The July Old Paradians' Association Luncheon again proved the most enjoyable event for the participants. A good number of men and women were in attendance o the day.
Leo Collins (1970) stepped in to be MC for the occasion and did an excellent job. Our usual MC Pat Mount (1963) and his wife Kathy were heading to Hawaii for a holiday after the luncheon and were joined by Pat’s brothers Frank (1959), John (1962) and James (1961) Mount and their wives.
There was quite a bit on the agenda for the luncheon. Leo welcomed John Stella (1980) and his sister and Catherine Groves, children of the late Rene and Elizabeth (Betty) Stella. Sadly, Betty passed away recently. The Stella name is synonymous with the College's design and development over so many years.
Additionally, the late Dr Max Hallam’s wife, Margaret, and daughter Annie were in attendance to make a presentation to the College of a painting of the ‘Old Bluestone Pile’. It was an emotional presentation as Max was to make the presentation himself but sadly passed away earlier this year before this could take place. Max loved Parade and was a proud old Paradian. Margaret commented that she did not marry the man Max Hallam (1950) but married the old Paradian! Margaret commissioned the painting as a gift to Max. New Old Paradians' Association President Angelo Mazzone (1982) accepted the painting with gratitude on behalf of the College.
Former College staff member John McKenna introduced the keynote speaker, Brother Laurie Collins. John outlined the enormous contribution Laurie had made to Edmund Rice education in his many roles that included Principal-ships at St Leo’s Box Hill, Parade College, and St Patrick’s College Ballarat. However, Laurie’s presentation focused on his work in Africa. Laurie became the ‘accidental’ Principal of the Brother Beausang Catholic Education Centre in Karen, Nairobi in Kenya. Laurie outlined the challenges and successes in the building and development of the school and accessing the generosity of so many individuals and groups in support of the school. Laurie drew some parallels to the Blessed Edmund Rice establishing a school for the poor in Waterford in 1802 and Brother Treacy making his way from Ireland to Australia in 1868. Laurie shared photos and pictures of life at the school. His work was a great reminder of Laurie’s energy, vision, skills, and experiences. Since its establishment, numerous young Edmund Rice students and staff from around the world, a good many from Parade, have experienced an immersion at the school.
The Old Paradians' Association also presented Laurie with an Honorary Old Paradian Award. This award is in recognition of his contribution to the College as a teacher (1971-1973) and Principal (1983-1988).
Schooled at CBC Warrnambool and St Bernard’s Essendon, Laurie has been a Christian Brother for over 60 years now and his contribution to Edmund Rice education here and overseas has been significant. Laurie oversaw significant change and development at the College in his 6 years as Principal. Major organisational restructuring and property and building developments. The creation of 3 campuses, the restructure of Edmund Rice College to a Senior campus and the building of the Waterford campus and the closure of Alphington to name but a few. The College grew from around 1100 students to 1400 in his time. Laurie put in place foundational structures, policies, and procedures for the future of the College.
We were also able to recognise Honorary Old Paradian Keith Sharkie with a new category of award, the Outstanding Service Award. The Award was created by the Association this year to recognise those individuals who have made a sustained contribution to the cause of the Old Paradians' Association. Keith arrived at the Old Paradians Football Club in 1983 and has continued to support the Football Club and the Association. As a Committee member, President, Vice President, and VAFA representative Keith has been a loyal servant of the Club. It was the Old Paradians' luck that Keith was looking for a VAFA football club to serve and support. His involvement with the Old Paradians continued in his role as coordinator of the monthly RACV lunch having taken over after the passing of Bill Dunne. Bill had confidence that the luncheon would be in good hands with Keith and again Bill was on the money!
Congratulations Keith and sincere thanks for your service to the Old Paradians Association.