The recent annual dinner of the Wesley College Past Pupils’ Union was held in the Radisson Hotel, Dublin on 1st October, 2011, to coincide with Founders’ Day. Over 240 people attended, including current and past pupils, current and retired teachers, governors, members of the Parent Association committee, and representatives of Past Pupils’ Unions of other schools.
A dinner is a dinner you may say but what made this one unique was that Wesley College was celebrating 100 years of the first enrolment of girls. The College in 1911 was a pioneer in the establishment of co-education in Ireland and a book had just been launched “Celebrating 100 years of Co-education at Wesley College”.
In keeping with the theme, four female students, Isabella Domville, Niamh Reynolds, Ana Cambursano and Helen Major, donned the uniform of bygone years, 1911, 1938, 1952 and 1968 respectively, and mingled with the guests before dinner. Each of them assumed the identity of a student in the College that represented their year and spoke to the people about their time in the College. It was not possible for them to chat to everyone so, before the meal was served, Elspeth Henderson (PPU President) interviewed each one individually for all those assembled. They spoke of what life was like for them in the College during “their era”. One of the students said she was not too keen on the deportment class!
In her address, Elspeth Henderson, who herself was the Principal of a co-educational secondary school, spoke with commitment about the education of boys and girls together and anecdotally of her time at Wesley as a student.
The Principal of Wesley, Chris Woods, responded to the toast to the College. He spoke of the significance of the centenary celebration of co-education and looked forward to developments in the College over the next 100 years.
The response to the toast to the Guests was given by the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Rev. Ian Henderson, himself a past pupil and also brother of Elspeth which made the evening that little more unique. He regaled the guests with his time at Wesley and with witty anecdotes of his time when the College was in Stephen’s Green.
It was a most enjoyable occasion when old friends and acquaintances met again and caught up on the intervening years.
To make comments, or interact with the photo album, please visit our Facebook page