St. George’s College Old Boys’ Association, ON, Canada Newsletter, Issue # 58, June, 2010
On behalf of the St. George’s College Old Boys’ Association (Ontario Chapter), I extend best wishes to you and your family.
At this juncture in our alma mater’s history, where we are celebrating St. George’s College’s 160th anniversary, I am mindful of the importance of education and the sacrifices needed to ensure that every child among us gets educated. I am also cognizant of the fact that since the Chapter’s inception, its executives have been instrumental in providing financial and social support for St. George’s College (in Jamaica) and its students. After 25 years, the Ontario Chapter is extremely vibrant and boasts a membership of over 700 alumni members.
Our upcoming Annual Ball will be held at the prestigious Pearson International Centre, 2638 Steeles Ave. East, Brampton, on Friday July 30, 2010. This event will feature Jamaican-born singer Jay Douglas and special performances by renowned Jamaican entertainer Pluto Shervington. Additionally, Marcia Brown, acclaimed actress, producer, and humorist, will deliver her unique brand of humour. I sincerely look forward to your attendance at this highly enjoyable event.
This is our one fundraiser event for the year and upon its success/failure rests the level of our contribution to the school this year. So come out and support. The students of St. George’s College need our help.
I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Ambassador Sheila Sealy-Monteith to Canada and congratulate her on this new posting. Ms. Monteith is Jamaica’s High Commissioner to Canada. I am pleased that the Ambassador will be joining us at our annual Ball.
We will also have as a special guest, former Prime Minister and past-student of Wolmers High School, Mr. Edward Seaga, his wife and daughter. He will be in Toronto for his book launch.
The Chapter’s annual Family Brunch and Mass, held on May 23, 2010, was a resounding success. Extraordinary speeches from Father Kenneth Hughes (former Principal of St. George’s College) and Armand La Barge (Chief of Police-York Region) served as reminders that true service to our community entails sacrifice and a belief that helping the poor is a highly important endeavour. Our hard-working executives, their wives, invited guests and friends, made this event the success that it was.
I look forward to our future endeavours as we partner to ensure that the students at St.George’s College continue to obtain the quality education we were privileged to have.
— Milton Hart
Lots of great news to pass on in this issue and our thanks to our members on advising us of the “Happenings” in their little corners of life. The photos too are welcome- Thanks all for sharing.
Excelsior Alumni Derrick “Mello” Melvin who was honoured on Saturday June 26th by at the Ontario Chapter of Excelsior High School. Derrick has been an active member of the Ontario community and a frequent supporter of Jamaican community events. For his support to our own St.George’s College Ontario Chapter, he was made an Honourary member in 2002.
Congratulations Mello; well-deserved.
— Robbie Vernon
Another big day was June 26th. Guess who turned 50? Yes, take a peek through the mask- Past President Chris Chin and what a bash was put on for him by the women in his life Charmaine, Melanie & Jessica at the Hilton Garden Inn in Mississauga.
Past President John Chavannes was in town. He came up for the launch of son Vidal’s book “detox”, a must read for black youth with challenges to rethink mindsets driven by false impressions of black culture. Family and friends gathered at Petticoat Creek Community Centre on Saturday May 1st for an evening of discussion, community building, entertainment, food drink and fun. Vidal explained how he came to write the book when TV images captured what became known as Bloody Sunday when four young black men in Toronto were gunned down by other young black men. This tore at him and the book came out of the ensuing frustration and sometimes rage at the combination of conditions that foment conflict in a community already struggling for acceptance and survival. He explored the unrest, tensions that run through the community looking for solutions and examined the attitudes of the educators, police and all the factions struggling to deal with this diverse and sometimes explosive environment.
Vidal A. Chavannes MAEd, BA, B.Ed., an educator, activist and Motivational Speaker resides in the greater Toronto area. He is now a Program Review Consultant at Humber College.
Most of us older ones remember Vidal with his Dad at our family picnics.
