-Buls and Cub Scout Troop have been active since the mid-1980s.
In June 1986, in response to our parents’ request, we expanded the school to Class VI and Anita Methodist soon became a High School, gaining recognition from the Tamil Nadu state Government as a Matriculation School.
Right from the beginning, the founders and veterans of Anita Methodist School placed an emphasis on the spiritual side of life. Our children were taught to love and respect God and each other and the world in which they live. Prayers were held daily at the beginning of each day, and children were also taking an active part in these activities – even taking charge of the BKN campus staff prayers, on occasion.
Ms Virginia Baldwin, our Principal till 1989, held to the following quote from the August 1986 issue of Reader’s Digest:
“You can never go wrong by giving a youngster lots of love and kisses mixed with discipline. Child training is merely knowing which end of your child to pat … and when.”
Overseeing the growth of the school into a full-fledged Matriculation High School, Mrs R Michael was our Principal from 1989 till 2001. During this time, we also expanded to include Classes XI and XII, offering electives in four groups. Anita Methodist Matriculation School was then renamed as Anita Methodist Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
Dr Sujatha Ross was our next Principal, serving from 2001 to 2011, during which time the school expanded in size and reputation, becoming a mainstay in the heart of Chennai city.
The current Principal, Dr Joan Elango, took over the reins in 2011. She has steered the school through many modern developments such as special programmes for children with learning difficulties, the introduction of digital learning methods to engage the students in the classroom and of course, successfully conquering the pandemic lockdowns with a robust learn-from-home virtual programme.
Our aim at Anita Methodist School has always been to not just get 100% results but to present to the country young men and women of high moral character, academically well trained, who are ready to serve their country with integrity.
A majority of the content in this write-up is from Ms Virginia Baldwin’s report in the BKN Centenary Magazine, published in 1986; we are greatly indebted to her for her foundational leadership, insight, and the document that helps us retain our history.