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ALPS Anniversary Activities Brochure
2009 has been characterised for all at ALPS by the long-awaited 15th-anniversary celebrations organised for the hundreds of members and friends and past students of Il-Liceo. Besides these special events members were also offered the now-annual functions spread out during the year. All of this was thanks to the dynamic teamwork in the Council of Administration and commissions. For the purpose of the 15th-anniversary celebrations a sub-committee from the council had been formed who worked for months to identify the best choice of activities during the calendar year.
I personally recall the fateful day of 20th March 1994 when the late Dr Guido Saliba – a father figure, teacher and treasured friend to thousands of Lyceum past students – saw the realisation of a long-cherished dream of setting up the now-well-established association. Thanks to the members of the council, year after year we have worked together in making ALPS one of the most dynamic and popular such organisations in Malta, with over 750 members and friends.
The 15th-anniversary celebrations were rightly inaugurated by a very well-organised news conference at the Radisson Bay Point Resort on 26th January 2009. A well-attended spread from various aspects of the local media attended, including radio stations, TV stations and local newspapers. Press releases and an appropriate full-colour brochure with the history of the association together with the envisaged events during calendar year 2009 were professionally compiled by Laurie Vella, the association’s PRO and chairperson of the Communications and Publications Commission, and distributed to all media in Malta.
Just a few days after the launch of the 15th-anniversary programme the new Council of Administration elected at the Annual General Meeting held on 30th January 2009 commenced the hard work in materialising all that was planned for this special year.
The appointed sub-committee for the 15th-anniversary celebrations, which included Charles Calleja, Robert Ferrante, Peter Tortell and Leo Scicluna, had gone into details of the programme. The inaugural event and the most highly expected was the Foundation Day celebration held on 20th March.
Notwithstanding the pressure on all council members in organising this main anniversary event, the Social Commission led by Robert Ferrante and other members from the administration of ALPS gave a useful helping hand in organising the now-annual leisure weekend at the Paradise Bay Resort from 13th to 15th February with a special dinner celebrating Valentine’s Day. This event as always was organised as a fund-raising function in aid of Id-Dar tal- Providenza. After all the expenses had been paid the event raised €1,100 which were presented to Id-Dar tal-Providenza at the end of the Lyceum Bicycle Marathon.
The long-anticipated day of 20th March 2009, the 15th-anniversary proper, arrived and all council members were engaged in some sort of detail duty, making sure that all went according to plan. HG Bishop George Frendo OP, Auxiliary Bishop of Tirana in Albania, himself a Lyceum past student, flew home specially for the occasion and concelebrated Holy Mass with Mgr Lawrence Gatt and ALPS Spiritual Director Fr William Bartolo OFM Conv. and Fr Paul Pace SJ, head of the Jesuits in Malta and Fr Mario Jaccarini SJ. Holy Mass was held at the Jesuits church in Merchants Street where the Lyceum knows its origin in Malta way back in 1592. The church was nicely decorated with flowers and decorative plants for the occasion. An appreciable number of ALPS members and Lyceum past students and distinguished personalities attended the Mass. The congregation included Minister of Education Dolores Cristina and the then President-designate of the Republic of Malta Dr George Abela, himself a Lyceum past student.
The entire event was televised by the most popular programme on state television. This surely gave great exposure to our association, getting it to be better known for the exceptional events organised for the Maltese community who have at heart the history of education in general.
After Holy Mass the President of the Association George Stagno Navarra led all guests next door to the historic building which many remember as the old Liceo, now the offices of Heritage Malta. In his welcoming speech he gave tribute to the association’s founder and first President, Dr Guido Saliba, who had seen his long-held dream come true. While launching the latest edition of the ALPS magazine The Chanticleer, he rejoiced in mentioning the ever-growing number of members of ALPS. The President concluded by mentioning that the association would continue to help in the education of the younger generation attending The Lyceum.
Council members Robert Ferrante and Leo Scicluna had had a busy time going around the marble contractors to finalise the best price for the marble plaque commemorating the 15th anniversary. ALPS made history again with the unveiling of this commemorative marble plaque, which underlined the connection of Il-Liceo and the Association of Lyceum Past Students. After the plaque was unveiled by Minister Dolores Cristina and blessed by Bishop Frendo, all present were invited to a lavish reception in the spacious corridors of the premises.
This event was one of the largest ever organised by the Council of Administration for the past 15 years.
The next day, 21st March, Holy Mass was held at the Addolorata Cemetery for the repose of the soul of Dr Guido Saliba, followed by the laying of flowers on his grave by family and council members and friends.
