Saturday, 31 May 2008

Trent Keegan RIP

We note with sadness the tragic death of Trent Keegan in Kenya earlier this week. Trent was an old boy who attended FDMC in the late 80's and has been working internationally as a photographer. The Daily News has a cover story on Trent in today's issue.

The loss of any old boy is a sadness but at the age of 33 and in very suspicious circumstances it is truly tragic. Our thoughts and prayers are with Trent's family.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Stage Challenge - The Slide Show

As promised we give you a slideshow of our guys at Stage Challenge earlier in the week. Not only were a lot of students involved but a good many staff also gave their time behind the scenes. As you can see a good time was had by all.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

A Big Day Out

Yesterday saw a lot of activity at the college. In the morning we had the Sports Colours assembly where the young sportsman seen above were presented with their colours and recognised for their input into the sporting life of the college.

The afternoon saw the annual college rugby game with NPBHS. It was a close affair with FDMC playing very well to lead 9 - 0 at half time. Boys High came back strongly after the break to get ahead 22 -19 and the final whistle found FDMC still searching for those last elusive points.

The 1st XI Soccer team also had a college game against Wanganui HS, who proved a very able opponent before we were able to come away with a 2 - 0 win.

With the Taranaki Sec Schools Cross Country being run at the college today, and Founder's Day tomorrow it has definitely been a big week.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Quick Result


Stage Challenge

Last night saw our students place second in the Taranaki Stage Challenge Competition. No they were not dressed as nuns! Sacred Heart took first place and we will provide photos of our fellas in a day or two.

Our 8 minute production was based on the life of Father Francis Douglas, was very well received and perhaps educated a few more New Plymouth locals on what the college name actually represents.

Well done to all the staff and students who put in the hard yards, and hours.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Big Game

Tomorrow sees the 13th round of the FDMC v NPBHS college rugby game. The game this year is at Francis Douglas with kick off at 2 pm.

Our photo is from the first game of this series in 1996 and features Mike Sullivan competing against some guy called Fish. Also pictured for FDMC are Graeme Keinzley (3) and Shaun Kalin (2), while lifting the big fish is Tama Tuirirangi with Brendan McGlashan looking on from the back.

In case you are wondering the series record currently stands at NPBHS 9 FDMC 2 Draw 1. We are hoping to improve on that record tomorrow.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Cross Country

Friday afternoon saw the annual college cross country races take place. It was a lovely fine afternoon with all of the students out getting some fresh air.

This year's course was a new set up involving more running on the flat and no Pa Hill! The course is to be used in a few weeks time for the Taranaki Sec. Schools event and then we are hosting the New Zealand Sec. Schools championships on the 20th of June.

It will be a big occasion with over a thousand runners, all experiencing the great FDMC environment.

For the record Edward Rawles, our very talented multi sporter, won the senior championship from Adam Bridgeman and James Fastier.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Go the 'Canes

It's a big game for the Hurricanes and our man Conrad Smith tonight. We are all hoping they might pass him the ball on at least the odd occasion.

Couldn't resist this photo from the Hurricanes trip to South Africa. Funny how Conrad ends up in the middle!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Hockey Season

Hockey is one of a number of growth sports in the college. The photo is of our 1st XI playing a college game in 2001, we are in the yellow.

2008 sees 4 teams in the college with the 1st XI proving very competitive in the secondary A grade. Their clashes with NPBHS are always very competitive occasions.

We have come a long way from the 70's and 80's where we "didn't want to confuse the boys with too many options".

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Happy Birthday Brother

Yesterday Bro Oliver marked another milestone with the
celebration of his 95th Birthday.

Bro Oliver was born in Gisborne and spent 50 years
working as a Brother in Australia, He was the first
New Zealander to become a De La Salle Brother.
In 1982 he returned to New Zealand to retire. The
community at New Plymouth welcomed him and has been
his home ever since. Here, he delighted in taking some
responsibility for the care of grounds and gardens
with much emphasis and time being given to the roses
around the College.

We congratulate him and wish him every blessing. Ad
multos annos.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Old Boy at O'Shea

It was good to meet up with old boy Richard Sevicke-Jones while we were at O'Shea Shield. Richard has lived and worked in the UK for 6 years and recently returned to NZ. He works with Career Services in schools from Waipukurau to Wairoa and is based in Napier.

O'Shea Shield

Many of you will remember trips to O'Shea Shield. The team of 14 students has just returned from O'Shea Shield 2008 which was hosted by Sacred Heart in Napier. Events were held at Sacred Heart, Napier Boys (Drama) and Sunday's events were at St Joseph's Maori Girls' College in Greenmeadows.

