In 1955 we gave a welcome to seventy new students, our maximum enrolment for the year being 180, and to twelve new Staff Members, (including four part-time and honorary members). In addition to those mentioned as coming in the 1954 School Notes, we were pleased to have Mr. Y. C. HUEN join us as a part-time Staff Member, assisting in the teaching of Chemistry and Biology. Mr. T.P. Shanker B.A., of St. Joseph’s Staff assisted in the teaching of Hindi to two classes. Mrs. Ison, wife of our Council Member, Rev. F.D. Ison, offered to help look after our small boys, and was with us as their Matron until September, when Mr. and Mrs. Ison and their boys left for furlough in Australia. Miss S. TETHONG, a former pupil of the school, returned to us as Assistant Matron, replacing Mrs. Ison as little Boys’ Matron from September. It has been a pleasure in 1955 to have a staff complete, and working harmoniously together for the welfare of the school.
The School year commenced on February 26th, with the simultaneous arrival of train and plane parties. The earlier dates of School Certificate Examinations have made it necessary to start a week earlier than heretofore, in order to conclude the school year prior to the Cambridge examinations. For the first week or so, therefore, children felt chilly, and wandered the grounds in overcoats and mufflers. But soon the temperature rose, and children became acclimatised.
We were pleased on the whole with the S.C. results of 1954. The school allowed seven candidates to sit, five with our recommendation and two without. The five recommended candidates passed, the other two failing because of a failure in the compulsory subject, English language (otherwise they would have obtained quite creditable passes). We congratulate two of the candidates who passed in the First Division, Abu Rauff and Hans Klimkeit, who were respectively 24th and 31st in the list of West Bengal candidates in order of merit. A pleasing feature of the results was that of all subjects entered by all pupils, over 70% passed with credit or distinction passes. This was a good record.
March 11th, 1955 was a special day for Mount Hermon. On that day we were sixty years old. One would not think the gaiety and laughter of the Birthday dinner indicated hoary antiquity, I expect every school holds the secret of perennial youth! It was a special dinner, with party dress, sweets, and birthday cake. We were pleased to have as our guests for the evening Mr. and Mrs. Dewey, Mr. Dewey giving to us a resumé of the sixty colourful years of Mount Hermon’s history – of the tragic landslide of 1898 which destroyed the first school, “Arcadia,” causing the sad loss of the six Lee children of the twenty-seven years in “Queen’s Hill,” and the excitement as the new site was prepared at Mount Hermon, and the three years of building our beautiful school; of the earthquake of 1934 (with the story of the flying pianos), the building of hospital, playing field, extensions to Fern Hill; and of the countless students of these sixty years who had passed days of their youth within these walls, and gone forth to put into practice in life the lessons they had learned in school.
On Sunday 13th March, at her parents’ request, the Principal conducted a Dedication Service where Maureen Maybin was publicly dedicated to God. The theme of the service was “Giving to God.”
Easter is a special time always at Mount Hermon. There is both the excitement of holiday, and the chapels in which we recollect the real significance of Easter. On Good Friday a Choral Chapel was arranged for the morning, the Choir beautifully rendering excerpts from Maunder’s “Olivet to Calvary,” and the whole congregation joining in the congregational hymns from Stainer’s “Crucifixion.” Interspersed were readings from the Scripture story, combining with the singing to create a vivid impression of the combined sorrow and glory of that first Good Friday. Saturday was a festive day. The Senior Girls went picnicking with Mr. and Mrs. Maybin, and the Senior Boys with the Principal, hiked (helped by the school jeep!) to Rungeet River via Lebong. A cricket match vs. St. Paul’s, and an evening film were also fitted into the day’s programme. Easter Sunday Chapel saw again beautiful singing in “Just as I am” (Maunder) and “Since by man came death” (Handel) and “I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Handel) while the Principal gave the address on the significance of the Resurrection.
