Monday, January 17, 2011

the feature address for Founder's Day 2011

Don't ever dare to take your college as a matter of course - because, like democracy and freedom, many people you'll never know have broken their hearts to get it for you.
Alice Duer Miller

Mr Chairman
Principal of Hillview College, Mr Leslie Mahase
Representation of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago
Representative of the Ministry of Education
Students and Staff of Hillview College
Specially invited Guests
Ladies and gentlemen

It is indeed a pleasure to be with you today as you celebrate the fifty-sixth anniversary of the Founding of this great institution, Hillview College. I wish to thank your principal, Mr Mahase for his kind invitation to deliver the feature address on this auspicious occasion. On behalf of my husband, himself a past student and myself sincere congratulations to the entire Hillview Community on achieving this milestone in your history. The Staff and students of SAGHS also extend their love and best wishes.

Hillview College opened its doors on the 15th January 1955, at Sheriff Street in Tunapuna under the principalship of Rev Dr HF Swann. The staff consisted of Mr Effle Mohammed and Mr Stephen Alisharan who later served as Principal of the college. Forty-five young men made up the student body. (Their names are imortalised on the wall just south of this auditorium.) Its name was Naparima College (Tunapuna Branch).

Dr Allan McKenzie, Principal of Naparima College, in his greetings to the Hillview College community on their 25th anniversary stated, “At the time we felt the need to bring to the community of Nothern Trinidad the rich traditions and quality of Education which Naparima College tried to nuture among its own student.” Today HIllview College can boast of not only living up to these expectations but building a valued reputation as a beacon of quality education in its own right.

Here are some milestones in the life of the College .
  • 1951 – Official Board of the Aramalaya Church wrote to Presbytery urging the opening of a Boys Secondary School in Tunapuna. Of Interest is the Founding of SAGHS on September 17th 1950 on the initiative of the same church.
  • 1953 – Naparima College was instructed by Presbytery to proceed with plans for Secondary School Expansion which including Naps North.
  • 1954 - A committee of members of the Aramalaya Congregation met with Rev Swann and Rev Gallagher of the Board of Overseas Missions to identify lands and buildings to accommodate the college. Sherrif Street was chosen as a good location since the church hall could serve as a class room and the grounds and the cowshed could be used for games.
  • 15th January 1955 classes began with 45 students a staff of 2 under the principalship of Rev Swann.
  • 2nd March 1956, 5 acres of land at El Dorado Rd was leased for 99 years at a peppercorn rental of 24c per annum.
  • November 1956, work started on the new site.
  • 20th August 1957, the College was formally opened by Rt. Rev JS Thompson, Moderator of the United Church of Canada
  • November 1957, the College received recognition as a Government Assisted Secondary School

As we celebrate 56 years of existence we must remember persons whose names are an integral part of our history.
  • Earle Kalloo and Clarence Darsan who together with George Jitman, Harold Sukhbir, Charles Kalloo and CM Chatee who worked with Rev Dr Swann to make Naps North a reality.
  • Mrs Swann, Mrs Kirkpatrick, Rev Alcorn and Rev Paul Sharma who assisted the staff of two with the teaching of Music, Religious studies and Mathematics.
  • Lewis Campbell, Robert Moosai-Maharaj and Sydney Martin who freely gave of their knowledge and skill in the construction of the first permanent building at El Dorado Road in Tunapuna.
  • And of course past principals Rev Swann, Rev Kirkpatrick, Mr Stephan Moosai-Maharaj, Mr Stephen Alisharan, Mr Stephen Seepersad, Mr Richard Kokaram and Mr Jeremiah Seepersad who all contribution to the Hillview College we know and love.
  • I also wish to remember the many persons who I have not named who also worked to make Hillview College the school that it is today

What makes Hillview College the unique institution that it is?

This quote from an article by Mr Stephen Alisharan, member of the original staff of Hillview College and Principal from 1968 to 1975 gives a good picture of the vision of the Founders for Hillview College.