April 2009 was another busy month for ALPS. This included the 15th-anniversary/Foundation Day Concert and the association’s participation in the annual fund-raising Lyceum Bicycle Marathon.
Having Joe Fenech at the helm of the Cultural Commission, there is surely never a dull moment. Being in charge of the enthusiastic ALPS Choir he always seeks to organise special musical events for the members and friends of ALPS. This year’s concert was something special for the 15th anniversary. The Salesian Theatre was packed on the 24th April by members and friends to attend the Souvenir d’Italie, a selection of 22 popular Italian songs from various eras and regions sung by some of Malta’s leading soloists and with the participation of the ALPS Choir trained by Yolanda Micallef.
Although heavily engrossed in the organisation of the 15th-anniversary activities, ALPS council members still found time to help with fund-raising activities during the Lyceum Bicycle Marathon held from 27th to 29th April. 2009. Led by the association’s President, council members put all their energy into helping out in manning the cash registers of the bar and catering activities, others prepared food in the kitchen while yet other volunteer members stood behind the counters serving food. Besides donating a number of hampers to be raffled during the event, ALPS managed to collect €750 from the sale of lottery tickets to members, as well as €1,100 presented at the end of the Bicycle Marathon by President George Stagno Navarra.
Another milestone in the 15th-anniversary celebrations was the creation of a football shield sponsored entirely by our association. This prestigious shield was competed for by Lyceum students of Forms 4 and 5 during the scholastic year in a league organised by PE teachers. ALPS Deputy President George Grech made the first-ever presentation of the shield to the winners’ captain, while each player of the winning and runner-up teams were presented with commemorative trophies. From 2010 the ALPS Shield will be presented annually. ALPS will continue to sponsor the commemorative trophies to the winning and runner-up teams.
All is well that ends well. By this I refer to the proposals by some educational quarters for drastic changes to the Liceo badge. After a series of representations by and on behalf of ALPS, Lyceum Headmaster Tony Caruana Smith managed to convince the authorities and good sense appears to have finally prevailed. To the satisfaction of all members of ALPS it was decided that the entire San Gorg Preca College, consisting of 13 schools including The Lyceum, would carry on their uniforms the old Liceo badge, which has been part of Maltese educational history since 1592.
A delegation led by George Stagno Navarra paid an official visit to the outgoing President of the Republic of Malta Dr Eddie Fenech Adami. In spite of the busy schedule during the last days of his term in office, His Excellency appreciated the gesture and spent some time talking to the individuals in the delegation, most of whom he knows personally. He augured the association a bright future and to continue in its good work. While presenting Dr Fenech Adami with a copy of the just-issued magazine The Chanticleer, the ALPS President thanked the President of Malta for his efforts during his public life and wished him a long and healthy retirement.
Next date as part of the anniversary celebrations was also an annual event: the celebration of the feast of San Gorg Preca, a Lyceum past student and patron saint of ALPS. Holy Mass was celebrated by Fr William Bartolo and Fr Joe Barbara for all members of ALPS at St Anne’s Chapel in Pwales. The congregation flowed out and over the parvis.
The annual ALPS spiritual retreat in Manresa House in Victoria, Gozo, was led by Fr William Bartolo from 22nd to 25th May 2009. The weekend of recollection brought all participants closer to the word of God, helped no end by the detailed research by Fr Bartolo who created interesting discussions for all those present. All available accommodation at Manresa was taken up by 52 members and friends of ALPS, mostly accompanied by their wives.
The President and Council of Administration of ALPS formed an important part of a large delegation from Il-Liceo that paid a courtesy visit to the newly-appointed President of Malta Dr George Abela at The Palace in Valletta, not only to mark his accession as Head of State but also because it is a source of immense pride that a Lyceum past student has acceded to this highest post in the country.
ALPS embarked on new efforts to make greater and more effective use of St Anne’s Chapel in Pwales. Oscar Galea, Chairman of the St Anne’s Chapel Commission, with the close collaboration of Dr Nazareno Azzopardi, formulated a programme for the rest of the calendar year where it was agreed that besides the annual feasts of St Anne and San Gorg Preca, Holy Mass would be celebrated monthly and members and friends would be invited to attend. The full programme was continuously updated through the monthly ALPS News sent to all ALPS members and friends.
Another now-annual event is the end-of-season BBQ, this year held on 26th June at The Edge open-air restaurant at the Radisson SAS Bay Point Resort. More than 150 guests enjoyed the magnificent setting of the newly-refurbished venue, with excellent food specially prepared for the event by the Radisson staff. A special guest of honour at the BBQ was ALPS NSW Australia Secretary Oreste Aquilina, who happened to be in Malta on holiday.
