TO BE CATHOLIC PUBLIC DAY SCHOOL
Mgr. Peter Amigo, ArchbishopBishop of Southwark, presided and distributed the prizes at the Christmas Academy and prize distribution of Wimbledon College, on Thursday, December 22.
For the first time the event was held in Wimbledon Town Hall, and his Worship the Mayor of Wimbledon and the Mayoress were present.
Although the cold spell was almost at its height, the Archbishop insisted on fulfilling his engagement.
In his report the prefect of studies, Fr. John Sinnott, S.J., referred to " record successes," the recognition of the College as a " Catholic Public Day School," and building plans.
" This, the first occasion on which we have held our annual Academy and Distribution of Prizes in Wimbledon Town Hall, is," he said, "unique in more than one respect. Never before has so large a gathering of parents and friends of the College assembled for any single College function; never before has His Grace the Archbishop appeared in our midst for the purpose of distributing our prizes; never before have we been honoured by the presence of His Worship the Mayor and the Mayoress of the Borough.
" The exceptional character of such a gathering fills me with a sense of the appropriateness of the occasion for the presenting of this year's report, for that report itself comprises several features which are unique in the history of the College.
INSPECTION "In the first place I have to announce that the College underwent in the course of the past year an inspection by officials of the Board of Education. The result of that inspection was a report which was extremely gratifying.
SERIES OF RECORDS
" Secondly, in the sphere of studies and examination results, I am able to inform you that we have achieved, not one, but a whole series of records. The Captain of the School began the year's successes by winning an Open Scholarship to Oxford and by securing the award of a major scholarship from the Surrey Education Committee.
" Our new Services Class shortly afterwards passed its first candidate into the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. Then, for the first time (as far as / have been able to ascertain) in the history of the school, two of our senior boys sat for the Higher Certificate Examination of the Oxford and Cambridge Joint Board, instead of for the usual London Intermediate, and both secured their certificates—one with that somewhat rare achievement, a distinction.
" But the greatest triumph of the past year has been the results of the Oxford and Cambridge School Certificate Examinations; and here I would like to point out that I am not dealing with the success of one or two exceptionally able boys, but with something a
school has far more reason to be proud of—the general level of proficiency attained by a large number of its pupils. " Of the 21 candidates we sent up last year for the school certificate examination, 18 secured their certificates, and of that 18 no fewer than 13 won exemption from London matriculation.
" The proportion of .13 matriculations out of 18 school certificates is, according to all available sources of information, a record unsurpassed by any other school in the country. Twelve out of 22, or roughly 55 per cent., is the next highest. Our own percentage is W."
STUDIES FOR SENIOR BOYS
Referring to the immediate need of improvements in the existing buildings, If the school is to maintain its high standing and achieve the ideal of a London Catholic Public Day School, Fr Sinnott said: " Actually we have excellent plans prepared--by on Old Boy of the College —which provide for several new class rooms, for four new laboratories, an art room, a geography room, a new gymnasium, a new swimming bath, and for what I believe is unique among day schools—a score or so of separate studies for the private work of the older boys.
" I think the College has shown itself to be worth the effort required, not only because it has done so remarkably well In matters scholastic, but also because it is even now so near to the goal I have mentioned — recognition as a Public School. It will, no doubt, be gratifying for you to hear that at the end of the recent inspection one of the inspectors—himself a Public Scheol man—had great difficulty in believing that it was not a Public School already!"
" O.T.C. ESSENTIAL"
In pursuance of this policy the College authorities intend to establish as early as possible a contingent of the O.T.C.
Because, added the prefect of studies, " it is our firm conviction that tho course provided by the O.T.C. 4s Nowadays an almost essential part of the • education of a civilised European! One need not be a militarist to hold such a view—indeed, what personal experience I have had goes to prove that the O.T.C. is the finest cure for militarism yet discovered."
The report concluded with a reference to the recently established Careers Bureau, in which a committee composed partly of Old Boys advise parents and boys on the choice of, and methods of entering upon, various careers.
The work of the Bureau had already been much appreciated, and the scope of its activities with the co-operation of its friends might well be extended beyond its present purely advisory function.
Mgr. Amigo congratulated the boys and the College authorities on their excellent. standing and wished them success in the projects, which, he said, their past achievements gave every hope of realising.
The prize distribution was preceded by a short entertainment, designed to give parents and friends some idea of the scope of the studies.
