FOUNDED by the De La Salle Brothers in 1937 to provide a boarding and day education for Catholic boys in East Anglia St Joseph's College celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year.
Fifty years may not seem much to celebrate when contrasted with the venerable antiquity of many independent schools but by any standards the development of the College during this period has been remarkable.
The College occupies a fiftyfive acre site on the outskirts of Ipswich and consists of two listed Regency mansions and many recent buildings including a library and a fine sports hall.
To mark the jubilee a new Science and Craft Design and Technology block will be built, as well as a theatre.
The presence of De La Salle Brothers, in their distinctive habit, helps ensure that the Lasallian influence permeates the school. Propective parents, who are always shown around the school by the boys themselves, frequently comment on its friendly atmosphere.
A major duty of the College is to nurture the faith of all the individuals in its care. There is daily Mass and frequent retreats and vigils. A local community of Franciscan friars act as Chaplains.
Concern for others is expected. Last term £1500 was raised for single parent families and this summer a small group of Sixth Formers will go to Togo in Africa to help build a mission school.
Of the 700 pupils 230 are boarders who come from as far afield as Yorkshire, Wales, Devon and Sussex. Many countries are also represented. The boarders are grouped into Houses according to age, thus enabling them to be treated in ways appropriate to their maturity.
The presence of so many boarders exerts a major influence on the ethos of the College: extra curricular activities, for example, are important. The day boys and Sixth Form day girls benefit from this ethos and they in their turn make the school more of an outward looking community.
The boarding side has changed dramatically over recent years. Returning old boys are surprised to see married housemasters, central heating, pool tables, video recorders and study bedrooms!
Change is evident elsewhere. Computer studies has assumed much importance and Business Studies is to be introduced later this year. Sporting activities are more varied and Sixth Formers may even learn sailing and windsurfing.
The major sports are far from neglected however and last year the school was a finalist in the Rosslyn Park Rugby Sevens. The fixture list for both Rugby and Cricket is of the highest quality.
Some things have not changed. The school continues to insist on high standards in all fields so that pupils will continue to leave St Joseph's well equipped to meet all the spiritual, mental and physical challenges of life. The College is looking forward to the next fifty years with confidence.