Friday 22nd January 2021

Set Your Sights High

The college recently made contact with a former student, and one that entered the college community on our first day of foundation.

(The present day Archbishop Beck Catholic College was originally known as St Bonaventure's on the Cedar Road site in Walton)

St. Bonaventures

Here Mr Hicks does a Q&A with Mr Flynn

Anthony J. Flynn -  Recollections of St. Bonaventure's High School.

My first day at St. Bonaventures (Bonnies as it was known) was on its opening day in the spring of 1960.

For a young boy of 11 years, it was a most impressive new school and worlds apart from the Victorian walls of the Blessed Sacrament primary school in Walton Vale (now demolished) which I had left. Wearing the school uniform was mandatory.

Looking at it now, Bonnies was state of the art for the time. We had modern bright classrooms, assembly hall & gym, dedicated metalwork & woodwork classes and a swimming pool was added later. I recall playing football, rugby & cricket on the playing fields which looked across at the Hartley’s factory. Steam trains used to roar by on the mainline adjacent the fields.

I recall some teachers who left their mark on you such as...

  • Mr Capaldi - Woodwork
  • Mr Brophy - Music
  • Miss Mooney -  Deputy Head
  • Mr Roberts - Maths
  • Mr Bird -
  • Mr Slade - Physics (I think)
  • And Mr Michael Coleman - Headmaster

Mr Coleman was a man of considerable stature who valued honesty & integrity highly. He instilled discipline in his pupils and drew a line you dare not cross. Unfortunately, on one occasion that I can still recall vividly, some young boys did cross the line.

Three boys were caught stealing from the local sweet /tuck shop at the top of Cedar road. The entire school was assembled in the hall with all teaching staff lined up behind Mr Coleman on the stage. The three boys were paraded on to the stage named, received several strokes of the cane each and expelled. Mr Coleman then took the cane he had used and twisted almost into a knot and fired it over our heads hitting the back wall of the hall and falling to the floor. I can still see this moment in my mind !

Looking at it now... I guess this hurt him more than the caning had hurt the boys!

I recall being selected for the school choir by Mr Brophy which I did enjoy. The school had entered some competition and the choir was selected to perform at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. There was great excitement I recall about this and the choir had additional practise after school. Just prior to the concert for Phil concert my ‘voice broke’ and I was asked to stand down !

I left Bonnies in the summer of 1965 and recall taking English, History, and Maths as finals. Mr Coleman left his mark and his values upon me. I visited the school unannounced in circa 1973/74 and he was still there. His secretary sent for him and I can still hear him coming along the corridor to his office. He was delighted to see me and we had tea in his office. He asked why I had come back to see him. I told him that I valued what he and the school had given me. I believe he was quietly very pleased.

I never saw myself as an academic. After leaving school I had decided to pursue training in Psychology which did not appeal, a short stint in Fords of Halewood (completely unchallenging). I then spent some time in Canada (my sister still lives there) and finally decided that my future lay in Ireland where I was born and returned there in May of 1969.

I was fortunate to be hired by an Anglo American organisation in a Sales & Marketing role and the rest is history. In 1977 I succeeded in joining the computer industry in Ireland again in sales & marketing roles working for major multinational organisations. In 1986 I was moved to London by my company and became Sales Director for the UK. In 1990 I was approached to return to Ireland as MD of a major multinational ICT organisation. I went on to be Country Manager for two other ICT multinationals in Ireland.

I was 70 in March 2019 and now semi-retired but still working within the computer industry.

I have two daughters & a son, all married and five granddaughters (blessed art thou amongst women!)

I have been asked by Bruce Hicks for a few final thoughts on my education at the time and also what would I say to the young adults of the college community to guide them in the years ahead.

The 1960’s were different times and education was going through considerable change. I believe I received a very good grounding in all aspects of my education during my time at St Bonaventure’s. If you put the effort in the teachers would work with you and encourage you. That is my experience.

For the aspiring students of Archbishop Beck College I would say...

  • Set your sights high
  • Fly ‘above’ the radar
  • And three very important things to do……Focus, Focus, Focus !

Somebody once said to me…… "If you can dream it, so it might be……..I dare you to dream."

April 2019

(Thank you Mr Flynn we look forward to you visiting the college on June 7th 2019)


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