Looking back a quarter of a century, I still have vivid recollections of Loyola. I remember entering its portals in 1970, with mixed feelings, to join class V. I was to be a boarder and it made me feel both bashful and apprehensive. As it happened, I need never have worried for I took to the school like a duck takes to water — and the years I spent at Loyola were truly great days and jolly days at the ‘best school of all’.
I had the good fortune of studying under 3 principals, each very special in his way. Fr. Kenneth Judge, Fr. Frank McGauley and Fr. Michael Love were true friends, philosophers and guides. The Jesuit work ethos was prevalent everywhere. Later when I taught in St. Joseph’s Boys’ School, Bangalore, all that I had learned at Loyola stood me in good stead.
I arrived in Loyola on 15th December 1963. I was met at the gate by a priest who introduced himself as Fr. Kennedy. He picked up my suitcase and said ‘Paul, follow me’ as he walked away rather vigorously. I ran to keep pace with him. He led me into a room on the western side of the old auditorium. My neighbour was Phil Allencherry. Before Fr. Kennedy left, he hoped I would have a pleasant stay in Loyola. Well it has lasted 32 years!
As I look back memories come flooding the mind my first Rector-Principal, Fr. Joe Kennedy, a man of lightning decisions and of great warmth; in his world, children and value education took centre stage; Fr. Power, a fitness enthusiast and an American committed to English and the Englishman Shakespeare; Fr. Simon Kirsch — he never had time for anything except physics and his beloved lab. There were others — all greatmen:
In March 1994 my brother Axel ] and I returned to India for the first time after 27 years. From 1957 to 1967 we had spent our childhood and teenage years in Jamshedpur, so for Axe! and me this “Passage to India” was a journey back in time in search of our roots. It turned out to be a kind of homecoming too, due to the heartwarming welcome we received from our old Indian friends in Jamshedpur, who had not forgotten us in all those years.
Significantly, the first place we revisited during our stay in Jamshedpur was neither our one-time family home, the Kaiser Bungalow, at 18, Inner Circle Road, nor our old stamping grounds at Beldih Club. The place that we were most eager to see again was Loyola, our old school, where we had spent the best part of our most impressionable and formative years.
I have some very pleasant and happy memories of my years at Loyola — I was a hostelite from 1959 to 1964. One cannot forget Fr. Hess’ cleaning of the throat, Mr. Rao’s elephantine memory and chits, Fr. Dineen’s Paddle whacks, Mr. Burrows’ spankings, Br. Braganza’s cacti collection, Fr. Dietrich’s ghost stories and pranks, and Fr. Currie’s mixing with the boys.
One can easily recollect gems, instances of team spirit and camaraderie interspersed with sports and academic brilliance that helped shape character. But life at Loyola was different. There was something extra. It is difficult to pin down. The incidents related will help to give an idea of academic and hostel life at Loyola.
My association with Loyola School
I was born in Calcutta but came to Jamshedpur as a two-month old baby. I distinctly recall how my father took me from Contractors’ Area where we used to stay in a private house, to Sacred Heart Convent School (yes, in those days, Sacred Heart School was a co-education school) which was housed in a small bungalow opposite to what is now the Loyola School play ground. I did not know much about Loyola School and spent 1948 to 1952 in SHC by which time they had moved to their wonderful building at its present location. In 1952 I was transferred to Loyola.
Reminiscences of a grateful student
I always had a desire to write about the school, and 38 years after leaving it, I got my chance. All my boyhood memories of school life, of friends, of teachers, of Jamshedpur gushed up from the sub-cortial area of my brain. How do you describe 10 years of your life in a thousand odd words? Would anyone be interested in what the Senior Cambridge class of ‘58 did that was different from the class of ‘57 or ‘56 or ‘59? But there was one question that nagged me the most, and that was, “What will Fr. Eugene Power think of my article?”
I remember ...
My dear (old) friends and (former) colleagues,
What a great joy and privilege to be invited to share some of my memories of Loyola School on this graced occasion of its celebrating its half-century mark — golden years indeed!
Who could forget Loyola Sports Days and March-pasts, the highlight of the Jamshedpur winter? Or the picnics at Rivers’ Meet and Dimna Lake? Or the JYOTI leadership camps each December? Or the old boxrooms of Loyola’s initial make-shift hostel?
Loyola, I salute you...
When I graduated from Loyola in 1958, I was just plain Eric Cassel. Thirteen years later after studies in Hazaribagh, Bombay, Kodaikanal and Pune, I was ready to celebrate MY FIRST MASS on Loyola’s Red Stage along with Fathers Joe Lacey and Rocky Vaz, as a JESUIT PRIEST. Sixteen years later, I was appointed PRINCIPAL of Loyola. I had come a full circle : STUDENT to PRINCIPAL.
Regardless of what I have been and am since I left Loyola, the LOYOLEAN in me still remains — firm as ever. The ideals that Loyola instilled in me, the values that Loyola imparted to me, are still with me. Therein lies the greatness of Loyola School; therein lies Loyola’s ability to make you different from others; make you truly a person to serve God and your fellow beings selflessly.