Sean McGrath has led old schoolmates in a rousing rendition of The War Cry at the recent 40-year reunion of the Class of 1979.
Sean (pictured) belted out the war cry with gusto as 54 fellow former students and teachers followed suit. Earlier, the then Parade College Captain Tony Todaro, who nobly supported the Association in rounding up fellow ’79ers for the big night, talked with great affection of his formative years at the Bundoora campus.
Now managing a business, and a father to three sons 24, 22 and 19, Tony, in responding to a question about life’s journey since College days, promptly replied: “I’ve been doing what most of the boys have been doing here I guess - working and raising a family”.
Of the night itself, there was great bonhomie, first in the Hickey Foyer, later in the Frank Mount Social Room - not that Tony was particularly surprised. As he said: “When you walk around the room and talk to people who have come back you find that we’re all pretty much just picking up from where we left off”.
“That’s how it felt in ’79 and when nights like this come around you just want to be here, amongst a great bunch of blokes who always got on really well,” he said.
To the question asked of all former College Captains at their respective reunions – “What did Parade mean to you?”, Tony replied: “The role models we had here and the way we all interacted influenced our personalities and what we went on to do with our lives later on. Like everyone else in the room, all of us have fond memories – otherwise we wouldn’t be here”.
A total of 19 apologies were accepted by former students who couldn’t make it along. But ten old class members made the trek from interstate for the reunion – Ken Allan, Anthony Barry, Paul Fahey and David Stevens from Queensland, Patrick Exton and Dominic Spillane from New South Wales, and Robert Wegner from the Northern Territory.
Former student Chris Loton and former teacher Michael Kennedy journeyed down from Echuca and Bendigo respectively. Former teachers also in the house were Ian Bibby, Malcolm Hughes and John and Patricia Joss, together with the long-serving John Nicholls who first taught at the College in the '79 year.
A minute’s silence was observed for the memory of former students known to have passed away - Matthew Bibby, Paul Carroll, Phillip Heffernan, Steve Pizaro, Daniel Sheargold and Stephen J. Smith.
The Old Paradians’ Association wishes to place on record its thanks to Tony Todaro for committing wholeheartedly to the planning of the 1979 40-year reunion. It also acknowledges the support of Kylie Hannam, Chris Daw, Deb Tagell, Chris Shepherd and ‘Fridge’ Fraser.
Images: Kylie Hannam