Catching Up with Old Friends ?

Yota Oue with Bob Scavullo and myself.

Yota Oue, Xavier HS graduate and now sophomore at Fordham University, decided to accept an invitation to attend a black tie dinner in downtown Manhattan sponsored by the ?other” Xavier High School?the older and richer brother of our school in Chuuk. He and I met on the Fordham campus (after a little basketball, naturally) and headed downtown. Our first stop was a rental place that fitted out people like Yota for formal dress. Then, on to Pier Sixty, a posh spot along the Hudson where the dinner was being held.

Here?s a shot of Yota in his rented tuxedo presenting a resolution from the Xavier Board (the Chuuk one, that is) honoring Pat Stokes for his gifts to the school. Bob Scavullo, who purchased our tickets to the dinner and has done many wonderful things for both Xaviers, is in the photo. In case you don?t recognize him, the tall fellow in clerics is Jim Croghan, twice director of Xavier Chuuk and now superior of the Jesuit community at Xavier New York.


Yota flanked by Pat Stokes and wife, with Jim Croghan and Bob Scavullo at the right.

Someone asked whether the two Xavier High Schools had a twinning arrangement between them. No, I replied, but maybe this wouldn’t be a bad time to explore that possibility. Whether this happens or not, we should at least recognize the contribution Xavier NY has made to Micronesia over the years. Costigan, Cavanagh, McGarry, Curran, McGrath… they were all graduates of that ?other? Xavier High School in the islands.

The good old days! Do you remember back in the late 1980s when St. Cecilia School had 770 students and we couldn’t build classrooms fast enough to keep up with the demands for a seat in the school? When Dolores Rosokow was principal?? When the first two Jesuit Volunteers were assigned to the school-?young men by the name of Brian Conroy and Joe Gomes? It was a great era for the school and a testimony that American volunteers could work well with Chuukese staff. Well, Brian, who lives in Boston, and Joe, who resides and works outside Washington, have kept in touch with one another and with me over the years. They came up to Fordham for a couple of days. Here?s a shot of the three of us outside Spellman Hall at the beginning of another memorable weekend.


Visiting with Brian Conroy and Joe Gomes.

Just a few days before that, I was part of another reunion in Stratford, where Bruce Roby, Chuuk?s gift to the people of Connecticut, serves as a diocesan priest. Norman McComb, one of the very first PCVs to come to Chuuk in 1966, joined us. For those who don?t know him, Norm lived on Fanapanges for a couple of years, taught at St. Julia School for a time, managed Susumu?s store, and spent several years teaching at Xavier before he left Chuuk for Yap. He has been in Yap ever since. Besides the time for reminiscing among ourselves, we were treated to a Knights of Columbus dinner that 300 members attended?including many of Bruce?s own parishioners.


Bruce Roby, Norm McComb and myself in a dinner hall filled with Knights.

Then there was the evening two days later when Nathan Fitch and I met to finalize the rough draft of the new video we?re doing on Micronesian migrants. (We hope you will like it when it is finally released around the end of the year.) Jacqueline Hazen, who worked on Pohnpei as a PCV a few years ago, joined us for dinner afterwards. She is doing a doctorate and considering a dissertation on early Pohnpeian history.? Another great evening.? Good friends. Good times.

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About the author

Francis X. Hezel, SJ
Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Francis X. Hezel, SJ, is a Jesuit priest who has lived and worked in Micronesia since 1963. At different times he has served as high school teacher, school administrator, pastor, and regional superior to the Jesuits of Micronesia. He spent thirty years directing the Micronesian Seminar, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Pohnpei, Micronesia. He has written and spoken widely about social change and its impact on island societies. He has also written several books on Micronesian history, including The First Taint of Civilization, Strangers in Their Own Land, and The New Shape of Old Island Cultures. His most recent book, Making Sense of Micronesia: The Logic of Pacific Island Culture, is available through University of Hawaii Press.