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On looking back to 1931, the scene, as compared to today, was a very different one. In those days there were places known as "The Bishop's Walk", "The Big Shed", "The Pre. Prep Room", and "The Day Boy's Corner". There were also people with extraordinary names: "The Bas", "The Dail", "Bunny", "Hugo". Memorable days and memorable men.
It would appear that the past forty years have changed the face of the earth more so than any other similar period since the beginning of the world. Progress is the all important word in recent decades and, no doubt, will continue to be a word of importance for the following decades. It would seem a reasonable comment to say that the meaning of civilisation has altered and is altering almost every year. On looking back it seems extraordinary that there was no spaceship, TV, moon walks, very little radio and virtually no commercial air traffic in the 1930s. These are more or less commonplace things today and even the normal amenities of the early 1930s have changed so much that they would be almost unrecognisable in the 1930s. clothes, bicycles, motorcars, ships, trains: all these have changed enormously and it is hoped that they have changed for the better. Modern buildings are of a completely different design and construction to what they were forty years ago. Everything is different. Yet, on reflection maybe there is something that is not so different and here criticism, wholesome criticism, may be warranted.
The writer's recollection is still quite clear on the education system in St. Peter's from 1925 to 1931. Let it be clearly understood that the somewhat critical remarks which follow are not aimed at St. Peter's but are aimed at the educational method all over the country.
The beginning and end of education, as it was known, in the 1920s and 1930s, revolved around the passing of two examinations in a Secondary School. The Intermediate and the Leaving Certificate are of course the exams in question. It seems amazing that with all the changes in every recent decade that the same basic principle of education for examination has hardly changed at all. Admittedly, there is some slight introduction of an Oral Test, but the Oral Test is limited to a few subjects and is not looked on as an important part of the examination up to now. Surely as the world changes the preparation for young people to meet that world should also change. The writer, unfortunately has not the ability to suggest a perfect education system at Secondary level, but with great temerity would hope that persons who have the ability and the responsibility might possibly look at the alternative methods which should be utilised and are available. On very general lines, many people feel that a system of interview rather than written question and answer could be developed and that this development would be a better test of the student's aptitude than the present outdated examination system. Education is a difficult word to define. It is the writer's opinion that education really means to teach a student how to meet his fellow man, how to understand his fellow man and how to live with his fellow man. If the educators bore this in mind, and if they accept these terms a true definition, then surely alterations would soon appear in the whole educations programme.
Finally, and with full knowledge of the risk that is being run, a mention must be made of games at St. Peter's. It is very desirable to be a good sportsman and a good athlete. It is also very difficult, when the athletic description is: Height 5 ft. 6 ins. Weight 9st. 10 lbs.
The writer knows this because he is in that group. A keen interest in sport, however, is a most commendable thing and is, undoubtedly a major part of a person's education. It could possibly be suggested then that St. Peter's might enlarge their sporting activities. Many schools in Ireland of much smaller size participate in all possible games. They take part in Provincial and National Competitions, in such games as: Gaelic Football, Hurling, Handball, Rugby, Tennis, Soccer, Athletics, Swimming, Basketball and other healthy outdoor and indoor past times.
Wexford is proud of St. Peter's and would like to see it takes its proper place in the school community. That last remark will probably bring a shower of abuse on the writer but let it be known quite publicly, that no one alive takes more pride in the title "St. Peter's Boy", than the writer of this article.
Raymond E. Corish.