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sad demise of Stephen (Steven) Fernandes - XI-B batch of 1972 on 18 Oct. 2016

School buddies .... I am quite dazed and confused with the sudden death of Stephen (Steven) Fernandes - {XI-B batch of 1972} on 18 Oct. 2016. Stephen (Steven) Fernandes funeral mass will be held at St Theresa's Church in Bandra this Sunday 23 Oct. 2016 at 2.30pm. Cremation will be at Shivaji Park crematorium thereafter.

May Stephen's soul find everlasting rest !!! While I was in XI-A batch of 1972,  he was my class-mate at St. Stanislaus High School, Bandra during our earlier years in school. We spent many many years together in various standards (classes).

Stephen Fernandes was Loyola House Captain during the academic year 1971-72 i.e in our FINAL year of school. This was the year we were in XI standard.

What's your Nickname for our Teachers

Referring to teachers and masters by their nicknames was very much prevalent during our school days, i.e. around the ‘50s and ‘60s. Besides learning mathematics, science, languages, history, geography and discipline for that matter from our teachers and masters, the forty or fifty odd boys in the class would study intently these teachers and masters, observing their traits and come up with interesting nicknames. It was out of respect and a degree of fear that a teacher or master was never directly addressed by his or her nickname. However, behind their backs, more often than not, these teachers or masters were referred by their nicknames

Uplift the Rural poor through education and Save Taxes too !!!

Soon it will be tax time again. Perhaps not the happiest thought but there could be a silver lining ... if you make a gift to St. Stanislaus Ex-Students Association (SSESA) now.

In Uplat, Talasari District, located about 150 Km North of Mumbai along the Western Express highway, families struggle to send their children to school due to poverty. Since they reside in faraway places and the transport facilities are inadequate the children are placed in boarding in order to ensure they receive good education and are provided with food, clothing, books, etc.

To help uplift the Rural poor through education, SSESA has been financially assisting the Gnanmata Adivasi School for girls and boys, over the years, to provide the children with the basic items, through regular funding that is used to provide text and exercise books, a uniform, towels, bed sheets, electric generator for power supply to run fans and equipment, solar equipment for cooking and lighting or whatever might stop a child from dropping out of boarding school.

For many young students like Eman (fictitious name), a proper study room can make all the difference. He studies outdoors; trying to stay within the shade of the trees as the present study facilities are just enough for the seniors appearing for the board exams. Proper facilities will make him feel better about himself and become more confident in class.

Some unsung and lesser known people on our school campus

It is said memory is like a child moving on a sea-shore, will pick any pebble or shell and store in its treasure. So also memory is like a person’s own literature stored in his mind. However, big or small, significant or insignificant an episode, sometimes people, places and faces are etched in your mind.

There was one Ossie, an unofficial watchman living in our school premises. He lived mostly on the largesse and the magnanimity of our boarders. In the daytime he would be sometimes sozzled but, in the morning he would be prim, invariably be there at the gate.  Directing the cars and the school bus for a safe passage into the school gate.  Flaunting his Elvis Presley style puff of hair, his presence was there and noticeable.

Overnight one day, he became the talk of the school after one of our boys wrote a poem on him in our then quarterly school journal “Stanislite” (Written by Kishore Shahani 1967 batch). This new found fame was just beyond his understanding and comprehension. He would get infuriated as some boys would sing or recite this poem with some rhyming words “Lousy  Ossie"

The generosity and the compassion shown by our boarders then knew no bounds they made sure that he had his daily meals and the school did not mind. Just as they lived in camaraderie in the boarding with their fellow boarders, their help to this poor wanderer and a homeless soul could have some refuge, shelter and roof in our large hearted and huge campus of our school.

An Era of Punishment - “Spare the rod and spoil the child”

Punishing children, using corporal punishment was regarded normal and accepted in many schools and institutions. (23 Aug14, Pg 6  Times of India ICSE ordinance against Corporal Punishment) The legacy of corporal punishment in our school goes back to the beginning of 19th century, (Reminiscences of my school days 1901 to 1906 by Joseph B Gomes ) when from pulling chins, tugging ears, thrashing with a cane and  belting was freely used in the name of discipline. Whether it was for academic lapses or for bad behaviour in class, one wonders what compelled our teachers to be so harsh and severe then. Could be a couple of reasons, the boys who came from different backgrounds, egos, temperaments, some with mischievous tendencies and adept in concealing their pranks needed to be tempered, restore order and sanity in class. The other reason could be prevailing belief that “Spare the rod and spoil the child” Some parents would even approve of such severe punishments to some of our teachers privately or in PTA meetings. “Do what you want but see that my son/ward is brought to his senses and he studies”

Some nostalgic memories of Fr. Valero Aleu on his 14th death anniversary on 26th July

Some people leave indelible impressions in our lives. Rev Fr. Valero Aleu SJ was one of them. Fr. Aleu as a young boy had aspired to become a world cup football player but that was not to be, he was destined to come to India from Spain. He was an ardent Hindi teacher, strict disciplinarian and when he meant business he was deadly serious. But, outside the classroom he was mischievous, had a great sense of humour and was also a friend and guide.
 
It was his practice to visit homes of boys to know if conditions were conducive for studies, to instil confidence and to know them better. He was fond of swimming and would take us to M.G.M.O. swimming pool at Shivaji Park when our pool needed repairs. He would also take us for outings in our school bus. One Thursday morning on a visit to an orphanage in Vile Parle, a small boy from the orphanage took a liking for Fr and clung to him. Fr was overwhelmed and had to take him along with us to South Bombay and leave him back at the orphanage in the afternoon, such was his aura.
 
 The prevailing saying with the boys those days during the examinations was “Copy, but don’t get caught”. There were no hidden cameras or CCtvs then.  Fr had uncanny ways of supervising. He would come snooping behind doors, walls and pillars to catch boys cheating especially during Hindi and Marathi examinations.
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