Dear Editor and readers, The recent death of Mr John O'Dwyer, retired Principal of Cappawhite Vocational School came as a shock to to his former pupils and to the writer.
My first contact with John O'Dwyer was in September 1952, after having completed my primary school education. This transition and the inspirational influence of John O'Dwyer was like a beacon of hope which subsequently permeated every aspect of my life. His unique motivational ability enabled me to reflect on the pursuit of a productive and meaningful life. To realise my objective it was essential to acquire a good education, the initial building blocks (primary determinants) were put in place by John O'Dwyer.
During the years 1953 to 55 we had numerous discussions after normal school hours, about those elements that are fundamental to a good education. He outlined the primary determinants (which I noted contemporaneously), emphasising the distinction between techne (skill) and episteme (knowledge), also the theory of knowledge (epistemology) that is the distinction between justified belief and opinion.
I finally realised my dream in the year 1961 by gaining a scholarship to a 3rd level college, John O'Dwyer's contribution to this modest achievement cannot be over estimated. His emphasis on life long learning was most insightful and ahead of the accepted orthodoxy of that period.
Words cannot adequately express the positive influence this learned man had on my life, he was an outstanding educationalist, a perfect role model, unpretentious and an absolute gentleman.
A most grateful former student