ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, HIGH WYCOMBE
SPEECH DAY 1962
(I don't have a programme for this Speech Day but have copied material from the Sept 1962 issue of The Wycombiensian)
THE SENIOR SCHOOL SPEECH DAY
On July the twenty-third , Lord James of Rusholme, Vice-Chancellor of York University and former High Master of Manchester Grammar School, was the guest of honour at the School’s Main Speech Day.
After welcoming him as an old friend, the Headmaster said that he had tried - and not without success, he hoped - to emulate the feats of Manchester Grammar School, although there was a much smaller area and population to draw upon here. Mr. Tucker recalled the events of this momentous year, and especially the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second; in the academic sphere there had been nine Open A ward winners, in particular three scholars in English, and at Universities Old Boys were continuing to show their worth. He spoke of the close loyalty of Old Boys to the School, with special reference to the institution of the Chapel, and wished for a similar fellow-feeling between boys, parents, staff and Old Boys, thinking particularly of the poor support for certain school events.
Lord James then spoke at great length on the place of such schools as this with their latest products: he was thinking of sixth-formers who were about to leave. In the modern age, the nation cannot survive except by the full use of its talent-trained intelligence was our only real resource. But he did emphasize the other side of education, that of not only making enough opportunities for the bright boy but also trying to instil in everyone a sense of judgement: so that in an era of ever increasing choice, one could be better prepared to choose according to a high moral standard. This choice Lord James compared with the old crystal set and the modern radio which provides many more stations but which, by virtue of this, demands a more critical choice of station.
It was fundamental, he went on, that home standards (which have an important effect) should not be lower than those at school. The family must work hand in hand with the school, which could only open the eyes of its students and fit them for later life. Formerly society was led by the aristocracy: now the leadership lay in the hands of the aristocracy of talent and good judgement, something best cultivated in schools like the Royal Grammar School.
To bring the proceedings to their conclusion, the Headmaster led the singing of the National Anthem in honour of the Queen and the brilliant occasion of her visit. In the evening, the Bishop of Buckingham preached the sermon at the annual commemorative service in the Parish Church.
THE JUNIOR SCHOOL SPEECH DAY
This year, owing to the vast numbers now in the School, it was decided by the powers-that-be to hold two Speech Days, one for the Junior School and one for the Senior. Naturally, the Senior formed the basis of the quater-centenary celebrations, but nevertheless the Junior was an interesting and memorable occasion.
The unavoidable absence of the Headmaster made the occasion more solemn than is usual, but the principal speaker, Mr. L. J. Ashford, who is well-known to the Senior School as a former master, and who presented the prizes, succeeded in making a speech which, although free from levity, yet caused his large audience to forget the sense of grief which pervaded the atmosphere.
Mr. Hollingworth, who is the head of the Junior School, spoke first, outlining his principles and aims in running the Junior School, and also paying great tribute to Mr. P. L. Jones, who is remembered by the more senior members of the School as a firm yet benevolent Junior Head.
After Mr. Hollingworth came the Headmaster’s report, read by Mr. S. Morgan, which spoke on subjects discussed elsewhere in this issue and the last one. The occasion was, as has been said, subdued by the loss of Mrs. Tucker, and Mr. Ashford came to speak, as the sense of this tragedy was at its strongest. He spoke entertainingly and sincerely on education and its importance to-day, pointing out the faults in a society where, to cite his example, a “pop” singer discusses religion with an archbishop, and where the singer’s views are held to be as important. It is to be hoped that this invigorating address has brought home to our unthinking juniors the reasons and necessity for work. Both masters and prefects will hope so, fervently, we have no doubt.
After the vote of thanks the visiting parents dispersed, to have tea and to admire the fine display of photographs of the Queen’s visit. Some of these were professional photographs, and others taken by boys of the School, among whom must be mentioned R. Watson, our photographic editor, whose works were often superior to those of the professionals.
In all, it was a day of lively interest, showing the School as it can never be shown on a main speech day, in daily activity. The Inter-House cricket and tennis tournaments also provided entertainment. This may well be the only occasion on which the Junior School has a separate speech day, as the new buildings will be completed, we trust by next year: it was certainly an occasion to be remembered.