THE RELATIONSHIP of a school with a community depended ultimately on the relationship between the pupils and the community, said Mr. Wynne Llewellyn Lloyd, M.A., Chief Inspector, Welsh Department of the Ministry of Education, in his address at the Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School speech day ceremony at the Coliseum last week.
“You yourselves,” he told the pupils, “carry to the community some message, some indication of what your school is like.
“I should also like to pay tribute to the teaching profession, a profession which is the guardian of high standards of service to the community and of the best in knowledge, and which on many occasions has been able to give advice and direction to the pupil that he cannot get at home.”
Mr. Lloyd said that some of the decisive moments of his life had been greatly influenced by the headmaster of his old school at Gowerton — “and the master who gave me some feeling that a little extra work sometimes at home was worthwhile.”
“It has been said that a community gets the schools it deserves,” went on Mr. Lloyd. “We know that buildings don’t make a school. There are indifferent schools in absolutely first-class buildings and there are first class schools in pretty pitiable circumstances. What will always count will be the relationship between the teacher and the taught.”
He said that this year Wales was celebrating the centenary of the death of one famous Welshman — Robert Owen, and the birth of another — Sir Owen M. Edwards.
“It is an interesting fact that these two men have, I think, something of value for us in these days. Both were born of humble parents, both succeeded in the world, and both secured their education largely by their own efforts. This, I think, is worth emphasising at a time when a boy’s own efforts do not secure him the means of education.
“One — Robert Owen — left school at nine after serving for two years as an usher. He went to no university but he made a fortune as a manufacturer, lived a long life, yet when he was 87 — just before he died — he was very busily engaged in re-organising education in his home town.
“The other man — Sir Owen — didn’t go to school until he was almost nine. He was 29 years of age before he secured his final degree at Oxford. He intended being a preacher and did preach for several years and paid his own way through college.
“He became a distinguished historian, a don at Oxford and — for a short period — a Member of Parliament.
“Both men were born in Wales and gave service to Wales!” stressed Mr. Lloyd.
He concluded by saying: “Our heritage is rooted in tradition, a tradition which is prepared to look outwards and venture into the world.”
After the address, Mrs. Lloyd distributed certificates to students who had passed at the Advanced Level and at the Ordinary Level of the General Certificate of Education.
A vote of thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd was proposed by Thomas G. Thomas (head prefect) and seconded by William Lucas, a sixth former.
Chairman at the ceremony was County Alderman Mrs. F. Rose Davies, C.B.E., J.P.
Musical items during the ceremony: the choir (forms 1 and 2) rendered “Bois Epais,” J.B. Lully, under the conductorship of Mr. Gethin Evans, B.A., L.R.A.M., accompanist Robert Jones (4a); a violin solo, “Czardas,” by Monti, was given by George Thomas (6a arts) accompanied on the piano by Robert Jones.
Richard Parry (1st cornet), Wynford Bowen (2nd cornet), Terry Johns (tenor horn), and Eric Davies (B. baritone), played “Remembrance” (H. Round), under the conductorship of Mr. Gethin Evans.
At the ceremony a tribute to two retiring members of Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School, Mr. J. T. Bowen and Mr. E. J. Excell, was paid by County Ald. Mrs. Davies.
“You owe these two men a big debt,” she told the pupils.