As in previous years, ALPS organised the socio-religious feast of St Anne at the Pwales chapel. This widely-sought feast organised for members and inviting the Pwales community heralded a short pause in ALPS activities for the summer. A good-sized congregation again filled up the parvis and surrounding area of the chapel. The ALPS Choir under the direction of Joe Fenech sang during the Mass with the welcome participation of Ivan Vella, who with the choir later continued entertaining the gathering with some popular arias. As usual, the feast was made more enjoyable with eats and drinks prepared by ALPS Council of Administration members.
Although no official activities were held during the hot month of August, all council members continued to work hard to finalise the requirements for putting up a unique Arts, Books & Crafts Exhibition as part of the 15th-anniversary celebrations. Participation in the exhibition, held from 26th to 30th September at the Heritage Malta offices in Valletta, was open to all past and present Lyceum students and Art masters at the Lyceum. Thanks to the great efforts by all involved this event was an undisputed success, with 56 exhibitors and hundreds of visitors during the week that the exhibition was open.
The exhibition was officially opened by the ALPS President George Stagno Navarra, who described it as a long-held dream come true. Members of the Council of Administration were proud and pleased to meet some of the well-established artists in Malta, including those of international repute. The exhibition broke new ground as the first ever to be held in Malta with established artists exhibiting their works of art together with young but promising students. They had one important thing in common: all had received an important part of their education at Il-Liceo.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Heritage Malta staff who helped ALPS council members in putting up the exhibition. For this event the association also published a souvenir booklet including a short biography of each exhibitor. Here I wish to thank ALPS PRO Laurie Vella who handled the publication, even at some point with difficulty to bring together all the required biographies, and ALPS Treasurer David Abela who through his very good relationship with James Caterers always manages to obtain very good deals for all finger foods and services at ALPS receptions.
Month for month, October this year will certainly be remembered for the number of activities organised for ALPS members and friends. The Lyceum Grand Reunion is an event which year after year makes all at ALPS proud of our success and always yields a number of new members. Hundreds of past students and spouses attended and had a very good time meeting and chatting with old classmates and other friends whose acquaintance they had made in post-Lyceum life. All present enjoyed a lavish finger-foods reception and wine and drinks flowed freely, while different groups of same years of entry or school leavers got together for memorable photos.
Just before the reunion a group of ALPS members, spouses and friends enjoyed a week’s Western Mediterranean cruise on the m.v. Norwegian Gem. The participants really enjoyed their visits to interesting and memorable places of interest in all ports of call.
Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto in Gozo was the last event organised for ALPS members for October, as usual in the able hands of the association’s Cultural Commission Chairman Joe Fenech. Over 50 participants crossed the channel to Gozo for this event, which yielded all-round praise for Joe’s organisational acumen.
This year’s customary ALPS Yuletide Dinner also served to mark the end of the association’s 15th-anniversary celebrations for the calendar year, although more events are in the pipeline for early 2010 before the close of the anniversary year. The dinner was held on 4th December at the Fortress Suite of the Corinthia San Gorg Resort. For a 5-star venue and the fare offered, the price was modest indeed and this was due to the painstaking efforts by the President and Secretary-General who shopped around all superior venues from months before to obtain the best deal for ALPS. To quote most of the 250 participants, the success of the function was the greatest ever organised by ALPS. This success is owed in no small way to all members of the Council of Administration who in one way or another helped during the event under the directorship of ALPS Social Commission Chairman Robert Ferrante.
As a fitting conclusion to this very successful calendar year of 15th-anniversary celebrations, the event was made even more special with the help and sponsorship of Mr Stephen d’Alessandro of E-Business Systems, whom the council unanimously elected Honorary Life Member of ALPS. On behalf of ALPS he proudly presented to all guests the association’s revamped website www.alpsmalta.com. A vote of thanks also goes to Laurie Vella who in many ways helped by furnishing documents for the enhancement of the website, which can now be continuously updated with photos, news and programmes for the benefit of the association’s members. Mr D’Alessandro surprised all present by saying that the website attracts an average of 5,000 hits or 300 visits a month.
At the end of the dinner all were asked to rise for a toast to the memory of the Founder-President of ALPS Dr Guido Saliba and another toast to the success of the Association of Lyceum Past Students and its 15th-anniversary celebrations. A memento for the occasion was distributed to all present, and this brought to an end another year of successful events organised by ALPS.
Association of Lyceum Past Students