President’s Address Sep 2010

My first year as OWBA President has passed all too swiftly. It has been an exciting, productive year: a year in which I have seen time and time again how lucky we are to have people who care so deeply about their alumni association. Twelve months ago, we set ourselves the large task of investigating all our processes and activities, deciding how they could be improved, and then making it happen. As happens when such a large task is set, there have been setbacks but, we have achieved a lot over the past 12 months. That achievement becomes greater still when one considers that all the work done to make this happen is, in the main, fitted around full-time jobs. As I write this, Speech Day weekend is still fresh in my mind. It was a busy couple of days. This was my first Speech Day ceremony sitting up on the podium, looking, I imagine, as old in the eyes of today’s pupils as all the dignitaries looked to me many years ago. The confident behaviour and achievements of the pupils was fantastic, and the film showing the production of Les Miserables from rehearsal to first night was stunning. OWBA Hockey 2010The afternoon was filled with the shouts and cheers of OWBA and school supporters and players alike as various matches were played. There was a good OWBA turnout, including an impressive contingent of hockey players, and a great time was had by all. After all that activity (and believe me, being a supporter requires just as much energy, honest!) the OWBA barbecue was a welcome sight and one that, unlike every other barbecue I’ve seen this summer, did not have to contend with torrential downpours. That evening I, along with several OWBA members and John Vick, the headmaster, enjoyed an evening at that well-known WB haunt of years gone by – the Stag’s Head. Our group of eighteen may not have been great in size but, with an age-range of 21 to 87 years, reminiscences of the school and pupils’ exploits were various, and it was lovely to see people swapping stories while tucking into some tasty food.   The next day, following a lovely service at East Buckland church (and a trip down memory lane for Jeff and me, who were married there just over 14 years ago, by Chris Willis), we gathered at the school for the OWBA AGM and President’s Reception. It was a lively meeting with several frank exchanges as is only to be expected in a room full of people who care deeply about the school. As I begin my second year as President of the OWBA I do so knowing that the OWBA goes from strength to strength, continuing to find ways to improve the service it provides to you its members – all thanks to the hard work of an enthusiastic, dedicated team of volunteers and supporters. On behalf of the OWBA, I would like to thank the school for its support over the weekend. It is a seriously hectic time for both staff and pupils, even before one adds all the OWBA events into the mix. And, an extra big thank you everyone to the team who put on a fantastic spread for the reception following the AGM. It was, as always, very yummy! So, onwards and upwards for 2010/11! Kirsti Ryall (nee McCool 83-90C), OWBA President

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