Founders’ Day at King William’s College on May 24 was tinged with sadness because of the recent death of college sixth form student Dosch MacLeod, who died on May 18 in a collision on the TT course.
Principal Martin Humphreys’ speech was particularly poignant and he reflected on the tragedy. Dosch’s family were in attendance, and he talked about how strongly the school had rallied around the family and fellow students in their shared grief.
The occasion is the annual prize giving ceremony, a traditional celebration of students’ academic and extracurricular achievements, and KWC alumnus, the Rt. Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, leader of the opposition, House of Representatives, National Assembly, Federal Republic of Nigeria presented pupils with their awards followed with an address to the audience.
He emphasised the importance of education and said: ‘We must as a world put an end to these attacks on education. We must protect the power of transformation that education brings to the world.’
He referred to the recent kidnapping of over 200 school girls – because they were being educated – in Nigeria by Boko Haram and the story of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl shot in the head because of her campaigning for education for females, he added: ‘These two incidents occurred in far-away Nigeria and Pakistan, but they have the potential of wiping away a generation of children that could affect and change the world. In the year 2000, the United Nations made a strong commitment to make sure every child is in education, but this commitment is threatened on a regular basis by acts of terror.’
He continued: ‘I have no doubt in my mind that, however tenuous, there is a correlation or nexus between education, or its lack thereof, and poverty, crime and terror. Ignorance is often referred to as a disease. It is the most dangerous of all diseases.
‘As a legislator in Africa’s biggest country, economy and democracy, I have made education one of my top priorities. I have pushed through parliament several education bills including the establishment of vocation schools for skill acquisition in all regions of the country.’
Chairman of the governors Nigel Wood concluded the day and said: ‘This year in particular, I approach my closing remarks with a heavy heart. The loss of one of us is never easy to bear, particularly when that individual was so young, so vibrant, merely starting their journey in life. It feels so wrong.’
He added. ‘It is also absolutely right and proper that Founders’ Day is a celebration of your achievement and your success. This is a busy, broad school but at the end of the day the excellence of teaching, the focus on the individual, the breadth of our offering, is what it is all about.’
He talked about a series of objectives, including a new charitable Manx foundation called Bishop Barrow’s Foundation.
He said: ‘In order to deliver a modern, broad excellent educational product we need to continually invest in our teachers, improve our infrastructure and our buildings. I perceive a change. We will continue to embrace that change and we are determined to succeed.’