Fr Peixotto: From priest to legendary educationist
The former principal of Notre Dame College and treasurer of Notre Dame University Bangladesh passed away on Thursday
Father Joseph S Peixotto first came to Bangladesh as a priest in 1962 during the then Pakistan period. He began his career in the country as a science teacher.
He held the post of principal at Notre Dame College for 23 years and served Notre Dame University Bangladesh until his death on Thursday. He had been serving as treasurer at the university before his death at the age of 87.
In his long career as a teacher and administrator, Father Peixotto made valuable contributions as a member of numerous committees and advisory boards for the Bangladesh government and the Catholic Archdiocese of Dhaka.
He offered advice and support to the boards and administrations of St Gregory's High School and College at Luxmibazar in Dhaka, St Placid School and College in Chattogram, St Philip High School and College in Dinajpur, Udayan High School in Barishal, and various other schools and institutions throughout Bangladesh.
His first funeral mass was held in the capital's Rampura at around 12pm on Thursday. Other funeral masses were held at the Notre Dame campus at 3pm and in Ramna Cathedral at 6pm on the day. His body will be taken to Tejgaon church at around 9am today (Friday) and to Bhadun of Gazipur at 12pm for burial in the Community Cemetery there.
In his long career in teaching, Father Peixotto became one of the most favourite and ideal teachers to his students. The love and respect in which had been held and will be remembered is testified to by the fact that thousands of his students and colleagues have been mourning his death on social media and other platforms.
He played a pivotal role in building today's Notre Dame College as one of the best and most reputed higher secondary institutions in the country. In the 72 years since its establishment, the college was privy to the services of Father Peixotto for 59 years.
Syed Anwar Husain, former professor of history at Dhaka University, had good relations with Fr Peixotto. While sharing his thoughts on the demise of Piexotto, he told The Business Standard that the nation had lost a good and humanitarian teacher.
"I like him so much. He believed in Christian rules but was liberal. He loved his students and treated them like his sons. He was very popular among his students," he said.
"Actually, Fr Peixotto was a man of inspiration. He breathed his last but he will be alive in the hearts of students for a long time," Prof Anwar Husain continued.
Dr Fr Leonard Shankar Rozario, deputy registrar of Notre Dame University Bangladesh, said, "As a proud student of Fr Peixotto, I can say that he was a legendary teacher. Due to his plans and role, Notre Dame College became one of the best institutions."
"He tried to reduce the gap between rural institutions and urban institutions. To this end, he provided training to many rural teachers for at least 2 and half years and sent them to rural institutions," he added.
Fr Peixotto believed that a clean and disciplined campus was a must to impart quality education.
Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo who passed his Higher Secondary Certificate Examination from Notre Dame College in 1992, told The Business Standard, "I saw my beloved teacher Fr Peixotto very closely. He loved us in a manner a father loves his sons. We could talk to him easily and get solutions rapidly. Actually, he tried to instill high morality and humanity in his students.
"We sometimes threw waste paper in the corridor of the college. Fr Peixotto cleaned those without saying anything to us. After we saw him doing it, we never made the same mistake later," he said.
"He tried his level best to provide financial help to insolvent students. No students dropped out of the college during his tenure because of financial problems. His only motto was to educate the nation," Shuvo concluded.