Nellie Stanley awarded gold medal



Presentation of Medals and Certificates

There was an interesting ceremony at the Dromore Road P.E. School, Warrenpoint, on Wednesday afternoon, when Mrs J. Brown, wife of the Member of Parliament for South Down, presented medals and certificates to successful pupils in the recent leaving certificate examinations.

The Rev. Canon E. S. Medcalf, M.A., B.D., Chairman of the School Committee, was in the chair. He read an apology for unavoidable absence from Mr. F. H. Mullan, B.A., a member of the Committee, and, continuing , said that it gave him great pleasure to gaze upon the bright and happy faces of the boys and girls before him. The last big occasion when they had all met was when Mr. William B. Burns handed over the silver shield presented by his brother, Mr. Robert Burns, of Bloemfontein, South Africa, to the school to be competed for yearly, the name of the best pupil in the school to be inscribed upon the shield. At the same time Mr Burns said he would give a gold medal yearly to the winner. Since then the examinations had taken place and they were gathered together that afternoon for the presentation. The Committee had decided to present silver medals to the other successful candidates. He hoped that the memory of this gift from an old pupil would inspire the boys and girls in later life and that they, too, when out in the world would remember their old school. He was very pleased, on behalf of the committee, to welcome Mrs. Brown there that afternoon, and had much pleasure in asking her to make the presentation of the medals. (Applause.)

Mrs. Brown said – When your School Committee kindly invited me to come here this afternoon and present these beautiful medals I felt truly honoured because I know how much this happy event will mean to you all. You are very fortunate at Dromore Road School to have such good friends and old pupils to take such an interest in your work. I can imagine there has been much friendly rivalry for the coveted honour of being the first to have your name inscribed upon the silver shield, and I do most heartily congratulate Nellie Stanley on being the first to achieve this distinction, and also the other winners of the medals. I am sure you worked hard, and you are well rewarded. I know you will treasure the medals which are the tokens much hard study, but I venture to think that when you look at them in the years to come your own work won’t be your chief thought but you will remember with the gratitude the work of your teachers, without whose constant endeavour you could never have attained these results. Now a word to the unsuccessful ones, for we cannot all win medals. Never let a failure depress you. Let it serve always as a reminder that you have tried and in an honest and wholehearted effort is of more importance than either success or failure. Other opportunities will come your way and you will be able to recognise and seize them only if you have a disciplined mind. My old headmistress used to say that the field of knowledge was so vast that she could only open windows for us to see glimpses of the glories of art, science and literature, and that it was for us to open the door and go out and enrich our minds and make the treasures are own. Well, I hope you are all going to open that door. (Applause.)


The Rev. James Morrow, B.A., said that before he proceeded with what was a very pleasurable duty, he would like to take the opportunity of congratulating the Rev. Mr. Medcalf on his recent well-deserved honour in being made a Canon, and he hoped that some day Canon Medcalf would become a Bishop. (Applause.)

In proposing a hearty thanks to Mrs. Brown in coming there that afternoon, he said that they were fortunate in not having to go to Belfast for the wife of an M.P. for they had one in their midst. He referred appreciatively to the work of Mr. Brown, to whom, along with his wife, he wished every success. (Applause.)

Mr. William Jameson, M.A., Principal of the school, in seconding the vote of thanks, said – Speaking on behalf of the school, I would like to thank Mrs. Brown, wife of the Member of South Down, for honouring us by coming here this afternoon to distribute the medals which have creditably been won by the pupils of the school who have succeeded in passing the recent leaving certificate examination. We were are also very grateful to Mr. Robert Burns, of Bloemfontein, South Africa, who gave to the school this beautiful silver mounted shield as well as the solid gold medal which has been presented to the first prize-winner, whilst the generous gift of the two silver medals as well as the money prize which has been supplied by the local School Management Committee, demands our sincerest gratitude. Now, we are quite sure that these efforts to help us will contribute to the success of the school in a very practical and effective way. I must say that we have had a very pleasant little ceremony this afternoon, and happy memories will dwell in our minds to encourage us in our school work and will inspire us with a wish to become more and more worthy of all these good things which liberally been showered upon us.

To the prize-winners I would like to say that you have, by your honest and sincere hard work, earned something to be proud of, something to show that you have passed the first milestone of success in life, which will help and encourage you to go on and win even greater and better things than these, for there are such; and you can do so if you only try and keep on trying. (Applause.)

The vote of thanks was passed by acclamation and appropriately acknowledged by Mrs. Brown, who the proposer and seconder for their kind remarks, and said it had been a great pleasure to be there that afternoon.

Mr Chulmers Mackay, who had recently been to South Africa, spoke of Mr. Robert Burns, and hoped that the boys and girls who were here that afternoon would be able to imitate his success. (Applause.)

Mr. William B. Burns said his brother took a great interest in the work of the old school, and hoped that the shield and medals would prove an inspiration to the pupils. (Applause.)

Rev. Canon Medcalf said they could not conclude without a vote of thanks to Mr. D. McGuffin, the able school secretary. It was through his organisation that they had been able to have such a successful gathering that afternoon and he was a very valuable member of the Committee. (Applause.)

This was passed with acclamation.

The Rev. J. Morrow, B.A., proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, which was passed with acclamation.

The Chairman suitably replied, and called for three cheers for the devoted Principal of the school, Mr. Jameson, and his staff and same were given with much enthusiasm.

The names of the children who in passing the leaving certificate examination gained the medals and prize presented were:-

1st – Nellie Stanley (gold medal),
2nd – Robert McCoy (silver medal),
3rd – Jack Cromie (silver medal),
4th – Annie Whyte (prize.)

The above article has probably been taken from one of the Newry papers, probably dated June 1938, as my mother would have been 14 then and James Brown was just elected to the Stormont Parliament as M.P. for South Down succeeding Eamon de Valera.

The Burns family mentioned are not related to my Burns family, at least I haven’t discovered a connection to date.

See also: Parents and Siblings of Nellie Stanley