Herald: Monte '68 to reunite 50 years after school

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Monte '68 to reunite 50 years after school

18 Nov 2018 04:46am IST

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Dolcy D’Cruz

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18 Nov 2018 04:46am IST

Report by
Dolcy D’Cruz

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Some of the first friendships forged are those with our school friends. For boarders, it becomes an even closer bond as they spend their first formative years together. The students of St Anthony’s High School, Monte de Guirim of batch 1968 will be celebrating their reunion after 50 years on November 24, 2018. Café speaks to a few members about their fond memories of Monte

 

Just say the word ‘Monte 68’ and the men, now in their

60s,fondly remember the good old days they spent at St Anthony’s High School, Monte de Guirim, which some of them even called home. Fifty years down the line, they will be finally meeting one another, some for the first time after their school farewell. With excitement, they are now looking forward to their 50th year reunion that will take place on November 24, 2018 at the school itself.

Monte 68 was a world of its own as boys from different parts of Goa came together for the best of education, sports and overall development. However, these students of 1968 learnt life lessons in the company of each other, taking on responsibilities and getting rid of homesickness, which disappeared in the first few days of boarding school. From the group of 100 students who appeared for the board exams that year, some members have made it possible to connect to the rest. Many of these students went on to take up different professions.

The Golden Jubilee Programme will begin with the Eucharistic celebration by Fr Terrence, Fr Mathias and Fr Dinesh at Monte de Guirim Chapel at 5:30pm followed by an entertainment programme at the basketball court from 7:30pm onwards. The classmates will share their anecdotes with the release of the e-copy of the souvenir.

The group was reunited due to the efforts of Candolim-based Peter D’Souza. After working in the Gulf for a long time, he returned to Goa and came across his tenth standard class photograph, which was clicked on the last day of school. He made an effort to reconnect with his friends and organised the first Monte 68 reunion in 2008.

“The first seed of Monte 68 was sown in the presence of my mates Ambrose, Alban, Rozendo, Joe with their families. It was decided at the dinner table by the fab5 to get all our guys of the batch of '68 of St Anthony's High School, Monte de Guirim together. That motivated me to work on finding all my mates no matter which corner of the world they were located in.

“The first full fledged meeting was organised by me at the Mandovi Riviera, where about 12 of us met with our spouses and then Headmaster of Monte de Guirim, Fr Paul Alvares,” says Peter. Interestingly, this is the biggest reunion of this batch as many classmates will be flying in from Canada and United States and meeting everyone for the first time.

Albert Damian Gouveia from Socorro moved from Africa to Goa before joining the school in 1964. He is part of the editorial team that is publishing a souvenir with anecdotes of different members. “The educational environment at Monte-de-Guirim was aimed at getting us all-round knowledge with the ability to master in more than one field.

My memories encapsulate only four years, from 1964-1968. I can just imagine the take-away of those who spent many more years at Monte-de-Guirim. The all-round exposure helped me right through my career,” says Albert.

Joseph Alex D’Cruz from Pirna shares his experience: “Though it is 50 years since we left that hillock called Monte de Guirim, it seems like yesterday. I was just six when I first entered St Anthony's High School, Monte de Guirim. I hail from a remote village called Pirna in the extreme north of Goa and I recall walking about 12 kilometres from Pirna to Colvale to take a bus to go to my new abode. The only painful memory was seeing my mother walk from Guirim Cross to our school to visit me.”

He further adds, “Education at Monte was top class, the best on offer at that time in the whole of Goa. I bless my teachers and the friars for whatever little I have achieved in my life. I made a lot of friends along the way, including my best friend Alban. My personal achievements at school are a double promotion from Standard 4 to 6. Education was fun and competitive and I am sure someone somewhere is keeping our Monte flag flying high.”

Alban Fernandes from Colva says, “I was admitted to Standard 3 and a month later, was given a promotion to Standard 4. Life was quite amazing with lots of boys as friends and the discipline I had at my time was really great. Since my parents returned back to Africa, I was left to the mercy of the Capuchins and had a great time during the vacations as we boys who had stayed back were taken to Anjuna. I was very happy to reconnect with our Batch of 1968; we still maintain the same unity. The backbone behind this, the person who has been working round-the-clock to try and locate the students is none other than Peter D’Souza.”

Guilman Fernandes from Velim, now calls Panjim his home. “My first encounter with Monte was in 1962, when my parents decided to put me, a rustic young lad of twelve years, in St Anthony High School. For me, Monte was home and Fr Ephraim, the Director of boarding and my class teacher later in SSC, was ‘Maim and Baap’.

“I have six years of very fond memories at the school and the boarding, where I really widened and deepened my thinking, my character, laying a strong foundation that has helped me to be independent and take me to the position I am now in.”

Besides reunions, Monte 68 is also contributing in their own way to the school, boarding and the chapel. They have replaced the old benches to new pews at St Francis of Assisi chapel, installed three LCD projectors and their class has also instituted a Scholarship of Rs 10,000 for a deserving and needy student passing the SSC examination in Monte de Guirim.

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