What a special occasion this was! Michael King came up from Jamaica to celebrate with the rest of the family his mother Lilian’s 100th birthday on April 22, 2010. Mr King himself (Colin) is 97 years young, as you can see from the photo. All the King boys; Dennis, Raymund, Trevor, Ernest and Michael went to St.George’s College and the girls Monica and Barbara to Alpha.
Michael was considered one of the finest goal keepers in Jamaica and was a star on our Manning Cup team. Ernest was the best distance runner at the school in his time and many remember his lapping other runners in the mile event.
What a wonderful family. We wish the parents many more years of happiness together.
By their fruits many have come to know, respect and love them.
Our thanks to Michael (Buski) Charley for capturing this significant family event for our newsletter.
This is graduation time.
From Jamaica ever proud Georgian Everton Campbell sent in this graduation photo of his beautiful daughter Robyn-Kay who has attended ICHS for the past 5 years. Dad tells us she has done well academically and is especially strong in story writing, English Comprehension and Spanish. She is quite a swimmer, winning awards over the years on the school swim team. She is captain of the Stella Maris Church Liturgical Dance Troupe and is very active in the church youth group; is a lector and altar server there as well. She likes to bake and wants to study culinary arts. She also has a beautiful singing voice. All this (Don’t know about the last) reminds so much of her mother Mrs. Margaret Campbell, Principal, St.George’s College.
Also understandably elated about his daughter’s graduation is past President Chris Chin. Daughter Jessica on her graduation night on June 29th received the Father J. Fergus Duffy Award for her commitment to Christian leadership in the school and community and as demonstrated in her compassion, kindness, understanding and humour- hallmarks of true charity and true leadership. She also received the Christ the King Honour Award for her high degree of commitment in academics, leadership, and co- curricular activities throughout her four years of high school. She was recognized as an Ontario scholar (80% average or higher). Congrats to proud parents Chris and Charmaine. Melanie, their other daughter was this year’s winner on the STGC $1500 scholarship award (see Part 3).
I’ve never seen our energetic Treasurer Ray Chang as happy as when he is with his beloved granddaughter Savanna Grace. All the stress of business goes when she is around and does this ever show. Donette thanks for sharing. We know how you like to see your man happy. It’s great for us too to see him so relaxed and on cloud nine.
While our social Director John Flynn shines in the culinary side, his granddaughter Kiara is making ways in a very non-Jamaican sport- Ice Hockey. Kiara is a member of the championship winning Cadadettes; a Brampton Atom AA Hockey team which won Gold in the final of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association provincial finals. There was no stopping her Brampton Atom AA Canadettes train as they rolled to the Ontario Women’s Association championship at South Fletchers Sportsplex. We and our progeny bloom where we have been transplanted.
Heard also from Conrad Lowe in Hong Kong. His daughter Gigi has recently been celebrated as a published author in a new anthology entitled Tales from the South China Seas. Her writing was selected for publication from the works of hundreds of other students who entered the Hong Kong Young Writers Awards for 2010.
In ‘Old Tales from the South China Seas’, Gigi also explored the theme of poverty by describing the adventures of a young girl, Lei Xue as she tries to save her family from ruin through a daring escapade with her brother. She was honoured at an awards ceremony on Friday 23 April where she was congratulated by journalist and author, Nury Vittachi.
Connie’s older daughter Bibi is making quite a name for herself in the fashion world. Her label “Bibi Ghost” was reviewed extensively in an Italian magazine. She is doing quite well in Europe and based in Denmark.“Bibi Ghost” is already sold in shops in New York and hopes to be in Canada soon.
On Sunday June 6th a bright light came into Patrick & Loraine Lee’s life. Yes !- they had their first grandchild; Kyle Patrick Tennant. Parents Tina and Ian are doing fine; grandparents still agog;
Congrats to Tony & Maxine Chin who were blessed with a 5th Grandson, Paul Antonio Chin, 3rd child of Antonio and Silvia Chin.
