CONTRIBUTION BY PETER CORBISHLEY 1953/1962
I spent nine years at St Joe’s so by the time I was eighteen I had spent half my life there with no time off for good behaviour. Even in the prep school and at those tender years the strap, plimsoll and hair and ear pulling were in use, and Alf Pope used to hit us with a cricket bat. However, I suppose it was a good grounding for what was to follow in 'The Big School'. Teachers I remember from those days are Mr Lynsky a bad tempered old man with a limp. I think he was just seeing his time out and could not wait to retire. The other was Jim McGrahan who was strict but fair and a good teacher. He was later our form master in first or second year in the senior school.
I remember a fellow pupil called John McNulty who on most days had to be carried into class kicking and screaming by two of the Brothers. He was like this for quite some time but eventually settled down and like most of the Prep School went on to the Senior School. I did hear that he did well for himself and became what we now call a computer programmer.
In the summer holiday between Prep School and Senior School, probably 1957 I remember I could not wait to return to school. I was looking forward to all the new subjects and teachers and sports etc. I don’t ever remember feeling the same in later summer holidays. Teachers at the College were either the ones that stayed the course or the ones that came for a term or a year and then disappeared this applied to both lay teachers and the brothers. The other contributors have mentioned many of the teachers so I will just keep to the ones that had the greatest effect on me. One thing I hated was having to go to school on Saturday mornings – No Odeon club for us.
Brother O’Sullivan, Osul, taught me a lesson I will never forget. In either third or fourth year one day I had been kept in detention for some reason and I ended up waiting for my bus in the shelter on Newton Drive opposite the No 4 pub. Along with me were some older boys from a later year. They were larking about and a window in the shelter was smashed. Then we heard the booming voice from above “COME OUT YOU LOT”. We did and found Osul had been patrolling behind the school wall. He told us all to report to his office in the morning and we did, all of us. I told him I was not with the older boys and they agreed and one of them attempted to own up. Osul said we were going to get six of the best and we did. I still said it was not fair and he said to me “Life is not fair. You will find that out.” I did find out there and then and this has stayed with me all my life, a very valuable lesson but I did not think so at the time.
In my very early years of the Senior School there seemed to be difficulty in hiring French teachers. I remember a husband and wife team called Monsieur et Madame Sompere. They were only there for a short time. He was a nasty piece of work who must have been on a crash course on punishments from the Brothers because he knew the lot. She on the other hand was as fit as a butcher's dog, nobody misbehaved in her class. We were to busy drooling over her. It was about this time that Brother Clay in an R.E. Lesson informed us to our dismay and devastation that it was a mortal sin to have a wank!
Brother O’Brien: there is little I can say that has not already been said. However, I was, for my sins, press ganged into his famous Form 3 Choir. When he was on a recruiting drive for this choir there was no hiding place from him and when cornered and ordered to sing if you gave a sort of croak you were in the base section and if you squeaked you were a soprano. Anything in between he would find you a place. The big downside of this was that the midday breaktime was replaced by choir practice. So in your own time if you didn’t sing you were beaten up. I remember him on many occasions diving into the ranks of the choir knocking many aside in his bull like charge to descend on someone who had taken their eyes off him. Anyway the choir was a success on speech day and Christmas concerts and there was even an LP or EP cut. I never had any serious run-ins with him and I found him to be a good teacher of History. He must have been because I passed History in GCE.
I must mention Brother O’Leary, (Josh). I agree entirely with John Sheard’s comments. I too was only taught by Josh for a short time and I have always thought that my education suffered from a lack of this great teacher’s attention.
There were many other good teachers and some lousy ones but although the regime at the college was to say the least tough, I do not regret the time spent at St Joseph’s. I left with a good education and a good grounding for the life to come and I don’t see how that can be described as a waste of time.
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