Thursday, 29 October 2009

Brothers Go The Extra Mile

The following is a transcript of the address given by old boy Ross Williams at the farewell mass to the De La Salle Brothers in Stratford last Thursday. We are proud of our Brothers and we are just as proud of the way our students are able to express themselves.

Brothers go the extra mile.

Good evening staff, students, old boys and friends who have had the pleasure of being associated with Francis Douglas Memorial College. My name is Ross Williams and I too had the pleasure, and privilege, to be educated at the College from 1995 through to 1999. 5 of the greatest years of my life were spent at 201 Tukapa Street in the Boarding Hostel, where I grew both as a person and a citizen alongside a great group of boys, and with the advice and guidance of the wonderful staff at Francis Douglas – at the top of this list of course were the La Sallian Brothers.

Brothers go the extra mile.

Like many who attend our school, I was the second generation of my family to be influenced by the Brotherhood, founded by and through the work of St John Baptist De La Salle. My Father also has wonderfully fond memories of school and the advice, guidance and care given to him by the Brothers. Therefore it was a given that I was to attend Francis Douglas for my secondary school education.

When my parents first dropped me off at school, Br Tim Peter, who was the Principal at the time, said to my Mother, and she remembers this very vividly, he said “Thank-you for allowing us the privilege to share in your son’s upbringing”. The Brothers cared about us as individuals. They have the ability to be able to connect with the boys and their families, connect with the head and the heart. They have a Vocation and are passionate about both the ways and teachings of Christianity, and about crafting young people into constructive and positive men and women.

Brothers go the extra mile.

It is a known fact that Francis Douglas students truly love their school, current students and old boys alike. The majority of Francis Douglas boys who have left the College and headed off to University would have come under scrutiny at one time or another about their level of passion for their old school. Others around New Zealand just can’t seem to fathom the idea that boys can have such an affinity and a pride in where they were educated. Recently the school celebrated its 50th Jubilee and the talk between Old Boys invariably centred, or always returned to, tales of the Brothers, including the legendary Brother William Harnett. Amidst all of this was an overwhelming level of respect and gratitude for all that the Brothers have done for our great school.

Brothers go the extra mile.

January 27, 1997 is probably the best way for me to personally explain to you the impact the brothers had on the students at Francis Douglas. It was the day our Boarding Master Brother Anthony Hawkins was taken from us, and a day that all those associated with the great man look back on with a huge amount of sadness. Just remembering the loss of such a wonderful role model puts shivers up my spine every time I talk about the loveable Aussie. ‘Bruv’ as we knew him, epitomised the spirit and extra mile attitude that sets the Brother far apart from other educators around the world. To put it quite simply he cared totally about you and he had no problem showing you that. Above all else he taught us to “Trust in the Lord”. He could guide us, discipline us, celebrate our successes and care for us all at once. Everyone who came into contact with Bruv loved him wholeheartedly and he is the perfect example of the spirit and attitude of the La Sallian Brothers.

Brothers go the extra mile.

It is sad to be saying goodbye to the Brothers time at Francis Douglas but I have no doubt that the staff and families involved with the school are passionate about continuing the strong values that the religious order represent. Although the brothers are moving on from Taranaki, the way they have touched all that they have influenced, will live on in the hearts of many in this province.

On behalf of all present and former students of the College:
I thank-you for the care and love you have shown for students at our school.
I thank-you for the care and love you have shown to parents and caregivers of students at our school.
And I thank-you for the special memories we hold in our hearts from our time at our great school.

Thank-you finally, for being you. Taranaki is a better place for the La Sallian Brothers.

St John Baptist De La Salle
Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts

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