Joyous moment: The six Franciscan octogenarians honoured on the night (from right) Sim, Choe, Horace, Bro. Matthew, Cyril and Sidney.
MALACCA: The fabulous Franciscan camaraderie, true blue friendship and strong bonding were the hallmark characteristics that stood out foremost among a thousand old school and classmates, teachers, De La Salle religious brothers, friends and supporters of St. Francis Institution (SFI) at its recent 134th founding anniversary “Homecoming and Reunion” dinner.
Adhering to tradition, the event attended by around one thousand guests was held at SFI’s open air quadrangle along Jalan Banda Hilir and right in the heart of the state’s heritage, historic and tourism belt.
Former and current students came from all over the country and even from Singapore and Australia to the gala gathering where many still spoke highly of the Franciscan and LaSallian spirit.
Ninety-two year old Horace Sta Maria, a former student and teacher now residing in Perth and who always makes it a point to “return home” for the biennial affair remarked that the dedication, steadfastness and unfailing fidelity of the founding LaSallian ideals and Franciscan spirit were second to none.
He called on the present day generation of students to adhere to tradition and uphold the unique LaSallian philosophy and code of ethics.
Only then will SFI justify its continuance as being something more than just an ordinary school and be totally committed to the service of the country through proper education, formation and training of its citizens, he added.
Horace along with five other octogenarian Franciscans were given the honour when called up to the podium to render tribute to their former alma mater and then jointly cutting a large celebration cake bearing the school’s crest.
The other five included Sim Bin Teck, 82, Choe Sim Chye, 80, Cyril De Witt, 81, Brother Matthew Liew, 80 and Sidney Fernandez, 83.
Like Horace, both Sim and Choe were former students and teachers at the school while Cyril and Sidney were notable sportsmen of the fifties who also donned state hockey and football colours respectively.
Among the highlights of the night was the rousing singing of the School Rally led by Bro. Micheal Kum to the accompaniment and beating of the school’s 24-Season Drum Troupe and a 15-minute fireworks display courtesy of the Class of 1977 and lucky draws.
The four-hour event wound up with roaring and hand-waving rendition of Auld Lang Syne complete with a promise of meeting up again at the same venue come April 2016.