ATROPHY cabinet presented by the Aberdare Grammar School Past Students’ Association to the headmaster, Mr. Jess Warren, B.A., M.Sc., at a ceremony held at the school on Thursday afternoon last week, was intended as a gesture of goodwill from the pupils of the Old School opposite Aberdare Park Lower Gates to the New School at the bottom of Cwmdare Hill.
The attractive cabinet, measuring seven feet by five feet by 18 inches, was described by the delighted headmaster as “a tangible expression of the gratitude and pride which our past students feel for the school which nurtured them.
“It is an inspiration to the present boys and those to come — it is a gift from the past to the present and future.”
At the school to see the Chairman of Aberdare District Council, Coun. David Hill, B.A., J.P. — himself a former pupil of the school and an ex-member of the staff — make the presentation were representatives of the Past Students, of the pupils, of past and present teaching staff, with the Chairman of the Governors, County Coun. Archie Jones, together with other Governors and the Divisional Education Officer, Mr. O.J. Timothy, BA.
Opening the proceedings, the chairman of the Past Students’ Association, Mr. David Owen, said that ever since the school had moved to its new premises at the foot of the Cwmdare Hill, the Past Students’ Association Committee had felt they should contribute something to the school which could serve as a link between the old and the new.
The headmaster had been contacted, and it was he who suggested a trophy cabinet.
Mr. Owen added, “We got down to sending circulars to hundreds of past students all over the country and throughout the world just before Christmas, and the contributions which have been forthcoming from as far afield as Egypt and Canada are an indication of the esteem in which the school is held by so many.”
In making the presentation, Rhydywaun Secondary School headmaster, Coun. David Hill, who is also a former secretary of the Past Students’ Association, spoke of the “very long and great academic and sporting traditions of the school.” In this latter context he mentioned the work done by Mr. E.J. Excell, M.B.E., who was present that afternoon, work which was now being continued by Mr. Haydn Manning.
“I hope this cabinet will serve as an indication to the present pupils of the esteem and affection which past students feel for the school,” he said. “There is no doubt that the attractive new buildings which now house the school are of considerable advantage, but it is not the buildings which make a school, but its teachers, its governors and its pupils. In this respect the Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School is second to none.
“We can expect changes under re-organisation schemes which the County Authority have in mind, but I don’t doubt that this school will maintain the high tradition and standards it has always set itself in the past. I hope this cabinet will serve as a bond between the past and present students for a very long time to come.”
Responding, the headmaster, Mr. Jess Warren, said: “It gives me the greatest pleasure to accept this token of gratitude and pride from so many of our past students.”
He went on to thank the Past Students’ Association for organising the collection for the purchase of the cabinet and all those who had contributed. He also thanked those who had contributed trophies which will be competed for by the school’s pupils, and Coun. Hill for coming along that afternoon to make the presentation.
Presentations of trophies for the school were then made to the Chairman of the Governors, County Coun. Archie Jones by Mr. Glynne Jones (Llwydcoed) and Mr. Brian Hoggins (in memory of his brother, Dennis Hoggins, who lost his life in the Second World War. Both spoke of their affection for the school.
County Coun. Jones, thanking all who had been responsible for making possible that afternoon’s happy function, said he felt sure the cabinet would serve as an admirable bond between the school’s past and present pupils.
In all, about 100 past students contributed towards the purchase of the cabinet, which was already displaying to good effect some of the school’s challenge cups and shields and the international cap and jersey won this year by Fourth-Form pupil Noel Davies, of Aberaman, capped three times by the Welsh Schools’ Rugby Union (15 age group) against England (twice) and Scotland, and also a team photograph taken prior to the Wales v. England Secondary Schools’ Rugby international at Cardiff Arms Park in April 1955, in which Keith Rowlands was capped.”