Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School
Certificate Ceremony, February 1910, for the class of 1909
Aberdare County School.
ANNUAL PRIZE DAY.
Thursday last was the annual prize day of the Aberdare County School. The meeting was held at the magnificent New Empire, and there was a splendid attendance. The chair was occupied by Councillor David Hughes. Lord Aberdare distributed the prizes. The Chairman said the school had established a record, having won a larger number of certificates and scholarships than on any previous occasion. (Applause.) As to the extension of the school and the erection of a gymnasium, a physical laboratory, a chemical laboratory, and the proposed erection of a new school for girls, the Chairman said the expenditure would fall on the county rate.
The following were also present on the platform: Mrs. W. Lloyd, Mrs. J. Griffiths, Mrs. Cox, Ald. W. Jones, Councillors M. J. Harris, E. Morris, T. Lewis, A. P. Jones, and W. Thomas, High Constable; Mr. W. C. Cox, M.A., headmaster, and Mr. J. D. Thomas, clerk to the Governors.
Master Taliesin Merfyn Morgan, the famous young harpist, gave a selection on the harp, viz., “Morfa Rhuddlan.” He was loudly encored, and in response played “The Minstrel’s Adieu.” The School Choir, conducted by Mr. T. Price, gave several excellent renderings, including some Welsh airs.
Lord Aberdare, who was given a good reception, said that he was glad to see the school, with the establishment of which his father was so closely associated, presenting such a flourishing appearance. They had many rivals in the field, but they were the first in the field. The only thing that appeared like a drawback was the falling off in the number, and he was afraid that he was to some degree responsible for that reduction, inasmuch as he was one who had been instrumental in obtaining a County School for Mountain Ash. He hoped that Mountain Ash would be a good second to Aberdare. He was greatly interested in the harp selections by Taliesin Morgan, and he hoped that the young harpist would eventually take the place of Pencerdd Gwalia, when he would vacate his position as Royal Harpist. He was certain that that renowned harpist would be prepared to give Taliesin Morgan a helping hand. His Lordship then dwelt on the athletic feature of the school. He was glad that they carried out the principle of the maxim, “A healthy mind in a healthy body.”
Mr. A. P. Jones moved a vote of thanks to Lord Aberdare. He remarked that the Aberdare family had always taken a keen interest in the work of education.
Ald. W. Jones seconded the resolution. He referred to the great work done by the late Lord Aberdare on behalf of education in Wales and to the present Lord Aberdare’s service to Mountain Ash.
Councillor T. Lewis proposed thanks to the chairman.
Mrs. J. Griffiths seconded, and mentioned the admirable way in which Mr. Hughes managed the Governors.
The final item was a display of animated pictures on the screen. This was greatly enjoyed by all. The chairman expressed the thanks of the audience to Mr. Victor Rowe, the proprietor of the Empire, and Mr. Knight, the manager, for this entertaining item, and also for the use of the Empire.
The Headmaster presented his report, from which we cull the following: —
I may perhaps be permitted to summarize in a few sentences my impression, of the past year as a whole. I think I may safely say that the period under review may be justly regarded by all connected with the school with feelings great satisfaction, and that the reputation which the school has won in former years has been not only upheld, but enhanced. It is my duty, first of all, to commend very highly the excellent tone and spirit displayed by the scholars throughout the year. Not only has there been a praiseworthy absence of all serious misdemeanours, but the industry and enthusiasm exhibited by practically every pupil has been most creditable, and has been a source of great satisfaction to the staff and to myself. A most encouraging feature was the general manifestation of a spirit of cheerful loyalty and self-control, shewn sometimes under very trying circumstances. As an instance of this I may mention the excellent discipline maintained by the pupils, nearly 170 in number, who visited the National Pageant, where a series of disappointments and delays due to the faulty arrangements of the Pageant Authorities, were endured with a patience and good order which would have put many bodies of adults to shame; in spite of the trying circumstances not a single instance of disobedience or misconduct occurred.
