Decades ago, when they were kids in plain white shirts and half pants who had running races to the ice-cream vendor near their school, they might not even have heard of the word ‘alumni.’

But on Saturday, Don Bosco pass-outs from 1962 to 2008 came together to celebrate the success of some of their illustrious peers.

‘Wisdom Keys,’ organised by the Don Bosco Past Pupils Association Egmore, was an evening in which four accomplished former students shared the secrets of their success and the unique connection that they shared with the school. “We seldom think of our schools,” said Union Minister for Textiles Dayanidhi Maran.

“Only when we pass by our schools that we remember all the silly fights and realise how as we started growing older, our schools started shrinking from memory.”

A backbencher always

“We learn to face challenges inside school and it prepares us for the challenges that we will later face in life,” he said.

Actor Venkatesh, proudly announcing that he was a backbencher all his school life, said: “School is not just about academics. I may not have excelled in academics, but I learnt all about acting in school. Each time I managed to get out of trouble and each excuse taught me all that I know about acting today.”

Recounting some of the unforgettable memories of his school days, Vijay Amritraj, former tennis player, said: “I still remember the Davis Cup tie which took place in Chennai in 1962. I wanted to go watch Ramanathan Krishnan but was denied permission. A whole gang promptly fell sick. We were suspended for seven days but memories like those helped me later on to beat John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. Today, when I’m being invited to give talks at leading universities in the U.S., I always mention my school days,” he said.

According to actor Y.G. Mahendran, Don Bosco was an inspiration for starting the PSBB group of schools. “The most important thing that I picked up at Don Bosco was my sense of humour. I still remember the days when we used to hang around Hanif’s ice-cream parlour and crack jokes at each other. The school nurtured an innovative spirit in me.”

Asking everyone to always see the lighter side in life, he said: “School years are the best years of one’s life. Enjoy every bit of it.”

More In: Chennai