This Site Was Last Updated on Saturday, 20 May 2006
Site Owner - Stephen Smith
Remember Faith Graham?
When did you attend Priory
Who were your most memorable teachers?
There was no one special teacher because they were were all so unforgettable and all hold a special place in my heart. I remember them all: Mr Wade, my second form teacher; Mr Day who taught me feudalism in the second form. I had a nose bleed while writing my final exam, smeared my paper but did very well in my exam anyway; Mrs Day who was not as strict with me as I had expected when I copied Jenny A'Brook's English homework, verbatim including the errors!
Barrie & Sue Day
Mrs Gervasio, who was my science teacher in the second form. One day someone stole a scalpel and the whole class had to stay after school in the hope that the guilty person would confess. I do not know that that happened. Even Mrs Day encouraged the unknown student to come forward; Mr Chalmers who taught me the mnemonic: 'the cat sat on an orange and howled horribly.' The first letters of these words helped me to figure out cosine, sine and tangent angles. I worked with that mnemonic all through my high school years. Thanks Mr Chalmers; I remember Mrs Nicholson, who apart from begging Jenny and I to be quiet in French class, encouraged me to keep my hair cut short as it 'matched my face.' It took me a while to get use to the look but once I did, there was no turning back. Mrs Nicholson was quite a stunning woman herself. Her hair was short and she wore beautiful clothes;I desperately wanted to be in Mrs Gregory's English class but never had the opportunity. She was always smartly dressed, spoke very quietly and was always in control. She treated me to lunch a few years ago. Thanks Mrs Gregory!
Mrs Janice Buwalda taught me English in either the 2nd or 3rd form. I remember learning the definition of 'hyperbole' as well as the phrase 'social norms' with her. At the end of the term, she gave me an English dictionary which I had for years. She had taught my aunt at Glenmuir High School in May Pen years before.
Mrs Hernould and I exchanged a few letters in the early eighties and I am glad to know that she is still doing well.
Mr Davis tried in vain to teach me perspective in art class.
I had a bit part in one of Mr Rashleigh's plays.
I got 100% in Mr Grabowski's physics class and then failed physics miserably at Wolmers High School which I attended from 1978 to 1981. That ended my dreams of becoming a doctor!!! But my strengths were not in the sciences anyway as I later discovered.
Mr Bourke had a special impact on me and I am sure I was not the only student who felt this way. He had a gentle, and accepting manner about him. I will remember that always. How sad to find out about his tragic death on the very day that I attended my university graduation in 1988.
Who were your best friends at Priory?
I was friendly with many of the students all through my years at Priory but Katherine Atkinson and Jenny A'Brook were my best friends. Katherine Atkinson came to my 12th birthday party. I still have the pictures.
Shortly after Katherine left Priory, I became friendly with Jenny A'Brook and I still remember asking her to be my best friend right in front of the lockers on the first floor, near the cafeteria. Jenny was a very bright girl and it was always my intention to be just like her. She wrote such beautiful stories and read aloud in class so well. Our friendship is one of the most beautiful memories of my teenage years.
When Jenny and her family returned to Wales in 1976, Jenny and I exchanged letters which would sometimes total 10-12 pages! We talked about everything but mostly music. Jenny was a great fan of Bob Marley, to say the very least. One day I was coming home from Priory along Hope Road and happened to see Bob at his home. I went home and asked my mother if I could return for an autograph. At first, she said no, but then she relented. Mr Marley was quite gracious and gave me two autographs, one for me and the other for Jenny. I wish I could have been in her house the day she received it. I understand that she shrieked with joy! I don't know if Jenny still has hers but I don't. Even if I did have Bob's autograph, I have often wondered who would believe me if I told said that a scrap of paper held the signature of one of the world's greatest reggae singers?
Bob Marley's Autograph
On March 22, 1978, the 4th, 5th and 6th formers left for a two-week trip to England. I had decided that I would surprise Jenny and so in the weeks leading up to the trip, only informed Jenny's parents who in turn told her older brother Richard. The plan was that the A'Brooks would meet the Priory tour coach in Ironbridge, pick me up and I would spend a week with them in Aberyswyth, Wales before returning to London to spend another week there with my father. I managed to keep the secret until the day before we left for Ironbridge. I could hold it no longer. I called her up from the hotel in London and told her that I would be seeing her soon. We had a smashing time!
Jenny and I no longer write reams of letters anymore, but I was heartened to hear that until recently she still had my letters. Unfortunately, I no longer have hers.
Who are you in touch with today?
Until I found this site on my birthday back in February, I had not been in touch with many people except Paul Lopez. I have seen him quite often over the past 25 years because shortly after moving to Florida in 1981 and while at a church in Fort Lauderdale, I met Opal who then met and married Paul. Opal and I have been very close friends ever since. Paul and Opal have three beautiful children. I could not attend their wedding as I was in nursing school in England. Paul, his sister Joanna and brother Christopher all studied at Priory. Joanna and I were in the same year.
