On Wednesday 8th May, South West College’s catering department welcomed past students and a past tutor of the Omagh College, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the class’s graduation.
The reunion, which was attended by former tutor, Geoff Bodel, and several of his former students allowed the students to pay tribute to the impact of their former mentor. Past student, Alan Charles, who played a large role in organising the reunion, said:
“We’ve had a few reunions over the years, and it’s really down to the appreciation we have for Geoff Bodel, who taught us all those years ago, and how highly we all think of him.” “Geoff has been living in Australia for a long time, but we’ve managed to stay in contact over e-mail, and any time he’s been back over here we’ve managed to get in touch.
Geoff played a large role in helping us set off on the respective careers we’ve had in this industry, careers that have taken us all over the world. He was so generous, so practical and we learned so much from him. He was like a father figure in many ways. There’s a few people here who have worked in Canada all over their lives and have come home for this reunion.”
As well as celebrating past students, Geoff’s visit also allowed him to acknowledge the students currently learning their trade at South West College. Geoff presented a Silver salver – which was first presented to him in Australia in 1970 – to the South West College catering department, so that it could be presented to a student who has excelled and made the most progress since joining their course.
The first recipient was Melissa Boland, a fourth year student, due to complete her NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery and VRQ Level 3 Certificate in General Patisserie and Confectionary. Melissa has worked part time in the pastry section of the kitchen in Corick House Hotel, Clogher, for over two years; and has secured full time employed on completion of her course in the pastry section of the Lough Erne Hotel and Golf Resort in Enniskillen.
Catering lecturer, Peter Waterson, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome former students of Omagh College, and a former tutor, who travelled all the way from Australia to make this 50th year reunion such a success. The guests were impressed with the food on offer from our current students and with the current South West College building and facilities.”