What are your memories of Dunfermline High School?
Published 6 Jul 2012 09:00 6 Comments
LAST week marked the conclusion to a chapter in Dunfermline's history. The last children to study at the current Dunfermline High School building left for their summer holidays and are set to return to a brand spanking new building, complete with coffee bar, amphitheatre and balcony. But no totem pole. I wanted a totem pole.
A lot has changed since the last building was opened in 1939. The economy was in tatters after a major global recession, Russia had a mad authoritarian leader and Germany was on the brink of taking over the whole of Europe. Perhaps not so much has changed.
The school has certainly been through much change; a World War, restructuring from a grammar school to an ordinary comprehensive and the abolition of corporal punishment.
Yet throughout the last 73 years the High School has maintained its commitment not only to excellent educational standards but to cultivating the most phenomenal of people.
But it is not the building that has produced great athletes, actors and entrepreneurs.
The buildings are atrocious; I mean, have you seen J-Block?! I remember one assembly where a depute rector disappeared backstage because bits of the stage were spontaneously combusting; hardly the sign of an awe-inspiring structure.
No, it is the people of Dunfermline High School that have made it the exceptional institution it has been for the last 800 years.
Teachers are the red blood cells, infusing the building's body with life and vigour, inspiring (and, at times, terrifying) its pupils.
Mr Hutchison had "banter periods", Mr Hunter was obsessed with grammar, Mr Laurie liked puns. There is a never-ending list of fantastic teachers, each with their own idiosyncrasies.
Whilst not all pupils loved every minute of school, everybody had somebody who could inspire and tease out the potential they had.
Many went above and beyond their professional responsibilities, running highly successful extra-curricular activities.
This ensures the school's reputation, not only academically, but in sport, music, debating and drama.
Teachers are not the only important individuals to the cultivation of success at Dunfermline High School; parents have helped maintain a strong relationship with the school.
This is exemplified through the hard work of the school's Parents' Council, of which I am proud to have been a pupil representative.
In particular, gratitude must go to the tireless efforts of the deputy chair from its inception until last September, Ken Richards, a silent colossus of the school.
The new school building is a welcome development in the story of Dunfermline High School but I am sure that the influence of smart boards and dance studios cannot be half as significant as the people behind the school.
My best wishes go to Mr Blanchflower as he embarks upon a new era for the school but I must also express my thanks to all the teachers I had the pleasure to know at the old building.
In particular, thank you to Mr Hutchison, for teaching me how to think, Mr Brown for nurturing my sense of social responsibility and especially to Miss Kinnell for the endless amounts of time and encouragement. Without the people of DHS, I don't know where I would be now and I'm sure that hundreds of others could say the very same thing. Thank you.
In fact, I encourage readers to write to the Press this summer and share their memories of DHS and their favourite teachers.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Jul 6, 10:20
M block was a brilliant building, it had so much history and character!!
If anything they should have retained the original M block building and demolished the J-Block and P-block as they were a 80's disaster & looked terrible. I left in 2003 after doing a full run in the school and have nothing but good memories.
Teachers who are worh acknowledging for the hard work, effort, pupil interaction and dedication are as follows:
Mr J Anderson (Graphic Communications)
Mr S Watt (Physics)
Miss G Dorward (Computing)
Ms Brown (English)
Mr Simpson (English)
Mr J Pete (German)
Mr I Berston (Modern Studies)
Mr A Garry (P.E)
Mr S Merritt (P.E)
Mr Weatherspoon (Art)
Mr Ramsay (Mathmatics)
Mr S Donnelly (Sciences)
Recommend? Yes 4 No 4
Jul 8, 23:31
My first job on leaving school was as a Clerical Assistant in the school office, left school one day & the next day started as a member of the staff. It was a good school to work at, Mr Miller was the Rector.
Recommend? Yes 0 No 0
Jul 9, 13:04
Graduated in 1960. Many fond memories, especially those teachers who, in hindsight, inspired me. Geometry - Gus Gillam, who would always skip the required religion period on a Tuesday by saying "we will now read the scipture according to Euclid" and then on with the geometry. He made the subject easy. French was Baldy Forrest. A wee man with a big personality and could hit his "target" with a chalk from 20 feet. Latin was Tommy Spowart, a giant who could kill with a look and a painfull handskake. Chemistry was the incomparable Jimmy Gemmell. When taking the register he would say "stand up those who are absent". My late school friend, Willie Wardlaw, would invariably stand up to laughs all round. Also, Tom Cowan, who could spout the log tables from memory. Gym and sports was Bill Martin, one of the best. Possibly the biggest influence in my 6 years at DHS was AKM Reid for English. A towering intellect who inspired with every class period. Finally, the Rector, Charles H. Gordon. As a leader he led one if not the best high school in Scotland. I have lived in Ontario, Canada for the last 30 years and listened to my wife, DHS 1961 bemoan the loss of such a successful educational model and a long list of dedicated professionals.
Labor Omnia vincit
Recommend? Yes 4 No 0
Jul 10, 15:33
Mar 6, 12:55
A group of former pupils who graduated in 1973 are now in contact via Facebook
Many photos of school plays, operas, prefects ,individual and group photos are being shared along with many wonderful memories.
Some of the former pupils can trace their friendships back to Primary school days.
If anyone is interested in joining the group please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Recommend? Yes 0 No 0
May 11, 16:16
The class of 1967 to 1973 are holding a 40 year Reunion on Nov 2 2013 .Former teachers are also welcome. The group also includes those who joined our year group from Woodmill or elsewhere during this time.
Please contact mcneillhm1954@btinternet for more information.
Recommend? Yes 0 No 0