by Alvin Corneal
In the midst of the Carnival season, I had the opportunity to attend a reunion of former students of St Mary’s College (CIC) who were coming together to share some time with each other after having been pals in class and on the fields of sport during the period 1966–71.
What was I doing at that function? Did they not remember that I am a Fatima College guy? Their invitation to me was based upon the great relationship which I had with the college football team in the 1970–1 era, when I started my coaching career at the request of Fr Rex De Four, the then sports master at CIC.
As I drove to Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s my memory was being tested to reminisce with guys who are well over 50 years and have changed physically.
On my arrival, it did not surprise me to recognise the well-organised function prepared for their old-time friends. Quite naturally, the picong which crossed the floor reflected some exciting moments when they were in class together. It brought laughter and sometimes mild humiliation because of the presence of the two leading teachers, priests, and mentors in the classrooms of that highly reputable institution.
I felt a sense of appreciation to have been coach of these guys who came from different backgrounds and experiences in their early life. These once-dapper little footballers whose brilliance on the fields of school soccer brought them a level of satisfaction and success, led to many if not most becoming professionals: doctors, bank managers, engineers, lawyers to name a few career paths.
What I admired most was the camaraderie that was retained among them after such a long time. Maybe because I appreciated their level of pride, I searched for methods whereby their contributions could be taken into today’s vastly distorted lifestyle where discipline has seemingly been forgotten.
I have the feeling that these excellent former students can return to their alma mater on a regular basis to give advice to the young generation and lead them on a path similar to what produced Fr Anton Dick, Fr De Four, Alvin Henderson, Frankie Stone, Robin Law, Bernard Julien, Keston Nancoo, Neil Williams, Gary Almandoz, Keith Look Loy, Gregory Gomez, Ken Butcher, Johnny Braithwaite, Murchison Pierre, Wayne Dopson, Michael Mouttet and many contemporaries who were present, to change the apparent shortfalls in discipline which exist today.
Thank you gentlemen for inviting me and hopefully we can utilise your personalities and those of my alma mater to change the lives of our citizens.