On my way to Wisconsin in May for my grandson’s christening I decided to try to see schoolmate from the 50’s Linval Chung who is in Chicago. We were able to link up on the way back and dined with him at one of his many enterprises; Phoenix Restaurant, and I agree with him, it’s the number 1 Chinese restaurant in Chicago. The food was sumptuous; the atmosphere elegant and service impeccable. Linval is a civil engineer and has his own company dealing largely in city drainage projects. Learned he had many other business interests and spends a good deal of time at his Florida home as well.
It’s the same Linval from school; ever jovial and energetic, and full of warmth and genuine hospitality. It was great linking up after all these years and we now fully expect to him in Toronto at one of our events. Right Linval !
Since our last edition “Good & True has been flooded with news of Georgians , either ill or who have passed on. Some names are very familiar to many: Karl Ho Sang “Lux”, left half of the Manning team in 1955 with Basil Lue; Ken East, another legendary STGC footballer with a tremendous right foot shot; Milton Swaby (Swabs), a quiet captain of Campion House and an accomplished athlete; Freddy De Souza (Class 1955). STGC was well represented at Freddy’s funeral by Denis Barnett, Richard Chang, Gene Burkett and Peter Chavannes. Peter gave a moving tribute to Freddy.
Condolences to Howard Webb (class 1973) on the death of his brother Danny in Florida and to Dale DuQuesnay in Guelph, Ontario on the passing of his mum. Richard Burke, brother of Donald Burke (class 1973 & Robert Burke class of 1977 was killed in an armed robbery in Miami . Donovan Chen See’s uncle Patrick Chen See also passed away in Florida.
Philip and Jeffery Chung recently lost their 95 year old mum. Mrs Chung was an aunt of Fr. Richard Ho Lung. Also losing mums were Dr.Clarence David Mc Gaw and Charles Young, whose mum Annie Young passed on in April. Charles gave a moving tribute to her; sharing her bold journey from China to Jamaica via the States and Canada. What an odyssey.
Our sympathies to Dwight Anderson on the death of his brother Garth Anderson “BUGS” in New York in June. Garth excelled academically and was in the 1962 graduating class with Dennis Barnett. Dwight, his brother was the first Jamaican schoolboy to smash the 50-second barrier in the 440 yds in winning at Champs .
Also heard Fr Dudley Adams S.J. died in May in Boston. He taught Don Wehby in accounting at STGC.
Just got news as well of the passing of Mrs Constance Lerline McGaw and send our sincere condolences to the McGaw clan; Howard, Errol, Patrick and Dave. Errol’s son Matthew was the starting goalkeeper in the 1998 Manning cup squad.
Our Liaison Director Carl Chang has been busy in Jamaica. Here he is with Lloyd Tenn (Tenno) presenting the Knight of St. George medal to Carlos Lopez in recognition of his outstanding service and support to St. George’s College. Carlos has not been in the best of health for some time and a group consisting of Carl Chang, Peter Chang, and Lloyd Tenn went really to just let Carlos know “we cared” and “appreciated” his tremendous giving of self to his alma mater. I would encourage old boys to visit Carlos at Glo’s Adult Care Centre 4 Louisville Road, Russel Heights, Kingston 8 . Due to a tracheotomy, he cannot speak, but would appreciate notes, cards or a friendly Georgian face. Tel: 876-941-5683 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caught in action in Jamaica again Liaison Director Carl Chang with elder statesman and former Prime Minister Hon. Edward Seaga; his wife Carla and daughter Anabella at the wedding on the North coast of Julie Wong Chew Onn (daughter of Georgian, Eddie Wong Chew Onn) and Kevin Seaga . Mr. Seaga will be in Toronto for the launch of his book on July 29th and will also be special guests at our Summer Ball on July 30th.