After I found the site, I contacted Candace Gore and we still correspond often. John Moss-Solomon called me back in February or March but for some reason, we still have not seen each other, even though we both live in South Florida. Back in April, I received an email from William Massias. I had a crush on him when I was in the first form. My biggest crush however was Courtney Coombs. I am sure he would appreciate me telling the whole world that!!! Needless to say none of these boys even realized that I existed!
Candace Gore William Massias Courtney Coombs
Who would you like to track down?
I would be delighted if anyone who remembered me, would contact me!! I would love to talk to Suzanne Brown. We started Priory on the same day, January 8th, 1975 and walked into our class S1// holding hands. Jenny and I once spent an afternoon at Suzanne's home in Stony Hill and in haste, I had written her phone number on my mother's box of buttons where it remains to this day.
This may not be the most appropriate time to do this, but I would like to remember David Campbell who died in January 1978. He came home from school one Wednesday evening and that night, suffered a brain aneurysm. The following morning the students gathered in the auditorium to pray, the only time I can ever recall Priory students praying about anything. It was a very sad morning. I did not know David well but knew that he was on the football team and was an excellent player. He was nicknamed 'Dago' and 'Bomber' because he always bombed a ride home. I was deeply affected and for the next couple of days waited desperately for any news from the hospital that David had improved. That weekend I went to a party and remember calling the hospital for an update on David, with Odyssey's 'Native New Yorker' blaring in the background. I was convinced that I too would die at 16. I was 14 at the time. Almost every year, I remember the anniversary of his death and his birthday on June 3rd.
I also often think of the two Peruvian girls whose father, an attaché from his country, was assassinated in front of one of the girls. I was in the second form, sitting in a French class and through the window, could see both girls standing outside Mr Bourke's office. I remember visiting my grandmother in May Pen and telling her all about it. It would be nice to know how those women have coped over the years.
Kevin Corpe and Kirk Hendriks kept me laughing and it would be wonderful to know how they are doing.
Kevin Corp and Kirk Hendriks
Charles Tomlinson may not remember but he had to sit a O'level mock exam in mathematics and for some reason did not have a geometry set. I lent him mine and remember feeling so important, being able to help a student in need and of course a student like Charles. He was a very bright student. Charles and I were in the first form together. One day in class, the teacher asked if anyone knew the temperature of a healthy person. Charles blurted out, "98.6!" I have never forgotten that. Thanks Charles! At the beginning of the second form, I did not see Charles and was then informed that he had skipped and gone on to the third form. Wasn't I impressed!
I don't know why but I remember Curtis Bennet's birthday on October 29th.
What was the wildest thing you ever did at Priory?
I am afraid I was not the wild type!! But I do remember staying on at school one afternoon to attend a party which my mother had expressly forbidden me to do. She met me at the front door with a stick...
On another occasion on sports day, my team Oxford suddenly needed a runner and I was picked. Debbie Rickards and her mother raced me home to get changed. It must have been a traumatic experience because I can recall nothing else that happened that day. I enjoy running but do not consider myself a runner even though I have run three marathons - one full and two halves.
Who was the craziest person during your time at Priory?
There was not just one crazy person but several. I do not think I would consider them crazy. They just had unforgettable personalities: William Cocking, Micah Taylor, Metry Seaga, Thomas Desulme, Terrence Swire, Ken Lyons, Kirk Matthews. I remember Andrew Lobban's friend, Chickee, I believe, telling me that in time I would appreciate Al Green's music. I did.
William Cocking, Micah Taylor and Metry Seaga
Where do you live and what do you do nowadays?
Hollywood, Florida has been my home since 2002 but I have lived in South Florida since 1981 apart from the two and a half years I spent in Brazil (1994-1997) working in an orphanage. I am an ESOL teacher in Hallandale, have taught there since 2001 and have enjoyed a rich experience interacting with people from all over the world. Teaching, as any teacher knows, is one of the most frustrating, challenging, yet inspiring and rewarding jobs on which one can embark. And to think that teaching was never a goal of mine! While at Priory, partly because of the many students whose parents worked with foreign missions and drove Mercedes Benz, I was determined that I would study international relations so that I too could have a CD(cours diplomatique)plate on my Bendes. I did major in international relations, am still deeply interested in world affairs but no longer wish for a CD plate nor a Benz.
Faith and friend's daughter Elena
Tell us about any significant others
I am single but am convinced that I would have better luck if I grew my hair. (Smile!!)
Tell us about your most unusual meeting with a Priory person
I met Ricky Crooks and Amalia Cipolla on two different occasions while working in the FIU library many years ago. About two years ago, I bumped into Christine Carter at Nova University while registering for a Spanish class. Her sister, Angela Carter was in my year at Priory.
What do you think of the Priory Website?
It is simply fantastic. I came upon it quite by accident. On my birthday this past February, while sitting in the computer lab at work, I suddenly thought of Metry Seaga and decided to search for him. I was then led to the Priory site. Thanks so much Steve, for giving me the chance to remember a very happy chapter of my life.
Such, such were the joys...
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Published on the Priory Website Sunday 14th May 2006
© Stephen Smith 2006