The day started off well with the debaters (David Hills, Shane Rooyakkers and Shehan Gunatunga) winning their debate against St Catherine's. The Religious Questions team (Cairan Finnerty, Tony Fiddis and Callum Tanner) gained distinction for their spirited response to the questions. Our Junior Prepared speaking was George Grainger and he gained 6 points which is the top grade awarded. Jacob Bourke gained a merit for his oratory on Obesity.

Saturday night's drama was as entertaining as ever. All schools now choose one of three texts and we did "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God" for which we were awarded 4 points. The team was Scott Corboy, Thomas Landrigan, Mathieu Stevenson, William Rowland and Kale Joines. Kale's mother Pascale directed the drama.

Sunday's events were Scripture Reading and Impromptu. Thomas Dravitzki gained distinction in the former and Shehan Gunatunga performed well in the latter though we are not sure of the results in this event.

It was a great weekend and the boys worked hard to maintain the standards set in previous years. The O'Shea Shield was won jointly by Sacred Heart Napier and Sacred Heart Lower Hutt.

Another Fine Day

We are a bit short of content today so here is another image of the playground bathed in sunshine. Not for much longer we suspect.

For the older hands the windows on the upper right hand side are part of the new library, a lovely sunny place to read a book or two.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Sad News

We heard today of the sudden death in Japan of Robert Hignett, aged 32 years. While at school Robert was limited in his physical options because of his health but was very successful academically. After completing his degree (interlaced with many social occasions throughout his studies) he moved to Japan. He was married to Maki and has a 1 year old son Kurga. We convey our condolences to them and reassure them and Robert's parents Veronica and Mike of our ongoing thoughts and prayers.

Mountain View

Here is a photo taken this morning from the school especially dedicated to those who are living a long way away from The Mountain. When we get a nice day it is certainly worth waiting for.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Jubilee Committee

This week saw the first official meeting of the BOT sub-committee charged with organising next year's 50th Jubilee. Yes, it is now only a year away.

While the committee consists of a range of people who are "on site" we hope to canvas as much input from old boys as possible. To this end we have set up an email account and we would appreciate it if you can send us your thoughts, opinions and ideas on how this event can best reflect 50 years of faith, friends and achievement.

We will also hold an open meeting in a months time for any one who is able to come along in person.

The Jubilee date has been confirmed as Queens Birthday weekend 2009.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Contacts and Catch Ups

Keep those emails coming folks. Some recent contacts have included...
  • Jeremy Dombroski who is currently living in Palmerston North and tells us Simon is living in Wellington.
  • Paul Fife who has registered his email with us.
  • Paul Coleman who was at the college between 1963-70.
  • Matt Myers is living in NP and working for Office Furniture First. He tells us he lives quite close to Mathew Armstrong which we suspect is a dangerous combination.
  • We believe the irrepressible Ronnie Pirikahu has moved to Perth after many years unofficially running the city of Wanganui.
  • Bernard Philpott called in to the college recently and was able to catch up with Brothers Dec and Will.
I note that we are still waiting for photos of the great Daniel Ireland wedding and of course would be keen to see other photographic evidence of what you are all up to.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The Chapel in Panorama

The Chapel interior in panoramic view as photographed and photoshoped by Br Peter Smyth. These brothers just keep getting more and more hi tech.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Japan (2)

In April a group of 9 students accompanied by Mr and Mrs Marris enjoyed a 3 week trip to Japan. Here they are in front of the Dome at the Peace Park in Hiroshima. In the second photo is Year 13 student Ben Schaare holding the school crest adorned with paper cranes before adding them to the many cranes made by people as a symbol of peace. In Hiroshima the students enjoyed 5 nights in homestay. They also visited Tokyo, Nagasaki, Kyoto and Osaka. If any Old Boys are in Japan we would love to hear from you and maybe meet up the next time we take a group.

Japan (1)

Father Leo Schumacher (FDMC student in the 1970s) is a Columban priest who has been based in Tokyo for the last 20 years. Here he is showing the FDMC boys how to write their kanji. This was part of a calligraphy lesson they enjoyed in Tokyo on a recent visit. Father Leo has organised accommodation on each of the three visits we have made and also taken the group out for a traditional Japanese meal on each occasion. Old boys who were part of the trips in 2004 and 2006 will I am sure remember their trips and these wonderful meals.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Future Farmers

We noted earlier in the week how a number of old boys were appearing in the Thursday Farmer. It should not come as a surprise given all of that hands on work students have had over the years.

We came across this image in the archives from some time in the 1990's which we would like to think proves our point.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Morning Has Broken

We did warn our loyal readers that we have been undergoing some training in photography and photoshop.

Here is an image of the sun coming up over the swimming pool. We suspect there a quite a few boarders who can remember walking to breakfast through such a scene.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Catch Up

There has been a lot happening in the last few days. Great to see so many turn out on such an awful day to farewell Leo yesterday. It was an occasion that really reflected Leo as he was. If you would like to leave comments or condolences with the Walsh family you can do so at Leo Walsh.

