SM La Salle has a long and proud history. To fit 40 years of historical events into this document is impossible and would also be an intolerable bore to the reader. Therefore the following document is a condensed history of our magnificent school, SMK La Salle PJ.
In the years following World War II, a noticeable trend towards urbanization of populations became a worldwide phenomenon. Hence, the 1950s saw the beginnings of Petaling Jaya as a satellite town to meet the needs of the burgeoning population of Kuala Lumpur. New housing estates require an infrastructure of social services, not least of which are schools, and it is in this context that the origins of SMK La Salle Petaling Jaya took shape.
After heads met, matters discussed and all things weighed, Brother Lawrence Spitzig, then Brother Director of St. John’s Institution, took the historic step of applying for a piece of land in Petaling Jaya to erect a school run by the Christian Brothers. The date was 2nd of April 1956. The aim of building this new school was to ease the pressure for places in St. John’s, caused by the large number of Johanians residing in Petaling Jaya and also to cater for the needs of the growing township.
The construction of the school finally began in 1961 after many problems were ironed out and delays imposed by red tape and bureaucratic snafus. The first phase of the building was merely six classrooms (the present Science Laboratories) and the office block. The headmaster was the late Brother Cronan Curran who was also the headmaster of the La Salle Primary school. During his term of office, Brother Cronan, with the help of parents and well-wishers put up the first extension in 1963-64 and this consisted of the canteen and 3 classrooms above it.
The first secondary classes started in January 1962 when 3 classes, totaling approximately 120 students and 4 teachers, formed the nucleus of La Salle Secondary, housed in La Salle Brickfields, while awaiting the completion of the first stage of the building. In September 1962, the pioneer students occupied the new building on Jalan Chantek.
When Brother Philip Callaghan took up the post of headmaster in 1965, the school had grown to 13 classes. In those early days, students were forced to make do with incomplete facilities – the furniture was old and the laboratories were not adequately equipped. Students were forced to walk to Catholic High School for practical work. There was also no playing field and the staff room was a dreadfully cramped affair, which is the current Prefects’ Room.
The arrival of Brother Lawrence as Brother Director in 1964 marked a period of intense growth. From 1969 onward, all extensions were on a grand scale. By 1972, new classrooms, the Lecture Hall, a new lobby and a new tower with lavatories had been added to the building. The extensions came in four phases with 6 classrooms being built in each phase. With these new facilities, La Salle Secondary grew to 42 classes with 1750 students and 67 teachers.
When Brother Felix Donahue became Brother Director in 1975, he continued the development program, which Brother Lawrence began. In 1980 a Walkathon was held to raise funds for the construction of a Sports Complex. The project was an outstanding success and the funds were channeled into the building of sports facilities which included tennis, volleyball, sepak takraw and basketball courts at the side of the field. In 1981 a Job-A-Long was held to raise funds and the money went into the building of a new porch, a new and larger staff room, staff toilets, an Audio-Visual Room, Bilik Gerakan, a First Aid Room, Prayer room, a Counseling Room and a Sports Storeroom.
From 1982 to 1987, several fund-raising projects were held in hope of raising enough funds for a new block and extended laboratories which would be better equipped. In 1988, Mr. Wong Sin Mong replaced Brother Felix as headmaster. Further fund-raising projects were launched and in 1991, the building of a multi-purpose hall commenced. Pn. Hajah Ramlah bte Hassan replaced Mr. Wong as principal of the school in 1992, just weeks before the then Education Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Sulaiman Daud announced that the ministry would be gving SMK La Salle PJ a RM 200,000 building grant.
From late 1994 to 1995 several other additions have been made to the school. Among them are the setting up of a room for the school’s cooperative, a Living Skills workshop, a gazebo and the building of a new school fence. Other improvements came in the form of the successful upgrading of the library, lecture hall and prayer room.
Pn. Ramlah, who had a vigorous plan of expansion, proposed another new block in the place of the Old Block. This new building will house additional classes and new facilities such as an IT room a new prayer room and a new lecture hall.
With Pn.Ramlah's retirement in year 1999, Pn Siti Nor took over and continued Pn Ramlah's plan of a new building block replacing the Old Block. Under her leadership, the school managed to raise enough funds to start the building project. The building was completed in 2003. Standing in place of the old block is the majestic two-storey New Block where La Sallians have invested their blood, sweat and tears for more than a decade. This building houses a total of 10 classes, 2 workshops, a large surau and the long-awaited computer labs. The computer labs has a total of 60 computers and a server. There is also a dedicated broadband line running through the labs.
The school has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1962. Still the drive to further improve and develop the school goes on. Let us hope that the future generations of students will one day look back, as we have, and view with pride the long and glorious history of SMK La Salle PJ.