The Old Johannian Association (OJA) of St John’s College was founded in 1919. The purpose was to foster union among past students, to keep them in close and loyal contact with their Alma Mater, and to bring them into contact with present students of the College.
Today that statement is not quite accurate. For the past several years women as well as men have been joining the association as welcome members after the school went co-educational towards the end of the 1980s. The OJA has its headquarters in the Castle, a nostalgic and historic building which not only housed the school after its move from South Parade in 1912 (‘Grove House’ as it was then called) but has become a ‘trade-mark’ of St John’s. Annual Events which include an Annual Reunion Dinner, a Christmas ‘get-together’, a Golf Tournament and other social functions continue to reunite contemporaries across a vast range of year groups Regular newsletters keep members in touch with the activities of past pupils as well as profiling the endless success stories and achievements of former students: an Oscar for film director Anthony Minghella, a new appointment for BBC journalist George Alagiah, or tracing the career of Black Rod, Sir Michael Willcocks. Old Johannians support their school in a number of ways. A new initiative named ‘The Silver Group’ encourages OJ’s to come and give talks about their profession and assist current students launch themselves onto their respective career paths. Donations are given to assist a variety of worthwhile charitable causes incorporated into the life of the College - as well as the worldwide De La Salle network.
In addition to this OJ’s are always invited to attend the Remembrance Services held by the College, to honour those who died while in the service of their country. In an article ‘Christian Education in the 20th Century: The De La Salle View of Education’, the Brother Director writes: “All this makes the work of education an apostolate rather than just a job. It is apostolic to awaken in students a serious attitude to life and the conviction of man’s destiny; it is apostolic to make it possible for them, with intellectual honesty and responsibility, to experience the autonomy of personal thought; it is apostolic to help the students use their liberty to overcome their own prejudices, preconceived ideas, social pressures, as well as the pressures that come from the disintegration within the human person; it is apostolic to dispose students to use their intelligence and their training in the service of their fellowmen, to open them to others; to teach them how to listen and to try to understand, to trust and to love; it is apostolic to instil in students a sense of trustworthiness, of brotherhood and of justice.” (1973).
The School Song (.pdf)