Alex D’Almeida-Student of the first batch of St. Lawrence high school who served in the Indian Army


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By Eugene Moodubelle

Moodubelle, 23 November 2009: While in school, Alex had been dreaming of serving the nation by joining the Indian army. He fulfilled this dream after completing his SSLC examination in 1962. He served in the Indian army for 28 year and retired as junior commissioned officer (Honorary Subedar Major). He actively participated in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak Wars. Though now retired from service and presently works as a security officer at Manipal, Alex has fond memories of his student days, especially in St. Lawrence High School and is very much excited that this year his alma mater is celebrating its Golden Jubilee in which he intends to take part actively as the past student of the institution.

Alex was born on 18th May 1945 at Pademar, Moodubelle. His parents were late Lazarus and Catherine D’Almeida. He is the last one among the eight children, four boys and four girls. He had his primary and secondary education in Moodubelle. However, before the high school was established at Moodubelle in 1959, Alex along with Fr. Denis Castelino and late Shankar Shetty of Pademar went to SVS High School, Innanje for 8th standard in 1958-59, by walking a distance of nearly 14 miles both ways during the academic year.

When St. Lawrence High School was founded in 1959, Alex became one of the 32 students of the first batch to be enrolled in the newly established high school. The number of students increased during the next two years to 49 when the first batch appeared for the SSLC examination. He remembers the fact that for the 9th standard the classes were held in the higher primary school premises and Mr. Denis D’Silva was the first Head Master. When the high school building was under the construction, the students had to work during free and sports periods to level the ground by digging and carrying mud and filling the low land.

After the completion of the high school building, the students were sfited to the new building for the 10th standard, and Alex says that all the students were excited to be the first occupants of the newly constructed building. Among the teachers, Alex fondly remembers the Head Master, Deju Uchchil and Kannada Pandit Mukunda Puranik, with whom he recalls the old memories of their teacher-student relationship while in high school. Alex maintains that Puranik Master was a very good Kannada teacher who also was interested in gardening cultivating various types of vegetables and fruits especially bananas. Alex also recalls that he had the good opportunity of being taught by Edward D’Sa and Victor Rebello who were earlier Head Master and teacher in the higher primary school respectively.

Alex was a close friend of Fr. Denis Castelino as both of them were companions not only while going to Innanje School but also in St. Lawrence High School. He remembers that both of them used to share their Tiffin and accompany each other while going to and coming from the school along with other neighbouring children.

After completing the SSLC in 1962, Alex proceeded to Mumbai and joined the Indian armed forces in November 1962. Prior to his enrolment, Alex had to undergo physical and medical tests which he cleared without any problem. For his basic and technical training for one year, Alex was sent to Army Service Corps (ASC) centre in Bangalore. Later, he was sent to various army units in different location such as Assam, Kolkata, Nainital, Jodhpur and finally to Jammu and Kashmir.

Alex had been actively involved in supplying food items, petrol, diesel and other type of materials necessary for fighting troops in forward areas during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak Wars. During both these wars, Alex was in Jammu and Kashmir and had witnessed practically daily bombing of airports and surrounding regions in Jammu and Kashmir. For his active involvement in these wars, Alex was awarded six medals. After the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Alex served in different supply Depots and Battalions in various parts of India.

After serving for 28 years in the Army Service Corps, Alex retired in 1990, after the completion of terms and conditions as laid down by the Army Head Quarters. After retirement, for nearly six years Alex carried on the family responsibilities and upbringing of his children. In 1996, Alex joined Reliable Security Agency as Security Supervisor and presently he is working as Security Officer in Manipal Facility Management Limited at Manipal.

Alex was married to Helen of Pernal in 1974 and they have four children, two boys and two girls. Eldest son, Stephen is presently working in a Chartered Accountant’s Office at Udupi, Jyothi is married and settled down in Mumbai, Ivan- after completing M.Com and MBA is presently working in Dubai and the last child, Jovita is presently studying in final year B.Com at St. Mary’s College, Shirva.

Alex was interested in sports, especially Volley ball while in high school. He has been a member of the Church Choir Group since the past ten years.

Being a witness for the past fifty years about the growth of St. Lawrence High School, Alex feels proud of the achievements of the school where he was the student in the first batch fifty years ago. He feels happy that year by year the students have been getting better facilities in the high school than before. His advice to the present students of the high school is that they should be thankful to their parents, who in turn were the students of this great high school who had to study under difficult circumstances and improve their condition so that their children would have a better future.

 

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