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About St. Viator
In Spring 1951 upon his return to New York from Taiwan for vacation, Bishop William Francis Kupfer (1909-1998) of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Taichung met Rev. Roger C. Drolet (1903-2001), chairperson of the Far Eastern Branch of Clerics of Saint Viator (CSV) on his return journey. In this meeting, Bishop Kupfer learned more about the founding aim of the CSV: to spread Catholicism and promote education at the same time. As Rev. Drolet was on his way to inspect St. Viator Rakusei Junior and Senior High School in Japan, Bishop Kupfer invited him to stop by Taiwan before heading for Japan and told him that the diocese would provide land for the CSV to establish a school in Taiwan. This is the origin of the founding of St. Viator Catholic High School in Taichung.
Later on, the CSV built a “staff quarters” on No. 1 Gezhi Road and a two-story building on Wuquan Road as the “preparatory office” in the North District, Taichung City. Due to a shortage of staff members, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Taichung requested human resource support from the Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist in Jingmei, Taipei City. The Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist thus sent Brother Hei-ye (Hok-cang) Leung from Hong Kong to help found the school in Taichung. For this reason, the connection between the Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist and St. Viator Catholic High School started much earlier and was deeper than was commonly known to the public.
As the result of the provincial joint entrance examination for high schools being published in July, St. Viator could recruit students on its own in August 1955. To the school’s surprise, over 800 students applied for admissions to the school. As it needed four examination venues to accommodate those applicants, apart from the classrooms on the campus, we borrowed classrooms from the Duxing, Guangfu, and Renai elementary schools for the entrance examination. In addition, we needed to ask support from clergypersons of the diocese and the Society of Jesus as invigilators of the examination. For the first year of school operations, a total of 140 students were recruited in four classes for the junior and high school sections.
In the urban renewal project implemented in 1977, as Jinhua North Road penetrated and bisected the campus, the school decided to move the campus to Siping Road. After planning and relocation in the next five years, St. Viator finally settled at the current address (No. 161, Siping Road, Beitun District, Taichung City) in May 1983. As the relocation involved comprehensive affairs, Father Wang broke down from constant overwork and eventually resigned in June. As many young Viatorians turned to South America, which was rather backward then, and clergypersons staying in Taiwan were either old or not in the best shape, none of them wanted to take up Father Wang’s job before his resignation. With great capacity and experience, therefore, Father Wang wrote to the CSV in Canada to express his own view: “We all are servants of God, can we take things easier? Why can’t we hand over the school to a Taiwanese seminary that wishes to run the school impartially and selflessly, so as to continue our education service for youth?” A quick reply came from an international call, “When promoting education overseas, we, the CSV, never think of expanding our influence elsewhere in the world, but of educating local youth. If a Taiwanese seminary would devote them to youth education, let them do it. This is what we aim for and our ideal.” The proposal was also approved by headquarters in Rome. On July 1, therefore, Father Wang officially handed over St. Viator to the Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist of Taiwan. Father Ya-Bo Zhao, who was the chairperson of the Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist of Taiwan, became the fourth principal of St. Viator. During his time in office, Father Zhao recruited great teachers and encouraged academics, with an emphasis on humanities, information science, and science education, hoping to raise academic quality and character education at the same time. In 1987, St. Viator began recruiting girl students at the “senior high section”. In the following year, the school also recruited girl students at the “junior high section” and added the “junior high fine art class” (accepting both boys and girls). From then on, school operations began to diversify. Also, the number of both classes and students increased every year. Today, St. Viator has developed into a big school with 3,600 students in 24 senior high classes and 45 junior high classes. In 1991, Bishop Joseph Yu-Rong Wang became the third chairperson of St. Viator, continuing to this day.
In August 1995, Vice Principal Zheng-fei Qi became the principal after Father Zhao retired. As the fifth principal of St. Viator, Principal Qi began his youth education plan. To enrich school equipment and improve students’ scientific literacy, Principal Qi built the “integrated laboratory building.”on 1996. In addition, to commemorate Father Frédéric-Vincent Lebbe, the founder of The Little Brothers of St. John the Baptist, Principal Qi named the building the “Lebbe Building”. In 2002, Principal Qi built the “language center building” to broaden the school’s international view and improve the English skills of students. To commemorate John the Baptist, Principal Qi named the language center the “St. John Building.”
After Principal Qi retired in 2005, Dean Zheng-quan Li of student affairs became the sixth principal of St. Viator. On the basis of the following five major goals: “holistic education, varied learning, warm campus, parenting education, social concerns, and agile administration,” Principal Li hoped to turn St. Viator into a first-class school. After Principal Li retired in July 2011, Dean Qiu-min Chen of academic affairs became the seventh principal of St. Viator.