Brother to all for 70 years
SHALOM's Brother Gordon Rochford celebrated his 70th year as a Christian Brother last Sunday.
After 70 years as a Brother, teacher and Sea Eagles fan, Brother Rochford is loved by generations of students.
"I joined the Brothers when I was 14, in those times kids would leave scholarship at 13 to get a job," he said.
"When I was at school I was taught by a Brother, who was a very good man and teacher and that sort of impressed me and is the reason I became a Brother."
Br Rochford said one of his most memorable moments in the Brotherhood was Vatican II, which greatly modernised the Catholic Church.
Br Rochford recalled the last thing his mother said to him before he joined the Christian Brothers.
"My mother said 'if you don't like it come home' I guess I liked it," he said.
Br Rochford has been at Shalom for 29 years and is eager to reach his 30th this year.
He started working in the pastoral setting and the pictorial archives at Shalom in 1988, and makes it his daily duty to welcome students.
"I often have photos so I go around finding kids to get their name on the photos and that gives me a contact with the kids - you get to know different kids that way," he said.
"I also look through the NewsMail each morning to see if our kids have starred in it for sport and that kind of stuff and then I go and congratulate them.
"I like to spend a lot of time in the yard."
Br Rochford also gives cards to wish kids a happy birthday.
"It's hard because you only get a small time period, they're only in one spot for 15 minutes and it takes five to get there, so I've got 10 minutes," he said.
"You've got to go like mad depending on how many there are.
"I've been doing this for years and I've only ever found one on the playground."
Br Rochford said he loved everything about his job at Shalom.
"Years ago when I went back to Sydney, I looked up three guys I used to go to school with before the Brotherhood and we were having this meal and one of them was a plumber - he had six kids, the second one was a lawyer - he had eight kids and the third one was a chemist - he has 16 kids," he said.
"I just worry about people saying to me 'how many kids do you have?' Because my answer would be 984 and we might have an extra 30 next year."
While devoted as a Brother and to the kids at Shalom, Br Rochford says he is also the Manly Waringah's Sea Eagles most loyal supporter.
"I was born there, I went to school at Manly and in 1947 when I joined the Brothers and when the Sea Eagles came into existence."
Br Rochford said he would retire when he had become "liability rather than an asset". Don't expect that to happen anytime soon.