Grand Scale Developments (1934-1939)
This was the era of Fr Ludger Nauer, OSB, and was characterised by lofty but practical schemes some of which materialised in his own day, while others were shelved on the outbreak of the war. He set up the first Science Laboratory, which was formally opened by Lady Fletcher, wife of the then Governor of Trinidad, and which was operated by Cecil Lai Fook and later by Eugene Bertrand.
Fr. Ludger saw to the building of the first Chapel, introduced a College Song, and published in Niarch of 1936 the only St. Benedict’s College magazine. It was during this period that the St. Benedict’s Home, a boarding house, was built. According to the 1936 magazine, “the boarding house was intended mainly for boys whose parents reside away from San Fernando. The catering is done by a capable lady, whilst the Benedictine Fathers are responsible for the disciplinary part of the Homet’. Monthly boarding fees of $20 and tuition fees of $16 helped the College finances.
The period saw the College football XI win the SAFA Second League for the Leiba Cup in 1934 it saw Roy Seon win a place on the SAFA forward line, the first College student to play representative football. It also saw its first Cantata and other concerts organised by Mr. Churchill Johnston, a tour to St. Vincent in 1937 and another to British Guiana in 1939, and several open air boxing tournaments. Cricket coaching sessions during this time by ex-international cricketer George John and BG Intercolonial cricketer, Chatterpaul Persad, would later realise results in the form of the invitation of several of our College players to the trials of Intercolonial cricket.
Additions to the teaching staff were J.E. Borneo, Ken Mungal, F.A. Hoyos, E. Lowe, Cecil Lai Fook, Ben Winchester, Mrs. Andre, and Rev. Fr. Boniface OSB This period saw Ramnath(Ram) as the first tull time member of the grounds Club conducted by Mr. Hoyos.
War Years and Immediate Post-War period
This was the regime of Fr. Boniface, which saw the construction in 1945 of what is now affectionately known as the “Old Block’, the organisation of a Sea Scouts group and construction of a Boat Club, the introduction of the Prefect system (with Jim Paul and Terrence Greteau as the first Head Prefects), the start of the Legion of Mary, and the winning of the Cow and Gate Cup, emblem of supermacy in Intercollegiate football in Trinidad.
It was at this time that Mr. Mac, with the aid of Mr. Page, Captain of the Fleet-Air-Arm Football Xl, began to introduce the third back method of play in the College team which was then skippered by Jim Paul. Leon Leacock had already become famous as the youngest player ever to play representative in Trinidad when he was selected to represent the SAFA at the age of fourteen. John Streetly had begun to reveal his penchant for mountain-climbing by numerous assaults on the San Fernando Peak via the most inaccessible routes.
Rev. Fr. Willibrord Vonk, OSB joined the staff during this time, as well as Ralph Boland, Aubrey Garcia and Victor de Castro.
Products of St. Benedict’s
Some of the well known graduates of St. Benedict’s include Bishop John Mendes, Mr. Robert MontanoQusinessman and founder of the South Chamber of commerce), Mr. Clyde Boyce, Mr. Carl Hinds, Mr. Cyril Greenidge, Dr. Cuthbert Joseph (former Minister of Education), Mr Leon Leacock, and Mr. Van Arden Stephen Stewart (former Principal of Queen’s Royal College).