Once an Aloysian, Always an Aloysian! St Aloysius College (SAC) Alumni Pledge to Give Back to their Alma Mater
Mangaluru: If it’s 12th January every year, it has to be St Aloysius College Alumni Association Reunion, which is held without fail, unless there is an earthquake/cyclone/floods, or for that matter, a LOCKDOWN? For years SACAA Reunion has been hosted without skipping any year, and this year was no exception. High school or college seems like just yesterday. That is until you’re opening a mail that happens to be an invitation for SACAA Reunion. It’s shocking, the realization that much time has really passed since we were hopeful professionals, entrepreneurs, scientists, doctors, engineers etc. These were the people who were involved in an important school/college years of your life. Aside from all of the activities and fun at school/college, everyone has a place in the memories you made there.
Where the heck did the time even go? It doesn’t matter if you were the class clown, a bookworm, or the most popular person in your institution. When you all head back to a SACAA Reunion, it’s almost like you’re reintroducing yourself because with passing time, you have changed. Yes, it is all so surreal. While you may not need help remembering the good ole days, you have to make sure the right words characterize the extreme feel you’re going to get standing next to your high school or college buddies, all grown up, some in their golden ripe age, some in their still young middle age, and some still very young? Anyways, looking back in your photo albums, your pics are going to be a time capsule for that moment — the day you thought would take forever to come when you graduated.
For a change after decades for the FIRST time in the history of SACAA Reunion, this year it was held in a simple manner due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with no music, dance, fun-n-frolic, fellowship dinner etc, unlike the past years where every alumni attending the SACAA bash had a ball and best time of the year mingling and interaction with their school/college buddies. This unfortunate pandemic did kill the fun and happiness SAC alumni always look forward to on 12th January every year. However, in order to keep the tradition the governing board of SACAA did host the SACAA Reunion on Tuesday, 12 January at the Mother Teresa Freedom Park in the College premises, at 9:30 am, following a mass held at St Aloysius College Chapel at 8 am.
The main celebrant of the mass was Fr Melwin Joseph Pinto SJ, the Rector of St Aloysius Institutions, joined by Fr Praveen Martis SJ-the Principal of St Aloysius College, and a bevvy of Jesuit clergy of the institution. The choir comprising of Arnold Fernandes on keyboards, Ms Alina Peris, Ms Alison Fernandes, Ms Sneha D’Souza, Ms Abner Pinto -all on vocals, and led by team choir leader Ms Paloma Rodrigues, rendered a few melodious hymns. Following the mass attended by a large gathering, it was time for a sumptuous breakfast catered by Kamath Caterers, and then it was time for a small celebration at the Mother Teresa Freedom Park, where the programme began with a prayer seeking God’s blessings by Ms Divya Shetty, Professor in dept of Chemistry PG, followed by a mesmerizing welcome dance by a bevvy of damsels, namely- Ms Sahana Devadiga, Ms Pooja Devadiga, Ms Felicia Roza Martis, Ms Akshitha R Amin, and Ms Renita Aranha, all lecturers in SAC-UG.
The welcome address was delivered by Stephen Pinto-the President of SACAA, followed by an address by Fr Praveen Martis SJ-the Director of SACAA and Principal of St Aloysius College, where he said that a seed sown on this hill in 1880 has grown into an education arena, where thousands have passed out through the portals of this institution and serving in good posts across the globe, and contributing generously towards the growth of their Alma mater, which should be appreciated and thankful for. “The Alumni have played an important role in the growth of this institution, and we have added many projects through their help, and in the nearest future our Institute will become a deemed university”, added Fr Martis Sj.
The patron of SACAA and Rector of St Aloysius Institutions, Rev Fr Melwin Pinto SJ in his speech stressed the importance of Alumni Association in an educational institution and invited the members to strengthen SACAA further by actively participating in their activities. “The Jesuit tradition has imparted education and more than information, transforming men and women into leaders of tomorrow and living for others. The students are encouraged to shine and reach out to people with compassion. During its 141 years, thousands have received education from this Institution and are serving the nation and abroad in good posts. This Reunion is a joyful moment to share their joy and happiness gained from this institution. And with the generous contribution from the alumni, we can provide education for the needy and it’s nice to note that the SAC batch of 1971 is trying to raise nearly 1.5 crores towards our college education fund”.
A few spot games were conducted by the compere of the programme Sumit Rao, an active member of SACAA, where a few members in the audience took home expensive gifts ( Ssshhh..a coffee cup) to add to their collection of cups, won in the spot games, and Yours Truly was one of the winners too. Following this short and sweet programme, the audience proceeded to Sanidhya Hall for the virtual Zoom meet, to interact with the alumni around the world who couldn’t be at the live celebration. About 35 alumni interacted through zoom and discussed strengthening the growth of the St Aloysius Institutions.
Like it is always said that “Once an Aloysian, Always an Aloysian!”- and so it was, for all these Aloysians in pride meeting together and cherishing their good old days at the SAC, and rejoicing in their achievements that their Alma mater was responsible. And 12 January Every Year, the old “boys” of St Aloysius College- Mangaluru converge on their Alma Mater, to join in the ‘St Aloysius College Alumni Association (SACAA) Reunion programme. The oldest among the alumni who took part in today’s SACAA Reunion was “Smiling Buddha” Fr Santhosh Kamath Sj, who also took home an “Expensive” coffee cup as a souvenir. The small crowd was predominately mixed, with young and old, gents and females, boys and girls, who were joined by a bevvy of priests in their best attire in formal slacks and shirts, but everyone had a good time.
And for that matter, being an old student of St Aloysius High School/College during the 1980s, I had the immense pleasure of interacting with these alumni and it was indeed fun to meet all of them. For many, it was Happiness being with an old college-mate after a long time and feeling like nothing has changed. It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re twenty one and planning for someday, and then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today, and that someday is yesterday. And this is your life. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that certain things will never go back to how they used to be. Sometimes, even when you’re having a good time, you can’t help but stop and think about how much you miss the old times.We have had a good time while we were young, but it is in the nature of Time to fly. We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves. In the end, you always go back to the people that were there in the beginning.
Meeting up with people from St Aloysius Institutions gives us a little piece of the past back. And no matter how much things have changed and continue to do so, we’ll always remember the people we shared those golden years with.That’s the fun of going to a high school or college reunion: it’s seeing the people who you were close to all those years ago, and re-exploring the relationships of the past. Reunion reveals friendship potential that hasn’t yet emerged in the past. In a lighter vein-“Reunion after a long separation is even better than one’s wedding night”- this SACAA Reunion 2021 even though wasn’t a BIG BASH like the earlier ones, those SAC alumni/ae who joined in today’s small programme reluctantly bid goodbye to each other, while specifically asking for more such reunions to be organized and draw plans to repay their Alma Mater in the best way possible.
We Alumni of SAC take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere. And as they say “An Aloysian is Always an Aloysian”- and that’s what we are, and will be. Proud to be an Aloysian!