ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, HIGH WYCOMBE
SPEECH DAY PROGRAMME FOR 1970
(Various torn/scribbled-on pages have had to be digitally repaired)
SPEECH DAY 1970
July 15th saw, we were told, the 408th anniversary of the R.G.S., although presumably not its 408th Speech Day. However, what has been a long-established feature of that function, a sweltering heat, was fortunately absent this time.
This was a particularly happy occasion as being the first when there was no need for the Mayor of the Borough to make an especial point of attending our Speech Day. Mr. Skipp was duly congratulated by Alderman Clarke in his introductory remarks. The Headmaster then proceeded to quote Katherine Whitehorn’s column by way of varying the norm; after which he drew attention to, among other things, the curricular developments in the School, the particularly striking performance of our games teams, and the ‘vast and varied undertaking’ that was Festival ‘70. We were then reminded that this was also a Speech Day of considerable relief - much to the chagrin of a certain contributor to this magazine, the R.G.S. stays on and may safely look forward to at least its 413th anniversary. Mr. Smith’s remarks on this point drew applause from a large part of the audience. Soon after, the prizewinners ascended for their moment of glory.
The main speech of the afternoon now began. Mr. G. V. Cooke, Director of Education for Lindsey (Lincs.), opened by reminiscing on the years he spent with the Headmaster on the staff of Manchester Grammar School. After expounding on Mr. Smith’s prowess in mountaineering, photography, and staff revues, he entered upon the main body of his speech, which he described as ‘fairly brief, fairly simple, and fairly serious’. The nucleus of his argument was that every person is vital to the community and must give of his best to it. ‘I am a passable Director of Education’, said Mr. Cooke, ‘but a rotten motor mechanic’. He then spoke about the matter of discipline and attitudes towards the young; and gave his belief that those in authority must tread a middle path between ‘the cold shoulder and the hug of death’. He also advised continual respect for others, and above all, respect for the law, the basis of civilised society. The great sincerity of his appeal for tolerance and altruism was evidenced by his quoting, to round off his speech, Martin Luther: ‘Here I stand, I can do no other’.
After Mr. Cooke’s address, which had given much food for thought, a lively vote of thanks was proposed by our guest Mr. P. D. Fry, who has lately become the first Old Boy of the RG.S. to enter Parliament. The company now dispersed, the parents to their high tea, the boys to partake of somewhat dubious blackcurrant squash and apricot tart. Exhibitions were in evidence, though less than in previous years-this was probably due to the demands of last term’s Festival. Most interesting of them were the C.C.F. camp-fire demonstration, and an ‘Environmental Studies’ exhibition in a certain unnamed quarter. The afternoon was concluded by the customary Commemoration Service, which was well attended by parents as well as boys; the Rev. A. Griffiths, Parish Priest at St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church, preached vigorously on the merits of gratitude and putting one’s talents to the best use.
And so another Speech Day, and not the last, was over.