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HIGH SCHOOL OLD BOYS' DINNER., Issue 7977, 5 August 1889
HIGH SCHOOL OLD BOYS' DINNER.
The annual dinner of the Otaso Bigh School Old Boys was held at the City Hotel on Saturday evening, when about seventy gentlemen attended. The rector of the school (the Rev. Dr Belcher) occupied the chair, and was supported by Messrs A. Wilson, W. D. Milne, Profeßsor Parker, and Mr C. C. Kettle. Messrs D. Brent and G. M. Thomson were vice - chairmen. Among those at table were Messrs J. F. M. Fraser, J. Wilkie, and Finmore, who attended the school during the first year of its existence. After the tables had been cleared and the loyal toasts honored, the chairman read apologies from the Rev. Dr Stuart, Mr H. D. Bell (Wellington), Dr W. Allan, and Mr J. Roberts.
Mr C. C. Kettle then proposed the toast of "The school." After reviewing the history of the school at some length, he went on to say that on the appointment of Dr Macdonald to the rectorship a brighter era seemed to be in store for the school. The attendance in 1880 rose to 207, and in 1884 to 268. In 1883 Dr Macdonald's health began to break down, and his old friend, Mr Brent—(applause)— thid time assisted by Mr Wilson—(applause)— took charge. Dr Macdonald afterwards returned to the school, and in a report that he made testified to the very excellent way in which the school had been managed during his absence.—(Applause.) In the meantime the new school had been built, and in February 1885 it was opened. Professor Shand took a great interest in the planning and in the general arrangements of the new school, and its efficiency so far as the arrangements were concerned was, in a great measure, due to his exertions.— (Applause.) After the opening of the school Dr Macdonald's health declined still further and he had to give up. The speaker had not the pleasure of being a pupil under Dr Macdonald, but he was sure he was only expressing the feelings of those who bad when he said that Dr Macdonald was one of the most popular rectors that ever entered the High School.—(Applause.) After Dr Macdonald's retirement, the appointment was made of the present rector of the High School.—(Prolonged applause.) He thought he might say this: that during the time that Dr Belcher had held the reins the work that he and his colleagues had done had been most earnest and vigorous. He well knew that the High School had made rapid strides during the last year or two, and especially since Dr Belcher took control had there been a marked improvement in the tone of the school.— (Applause.) He would not detain them further, but he was sure they all wished that the old High School of Otago would continue in the future to occupy the foremost position which it undoubtedly occupied a,t present among the educational institutions of the colony.—(Loud applause.) The Chairman, in reply, thanked Mr Brent for his kind remarks, and in the course of a highly interesting speech said thut while he rejoiced with tbem again around the table on the anniversary of the establishment of the school, it was only seemly to think of the reverse side of the picture. It was not more than ten days ago since a very eminent o'd boy passed away he referred to Mr Arthur Fulton. Mr Fulton was in the prime of his young manhood and in the prime of his young hopes, and, from what he could gather from those who were best qualified to judge, when Mr Fulton died there was removed not only a young man who was naturally dear to a large and extensive family circle, but a young man to whom the school might even now point with pride, and who was, if he had been spared, without doubt destined to be of the very greatest service to the young colony to -which he belonged. Another who had passed away Binoe they gathered last was a son of another member of the Board of Governors he referred to Mr Donald Stuart, who was present the first time they dined together. He did not wish to summon the corpse to the Egyptian feast, but he was Bure they would agree it was seemly he should recall these memories and ask them to devote a thought of sympathy to those who had been so deeply bereaved, Regarding the present of the school it was not fit that he should make any remarks. The magnificent buildings were in themselves a guarantee for the future of the principles they embodied. The staff were trying to do their best, and it was not for them to say whether they were better or worse than their predecessors, but as Mr Henry Bell said to him recently in Wellington: "The future of the school lies largely in the old boys ; when my boys get b.gger I intend to send them down to the Otago High School,"—(Prolopged ap? plauße.) They might be certain of it, that unless they stood by the school to which they owed so much, and which in return owed so much to them, the future pf the school was a poor one, but it gathered success from the existence of the Old Boys' Club. As he looked round and saw the healthy faces, and recognised the representatives of the professional and commercial interests of this young colony, he took from that sipht a measure of encouragement, and said Floret schola florealque schola.— (Applause.) He thanked them very heartily for j the way in which they received the toast of " The High School," and he was happy to be able to be present once more to return thanks on behalf of that great institution. Mr G. M. Thomson proposed the health of " The Absent Old Boys," and in doing so said that beyond New Zealand the old High School boys were well upholding the name of the High Schoo'. Recently a very distinguished "old boy," Alexander Montgomery—(applause)—had been selected as Inspector of Mines in Tasmania ; in a letter he received lately, the writer mentioned having come across some ex-High School boys in the Isle of Man, where they were acting as amateur immigration agents—(laughter and applause)—and it was just the other day that they heard that Leslie Reynolds—(applause)—was off to Brazil to occupy an important position there. They also heard a great deal from time to time of the success of absent old boys in their university studies at borne. A report had been circulated some time ago in an Edinburgh paper that colonial students were guilty of disgraceful behaviour in Edinburgh, but he was sure from what he knew of the old High School boys that the report so far as they were concerned was quite unfounded. He bad heard from friends in Edinburgh who came into contact with the colonial students that they bore an excellent character, and that the little band of Maoris, as they were called, were a superior lot of young fellows, and he thought it was right that a statement of this kind should be contradicted. —(Applause. ) Mr J. F. M. Fraser, in acknowledging the toast, said that he did not wish to speak egotistically for the High School boys, but he did not think it was a matter for astonishment that they had taken the place in the colony that they had. After all they were the second generation, and they might fairly lay claim to have a hereditary right to take a prominent position in the colony. The old High School boys had made their weight fairly well felt in the colony, and many of them were men who would have done credit almost to any community.