My most vivid memory of one of the most inspirational men ever to touch my life was of Mr Tom Kendell kneeling with his Sacred Heart College students praying the rosary before the school day commenced.
Tom's passing on 20 October was widely mourned by his ex- students, who realised that his death was indeed the death of a "great Catholic educator" (December-January AD2000).
Although I was lucky enough to also know Tom on a personal level, each student who went through Sacred Heart under Tom's guidance realised what an extraordinary and kind man he really was. He would spend his lunch times wandering through the school grounds just to talk to the girls. He gave us prayer cards as little gifts and if you were one of the many who attended voluntary rosary in the morning, he would always ensure you had a pair of rosary beads.
Although initially he was seen as scary by some, he had the heart of an angel and there was nothing a student couldn't ask of him that he would not be prepared to do.
He provided a sound, affordable, Catholic education for any girl who sought it and was clearly a person who led by example in all areas of his life. The numerous past students who attended his funeral were a testimony to the love held by many for a man who will be terribly missed and always remembered.
Tom was a born leader and the best principal any parent or student could ask for. He had an amazing impact on many of us whom he taught, informing us that "to succeed is to suffer, and to suffer is to succeed." His death marked a sad end to an amazing man's career in education. Every girl that met him was the better for it, and no one could ever take the place of this remarkable man. He will be sadly missed by all. Rest in Peace, Mr Kendell.
Past Student, Mulgrave, Vic