YOUNG Brother Columba taught economics, geography and general paper from 1966-1969 at St Joseph`s Secondary School, Those were some of the best years of his career. He loved teaching and unlike the later years when he became Brother Director and Principal of the school, he was his true self.
As Daniel Law put it: “Interesting and inspirational in class, warm, compassionate, gentle and approachable outside.”
JC Fong (now Datuk) said: “Brother Columba was representative of those early years when teachers like the La Salle Brothers, the Indians, locals like Poh Chin Hang and Datuk Polycarp Sim made teaching their vocation. Today many teachers treat teaching as an occupation.”
He added that Brother Columba was the most outstanding among the Brothers, having a degree of tolerance, fairness and an enthusiasm in his work which inspired him (JC) and the others to succeed.
Infrastructure Development and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong was boarding prefect and captain of the school football team.
He said when they played football, the whole school would turn up to support. That was the kind of loyalty and team spirit built by the La Salle Brothers and the other teachers.
“We saw them as selfless, doing things for us, not for themselves. They wanted to build our characters. In return, we gave our best to the school.”
In 1970, Brother Columba became principal and director of St Joseph`s Secondary School, Kuching. He retired in 1987, making him the second longest serving principal of the school, after Fr Anthony Heidegger`s 48 year “reign” (1883 – 1931).
Brother Columba said he couldn`t say he loved administrative work as much as teaching but he had to do it and from that time on, the gentle Irishman with the angelic smile became a task master and tough disciplinarian.-The Sunday Post
Upper 6 1967