In the second place, a high meed of praise is due to the Assistant Staff for the energy and devotion with which they worked to secure the progress of the pupils, alike in conduct and in intellectual attainments. The result of this sympathetic co-operation was that the year proved itself a record year. A larger number of certificates, a larger number of exhibitions and scholarships, and a smaller percentage of failures fell to our lot, than has been achieved in any previous year.
Numbers on the Register.—In this, as in the preceding session, the numbers suffered from the loss of the Mountain Ash District, which before its separation from the Aberdare School District always proved itself a generous supporter of the school. The cutting off of this rich source of supply has been perhaps a more severe loss even than was anticipated. Consequently a further considerable falling off in the numbers has to be recorded. There were on the register in the —
Autumn Term, 1908: 120 boys and 135 girls;
Spring Term, 1909: 116 boys and 131 girls;
Summer Term, 1909: 106 boys and 112 girls;
This makes an average for the year of 240 pupils on the register, compared with an average for the preceding session of 279. I may explain that the drop in the number for the Summer Term was largely due to a change made in the method of attendance of the pupil teachers, by which 18 pupil teachers were lost, who, but for this, would have attended till the end of the session. From various indications, I believe that the drop in the numbers has now been checked, and that little decrease need be expected in the near future, provided that no further organic changes are contemplated by the County Authorities. In view, however, of the efforts required to maintain the numbers at their present level, I cannot but contemplate with serious misgivings the probability of the early opening of a separate Girls’ School. If this could be deferred for some time, the school would have time to regain its strength, and the numbers could probably be gradually increased, but any further disruption in the immediate future would affect the school seriously for a long time. There is no urgency on the ground of lack of accommodation, as our present buildings, especially with the enlargements now being made, can easily accommodate more than our present numbers. I think the Governors and the County Authorities should consider carefully whether it would not be advisable to defer for a few years the separation of the sexes in the case of this school in view of the serious decrease in the numbers. In any case every effort should be made to popularise the school with a view to inducing greater numbers to take advantage of the opportunities that it offers.
Gymnastics—Under the able supervision of Miss Penny, the girls continue to make excellent progress in physical drill. A team from the school entered for the County Gymnastic Competition in March last and came out second, gaining a very favourable report from the adjudicator. Owing to our being unable to secure the services of the County Gymnastic Instructor, it was deemed inadvisable to enter the boys for a similar competition.
Suggestions.—I should like to make one or two suggestions with regard to the future. I have already drawn your attention to the need of adopting every possible means of increasing the numbers in attendance. I believe it would be of considerable assistance in this direction if some means could be devised of bringing the business men and employers of the neighbourhood into closer touch, with the school and its pupils, and I would suggest that during the coming year you consider carefully what can be done towards this. There is a danger lest the Intermediate Schools of the country should become too narrow in their aims and curriculum and devote themselves too much to the production of pupils fit either to proceed to the Universities and to take their degree, or to enter the teaching profession. We want to avoid this pitfall, and to open up other avenues in life to our pupils, but in order to do this we must consider carefully what are the qualifications required in these branches, and as far as possible adapt our curriculum and teaching to the production of those qualifications. We have already made a beginning in this direction, but what we appear to need most at the moment is an accurate knowledge of the demands likely to be made on pupils desirous of entering commercial life, or taking up the pursuit of one of the local industries. I think the Governors can do much to help us in this. There is one other small suggestion. The Governors are now doing much to help the outdoor life of the school. May we hope before long not only to see the playing-field properly fenced in, but also adorned with a modest pavilion for the use of the pupils.
Winners of Certificates Awarded by the Central Welsh Board:—
Honours—David F. Davies, Charlotte S. Evans, May George, Mary Howells, Gwladys John, May Lewis, Irene Pratt, Dorothy Rees, Brinley Reynolds.
Senior—Luther Bosher, Amy Davies, Archie L. Davies, Thomas Davies, Wm. J. Evans, Aaron Gibbon, Idris Jones, William Jones, Thomas H. Lewis, Warren Lewis, Lewis T. Morgan, Stanley Morgan, William J. Morris, Fred W. Oxenham, Irene Price, Wyndham Thomas, Walter O. Twiny, Tegwedd Williams.
