In the Beginning
The story of La Salle begins in 1917 when the Brothers of St. Joseph's College opened a junior school on Chatham Road, near Rosary Church. Kowloon was expanding rapidly at this time and demand for school places was rising. Bro. Aimar, the Director of St. Joseph's, realized that a new school building was necessary. He acquired a piece of land on Boundary Street in the late 1920's as a site for the new La Salle College.
On 5th November, 1930, Sir William Peel, the Governor of Hong Kong, laid the foundation stone of the new building. By 3rd December 1931, the work on the building and the playgrounds was sufficiently advanced to allow the opening of eight classes under the management of 5 Brothers from St. Joseph's College and 4 Assistant Masters, Messrs. Charles Dragon, Francis Charles, James Ng and Benedict Lim, from the Chatham Road School. 303 students were present on that day.
On 6th January 1932 came the formal inauguration; seven Brothers headed by Rev. Bro-Aimar as Director, took over and a few days later 40 boarders occupied their quarters to the west of the building. There were then 540 students in 14 classes.
For seven years the College thrived under the wise guidance of Brother Aimar. The students achieved excellent results in the Matriculation Examinations, the laboratories were getting into shape, four Tennis courts and a full-sized football pitch were built and the lovely statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle that now stands in front of the College was erected. The number of students increased to 805 in 1935 and 1060 in 1939
War-Time and Exodus
The outbreak of World War Two in 1939 brought great disruption to the life of the school. The HK Government requisitioned the buildings as an internment camp and later a hospital. The Brothers had to arrange for temporary classrooms to be built across the road and classes continued there. In the afternoons, Brothers helped in the hospital.
On Christmas Day, 1941 the Colony surrendered to the Japanese and, soon after, the Brothers were ousted from the College. The buildings were turned into a storage depot. The Japanese encouraged civilians to leave the Colony, as food was in short supply. A number of Brothers, including the founder and principal, Bro-Aimar, traveled to Vietnam where they remained for the duration of the War.
Brother Cassian, O.B.E., energetically undertook restoration of the College after the war in 1946. Soon the College made a remarkable recovery and had about 600 pupils on its roll. The British Military Authorities, however, once again requisitioned the College in 1949 and it was turned into the 33rd General Hospital. Under the directorship of Brother Patrick Toner, the school was moved to temporary buildings in Perth Street, Homantin. Despite the considerable difficulties, few school activities suffered by this change.
Brother Fe1ix was appointed Director of the School in 1956 and with untiring efforts, re-acquired the College buildings from the Mi1itary Authorities on 1st August 1959. Twelve years of forced exile had come to an end. Student numbers grew steadily and this in turn led to a separation of primary and secondary divisions. La Salle Primary School was erected in 1956 and Brother Henry was appointed Headmaster
The Modern La Salle College
Towards the mid 1970's, the Brothers, under the directorship of Brother Raphael, decided the then aging building was functionally inadequate and would have been too costly to refurbish. The old building with its majestic dome had to be knocked down to make way for progress. While classes were continuing, a portion of the school grounds were used to erect a new superstructure with modem facilities. The Governor at the time, Sir Murray Maclehose, officially opened the new school on 19th February, 1982, which was also the Golden Jubilee year of the school.
The new College building stands seven floors high and has a current enrollment of over 1800 students. Four impressive blocks surround two quadrangles, the lower, dotted with benches and greenery and the upper a standard size basketball court. All rooms are centrally air-conditioned and have double-glazed windows. In addition to the classrooms, there is an extensive range of facilities for academic use and for extra-curricular activities. At the time of construction the school was considered among the most modern in Asia. Brother Alphonsus chee and Brother Thomas Lavin were largely responsible for developing these facilities.
Since a major pad of the School building is above standard, the Government is not responsible for its maintenance. Replacements of plant and machinery as well as the upkeeping of existing facilities require substantial sums of money. The Brothers, the Principal Brother Francis, and some Old Boys initiated the idea of a Foundation whose sole aim was to provide sufficient funds to do just this. In early 1992, the La Salle Foundation was established with Mr. Michael Sze as the first Chairman.
To enhance communication between teachers and parents, the La Salle College - Parent Teacher Association was established in January, 1995 and has become an integral part of the life of the school.
In September 1996, the track and field were in urgent need of re-surfacing. The La Salle Foundation with the help of the Parent Teacher Association raised over five million dollars and the Hong Kong Jockey Club contributed the same amount. The project was completed in October 1998 and the facilities were re-named the La Salle College-Jockey Club track and field.
In December 1998, the Lasallian Schools in Hong Kong under the chairmanship of Bro-Patrick Tierney, hosted the 3rd gathering of the APLEC, Asia-Paciflc LasaIlian Educators, Congress, in La Salle College. About 130 delegates, from Pacific-Asia, took part. As a direct result, the Hong Kong LasaIlian Family Office was established in April 1999 with Bro-Thomas Lavin as the Coordinator. This Office aims to draw together the various members of the Lasallian Family in Hong Kong.