By Emilie Ng
CLASSMATES from St Joseph’s Nudgee College’s 1954 class may be 60 years older, but their recent reunion last month released their inner teenage spirits.
More than 90 men who graduated from Nudgee College in the late 1950s returned to their beloved school for a celebration Mass and lunch, including the former 1954 school captain Tom McDonnell.
Old boy and Australian pharmacist Terry White enjoyed the celebration with his school friends.
“It was a wonderful celebratory occasion to catch up with classmates after 60 years,” Mr White said.
“We’re still kids, just 60 years older.
“Half of us didn’t even recognise each other.
“But the spirit we had manifested at the school (in 1954) prevails today.”
Mr White honoured the Christian Brothers who taught at the school for their role in forming men of a “high ethical and moral basis”.
“We were kept very busy and studied until 9pm with the Brothers as our mentors,” Mr White said.
“I know that us kids wouldn’t have gotten through were it not for the contribution of the Christian Brothers for giving us such a fantastic education.
“I’m very grateful to the Brothers.
Mr White’s four sons attended the college, and now he has two grandsons continuing what is now a family tradition.
Back in 1954, Nudgee College’s student capacity was just 303 students compared to more than 1500 today.
A majority of boys also boarded at the school.
Lawrence Cusack, a former day student and boarder from Hendra, said many of his classmates were still connected to the college because of their friendships as boarders.
“There was a great feeling of camaraderie among the boys,” Mr Cusack said.
Mr Cusack, 81, said the 1954 had a reputation as being one of the most distinguished classes academically.
“All in all it was an era of Nudgee with high academic heights,” Mr Cusack said.
The 1954 class produced six doctors, three priests, three religious Brothers, and many successful sportsmen, among other professionals.
Mr Cusack said Nudgee College was renowned for helping “thousands of poor boys” receive a good quality education.
Thousands of children from Asia and the Pacific Islands studied at Nudgee College in the 1950s as part of the government’s international relations scheme, the Colombo plan.