My first visit from the Hoffman Department of Chemistry of Drury University, Springfield, Missouri, U.S.A to India in July 1967 brought the opportunity to discuss with my father the educational needs of the local children. At that time, my father was the Secretary of the Primary School (pathsala) in the village of Benachity where I was born. The straw roof of the two-room school building had been severely damaged by heavy rains and storms. My father asked me to make a financial contribution for the repair of the roof. Of course, I was happy to accept my father’s suggestion. My parents then requested that I look after the financial needs for the education of the children in our community. Thus the idea of building a school was conceived and remained deeply etched in my mind. After about 21 years, in October 1998, I became determined to build a non-profit, co-educational model school for imparting education to the younger generation, in loving memory of my parents.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Primary School was held on January 1, 1990. The keynote speaker was my friend, Dr. David Johnson, a distinguished scientist from the USA. He and his wife, Mrs. Jane Johnson, participated in this momentous ceremony. Mr. Lakshmi N. Roy, students from Drury University, Dr. Ruth Reed (Juniata College, USA), my elder brothers, sisters, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, relatives, friends, teachers and distinguished guest from Durgapur and surrounding communities were present to celebrate the occasion. The historic event was a first step of one of the most ambitious and far reaching educational endeavors in recent times in Durgapur.
In 1993, the original idea for obtaining 20 acres of land was given to me by Mr. Sirajul Islam, a renowned advocate in Durgapur Court. Dr. John E. Moore Jr., President of Drury University, appreciated my overall scheme for the school and strongly recommended to the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) for allotment of 20acres of land. The land was acquired in 1995.
In the year 1990-1995, two respected elder brothers, Shri Goswamidas Roy and Shri Dwijapada Roy; a civil engineer, Shri Shyamal Bagchi; Mr. B. D. Mazumder; Mr. N. K. Mukherjee; along with the assistance of other well wishers and friends, constructed the first building of Hem Sheela Model School.
On March12, 1995, the Hem Sheela Model School was born on four acres of ancestral land on the Dhandabag site, as a single building, with an enrolment of about 350 students for classes from Kindergarten to Grade 2. Dr. John E. Moore, Jr., President of Drury University, and a Trustee of HSMS dedicated the Primary School in 1995. On his second visit to India on January 1, 1997, Dr. Moore inaugurated the Second Primary School, located on Secondary School site. It was a thrilling experience for the audience of about 1600 people to hear Dr. Moore’s speech so eloquently presented in Bengali. Dr. Johann Deisenhofer, a 1998 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, laid the foundation stone for HSMS complex in January 1996. In January 2000, Professor Michael P. Doyle, an eminent scientist and the Chairman of the Chemistry Department of the University of Maryland, delivered the principal address for the dedication of the Middle School, which is known as Doyle Building. Mrs. Janice Doyle was also present to grace the occasion. I am grateful to the Honorable Minister for Education, Mr. Kanti Biswas for his approval of the no objection certificate