“This is a church-inspired and God-centered institution. The College is interested in imparting knowledge to the students and enabling them to acquire and develop certain skills to make them useful members of the community. But we are much more interested in deeper and basic things. Education is not merely the giving or acquiring knowledge. Education has the more difficult function of guiding the learner in the best development of his capacities for the efficient living in the most revolutionized society that Trinidad and the West Indies Federation are becoming. Education is essentially interested in producing a socially useful person”. He goes on to say “In this College be believe that God’s Holy Spirit pervades our whole lives, every moment of it, a constant guide and help, and the source of all goodness and love. In the final analysis the concerns of the Spirit and more important that the concerns of the intellect or mind.”

The Motto “Humani Nihil Alienum” – “I am interested in everything concerning mankind.” guides all matters concerning the school. Not only have students of Hillview College made a name for themselves in the Academic arena winning numerous awards and scholarships including several president medals but Hillview continues to excel in Cricket, Football, Astronomy, Scrabble and numerous other fields. The Principal and staff must be commended for the emphasis placed on the all-round development of their students. The College Song written by Dr Stephen Moosai-Maharaj and sung to the tune of a well-loved hymn proudly proclaims “All things concerning Human Ken are ours to Champion, Hillview Men”.

Here are just a few Hillview Men who have made their mark on the Landscape of Trinidad & Tobago and the world. (These are all graduates that I know personally and are just a few of many who have made us proud.)
  • Vijay Naraynsing ,World renown vascular surgeon
  • Satanand Sharma, Chief Justice of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Mark Mohammed, Director of Public prosecution
  • Stephen Kangal, member of Diplomatic Corps, Deputy High Commissioner to Canada
  • Rawle Sukhu, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Anthony Garcia, President of T&TUTA, Principal of Fatima College
  • Satanand Sharma (son of Rev Paul Sharma) Head of the Creative Arts Centre UWI.
  • Dyer Narinesingh & Anderson Maxwell, Head of Chemistry Department UWI
  • Roger Boynes & Rudy Indarsingh, Ministers of Government and members of parliament
  • Anil Kokaram, Academy Award winner.
  • Tyron Rudolfo & Ekatma Mooleedhar, Officers in the protective Services
  • Dennis Puckerin, National Footballer
  • Anil Rajah, National cricketer
A most impressive list that is far from complete.

In “The Hillviewer “ - 25th Anniversary yearbook we read.
We are not just buildings and blackboards and books. We are people”

It would be remiss of me if I did not mention three qualities that I admire about Hillview College Graduates.
  • Hillview Graduates love their school.
During my 19 years as a teacher at this esteemed institution and in the 15 years since I have kept in touch with many of my students (close to 500 with the help of facebook) and a common thread are their fond memories of their days at Hillview.

  • Hillview Graduates “Stay in touch”.
Muhammad Ali once said “Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.”

Hillview College teaches the meaning of friendship

It never ceases to amaze me that the same groups who used to “get in scrapes” at school now meet for their children’s weddings, their kids birthday parties, birthdays, to lend supports at funerals and other difficult times. What a wonderful legacy.

  • Hillview Graduates are committed to their families.

Hillview has always been family and this has influenced the lives of its graduates. My experience has been that Hillview graduates have a strong sense of commitment to their families be it their wives, their children or their parents. The anecdotes are too numerous to share with you today but I believe that the example set by the adults in their lives certainly influence Hillview Men and their relationships later in life.

And finally a few thoughts as we look to the future,

Hillview College as any well-established, successful institutions is guided by policies, practices and traditions that have served it well. I humbly wish to make a few observations to the members of the Hillview Family.

To the Principal and Vice-principal, congratulations on a job well done. Remember the dream that led to Hillview College. Continue to be anchored in the vision of the Founders of providing quality all-round education for young men in Northern Trinidad.
To the staff of Hillview, you have been role models for your students. Continue to treat your students with love and kindness so they will be kind and loving adults.

To the students of Hillview, You are part of a proud family. Everything you do and say reflects on you school. Be role models in society. Keep the flag of Hillview flying high.
Remember that your background and circumstances may have influenced who you are, but, you are responsible for who you become.

Best wishes to you all.

I now wish to ask you all to stand and salute our Founders, “those we know and many we will never know” with a hearty round of applause.

Kathleen Anderson
Teacher III Hillview College (1976 – 1995)
Principal St Augustine Girls’ High School (1996 – present)