St Patricks High School spends a night remembering its legends

Published: October 18, 2010
Nearly 400 Patricians turned out to celebrate the school’s birthday and its legendary teachers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Nearly 400 Patricians turned out to celebrate the school’s birthday and its legendary teachers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: Like all other school reunions, St Patrick’s High School alumni get-togethers are all about finding out about others and showing off how successful you have become. But when a school has a 150-year record of producing presidents, prime ministers and business leaders, the sky is the limit.

Thus it was fitting that on Saturday night the school celebrated its “Night of Legends” to honour its faculty. The event was organised by the Old Patricians’ Society, the school’s official alumni society, who decided that mementos would be presented to around 30 teachers, who had taught for up to 25 or 50 years, as well as other members of the academic and non-academic staff.

The award distribution was followed by musical performances and a lavish dinner attended by around 400 proud Patricians.

Over the years, the students have shared with the institution an association and a bond that stays strong even years after they leave school, explained former students.

For Danish Elahi, a 1999 graduate of the O’ Level’s section, the school is part of a family tradition. His father and two uncles also studied there. “The best thing about this institution is that you go through the same experiences as your father did so many years ago,” Danish said, lauding the school for maintaining its standards.

Danish, who feels he’s had his taste of several good institutes including the Karachi Grammar School, the London School of Economics and the KPMG firm of Chartered Accountancy, still owes all of his success to St Patrick’s. “I thank St Pat’s for who I am and what I do [today] because a school has the power to either make you a good boy, a bad boy or a very bad boy,” he said, his voice heavy with emotion.

Financially comfortable, to say the least, Danish still loves to remember the time when you would get two rupees for returning empty soft drink bottles to the canteen. Comparing his experiences in other institutes to his time at St Pats, he said, “During my first year at LSE I used to fall asleep in all my classes because the connection with teachers there was just not close.” For Danish, the quality of a good institution is that it attracts the very best and creates a highly competitive environment in which “the final product is highly polished”.

There were graduates as old as the batch of 1950, all eager and happy to meet their old mentors. “We always had a crush on you,” said a group of 1973 graduates to Miss Helda Pereira, famous for her skirts, high heels and long black hair.

Other staff at the event included ‘Sir’ Raymond, Errol Fernando, Dean of the A’ Levels section Angelo Ryer, Matric Section In-charge ‘Sir’ Benny Vase as well as Principal Rev Father Joseph Paul.

Mrs Henderson, the former in-charge of the O’ Levels section, who retired a few years ago, was praised at the event as one of the most well-loved teachers and mentors. “She is a legend and her contribution to our lives cannot be compared to anyone else’s,” a teary-eyed Danish told the crowd.

Remembering one of his favourite lessons at school, Dr Farhan Essa Abdullah, of Dr Essa’s Laboratories, told The Express Tribune how Dost Mohammad, their sports teacher, taught them never to give up.The best thing about St Pat’s as compared to “elitist schools” is that it taught its students to be “street smart” along with other values such as discipline, said Dr Farhan. “There were students from all income groups and all religions so we learnt to respect everyone,” he added.

The school currently has 5,000 students and a staff of almost 350 teachers.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • sydel crossley
    Oct 18, 2010 - 3:35PM

    Congrats to all the legendaries of St.Patricks High School….! St.Patrick so noble, great, humble and brave…. Proud to be a Patrician:)Recommend

  • Iggy Araujo
    Oct 18, 2010 - 11:28PM

    I am a 1970 graduate of St Patrick’s High School. The years I spent there before my O levels, were the best experience of my life. Fr Raymond was the principal at the time, there was Fr. Melito Dias, Mr Julius Correa, Fr Tony D’Souza, Mr Nazareth and many more who helped shape our lives and proved that the harsh dicipline that was demanded did not harm us in any way but taught us life’s lessons, unlike the lack of dicipline that we find in our educational instutions today. To all the teachers at St Pat’s Congratulations on your many years of service and may you continue to make leaders and good citizens of your pupils. We are extremely grateful to all of you.Recommend

  • Tyrone Tellis
    Oct 20, 2010 - 4:28PM

    Ah I missed this!

    I did my A levels there and a few of my relatives call St Pat’s alma mater. No mention of good old Fr Todd?

