Saturday, 2 March 2013

The school reunion

I don't look back on my secondary schooling with any real degree of affection.   It's not that I have anything to complain about nor was there anything wrong with it, but it was the "baby boomer" era when the education system was barely coping with the basics.  Modern thinking was only just beginning to creep in.  However, at least I received an education that, for the most part (there were exceptions), was reasonably competent, so I suppose I ought to be grateful for that.

Thus, in the many years since I left school, I've only been to one "old boys" function.  However, this year marks a particularly significant anniversary, and I attended the reunion event.
Still a nice view

The evening was pleasant enough but I can't say that I was overwhelmed.   Yes, I spoke to a number of people whose names I remember from school days.   I got on well with a couple of people with whom I got on well at school.   But since I wasn't a sports type of person then (not that anything's changed), and in those days the school looked with great favour on those who did well in sport, there were quite a few students who were given positions of responsibility because of their sporting eminence.   In those days, I didn't have a lot in common with a number of these.     The good news is, all these years later, I found I could now easily mix with some of them.  But there are still some with whom I don't have a lot in common!
We were given a conducted tour of parts of the school.   The changes over the years have been enormous.   Given that the facilities we had were in many respects pretty basic, this was good to see.
That's a fly loft under construction, above the stage

But the works continue.  Yes, the fund raising foundation is in debt, but given the ambitious nature of the current project, and the amounts of money being spoken about, I was left thinking that the foundation's biggest concern seems to be to find ways of spending money rather than raising it!

As the fee payable in year 12 is over $26,000 (and did I read somewhere that private school fees have risen at twice the rate of inflation over the past decade?), I wondered where it's all heading.


  1. Ah school days...I understand the elite schools' formula of taxes substantially supplemented with rivers of parent and alumni money so well encapsulated in the blog photos, but don't warm to what I think they represent - the governing philosophy of Plato. As an entirely State schooled lad I retain affection for my several schools, and believe they all gave priceless value in adding to my formation. I am currently reading Clive James' Unreliable Memoirs and am astonished at the similarity of our experiences - almost everything he writes about I recognize in my distant past, and am envious of his ability to recreate such vivid scenes- small wonder the book has sold more than 1 million copies, and has a Folio Society edition. I feel sad with him when he recounts that he turned down the opportunity I took up in choice of secondary schooling, since we both feel that the government school he spurned, and I failed then to value adequately, freely provided a fully rounded cultural education in languages and sciences. The mates of those days are scattered to the winds and ravages of time, but several are fondly remembered and one, once a rowing cox, now meets me in the unlikely setting of an elite Club.

  2. But, re the vivid scenes, did you notice that in an interview in The New Republic reproduced in the Weekend Australian of 2-3 March, Clive James draws attention to the fact that he says at the start of Unreliable Memoirs, "Some of this isn't true"! Incidentally, it seems that statements such as this aren't good for sales in America.