Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

Certificate Ceremonies

school building

Newspaper Report of the Speeches including that of the Guest Speaker Dr Idris Jones
Director of Research at The National Coal Board
at the 1956 Certificate Ceremony

from School Archives
The Aberdare Leader 9 June 1956 



TODAY, in the competition among men, it was largely a matter of the more efficient brain, said Dr. Idris Jones, C.B.E., Director of Research for the National Coal Board, when he addressed the boys of Aberdare Grammar School on Thursday at their annual speech day.

Natural ability and self-confidence were also undoubtedly important but character, integrity and sustained effort were even more essential. Even genius was five per cent inspiration, and ninety-five per cent perspiration.

“There is no room today for sleepers, shirkers and grousers,” declared Mr. Jones. “The price of success is to use all our courage and ability to force ourselves if necessary to concentrate on the problem we have in hand, to think of it deeply and constantly, to study it from all angles and to plan ahead, to have a high and sustained determination to do our duty, never saying that a job is too difficult and never complaining if we have to burn the midnight oil at times for five nights a week. Some people say, ‘This is very hard.’ Of course it’s hard. That is why so many men never reach success and remain on the beaten racks all their lives.”

Mr. Jones congratulated the headmaster, the governors and the staff and pupils on the school’s excellent record in scholarship and in sport, and on the important part the school had played in the life of Aberdare and Wales. Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School had turned out some distinguished scientists and leading figures in the educational, social and industrial life of Wales and elsewhere. Former pupils of the school were to be found in posts of influence in Britain and many other parts of the world.


Mr. Jones went on to say that it was good to know that the school’s successes were not confined merely to books. The school had done well in sport, and Mr. Jones (himself a former Welsh international and captain of Cambridge University), congratulated Keith Rowlands, last year’s school rugby captain, on having been chosen to play for the Welsh Secondary Schools against the secondary schools of England.

The school societies were flourishing. That was a good thing too, for these societies gave the pupils excellent experience in public speaking and in organising and conducting meetings. They also helped to cultivate friendships helped to develop initiative and character and taught the boys how to apply their knowledge.

To the boys who would be leaving school this session, Dr. Jones said: “Remember that education is a process which does not end when you leave school. It continues throughout life. Don’t throw away the key to knowledge when you leave school, as it will open the door to happiness and new service as well as to new knowledge. It will help you to question the answers as well as to answer the questions, and will provide you with the balanced judgment that the world so sadly needs in these days of shibboleths, sweeping and irresponsible statements and sentimentality.

Don’t accept things as they are. The boys we are proud to send forth from our schools are those who can choose the better and reject the worse, who give their best always, who have their decks cleared for action, who have many interests and do not cry for the moon over spilt milk.


Alderman (Mrs.) Rose Davies, C.B.E., J.P., thanked Mr. J. Warren for his work as headmaster during his first year at the head of affairs.

She then made an important announcement affecting those parents who year after year, asked for their children to be exempted from the school before they had completed the full period of tuition covered by their scholarships.

In future, said Mrs. Davies, parents whose children were granted exemption would be expected to pay to the governors the sum of £10. 5s. However, no boy would be allowed to leave school before time unless the parents could present a very good case—such as the fact that the boy (who might not be doing too well academically) had had a bona fide offer to be apprenticed to a trade.

To those parents who were complacent about taking their children away from school, Mrs. Davies said: “Don’t forget that your child has wasted an opportunity that many other children would have been very glad to have.”

Mr. J. Warren, the headmaster, said that 1956-57 was an important year in the history of the school because it marked the diamond jubilee. He was delighted to see present that day such a representative gathering of parents, governors, friends of the school and those in the town and the district associated with the life of the school in many ways.

Welcoming the Clerk of the Governors (Mr. Oliver Timothy, B.A.), to his first speech day since his new appointment as Education Officer for Aberdare and Mountain Ash, Mr. Warren commented on the fact that he was a past pupil of the school.


Others welcomed by Mr. Warren were Dr. Raymond Grant, Mountain Ash (the new County Divisional Inspector), Dr. J. Llewellyn Williams (County Divisional M.O.H.), Mr. Arthur Probert, M.P. for the Division (another former pupil of the school), Mr. T. B. Reynolds (an ex-pupil and former headmaster of the school), and Mr. Edmund Stonelake J.P., who was the chairman of the governors as far back as 1919, and had given great service to the school as a governor throughout the years.

Thanks to Dr. Idris Jones and to Alderman Rose Davies (for presiding), were voiced by Coun. (Mrs.) Morfydd Morris, J.P. (chairman of Aberdare District Council) and the head prefect of the school, Maurice Britz.

Choruses were sung by the pupils With Mr. P. E. Phillips, M.A., conducting, and Mr. T. R. James, B.Sc., L.R.A.M. at the piano. A violin solo (Air on the G String by Bach) was rendered by George Thomas.

The certificates and sports “colours” were presented to the boys by Mrs. T. J. Lewis, whose husband, formerly clerk to the governors, will address the Girls’ Grammar School Prize Day in a fortnight’s time.

An image of the original article can be seen here.