— Robbie Vernon
In April 1963 I transferred to St. George College from Calabar High School1. I had already passed the Higher School Certificate exam which was in those days was administered by the Local Examination Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. I was retaking the exams at St. Georges. Full disclosure demands that I indicate that I was aspiring to win the Jamaica Scholarship in my second attempt. The last five winners had been students at St. Georges College2.
I was taking a double dose of Mathematics from Mr. Adrian Chaplain3, General Paper (English composition) from Father Frank Shea4, and Physics from Father Raymond McCluskey. The teaching of Physics, unlike that of Mathematics and English, requires the resources of a Lab. I was overwhelmed by the resources in the Physics Lab. Father McCluskey had acquired and installed the PSSC (Physical Science Study Committee) teaching manuals and equipment in the Physics Labs and had adopted the PSSC teaching methodology of placing more emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge from the experience of conducting experiments over that of rote memorization5.
Although Father McCluskey’s personality could be described as action oriented and restrained emotion along with frugality in the word use, there was one aspect of his approach to teaching that puzzled me at the time. When asked a question, instead of giving a direct answer, he would stall in response, and turn the question back to the student. I now realize that Father McCluskey was trying to instill the habit of thinking through a problem. The educational experience is a luxury compared to real life in that the exam comes after the lesson instead of the other way around. So in his protracted demeanor in responding to questions, Father McCluskey was attempting to instill a learning habit that would last far beyond the school exams into one’s entire life.
The PSSC learning experience was very exciting. One module of the experiments dealt with the duality of light as a particle and as a wave. To illustrate the particle characteristics in the refraction of light (such as in passing from air to water), an experiment was set up with two level boards at different heights with a ramp forming the edge between them. A steel ball was set rolling at an angle from the higher to the lower board. Carbon paper was used to create a trace of the path of the steel ball. One could measure the angle of incidence to the edge at the higher board and the angle of refraction at the lower board, and use the measurements to verify Snell’s Law. Water waves were used to illustrate the wave characteristics in the diffraction of light. There was the intellectual thrill of learning Physics through observing experiments6.
At my previous attempt at the Higher School Certificate in 1962, I had failed the Practical Physics exam. The rule was that if you failed the practical exam, you fail the entire Physics exam. But I had done well enough in the two theory exams that the rule was waived and I was given a pass. Once again, on this Friday of November 1963, the Practical Physics exam was not going very well. It was more than half way through the exam; I had no documented results, and was beginning to get flustered. Father McCluskey approached me, established eye contact, and walked away. I got the message and got my act together7.
Compared with the PSSC approach to Physics, Father McCluskey would have thought that the Physics Syllabus for the Cambridge Higher School exams was archaic. But he refrained from expressing his views on the matter until the very last class of the year, when he asked: “Did you learn anything from the Physics Syllabus”. A delayed response of “Yes” came from Winston Millwood. With only body language, Father let us know that the answer was wrong.
I went to visit Father McCluskey in early 1964 when the results of the Higher Schools exams were announced. I ended up with a respectable passing grade in the Practical Physics exam, which together with the Theory exams resulted in a grade of an overall A for Physics. All in all, I had three A’s in my main subjects plus a respectable passing grade in General Paper. I explained that there was some doubt as to who had won the Jamaica Scholarship, as Bernard Wilmot over in the Arts had also obtained three A’s: two in his main subjects and one in General Paper. Father McCluskey’s laconic response was: “General Paper doesn’t count”.
Over the years I had wanted to chat to Father McCluskey, about his teaching methodology and my university experience studying Applied Mathematics. But I did not get a chance to do so until the late summer of 2004 when I visited the Jesuit Retirement Center in Weston in Massachusetts. My host Father Leo Quinlan took me to meet him. Unfortunately at his advanced age Father McCluskey was not in a condition to engage in a conversation. Indeed, it was not clear that he recognized me.
