It invariably happens that as an individual or institution progresses the roots seem to have been forgotten.
Clarence Old Pupils Association or COPA as it was roundly known owes it’s inception to Mr. A.C.A Flack the late legendary principal of CHS.
On a cold wintry morning of November 1986 Flack scootered down to my residence at Hall Road in Richards Town a few days before he sailed back to Australia at the end of a glorious tenure in Clarence – Sampath ! He said ” I want you in the next two months to start an association of old students and report its completion to my Australian address”
A.S. Lakshmanan – his pet student – will head the association. Miss Emma Horton the KG mistress will give you all the assistance in school he said.
Lakshmanan, when I met him in the next few days already had a draft constitution ready! He briefed me on the office bearers required.
Off I went, house to house, with addresses available and prevailed on old students to join the Association. No membership fees were collected as instructed by Lakshmanan as he would bear all the initial expenses. But sadly the members who joined were fairly senior prompting constructive critics to nickname it as ‘Clarence Old Pupils Association.’
Lakshmanan chaired the first meeting in the second week of November and the, members who attended were Jonas Swamidass, Colleen Samuel, Santosh Negunadi, Javid Iqbal, Sumathi Sampath, Mallika Mahadevan, Daniel Devaraj, Aban Rudina, Bina, Mahalakshmi and Sampath Mudaliar.
President Lakshmanan had the tasks already cut out for his team to establish a large auditorium for the school. Cana Naidu was roped in to assist in publishing the Souvenir mostly with ads with various tariffs and a few interesting articles to raise funds for the Flack Auditorium and all of us did our bit towards this project.
Other programs like Summer Spree at Assaye Field, and a musical program “Sing for Clarence” compered by me were conducted and an amount over a lakh of rupees was handed over to the then principal Mr. M.T. Thomas.
The name is of COPA was eventually changed to a more impressive “ALUMNI CLARENCE”
and was headed subsequently by myself, Santhosh Nedungadi, Malini Sridhar, Mala Venugopal, Biju Kurien, Thomas Oomen, Suresh Charles, Vivek mentioned and currently Joel Samuel.
Major contributions to the schools were The Inter School Basketball and recently Football Tournaments placing CHS in the local sports network of schools. The first school bus, financial assistance for needy students and medical insurance for the staff has also been part of our major contributions.
I am sure the present team will carry forward Alumini Clarence to dizzy heights.