The idea of starting a school came to four young B.A. Graduates, Sriyuths U. Srinivas Rao, B. Padmanabha Baliga, B. Vaman Baliga and Arkal Vasudev Rao, during their stay in Chennai. It was for the benefit of the Gowda Saraswath Brahmin community to which they belonged. During those days most members of that community in the district of Dakshina Kannada were uneducated. In their noble endeavor they were joined by one more teacher Sri. A. Padmanabhayya.
On April 1893, the proprietor teachers gave up their proprietorship in favour of a board of Management consisting of reputed people from the community apart from them. One of the important members was Ammembal Subba Rao Pai, a reputed lawyer. In June, 1894, the present Canara Girl’s school was started to educate the girls up to 5th Standard. It took more than a quarter century to raise the level of education of girls to higher classes. The 8th standard was introduced in the year 1932. Both these institutions were managed by a single Board of Management till 1922. In that year, the Canara High school Association was started as a Society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 to take over the management of both these schools.
In June, 1891, they hired a building in Mangalore just opposite the Kodialbail Chapel and started the Canara High School as their proprietary concern with the proprietors themselves becoming the first teachers. The institution was started with the purpose of educating the members of the GSB Community, but later attained a secular status and the benefit of education is available to all, regardless of caste, creed or sex.