FOCUS: The First Xaverian
(This is an excerpt from a Hoofprint interview that offers a glimpse of how Xavier School was in the early years. Mr. Anthony Wong entered Xavier when it opened in 1956.)
Hoofprint: What grade or year was your entry level into Xavier School and how old were you then?
Mr. A. Wong: I entered in 1956. I was 14 when I enrolled in First Year High School. My class was the only High School class in that year. When we began our Second Year in High School, a new class of First Year students followed.
Hoofprint: There were only nine students comprising the first batch of high school graduates. Why was this so?
Mr. A. Wong: Our graduation was very simple as there were only 9 of us. Mind you, we were more than 20 who started in First Year High School but the numbers kept dropping. Some failed and had to drop out, while others had to repeat the year and had to stay behind to join the lower levels. English was the toughest subject.
Hoofprint: Who were some of your teachers and what subject did they teach?
Mr. A. Wong: One of them was of course Fr. Pineau, whom I remember the most. . Fr. Pineau was a strict teacher who would distribute small pieces of daily quiz papers at the start of each class. Usually the quiz was to analyze something he wrote. He was a very good English teacher. I still remember his book called “The Sentence.” That book teaches you how to analyze a sentence, from a simple one to a complex one.
Then there was Father Ho, who taught us Chinese, and Fr. Guerin, who taught us Science. There was also Fr. Papilla and Fr. Cortina. Fr. Cortina did not teach us but he was in charge of sports. Fr. Li taught Math along with Fr. Joseph Sung, a scholastic who later left the Jesuits before he became a priest. There were also Frs. Desautels, the founder of the school, and Fr. Daniel Clifford.
Hoofprint: Did you have Chinese and Filipino and did you find the two subjects hard?
Mr. A. Wong: Chinese was not hard. It was mostly memorization. And there was Mr. Umali, our teacher of Filipino. We called him U-ma-li (五马力) which in Chinese meant five horsepower!
Hoofprint: Were you ever punished and what sort of punishment did they have back then?
Mr. A. Wong: Our punishment consisted of us having to stand in the corner. And when one came in late, he would be called “the late so-and-so.”
Hoofprint: What time did school start and what time did it end?
Mr. A. Wong: We started early in the morning and ended late in the afternoon. It was a whole day affair.
Hoofprint: What was the reputation of XS Kuang Chi back then?
Mr. A. Wong: It was known as a good school. We learned a lot while we were in Xavier so it was easy for us to get into the colleges and universities. I went to Mapua for college.
Hoofprint: Did you have a publication like Hoofprint?
Mr. A. Wong: We had no school publication in those days. We had other activities however, sports like basketball and soccer. I was in the soccer team and I was the goalie. I was also part of the Sea Scouts. There were only five of us and we had to build a boat! In fact, (as a result of this experience as a sea scout), I participated in the China Sea Race in 1986 and in 1988. A group of friends brought a yacht to Hong Kong and we raced it back to the Philippines. The journey took us from four days to a week.
Hoofprint: How did Xavier School look back then, in Echague?
Mr. A. Wong: The school was a small one-story building, and there was lots of open space. Not much trees and plants.
Hoofprint: Are you still involved in school reunions and other activities?
Mr. A. Wong: Not that much anymore. I didn’t attend the past few reunions because we were so few in the batch and, when I would attend, most of the time I would find that I was alone or there would only be two of us from our batch.
Hoofprint: How has the Xavier education helped you in your life?
Mr. A. Wong: One thing is that we can speak English quite well. I learned to be proficient in English. I would say I learned very well the values of discipline and hard work.
Hoofprint: What advice would you give to us Xaverians about how to handle our studies and about keeping the values taught to us by Xavier?
Mr. A. Wong: When you study, you have to be serious and not fool around. Otherwise, you will regret not studying well. My son, for example, did not take his Chinese seriously, He regretted that later on. He’s in Germany now and he had to take up Chinese again. In any language, even in English, you have to practice by writing and speaking. Some people can write very well but just can’t speak out. In job applications, there is a line asking about languages written and another about languages spoken. Mandarin is very important now. When you go to Xiamen, you see Caucasians speaking fluent Mandarin.
There is only one word to describe the Xavier Education: It is GOOD.
|Men fully alive, endowed with a passion for justice, and the skills for development.|
|© 2004 Xavier School, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our disclaimer. Contact us.
|All external sites will open in a new browser.
Xavier School does not endorse external sites.