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350 years of history

Warwick Academy has celebrated its 350th Anniversary, with everything from a gala dinner, special time capsule, art auction and lipdub video.

Now the school is releasing a commemorative history book, entitled ‘Warwick Academy: Our First 350 Years' in honour of the milestone.

Co-written by long time educator Andrew Dobson and school parent Catherine Kennedy, it is intended to paint a picture of where the school has been and where it's headed in the future.

Mr Dobson said: “In 2010 I reminded our school principal, Maggie McCorkell, that we needed to plan for the school's 350th anniversary, a significant milestone for any organisation.

“When I suggested a commemorative book, the finger was pointed at me! I knew I wanted to feature all aspects of the school's life as well as its history. The book would also chronicle the 350th anniversary events for future generations.”

Researching Warwick Academy's past wasn't exactly a piece of cake. Staff knew that the pre-1930s school records had been lost at sea in 1929, after the data had been sent on a boat to be bound in New York, but sank upon its return to Bermuda.

“In some ways I imagined that the task of writing the school's history would be easier due to limited evidence,” Mr Dobson said.

“However, once you start delving into older Education Acts and matters pertaining to former headmasters and benefactors, the task became very time consuming.

“Both Catherine and I spent hundreds of hours on the project but we were keen to obtain as much information as possible.”

They made appeals to former students and teachers to get their contributions and many responded.

One of the most fascinating parts of the research process was pouring over old and new photos, another rewarding aspect was learning about alumni who have gone on to have successful careers.

“Walter Sharpe mentions his aunt Cassie White, a student in the early 1900s. She was the only Bermudian woman to serve overseas in the Great War,” Mr Dobson explained.

“Recent former student Claudia Seymour (1993) mentions her humanitarian work with UNICEF and later the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, while Kevin Minors (2010) reports from his studies at Oxford University.

“Two chapters in the book are devoted to all the former students who became Olympic athletes or Rhodes Scholars,” he added.

It is hoped that those reading the book will have a better understanding of those key individuals who have shaped the school, from the early years to the present day.

“Readers will realise that there is far more to a great school than just academic success,” he said.

“Chapters in the book highlight the huge range of activities that have taken place at the school, both in the past as well as at present: music, drama, sport, volunteer and youth organisations and much more. The book concludes with a vision for the future as we enter our next 350 years.”

Both he and Ms Kennedy were pleased with the end product of the book. And even after serving at the school for 23 years, Mr Dobson said his appreciation for the school has grown.

“I have a lot to be grateful for, not just a very fulfilling job with great students, but also for the education it has provided for both of my daughters, who have done very well at the school. It is nice to be able to say thank you to the school in a tangible way.

“Catherine and I decided that we wanted the proceeds from the book to go towards the school's student bursary fund.

“Thanks to the generous sponsorship by many local businesses, the costs of the book have been fully covered. Every dollar of book sales will go towards the fund.”

‘Warwick Academy; Our First 350 Years' is priced at $30 and available now at the Bermuda Bookstore in Hamilton or the school's front office.

Anyone living abroad wishing to have a book mailed, can contact Jane Vickers at jvickers@warwickacad.bm.

Andrew Dobson, Warwick Academy teacher and co-author presents Governor George Fergusson with a copy of the new book Warwick Academy - Our First 350 Years, flanked by deputy head boy and contributing writer Dylan Hollis and former student and contributing writer Joanne Darrell.

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Published September 09, 2013 at 3:15 pm (Updated September 09, 2013 at 3:15 pm)

350 years of history

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