    Unfortunately old priests and old teachers don’t fade they die and their replacements are hardly found.Recommend

  • Arsalaan Haleem
    Oct 20, 2010 - 5:43PM

    As much as we used to loathe Father Todd during our school days, but deep down in our hearts we use to admire the ‘old chap’ of St. Pats, for his sharp wit, unflagging attention, and sheer devotion towards discipline and teaching at the secondary section. After a laspe of almost 6 years I went ‘back to school’ to meet a few teachers and seeing this old man again after so many years, brought back good old memories of best 6 years of my life. God bless you Father Todd, where-ever you are.Recommend

  • Bilal Shaikh
    Oct 21, 2010 - 3:49PM

    Proud to be a Patrician :) 1997 Recommend

  • Aatir Fayyaz
    Oct 21, 2010 - 9:30PM

    It is nice to know that over the years, the reputation of Saint Pats hasn’t faltered. I, personally, am a big fan of Sir Errol Fernando. He has been a big help and pretty much the best professor I’ve ever had even when I’m doing my B.Eng from McGill now.Recommend

  • Brian Jude Joseph
    Oct 22, 2010 - 12:10AM

    Proud to be a Patrician. My years at St Pats will always be missed. The students are so humble and yet so talented; I think they learn this from the teachers. I will never forget how inspiring Sir Errol Fernando and Sir Angelo Rayer were to all of us, and how simple they were.
    Counselors like Mrs Isani are generally forgotten, but I personally owe all of my present success to her.
    I am forever indebted to St. Patrick’s for the best years of my life and the successful future I now have.Recommend

  • Oct 22, 2010 - 2:57AM

    This brought back memories of A levels at Pats and made me smile :) No doubt I, like countless others, owe a great deal to the place. And its great that they appreciated the senior faculty and staff separately – they deserve it. Recommend

  • Shah Saad Alam
    Oct 22, 2010 - 4:54AM

    I was one of the lucky group of prefects who got to serve during the inauguration ceremony of the 150 yrs celebrations,and ‘ll probably cherish the memories for my life. Having spent 13 yrs,over two thirds of my whole life, as a student at Pats, it was truly a second home. I can definitely say that these teachers, whose classes we used to mess around in, had a great part in making us what we are esp. Sir Jayanathan, Mrs. Isani, Sir Rayer, Sir Dolan, Sir Javed, Sir Amir Clarence, Sir Lobo and Mrs DeSarum and Mrs. Ahmed.Recommend

  • Jazib
    Oct 22, 2010 - 6:43AM

    I spent 13 years studying at St.Patrick’s, right from class 1 till A Levels. The thought of joining another institution while I completed my levels of studies never crossed my mind. I’m currently doing my Masters from the UK but I will always be grateful to St.Patrick’s for making me capable enough. I really like the comment about how st.patrick’s teaches you to be ‘street smart’ and more aware of the real world, unlike other ‘elite’ schools.

    “With courage high and hearts aflame
    we venture into life,

    In streets and fields
    we boldly wield
    our honour bright mid-strife”Recommend

  • Sohail
    Oct 23, 2010 - 2:56AM

    It has been a long long time since I left St Pats but the memories are still fresh.
    Unfortunately I have lost contact with all the friends I made and would love to find them again.
    I left the school in 1980 to go to Kuwait and since then have lived outside Pakistan. The last class I attended was I beloved 7 (God I am losing my memory). If anybody remembers please get in touch. It would be good to catch up. Recommend

  • Masud Khawaja
    Oct 24, 2010 - 6:00PM

    I am a 1985 Patrician grad and recently earned my doctorate from the U.S. Over the years while visiting Pakistan, I have always tried to make time and visit St. Pat’s. The last time I was there I took the opportunity to thank Errol Fernando for making Chemistry lessons absolute fun !!!
    I have two questions for those on this forum, (1) how do I join the Old Patrician’s Society? (2) Is there a published alumni database (electronic or paper form), and if so how to access it?
    Lastly I would encourage all of you to join the St. Patrick’s facebook page. Calling all 1985 grads to email me at [email protected] to connect -:)Recommend

  • Oct 26, 2010 - 4:23PM

    wonderfull,sheer thaughts take you into a time so pleasent and seems like fantasy.Oh i absolutely love my memories.Recommend

  • Haris Ahmad
    Nov 16, 2010 - 2:35PM

    Congratulations to St Patrick’s on 150 years of excellence! I spent 13 years of my life at the school and left after completing my “A” Levels from there in 2007. I especially want to mention Mrs Henderson and Ms Qulsoom as being the two teachers who left the deepest marks on my life. Love all my teachers!Recommend

  • Hasan Adil
    Nov 16, 2010 - 2:48PM

    Being a student of this great institution the only words I can share is whatever I am today, no matter what hindrances I faced yet I feel myself as a Winner… and the credit goes to St. Patrick’s High School because everything I learnt the whole credit goes to my school.

    Love My School Love My teachersRecommend

  • Wahaj Ahmed
    Nov 16, 2010 - 5:43PM

    I am also one of those lucky people who have studied at this terrific institution for thirteen years. Especially the time spent in my O level years under Mrs.Henderson and the other teachers have made a deep impact on my life. Long live Saint Patrick’s High School!Recommend

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