Letters — 01 December 2018
Romel discusses Muffles College in 1967, 1968

November 29, 2018

Dear Editor,

In September of 1967 we started our first year of high school at the old Muffles College Compound at the corner of Muffles and Park Street, in front of La Inmaculada Primary School, in Orange Walk Town. It was the first year of the Mercy Sisters management, no Latin or public speaking classes, and Arithmetic, Algebra and Geometry became Modern Mathematics.

In January of 1968, fifty years ago, if my memory serves me right, we moved to the new Muffles location in what is now San Andres Street in the Otro Benque area. Only two buildings and the convent were there, surrounded by high bushes and accessible by little roads known as “picados.”

We kids who lived southeast of the school had to travel through the Chicho Urbina family lands and its fabulous mango trees to get there, what is now Progress Street.

The Principal was Sister Lois, a very pleasant character with a wonderful sense of humour. If am not wrong I think she had a Master’s degree in Chemistry. Pretty awesome at the time.

Then we had Sister Francine, just saw in the papers she passed on, R.I.P., a very strong personality who reminded me of Sister Ann, another strong character who was the Principal of La Inmaculada Primary School which we had just left. In those days primary schools did not celebrate graduation like now, only the high schools did that. Nowadays even the kindergartens celebrate graduation exercises.

 Mr. Charles “Chuck” Emonds was an American Papal Volunteer and our first homeroom teacher. Pretty nice guy who loved Orange Walk; he even researched and wrote a book, “History of Orange Walk,” which is extremely informative and still available if you google it. He was also a musician who played the organ at the Catholic Church and organized the Muffles College Fife and Drum Band. His art was also visible at church with his banners and posters. He spent his later years in Orange Walk living in a tree house on the eastern side of the New River with his pet snake.

Mr. Findlay was a Peace Corp who did two years with us. He handled Reading, and I remember reading “A Night to Remember” about the Titanic sinking, and being impressed by that story as much as by the movie of later years.

Sister Mary was a no-nonsense nun in class who was ready to give you a zero on your daily grades when you were not paying attention or not handing in your homework. She was a recent transfer from Honduras who taught us a lesson with her anecdote that when she had made a blunder and been embarrassed, had said “Lo siento, estoy embarazada”, which means “I’m sorry, am pregnant.” Be careful with the translation of words or expressions.
Sister James loved singing and reading.

Our local teachers were Mr. Olegario Carrillo, R.I.P., English and Agriculture. Mr. Humberto Nicholson, Spanish. Mr. Victor Duran, History. Mr. Belizario Carballo, Modern Math. A Mrs. Bejos did a little stint with us.

Outstanding fellow students at the time were, Efrain Gomez, Jr., Chief Aviation Officer at P.G.I.A. for a couple of years; Nolberto Leiva, Sr., Orange Walk football selection star; Roman Magana, teacher at St. Ignatius for many years; Bertha Espadas, won Miss Orange Walk and Miss Independence beauty pageants; Herman Viases, only one from the class with enough G.C.E. passes to go St. John’s sixth form; Carlos Vargas; Carmita Cabrera; Araceli Noble; Alva Urbina; Castillo and Chi from Yo-Creek. Sorry, I can’t remember everyone but there were only a few of us in that graduating class of 1971.

Our subjects were very basic: English Language, English Literature, Spanish, Math, Biology, Religion or Bible Knowledge.

A young man once told a very rich old man, “Dads, I wish I was rich like you and had all your money.” The old man replied, “I will give you all my money and all that I own if you give me your youth.”

Romel Cuello

P.S. I don’t know if you believe in the cycles of life but twenty five years ago my daughter began attending Muffles and now fifty years later my grandson is beginning high school at my alma mater.

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