PHYSICAL TRAINING DISPLAY BY ST. PATRICK'S
The organisers were unfortunate in the weather for their first public session of physical training undertaken by the pupils of St. Patrick's Catholic School, and held on Thursday, December 22, in the Central Gym, Leenside, Nottingham.
Few of the parents were in attendance, but for all that the display by the infants and Standard I children, the second year pupils and the senior girls was given according to schedule, and the excellence of their work was a splendid testimony to the thoroughness of their preparation.
As Dr. A. E. Newth, Nottingham's senior school medical officer, remarked during a short address to the gathering, doctors were beginning to realise that the treatment of illness did not start with the person who was ill. It began earlier than the arrival of sickness.
Among those present were Alderman R. E. Ashworth, the Rev. H. E. Atkinson, of St. Patrick's Church, and Miss W. I. Warren, inspector of physical training.
SALESIAN COLLEGE, BATTERSEA
BUILDING NEEDS OUTLINED In spite of the snow, some 400 people were present at the annual prize distribution at the Salesian College, Battersea, at the close of term on Wednesday, December 21.
Mgr. W. F. Brown, Bishop of Pella, presided and distributed the prizes. his Lordship expressed his pleasure at having been invited to the College to distribute the prizes, mentioning the fact that he had often in the past been associated with various functions of the school, to which he was glad to come.
Referring to the weather, he congratulated those who had braved the elements to be present, and also hoped that those who had been wishing for a real old-time Christmas were content.
There was, be said, a special feature of the work of the Salesian College which appealed to him very much. Here was no mere machine for getting boys to pass examinations; here a boy's character was thoroughly formed in every way, and exa.minations were taken as they came.
NEED FOR FULL COURSE Referring to the need for boys to complete the course, the Prefect of Studies, in his report, said: " The competition outside to-day is so very keen that it is largely a question of the survival of the fittest, and only those boys can hope to succeed who have been able to make the beet possible use of their opportunities. " In the Civil Service Examination this year for the clerical class, as many as 10,000 candidates competed for about 2,000 places. In this examination the competition is so very keen that the loss of one mark can make all the difference between success and failure.
"Five of our students presented themselves for the examination and three were successful: one in par ticular put up a remarkably good performance, in our opinion, and gained
the 11th place on the list.
"It is not the aim of the school, how
ever, to cram boys for public examinations and no provision is made for coaching boys for this purpose. It is, therefore, very encouraging to be able to report that the results of the public examinations this year compare very favourably with those obtained in
the past so that the high standard set up in former years has been steadily
maintained. In the School Certificate Examination there were 26 successful candidates, 13 of these being awarded exemption from the London Matriculation."
GENEROUS GRANTS Referring to the necessity of the ad vanced course for the completion of a true secondary education he reminded parents of the generous grants available to cover those years.
Successes of the school in the Inter Collegiate Religious Examination were, he said, well maintained.
" One particular feature of the College is its very flourishing Old Boys' Associa tion, which, under the direction of its very energetic secretary, does very good work in keeping our Old Boys in touch with their Alma Mater. We are very grateful indeed to our Old Boys for the very many ways in which they help their old school, especially for the various awards which they make each year for proficiency in studies and achievements in sport."
The principal, after a reference to the loss the school had sustained by the death of Canon Mahoney, a governor of the school, outlined necessary and projected improvements.
The time had now come, he said, when additions to the College buildings woule have to be made. The report which had just been read had clearly portrayed the solid educational work which was being done. But this work, he said, was greatly impeded by the lack of accommodation—a School Hall and a gymnasium being among the pressing needs of the, moment.
It was felt that to cope with the progress all around and to do justice to the educational work of the College, the buildings themselves would have to be brought absolutely up to date. It would, he said, be a very great venture but they looked to the sympathy and help of the parents and friends of the boys to enable them to carry out an enterprise which had now become a necessity.
Prior to the distribution. a very enjoyable entertainment was given by the boys, who excelled in every section of the programme. The quality of the singing and diction was of a very high standard and reflected great credit on those responsible for the production.
A colourful item was that of the Physical Exercise, which for the most part consisted of clever tableaux, neatly executed, the last of which was further enhanced by the use of coloured lights. the hall and stage being darkened for a few moments. Some clever acting was seen in the two short plays, both of which afforded much pleasurable enjoyment.
Others present included : The Very Rev. Canon W. J. Thompson, the Rev. Dr. WInham, the eRv. Fr. Donovan, PhD., the Rev. Fr. Keogh, the Bev, Fr, McNally, We Rev, Fr, Ward,