If I had the opportunity, this is what I would have said to Father McCluskey:
On the issue of teaching approaches, I would tell him about the quote from the eminent historian Edward Gibbons in the Richard Feynman Lectures on Physics, that: “The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous”. However, I would add that learning is not possible without teaching resources of some sort.
I would tell him a story I heard in a lecture on Relativity by Prof Sciama in my fourth year at Cambridge University. General Relativity predicts that clocks will run slower in stronger gravitational field so that a photon of light will have a higher frequency in a weaker gravitational field. With the discovery of the Mossbauer effect in the later 1950’s, it became possible to do an experiment in a lab to confirm this prediction of General Relativity. There were two groups of Physicists working on the experiment: one in Harwell, England and the other in Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Harwell group published first. A Cambridge undergraduate Brian Josephson read their publication and noticed a defect in the experiment. A temperature difference could have accounted for the result and it would be necessary to ensure that the temperature was uniform. The Harvard group didn’t make this mistake and ended up getting the credit for the experiment. When I sat next to Brian Josephson in the Trinity College dining hall and repeated the story to him, he replied: “I was taking a course in Relativity at the time”. He later won the Nobel Prize in 1973 for work he conducted as a graduate student in 1962.
Finally I would tell him of a trip to a quarry in Quincy, Massachusetts, that I made in 1970 in the company of some friends from MIT and Harvard and Dr. Brian Josephson. One friend, in reporting on the experience of diving off a cliff into the water, said that the water exerted an enormous force on his head. Dr. Josephson said that water behaves like a solid at high speeds. I responded that it behaves in the same manner at low temperatures. I would have watched carefully to see Father McCluskey’s response to my attempt to think through a Physics problem while adding a dash of humor.
— Clement McCalla
1 It could be said that Leighton Holness recruited me to St. Georges. In a conversation at Champs, I expressed my interest in transferring to St. Georges but indicated my concern that the cultural transition was an impassable obstacle. Leighton brushed that concern aside to assure me that it was not a problem. With that I applied to transfer to St. Georges.
2 On my first day at St. Georges, Winston Millwood and Clovis Metcalfe took me aside and told me that four out of the last five winners of the Jamaica Scholarship from St. Georges had been in the Sciences and that they expected that this would happen again this year. The Arts and Sciences Sixth Formers at St. Georges had separate school rooms, and I had discovered that there were separate sub-cultures.
3 Mr. Chaplain taught Mathematics at St. Georges for 50 years. The Adrian Ashton Chaplain Hall for Industrial Arts on the campus of St. Georges is named in his honor.
4 Father Shea had obtained a PhD in English Literature from the University of Minnesota. He left St. Georges to teach English Literature at Boston College and later became the Chancellor of Antioch College in Ohio.
5 The PSSC approach to the teaching of Physics arose out of the resurgence in the teaching of the Sciences in the United States following the launch of the Russian Sputnik satellite in 1957.
6 Looking back it seems at pity that one was not more adventurous in conducting one’s own experiments beyond those prescribed in the class, such as having the steel ball go from the lower to the higher level to emulate light passing from water to air. In hindsight one could blame the syllabus and the exams for discouraging digressions for further exploration and learning. But the reality is that the student already has a full plate in learning the subject material in the syllabus and is under intense pressure to do well in the exams.
7 After the exam was over, Willard Pinnock announced that President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas. No one believed him at first.
Clement (Clem) McCalla won the Jamaica scholarship from 6th form St.George’s College and attended Cambridge University where he obtained a BA in Mathematics in 1968 and went on to MIT where he obtained a Ph.D. ( Applied Math) in 1973- Thesis: Optimal Control of Linear Hereditary Systems with Quadratic Criterion. He has published extensively.
Father McCluskey died in Weston, Mass. on August 20, 2005 at the age of 95 years. The photograph of him was taken from our historic “Thank You” visit to The Jesuit Centre in Weston in1999. Our Good & True” newsletter covering this visit # 27 Dated Dec.1999 can be viewed on our website: stgctoronto.com under newsletters
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