Also in the news...

Congratulations to Kieran Bourke on being named Farm Manager of the Year. We notice a lot of old boys appearing in the Thursday Farmer of late - good stuff.

The 1st XI soccer continue to impress as they lead the premier men's grade. The photo is taken from the Daily News and features Stephen ( son of Wayne) Kibby.

The 1st XV had a narrow loss to the NPBHS 1st XV on Saturday in the U20 competition, which should make them even more determined when it comes to this year's college game.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Leo Walsh - A Special Character

There is a truism that goes with being a teacher – “when you’re gone, your gone”. This refers to the fact that schools are dynamic institutions where change is taking place constantly as students enter and leave. Once you have retired or moved on it is a very short space of time before you become a picture on a wall or a photo in a yearbook.

If this sounds a little bit of a bleak view the good news is that it is only superficially true. Leo Walsh gave at least 50 years of his life to Francis Douglas Memorial College and yet 13 years after his retirement few of the current students know who he was, but that does not mean they don’t benefit from what he did. Francis Douglas Memorial College has a special character, a culture that has developed over 49 years and one that Leo had a major part in developing.

The special character we talk about is a catholic one. Leo was strongly committed to his faith, something he lived rather than talked. When Leo first began teaching at FDMC there were only a couple of lay staff members, by the time Leo retired in 1995 there were only a couple of Brothers teaching. He had a key part to play in those 30 years of transition and helped to ensure that although the people were different the message and example stayed true to the Lasallian way.

Our special character is about participation, involvement and service to the community and few if any have been better models of those qualities than Leo Walsh. Leo loved sport, as do many of our past and present students, and it was in that area that he made his most high profile contributions. His achievements are a matter of record but it was the ability to get things done, keep things real and still have an eye to the future that set such a good example for other coaches, administrators and sportsman. Leo liked to win, as do we all, and we still see nothing wrong with that.

While sport was high profile, for Leo general service to the community was also an important part of what he was about. He was a long standing Justice of the Peace, helped out wherever he could within his parish and it is almost mind boggling to contemplate the number of committee meetings he must have attended in the course of his adult life.

If there is one characteristic that really was central to the Leo Walsh we knew it was the virtue of loyalty. He believed in the need to give and receive loyalty, not blindly, but as bedrock to daily life. It is often noted how loyal our students, past and present, are to the college and we believe that to is part of our special character.

The flip side of “when you’re gone, you’re gone” is that for the students you have taught you will always be there. As a teacher you may play a key role, a bit part or even comic relief in the life of your students but you are part of their life experience. Most of us can remember at least our most memorable teachers. There is little doubt that few students at FDMC between 1967 and 1995 would not recall Leo in some way.

Not all memories would be positive. Leo was the man in charge of discipline for many years and that is a vital role that does not always inspire affection and love. What it did inspire in students was respect and at times a little bit of awe. There are still students from the 70’s and 80’s who firmly believe Leo could not only speak through the classroom address system but hear through it as well. It is a measure of respect when a DP can so often get away with the classic bluff “ I know who did it so you better get to me before I get to you”.

We believe it was a measure of the man that when corporal punishment was removed in the early 1980s Leo was as, if not even more, effective in his role as DP. He really did care about “his boys” and there will be many students who waited outside Leo’s office in trepidation who left it with the feeling they had been treated justly.

There will be many Leo stories told over the next few weeks. They will be about a man who, like all of us was fallible, but who always approached situations with a concern for the other person.

Leo had a sense of humour. Those who worked alongside him perhaps best appreciated it. The 70s and 80s saw many staff functions at Leo and Anne’s place and they were always great and late occasions.

It is a sadness that Leo will not be present at our 50th Jubilee next year. He will not be present but he will be there; in the memories of past students, in the culture of the current school environment and in the way he helped to shape or impact so many lives.

Yes, “When you’re gone, your gone", but when you have been there for as long and with the degree of commitment of a Leo Walsh, you will always, in some way, remain.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Leo Walsh RIP

Thank you for your prayers and thoughts in support of Leo.

Sadly Leo passed away yesterday at home with his family.

Leo's funeral will be at St Joseph's NP at 10.30 on Monday 5th May with a Rosary to be held at St Philomena's NP at 6 o'clock on Sunday night.

We will have a great deal more to say about Leo and his contribution to the college he loved but now is the time to take stock and support his wide circle of family and friends.

May perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Prayers For Leo

We would like to ask for your thoughts and prayers for Leo Walsh, long time servant of the college. Leo is currently in the Taranaki Hospice after battling illness for a number of years.

No one has put as much time and energy into FDMC as Leo has over the last 50 years and at this time we would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Leo and his family.