Terry Lewis finished school at Blackfriars 50 years ago this year, but he remains a familiar face on campus.
“Twice a week, I pick up my grandson, Freddie, from the ELC,” said Mr Lewis (BPS’73), who was asked to share his memories of Blackfriars to mark the school’s 70th anniversary.
Mr Lewis’s ties to the school run deep. His son, Simon Lewis (BPS’98), and son-in-law, Michael Furmaniak (BPS’01), are also Blackfriars old scholars, as are his brother and two brothers-in-law. Two of his three grandsons have been students at the Early Learning Centre.
“Blackfriars is a common theme throughout the whole family,” Mr Lewis said. “It’s a really good feeling. I have come across a lot of Blackfriars people through my work and when you find they’ve been to Blackfriars, you can just sense, ‘oh, I know what this kid is going to be like; they are going to be a good person and have had a very good education’.”
Mr Lewis – who is now retired, but was a partner with KPMG and William Buck during his working life – started school at Blackfriars in 1968. He remembers Year 7 in Ferrer House, on Highbury St, which is now a private residence.
“We used to play games of footy on the back oval, but most of the school is very new now, especially this area over here (the Aquinas Centre); it looks great. I’m surprised how many new building there are.”
As many Blackfriars students in years gone by, Mr Lewis grew up in Adelaide’s northern suburbs and caught the train to school each day.
“We’d get off at Ovingham Station and walk up to the school. We used to get in a little bit of trouble occasionally,” he said with a laugh. “That was par for the course; ‘Could the Elizabeth boys come to the front of the assembly!’.”
But his fondest memories are of co-curricular opportunities and mates made along the way – many of whom he is still friends with today.
“I played First XVIII for Blackfriars and the second year we only lost two games. And that was against a lot of the bigger schools. That was a highlight,” he said.
“Plus, It’s Academic was on when I was at school and we did very well in that. I was a reserve, but the team itself did very well. That was quite a proud time for the school.
“But, to me, the thing about Blackfriars that stands out is that the people who went here stay together once they leave the school.”
Five decades after Mr Lewis finished school, Year 12 student Hudson Cosgrove is nearing the end of his own Blackfriars journey. Like Mr Lewis, his family’s connection to the school runs deep.
“I think probably some of my best memories are from my Year 8 key classes. Year 8 was the first year we had that big influx (of students). Everyone was new, no one was sure what to do. But I had a great key teacher with Ms (Caitlin) Graziano, Mr (Michael) Parrella (BPS’08) as my science and maths teacher. That year for me made me realise I am in such a great school.”
Hudson, who is a Prefect in 2023, said being part of the student leadership team was a “big accomplishment”.
“I am a part of that decision-making process and that’s probably a memory that I am going to hold for the rest of my life,” he said.
And he echoed Mr Lewis’s sentiments regarding the character of Blackfriars’ students – past and present. “Blackfriars has shaped us to be better men,” he said.
Seven-year-old James Demasi in in Year 2 and will graduate from Blackfriars in 2033 – six decades years after Mr Lewis finished.
James’s family also has strong links to the school. His dad, Andrew Demasi, was a Prefect in his final year at Blackfriars in 2000. His uncle, Mark Demasi, was also a Prefect and won the Frassati Sportsman of the Year in 1996. (As an aside, Andrew Demasi kicked a then club-record 16 goals in Blackfriars Old Scholars Football Club’s league-record 71.30 (460) victory over Angle Vale 5.1 (31) in 2014.)
As with Mr Lewis and Hudson, James speaks of the power of friendship and the importance of being a good person.
“This year, and even since ELC, I have learnt so much!” James said. “Making new friends. How to be a good leader. We talked about that last week, actually. Doing things without being asked, being respectful and kind and careful.”
James’s teacher, Nick Jeffries (BPS’13), is also an old scholar. “I think he is a really good teacher and he is the best one!” James said.
- This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2023 edition of The OPtimist. If you’re an old scholar and would like to receive The OPtimist, please email our Development Office at [email protected] and we’ll add you to the mailing list.