Dalriada kicked off their special year of celebration this week with their Annual Speech Day.
The speakers highlighted the forthcoming year round events and the associated fundraising effort. The Chief Guest, former Dalriad, Mr Robert Houston, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Northern Ireland, became the first person to sign up as a ‘Friend of Dalriada.’
Both Mr Tom Skelton, the Headmaster and Mr Brian Dillon, the Chairman of the Board of Governors informed the audience of over 600 prize winners, parents and guests of the exciting year ahead in which the School will celebrate, with pupils both past and present, the Musical, Sporting and Dramatic successes and tradition formed over the last 75 years on the St James’s Road site. In parallel to the celebratory events there will be a fund raising effort to enhance provision in the school in a number of curricular and extracurricular areas.
After months of preparation, investigation and searching, the Ballymoney Museum staff and the hard working Mr Bert Johnston from Dalriada have put together an outstanding Anniversary Exhibition of photographs, reminiscence and memorabilia from the 75 years of Dalriada on St James’s Road.
This exhibition will be open, for over a month from the 8th of October till the 10th of November in the Museum at the Town Hall. The official opening of the exhibition takes place just before midday on Wednesday 10th of October when the Mayor of Ballymoney, Councillor Evelyne Robinson will host a delegation from the school. The public can visit the exhibition over this period, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm (4.30 pm on Friday). If you have a connection with the school hopefully you can get along to the museum to see the memorabilia and records that have been collected and assembled over the past year.
The next event open to the public will be a Service of Thanksgiving featuring the Dalriada Chamber choir in St. James’s Presbyterian Church Ballymoney, oppose the school on Sunday 21st October starting at 4.00 pm.
On the following Thursday, the 25th of October the School will host a Drama and Nostalgia Evening. The evening will see a modern day production of the Original Pageant as first performed in 1937. It was written by the then Headmaster Mr Gordon, to celebrate the Opening of the School in that year and will be performed by the Junior Drama Group, with a start time for the evening of 7.30 pm
The second part of the evening will see a celebration of the various Musical and Dramatic productions through the decades. This promises to be a very entertaining evening with a number of participants travelling long distances to be part of the evening. Indeed a former Head Boy, a man of very advance years, is travelling across the Atlantic to be involved, such is the interest.
This will be a ticket only event and with limited space in the John Armstrong Hall, demand is expected to be high. Tickets can be booked through the school office with a small number available for purchase from the Town Hall after the 10th of October, while the exhibition is running. Details of all these events can be found on the School website www.dalriadaschool.com under the 75th anniversary tab.
The Sporting side is not forgotten, over the St. Patrick’s weekend on Saturday March 16th, a celebration of past sporting glories takes place, with rugby, hockey, volleyball and badminton events scheduled. The timetable is due to start at 11am and details of the order will be published later in the year.
The year promises to be a very exciting one, with these events hopefully bringing together the school’s past pupils, renewing friendships and launching the Friends of Dalriada. While the formal events will bring lots of ‘Dalriads’ back to the school and the area, hopefully many informal gatherings will also be generated as a result of these 75th Celebrations.
For those past pupils and their families who would like to get involved and be kept informed of school and celebratory events, joining the ‘Friends of Dalriada’ is the easiest way. This can be accessed through the school website or by signing one of the Joining Forms at any event, at the museum during the exhibition or at the school office.