This year’s Founders’ Assembly was especially significant as it marked the 10 year anniversary of the appointment of our principal, Miss Janet Williamson. This, along with the thought-provoking speeches of both our guest speaker, Mr. Colin Russell and Head of School, Theo Millar, as well as the magnificent musical renditions given by the orchestra, made for a momentous and memorable occasion. The school was pleased to welcome Mr Colin Russell, who is this year to retire from his role as President of the Belfast Old Instonians Association, as Visitor of the Day. The orchestra added much gravitas to the proceedings through renditions of songs like ‘The Prince of Denmark’s March’ led by Mr Philip Bolton OBE.
The afternoon’s assembly began with an address by the principal herself in which she discussed the versatility on which Inst as a school thrives; whether it’s on the sports field, as a member of the orchestra or in the classroom the school provides an excellent grounding for boys of all backgrounds and interests. This was followed by Mr Menown’s reading of William Drennan’s founding principles on the opening of the school in 1814. Regarding the intentions of R.B.A.I. as a school, Drennan proclaimed it should “diffuse useful information knowledge, particularly among the middling orders of society as on the necessities rather than the luxuries of life…” This founding principle is one to which I believe we still adhere today.
Mr. Russell then recounted for the audience some of his highlights of his own time at Inst and reminded us of the opportunities that are presented to us as pupils; the seemingly endless list of extra-curricular activities available, and our roles as part of the “Inst family” even after we leave school. This is an area in which he is very experienced, having been the president of the Belfast Old Instonians Association for many years.
The assembly was concluded by our Head of School, Theo Millar, whose reflections on his own time at Inst pointed out that we, as students, rarely take time to appreciate the history of Inst, and its legacy which we as young men often take for granted. Theo pointed out the irony of this as we are perhaps the most informed generation yet with access to any information we could desire at the press of a button. Theo finished the assembly encouraging us to look back at the school’s past at the same time as we embark upon the future it will help us to achieve.
Jack Lyons 13L
Chairman of the Board of Governors Mr Colin Gowdy, Head of School Theo Millar and Principal, Miss Janet Williamson.