OUR CENTENARY YEAR
It has been a privilege and pleasure to be your President over the past two years and I can assure you that there are plenty of positives to reflect upon. Before we do that however, it is timely, at the beginning of a new year to remind ourselves of the objectives of our Society which was founded one hundred years ago (November 1919) , which is surely something to celebrate!
As I understand it the objectives of our Society are:
- To maintain and foster Torquay Old Grammarians Society (TOGS), bringing members together in as many ways as possible and keeping them informed of the careers and achievements of fellow Torquinians; also of life and development at the School.
- To promote and further the interests of the School whenever possible, ensuring its survival and continued success in financially and politically turbulent times. We also endeavour to find new and imaginative ways in which we can work for the greater good of all involved in TBGS, past, present and future.
The School continues to achieve outstanding results in all facets of its life: academic and artistic, spiritual and sporting. The school motto Of ‘Aude Sapere’ encapsulates the ethos. The School’s performance in all areas is stronger than ever. It is to the credit of the Headmaster and his team that the School continues to excel and they, together with a strong board of governors also find time to give wholehearted support to TOGS.
Everyone of us knows that the big world is actually not so big. Torquinians live and work in every part of the globe; are represented in every profession and many old boys of the school are world leaders in their chosen fields. Those who learn to collaborate will prevail, because new technologies and networks – social, cultural, political and economic- reinforce each others’ reach and power. Let TOGS be a catalyst for a renewal of our kinship. Magnanimous in all things and to all people, as our founding fathers expected us to be.
Over a year ago your committee unanimously agreed that new ideas were needed to rekindle enthusiasm for our annual dinner. Year on year the number of attendees had declined to the point that it was becoming unviable. As a result it was decided to follow a new format which would reflect the society we now inhabit. The venue was changed and we decided to include spouses and partners. Many of us have friends who attended Torquay Girls Grammar School (TGGS) and so we have joined forces with Torquay Old Girls’ Association (TOGA) and several of their members joined us. To enable our members who live and work in the Metropolises and have found it difficult to return to Torbay for dinner on Friday, we changed the dinner to Saturday evening. Over one hundred of us sat down to a splendid meal at the Imperial Hotel, Torquay on the evening of Saturday 30 June 2018 and it was judged to be a great success by a huge majority.
To build on this success and to celebrate our Centenary Year we will again join our friends from TOGA at the Imperial Hotel on Saturday 6 July and our guest of honour will be Professor Keith Dobney. Keith attended TBGS in the mid 1980s and is currently Head of the Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology Department at the University of Liverpool. His anecdotes about his time at TBGS will surprise some, but amuse us all!
Dear Old Grammarian
Whether you left TBGS last year or seventy years ago I hope you remember your time at the school with great fondness and that you were well prepared for the demands of life beyond our gates. I am sure you will be pleased to know that the school continues to provide an outstanding education to today’s young people. Academically, schools are now judged on the progress students make rather than the actual grades they achieve and this year we are in the top three schools in the whole of the south west for student progress. This is a tremendous accolade for the school; we have always known that our students are high-achievers but we now have confirmation that they really do perform better as a result of the experiences they have at TBGS.
Again this year we have ten students holding offers from Oxford or Cambridge and one with a $300000 scholarship to Harvard in the United States, continuing a record of success for students applying to the States unrivalled by any comparable state school.
Of course, league tables only tell part of the story: music, drama, sport, Ten Tors and Duke of Edinburgh, instilling a sense of community and responsibility through charity work and the houses are equally important to us as academic achievement but these are things that are far harder to measure. It is this rounded education that makes our young men and women so employable and successful in all sorts of careers as evidenced by the successes so many of you have enjoyed in your chosen field. Each year the school musical performs to around a thousand people; three hundred of our students are enrolled on the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme; dozens complete the annual Ten Tors Challenge on Dartmoor; the sporting successes are simply too numerous to list with over seventy regional or national winning teams and the houses raise thousands of pounds each year for the benefit of their chosen charities. Even though we, like many schools, are struggling to cope financially given the stringent cuts to our funding in recent years we believe it vital to continue to develop the whole student and not simply focus on academic achievements, impressive though these are for our students.
The school values of Excellence, Integrity and Leadership are alive and well and please do come and see for yourself if you are in the area, it is always a pleasure to show old grammarians around the school. In the meantime you may wish the view the latest edition of the Torquin magazine, the modern version of the old ‘Torquinian’ which many of you will remember. This will give you a sense of the rich and varied activities of the students and a flavour of just how dynamic and successful a place TBGS continues to be.
I look forward to seeing many of you on 6 July at the Old Grammarians Dinner.