As usual the re-opening of school at the beginning of the year saw a number of staff changes. Of last year's staff, Mr. McLaren and Mr. Levy had been transferred to other schools, and Mr. Brown, Mr. McMahon, Miss Wilkins and Miss Gowing had left the teaching service. This year we welcomed Mr. Sheil as Deputy-Headmaster, and the places of those who had left us were taken by Mr. Holdstock, Miss Nippress, Mr. Chapple, Mr. Baines, Miss Davis, Miss Pryor and Mr. and Mrs. Bissett. During the year Mr. and Mrs. Bissett were transferred and replaced by Mr. Milgate and Mr. Lockley.
The working of the school has been made much easier since the technical and home science blocks came into operation, but numbers have grown and we are still over-crowded. We all hope that before long we shall he using the new building which has been planned for us.
One of the highlights of the year was a visit from Professor Toynbee. who spoke to the school about his experiences in South America. Both staff and pupils were proud to have as guests of the school such a famous and important person. The Professor was interested in seeing how well our friends from other countries are helping to build up the school traditions.
Ex-students of M.H.S. are now scattered over the globe. Our good wishes go to George and Jerry Higginson in U.S.A., Anna Strom in Norway, and John Larkin in Austria. These people often write to us and we are always very happy to receive their letters.
Teachers have at times said hard things about Fourth Year, but they have won high praise as money-raisers. Their very good work at the fete was followed by a most successful campaign for finance for this magazine, and the school as a whole would like to say, "Thank you, Fourth Year".
During second term the senior History students beard a very interesting talk by Mrs. Solu about her homeland, Turkey. Mrs. Solu also gave the library a book about Turkey.
Mr. Stuart Anderson, Director of Youth Education for the A.B.C. paid us a visit during Education Week bringing some recorded talks and plays from the A.B.C. broadcasts to schools. Since then he has very kindly sent us a set of scripts of the senior English programmes. He was pleased to hear that, thanks to the P. & C, we shall be able to bear the programmes ourselves next year.
When there was no high school in Cooma, the number of secondary pupils in the old Cooma School was 67. Since that time (1949), there has been very rapid growth indeed. At the end of 1954, when the new buildings were opened the enrolment was about 180; figures since then tell their own story: February, 1955 saw an enrolment of 226, which had become 254 in March with the establishment of bus services, and by the end of the year was 239. 1956 has seen enrolments over 300, the peak being 332 in April, and present effective enrolment is 291.
Such rapid growth obviously means great problems in provision of equipment, especially in the provision of- text-books. The total value of books issued to a 5th Year student is often about £15; 4th Year pupils have about the same, and the amount varies with each class down to something over £3 for the majority of 1st Year pupils. As only part of the school fee can go to the book fund, it will be appreciated that text-books are a major financial problem. Since February, 1955, at least £1200 has been spent on books. There should be no need to stress the necessity of looking after your text-books carefully.
The school has had a number of visitors from the Education Department during the year. We have been visited by the Director of the Southern Area, Mr. Cowburn and by the Secretary of the Department, Mr. McKinnon, and by the following members of the inspectorial staff: Mr. Barker (secondary inspector attached to Southern Area), Mr. McLaren, Mr. Bilbe, Miss Scott and Miss Roberts (Home Science), Miss Playford and Mr. Dabron (Art), Mr. McLean (Physical Education), Mr. Baker (Manual Arts) and Mr. Morton (District Inspector). We were also pleased to welcome Mr. Hughes of the Speech and Drama Section, who gave talks and demonstrations to parents and pupils.
It is hoped that the next issue of the magazine will contain the words of a war-cry and a school song.
Members of the Social Committee under Mr. McClure have done a great deal of work for the benefit of the school. Not only have they been responsible for the organization of socials and such important functions as the Farewell to Fifth Year, but they have also raised about £100, partly spent on records for use at socials, and partly going to general school funds.