The guest of honour at Lurgan College speech day was a high flying former pupil, Group Captain Harvey Smyth of the RAF.
Welcoming Harvey principal Trevor Robinson said: “When we have thanked our guests of honour down through the years for taking time out of their busy schedules in order to attend Speech Days, I’m not sure their schedules could be deemed quite as busy, as challenging or even as dangerous as the one put on hold for a few hours today by our guest of honour this year.
“I have to say that welcoming back to Speech Day a former pupil, one of our own who has excelled in his chosen field (or maybe chosen air space would be more appropriate!), is always just that little bit extra special.”
Turning to more sombre matters Mr Robinson said: “Everyone at the College was deeply saddened at the news of the passing of one of its esteemed former Headmasters, Mr Norman Eccles, in April of this year. I have no doubt that many former pupils (even some present today) and former staff will have very fond memories of this true gentleman who served the school so ably as Headmaster for over a decade in the 1970s and 80s.”
Turning to the substance of his report Mr Robinson said: “It gives me great pleasure and fills me with no small measure of pride to report on and celebrate the academic year 2013/14 which, like 2012/2013, ranks as one of the most remarkable in the school’s illustrious 141-year old history both inside and outside the classroom.
“The examination performances of the classes of 2014 at both GCSE and A Level were among some of very best ever achieved by Lurgan College pupils.
“In the case of the Year 14 pupils, they did themselves, their families and their school proud.”
He went on to say: “All of this success does not, of course, happen by accident but rather it is the result of careful planning, delicate guidance and gentle encouragement on the part of the school’s hardworking and deeply committed teaching staff. If you think back yourselves, you will remember the crucial role that dedicated teachers played in motivating and inspiring you to fulfil your potential – I can assure you that the teaching staff of Lurgan College are not to be found wanting in this important area of your young people’s education.
“I should also like to record formally at this point my own deepest appreciation for the support of the Board of Governors over the past four years as their term of office comes to a close.
“I thank, in particular, our retiring governors, Alderman Stephen Moutray, Mr Robert Oliver, Mr Ivan Parry, Mr David Smith and Mr Robert Russell for all their hard work and dedication during that time and I look forward to working closely with our newly constituted Board of Governors during the 2014-2018 term of office.”