Junior: Mary Benjamin, Lucy Berry, Gilbert Burgess, Gordon Chapman, Hilda Davies, Maggie Davies, Mary E. Davies, Annie Evans, Lilian Evans, Lizzie Franklin, Annie Henry, Gwen James, Sarah Jenkins, Daniel Jones, Edward Jones, Ithel Jones, Mary J. Jones, Arthur F. Lambert, Catherine Lewis, Myfanwy Lewis, Elsie Mackintosh, Herbert Oxenham, David J. Parsons, John Price, Martha Roderick, Annie Williams, George Williams, Sadie Williams, Annie Woodford.
London Matriculation Certificates:— Evan W. Davies, Brinley Reynolds, Trefor Reynolds.
Welsh Matriculation Certificates:— Evan W. Davies, May Lewis, May George, Dorothy Rees, Walter O. Twiny.
Senior Oxford Local Certificate:— David J. Edmunds.
Pitman’s Shorthand Certificates (Elementary):—
Ivor Davies, Muriel Stevens, John Evans, Arthur Jones.
Prizes Awarded by the Governors:—
Form VI.— English, I. Pratt; History, May Lewis; French, I. Pratt; Botany, M. Howells; Science, D. F. Davies; Mathematics, David F. Davies. Form Va.— General Proficiency, Wm. Jones. English Subjects, Warren Lewis. Mathematics, Idris Jones. Languages, E. W. Davies; Science, Idris Jones. Form Vb.— General Proficiency, A. L. Davies; English Subjects, J. Powell; Mathematics, Stanley Morgan; Science, K. Connolly. Form IVa,— General Proficiency, D. J. Parsons; English Subjects, D. J. Parsons; Mathematics, G. M. Williams; Languages, Sadie Williams; Science and Geography, L. M. Evans. Form IVb.— General Proficiency, Catherine Lewis; English Subjects, M. Tay; Mathematics, Edward Jones; Science and Geography, Catherine Lewis. Form IIIa.— General Proficiency, Amy Minty; English Subjects, E. Bosher; Mathematics, A. Minty; Languages, S. J. Davies. Form IIIb.— General Proficiency, T. A. Jones; English Subjects, D. Hannah; Mathematics, Cassie Walker; Languages, T. A. Jones. Form Ia.— General Proficiency, A. C. Williams; English Subjects, D. T. Davies; Mathematics, W. Pontin; Languages, A. C. Williams. Form Ib.— General Proficiency, Tim Williams; English Subjects, D. E. Baigent; Mathematics, Belle Davies; Languages, Annie Price. Commercial Form.— General Proficiency, Dan Hughes; Languages, F. W. Oxenham; Book-keeping and Shorthand, F. W. Oxenham. 2nd year P.T.’s— General Proficiency, Clarissa Rate; English Subjects, M. Ashford; Mathematics, Cyril Richards. 1st year P.T.’s— General Proficiency, T. A. Rees; English Subjects, A. McCarthy; Woodwork, Geoff Thomas; Cookery and Needlework, Annie Williams and Minnie Tay. Special Prizes, H. C. Oxenham, D. J. Edmunds and A. F. Lambert.
ABEEDABE COUNTY SCHOOL PRIZE-DAY.
BY MR. J. BOSHER, ABERDARE.
My Lord, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The results of 19-0-9
Disclosed the fact that our County School
Had scored indeed very fine;
For in the Central Welsh Board Exam.
Nine Honours Certiffs were gained,
Eighteen passed the Senior Grade,
Twenty-nine Junior passes obtained.
Eleven passed the Teachers’ Prelim.,
Three London Matrics,—Well done!—
One Commercial, Five Welsh Matrics secured,
For the Senior Oxford-One;
I’m sure that all assembled here
Will gladly join with me.
In giving every one concerned
A hearty three-times-three.
To the Headmaster and Staff, we say,
Continue your good work,
To the Pupils we say—Go on and on,
Your duty never shirk;
Work with a true persistency,
Work with a noble zest,
Work with method, aim, and plan,
Work your very best;
Teachers and Pupils, hand-in-hand
Your daily burdens share,
Thus year by year fresh honours bring
To our School at Aberdare.