Sale Day 1955 was held on May 14th. The earlier date fulfilled our hopes, with brilliant sunshine the whole day. Mrs. Dewey opened our Sale this year, and welcomed our visitors. There were not quite as many visitors as last year, but enthusiasm was keen. The school stalls were full of ideas, and several new stalls were added this year, such as the Rifle Range and Ferris wheel. Once again the Language School had us all in hysterics with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” A Puppet show and cartoon films were added entertainments, and the day concluded with the School Concert. The School concert was full of variety, including several musical items, “Sleeping Beauty” from the Juniors, excerpts from the Operetta “Chu Chin Chow” by the Music Club, and “Michael” from the Dramatic Society. To all who helped make our Sale Day a success financially (Rs. 2,550 was added to our Swimming Pool Fund), both our own students and staff, and also those ladies of the Estate who, under Mrs. Ison’s guidance, cooked, sewed, knitted, bought and sold, the school expresses sincere thanks.
It has been very pleasant to share many things this year with other schools of the district. Cricket, football, hockey, netball have all given many opportunities of friendly games with fourteen schools of the district, and it is good to be able to report that all have been played in the very best of spirits. We have in 1955 won more games than we have lost, which shows improvement., but whatever the outcome of our game, without exception our games with other schools have been thoroughly enjoyed. In particular, we should mention the happy week-end visit of Senior Boys from Dr. Graham’s Homes’ School, Kalimpong, to us at the end of July, and the reciprocal visit of our girls to Kalimpong near the end of September. Also the overnight invitation to our hockey team from Goethal’s coupled with their visit also to Victoria; and likewise the girls’ visit to Dow Hill for their Sports Day. With St. Joseph’s our next-door neighbours, we have shared many things. We have appreciated their invitations to Concerts, Films, and Sports and their visiting us for our Sale Day, and a Table Tennis Tournament, as well as frequent meetings on our two sports’ field. Loreto Convent and St. Paul’s are further away, but we have also enjoyed several activities with each of these. Most of these inter-school affairs are mentioned elsewhere in the magazine, so there is no need for detail in these notes; but the write hopes that the good spirit which abounds now among the schools of our district will continue to prevail, and will grow.
In October, we welcomed a visit from Rev. J. Mullins, M.C., M.A.,, of the Children’s Special Service Mission, who stayed with us for a week and endeared himself to all. Mr. Mullins’ talks at Morning Chapel with the aid of his flannel-graph pictures, were listened to with great interest and there was much rivalry between the dormitories at night for a visit from Mr. Mullins, with his “yarns” and “ghosts.” It was good for us all to meet Mr. Mullins, to play games with him in the afternoons, and in the natural happy setting of regular school life and activity, to feel the attraction of the deep things of God which finally, are the things that really matter.
Sports Day, on 24th October, saw the playing field reversed in arrangement from previous years. A pavilion was erected for special guests on the east side of the flat, while forms accommodated school non-competitors on the west. The 100-yard tracks were immediately in front of the pavilion instead of diagonally as heretofore. Mr. Rowe took charge of arrangements, and the whole day went with a good swing. Detailed reports are elsewhere.
From Sports Day to Speech Day was all too quick. On 16th November at 2-30 p.m. we assembled in the Hall, together with a welcome number of guests, and listened to the Principal's Report, which was able to outline a year of steady development and progress. After the Principal's Report, we were privileged to hear our special guest, Rev. M. Stanford, S J., Rector of St. Joseph's, Father Stanford, congratulated the school most ,warmly, and expressed the affection and friendliness of the relationship between the two schools. He then spoke more particularly to the exit students, taking as his text our school motto : "Non scholae sed vitae discimus" He spoke of the doubt and uncertainty which characterized the world of our day, and of the certainty of faith. Subsequently he distributed the prizes to many happy recipients. After our guests had been entertained at tea in the Lounge Room, and had viewed an exhibition of Art work arranged by Mrs. von Rauch, they reassembled for the Speech Day Concert at 5 p.m. After several items by orchestra and choir, we greatly enjoyed the Operetta, "Little Gypsy Gay", performed by the .Juniors. Separated from the Operetta by further items from Choir and Orchestra, was the uproarious school play, "Rory Aforesaid", bringing to a conclusion the final event of 1955.