—(Applause.) Mr F. Stilling proposed the toast of "The Exhibition'."—(Applause.) It had been said lately by a statesman hailing from a neighboring city that we were a very pugnacious community,—(Laughter.) Whether or not this pugnacity was supposed to involve the questions of nationality and climate, or either of them, he had not learned; but he was sure that even our critic, were he here, would be willing to admit that two things seemed pretty well agreed upon amoDgst us just now. They were: Firstly, that this present year of grace was a very opportune time for holding our Exhibition ; and, secondly, that if industry and skill on the part of the Executive could make a success of it, then it bade fair to become one. Amongst the many reaßons that presented themselves in favor of holding these expositions there was one that occurred to him as worthy of being pressed a little upon their attention,and it was this: He thought it wasour duty in a colony like this to seize every chance that offered of fostering a national sentiment amongst us. Scattered up and down a long line of coast as our small centres were, each with its different local interests tugging their own ways, one could hardly expect our national sentiment in New Zealand to be a very quickly growing plant. He thought, therefore, it was our duty to spend money freely now and then in exhibitions, if for ho other reason than
that financial considerations must not be allowed to govern us in tending the growth amongst us of the sentiment in us that we were one colony and one people, (Applause.) With the other pleasant hopes that they were permitted to have in connection with the Exhibition there was the one that it would be made the occasion for holding educational congresses. There need be no fear, he thought, that the physical side of their national education was going to suffer from neglect during the next six months, and no doubt the intellectual side would get plenty of attention at some of the congresses ; and there were several old faces they might reasonably expect to see at Exhibition time. For instance, there was their old friend, the question of the relative advantages of knowing their Horace and their Ollendorf. He was sure that those of them who were present at the last Christmas breaking-up of an institution to which they were not quite strangers were delighted to see that he had not lost any of his ancient fire, and that they were equally well pleased to shake hands again with his twin brother, who was perhaps more popularly known as the question as to the desirability on the one hand of suppressing the boy that was always giving token of a desire to wreck his future by staying at the top of his class, and on the other hand of giving the prizeß to the boy at the other end.—(Laughter.) As he understood the teachings of the school of philosophers that advanced the claims of the latter young gentleman, it was a mistake to suppose that he filled that post by reason of laziness or dullness or both, but that his occupation of what the superficial observer might imagine to be a rather lowly position was to be taken merely as the outward and visible sign of his belief in the truth of the proverb that everything comes to him that knows how to wait—(laughter)—and probably in the future his would be the brow wreathed with the laurels that went to the youthful victor of school life. That would be only fitting if, as he gathered, his were the shoulders on which in after life descended the mantle of the successful man. Many other fit and proper subjects for discussion at these congresses crowded into their view, as, for instance, the merits and demerits of the three-name system; the exact form of the equation by which they might determine the relative values of the town elector and the country elector; and as to whether the Greek kalends would be a suitable time for making a fresh start with the Otago Central Railway.—(Laughter.) He was sure they would agree in saying that a community, though perhaps not inclined to being demonstrative about it, was quite capable of feeling grateful to any body of men that from public-spirited motives gave the time and labor of months to the carrying out of an undertaking calculated to be of benefit to the public at large.—(Applause.) More especially did a community feel obliged when the workers were not of those whose voices were to be heard daily in the market place, and whose fate it was, consequently, to create sometimes an impression that the public good was not the chief object of their ambition.—(Applause.) He coupled with the toast the name of Dr Belcher.
The Chairman, in replying, said that he fancied they were going to have in the Exhibition a great success in every way. It would be a success financially, he was sure; it would also be a success socially, and it would be a success commercially; and it would tend to bring about that solidarity of feeling which would result in all their cities knowing more of each other than was at present the case.—(Applause.) As they knew, he had Borne connection with the Exhibition as a member of two or three committees. He was able to say that there would be large provision made for amusements, for they were citing the best talent in tbe Australias in all branches of amusement — dramatic and otherwise. He was sure they all wished the Exhibition very hearty success, and in wishing it this success they certainly did it from healthy motives. The object being good exacted their sympathy, —(Applause,) Mr \V, D, Milne proposed the toast of "Science and Literature," to which Professor .Parker (science) and Mr A. Wilsou (literature) responded, while Mr A. W. Morris briefly responded to the toast of " Athletics," proposed by C, W. Rattray, The healths of Messrs W : H. Brent and E. H. Burn, whose exertions were mainly instrumental in making the dinner a success, were toasted at the invitatien of the chairman, the company dispersing et midnight. During the evening Messrs J. N. Brown, E. C. Reynolds, and J. R. Montgomery (songs), Mr P. C. Calvert (recitation), and C ; R. Barrett (violin solo) enlivened the proceedings with their selections. The names of the team chosen to repre, sent Qtago in the match against the Maoris were read out to those present, and the applause was loud and long-continued on account of the number of present and past schoolboys inclnded.
HIGH SCHOOL OLD BOYS' DINNER., Issue 7977, 5 August 1889
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