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Looking back 100 years - 'Reporter', 1922

Wellington Girls' College —

Editorial 1922

The year past has been one of unusual activity at the College, as the record in this number will show - and it has been an activity developed in some new directions. Two are specially worth noticing. There has been more attention to health matters lectures have been given by doctors, a dentist, and a Red Cross Sister; and a Junior Red Cross branch is in process of formation. Several girls have been prepared by practical work for certificates. The lectures and teaching have been greatly appreciated. 

Then public speaking (to a school audience) has been encouraged more than ever this year. The socialised recitation, so well known in American schools, has been responsible for much of the improvement of late years and especially this year. The effect was seen in the number competing for the Rangiriri Speech prize and the high level reached. 

The numbers at the College have continued to soar, till we are now close on eight hundred girls. At the morning recess, on a fine day, when everybody is in the grounds, there is a sight worth seeing. The Minister of Finance would most certainly be impressed to the extent of giving the new College and the grounds so long asked for, if he could only see the over-crowded conditions due to the utterly inadequate provision of grounds. 

There is a new opportunity afforded secondary schools in the formation of the Wellington Secondary Schools' Lawn Tennis Association, but what chance has the Girls' College of a place in the tennis competition when it has the ludicrous allotment of one tennis court to eight hundred girls? When the Board of Governors asked for £750 to provide an extra court, laws, etc., the Government gave £50!! Probably this is only a preliminary, but when is the balance to arrive? Our Grounds Committee is eager and ready to do something, but bricks cannot be made out of air. 

The first call on the public exchequer next year should be the erection of the new Girls' College: £40,000 has already been voted, and another £40,000 will be needed before a building adequate for the next ten years can be completed. A deputation, consisting of the Chairman and members of the Board of Governors and Progress League, the Principal and parents, urged a grant of £70,000. Mr. Massey was sympathetic, but could not promise the increase at that time. He also refereed to the great needs of the Girls' College at a breaking-up ceremony later. There is a strong feeling in the community that something should be done without any further loss of time. The numbers at the present College have increased till over 750 girls are trying to play games on their miserable acre and a half of grounds, while some fifty acres and more in the Board's possession are lying fallow - not even grazing cows I believe. Why should school girls in New Zealand be inadequately housed while boys have spacious quarters with extensive playing fields? They should have these, but so should girls. Is it, as  is often asserted, because all the governing is done by men? Is the age of chivalry really past?

Another serious drawback is the lack of a hall in which the whole school can meet at one time. At present, as the hall holds only 200 people, four different assemblies have to be held each week to reach the whole school. The want of a larger hall hampers also the effort to encourage self-development by means of entertainment, school clubs and societies. Not only is the hall not large enough, but, owing to want of sufficient class rooms,  it has to be used for ordinary class work. 

The examination of work held lately showed that the training received is of a practical kind, and equips girls for a business or a scholastic career, and for home life, with a sound cultural foundation. The school evidently possesses girls of marked ability and varied talents. Yet the old wooden buildings, erected nearly forty years ago, with its draughts and inadequate heating, and some rooms erected on the grounds, from which even slight sounds echo with disturbing loudness, are thought sufficient for them.

The war time needs and even financial stringency are admitted, but now that these have passed, or are passing, the crying need is a spacious up-to-date building, and some acres of playing ground. It is difficult to imagine that any demand on public attention is more urgent that this. 

Miss McLean, 

Head Mistress