A nostalgic get-together

A nostalgic get-together

The St Joseph’s Indian High School Quadrangle bustled with activity on Sunday afternoon as old students of St Joseph’s Indian Institutions gathered to recollect memories of their good old days on campus and make new ones at the Alumni Meet, organised to celebrate its 110 years of existence. People were all too happy to head back to their alma mater and warmly embrace those they had spent the most cherished part of their lives with in the hallowed portals of the institution.

 Former students of St Joseph’s Indian Middle School, St Joseph’s Indian High School and St Joseph’s Indian Composite PU College were present on the occasion.

M Lokaraj, secretary, Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, passed out of St Joseph’s Indian High School in 1965. “Ours was the last batch to complete high school in the old building at Museum Road. Our wonderful principal Fr James Coelho was responsible for constructing the new building. He was a man of innovative ideas. He brought the first TV as a demonstrative piece during an exhibition in school and also introduced the intercom system in the old building so he could directly speak to the class as well as the first electric bell. Those were magnificent days and I am what I am today because of this institution,” he said.

Ashok Kumar Misra, an alumni of the batch of 1956, feels proud to call himself a Josephite. The owner of Ashok Crockeries, one of the oldest shops in the City, gushed, “We had a very special principal Fr William Picardo who paid special attention to the students. He instilled in us some basic manners like ‘never litter the streets or spit there’, ‘wash your hands before eating anything’ and ‘respect your parents, elders and teachers’. During his time, great emphasis was laid on sports and the institution produced numerous stunning cricket and hockey players. My education here shaped me into the individual I am today.”

Fred Pais, who passed out in 1959, was glad to have represented his school and state in hockey, thanks to the encouragement of the principal. An eminent name in the corporate world, former CFO and board member of Infosys, Mohandas Pai, also took out time to grace the occasion. He reminisced about his school days and said, “The teachers have grown older and so have we but the memories of school days remain the same. We were naughty and rebellious and often got caned for making noise in class! It’s nice coming back and I feel like a young boy all over again.” The institution gave him something very precious for a lifetime as he added, “We didn’t understand many things while we were here but later realised that having studied with students who represented the diversity in society, we learnt to get along with anyone and everyone and embrace the world with open arms. That quality this place instilled in me is what I am truly grateful for!”

Several students are also closely associated with the Alumni Association of the institution. Rex D’Silva of the 1982 batch, who delivered the vote of thanks on the occasion on behalf of the Association, said that he considers his principal Fr Sunith Prabhu as his mentor. “It was only after school that we became good friends. We have always kept in touch. He is one person who sees and believes in my abilities more than I do myself! He’s like a constant guide.”

An occasion such as this is also an opportunity to look back at the institution’s accomplishments so far. Fr Melwyn A Lobo SJ, director of St Joseph’s Community College, said that in the last 10 years, the institution has grown by leaps and bounds. “We have PUC and a Community College now. Last year, we started primary school and in the coming years, we will introduce entry for girls in the middle school.” Many among the younger lot were also ecstatic to be a part of the occasion. While Ramya, who passed out of PU College in 2014, said that it felt like homecoming for her to a place that gave her friends for a lifetime, Shruti and Dheeraj (current vice president and president of PU College) were overjoyed to be organising and hosting the celebrations. 

The alumni meet was preceded by a thanksgiving eucharistic mass in the morning. On January 12, a cultural programme ‘Payana’- The Journey, is scheduled to be held at 4.30 pm on St Joseph’s Indian Institutions’ grounds, as part of the 110th anniversary celebrations. 

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