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2022 Y9 Orientation
Photo by Bridie from Photoshots


Jacqui Anderson —

On 01 February 2022, St Bede’s welcomed its newest cohort of boys.

They came in their new uniforms, yes some of them in blazers too big, some of them knowing others and some not knowing anyone. They all lined up, looking at the other boys they would spend the next five years with. One of these boys will become head boy, others will be the captain of a sports team. Some will excel at academic studies, while others will struggle. There will be the boys who can act, play an instrument, run and swim. There will be others that do none of this, but one thing they will all do is become a “Man of Bede”.

Do you remember the first day that you came to St Bede’s? The blazer that was bought for you to grow into, the nerves as you met the boys that you would go on and spend the next years with, those that you would compete against, those who you would become best mates with.

Thaddeus McCarthy and Maurice Bourke, first day at St Bede's  — Image by: SBC

For Thaddeus McCarthy and Maurice Bourke, the first two boarders and pupils to arrive at the Papanui site in 1920, their first day was very different, uniforms?…no, finished buildings?...no, playing fields?.. no, trees and paths?...no, weed infested paddock?...yes, cold westerly blowing?...yes and heating?...no. Although their beginnings were extremely sparse, these boys left to go on and have successful careers, Thaddeus McCarthy as the school’s first Supreme Court Judge and later the school’s first Knight. Maurice Bourke becoming Fr Maurice Bourke and Rector of the College in 1955.

Thaddeus McCarthy and Fr Maurice Bourke at the 75th Jubilee, standing in the same spot they stood as new arrivals in 1920 — Image by: SBC

The years at high school go by so fast, the boys that you spend nearly everyday with, those that become your best mates, you can’t imagine not seeing them all the time and then suddenly you leave school and everybody goes in a different direction. You all say you’ll keep in touch, but somehow life gets in the way, people move in different directions and sometimes unintentionally lose touch with the people who were their best mates at high school.

So, how about a catch up with those mates again? Not only the mates who were in your year, but others who have also been through St Bede’s, men who all know what it means to have walked through those gates shy and unsure and walk out with the confidence to be what you want to be and follow the path that you want to follow.

The Reflection article in the December newsletter, was about the Annual Dinner the Old Boys’ Association used to hold. The first dinner held in 1924 began with formalities such as proposing toasts and replying to them, with one of the toasts being “The Old Boys” because they had taken away with them a great love for the College. Once the formalities of the evening were done, the Old Boys spent time of reminiscing, with laughter and probably the odd business deal as well.

Image by: SBC

For the last couple of years, Covid has done its best to disrupt any reunions that we would like to have held, however, this year, we are going to try again with a renewed Old Boys’ Association Annual Dinner.

The date for this event will be sent out as soon as we are able to confirm it can go ahead. It will be a night of laughter, maybe the odd business deal, but more importantly, it will be a night of reminiscing, reminiscing about the good times and the bad, the lessons learnt and the friendships made. We look forward to seeing you all at the Old Boys' Annual Dinner.