1974 – 1978

Mr J L Archer was Principal of Sir John Adamson from 1 July 1974 to 31 December 1978, but his teaching career at the school spanned some nineteen years.

Even during his early years as an assistant teacher it was obvious that he was destined for greater things than mere classroom routine. Responsibility rested heavily on his shoulders and a great many tasks vital to the smooth running of a school were entrusted to him. He always performed his duties in an exemplary manner. His flair for adminstrative work and his efficiency in all spheres of school organisation became increasingly evident.

Promotion came rapidly to Mr Archer, accompanied by a great many changes in the school and its appearance.  Sporting and educational facilities were vastly improved an a new era in the life of Sir John was beginning to dawn.

His promotion to Principal was received with acclamation and joy, for this was a man to admire and respect.  His school was his pride and his lige, and he was not afraid to show the world his mettle. Nor was he one to shirk any duty, no matter how small.

Mr Archer’s capacity for work was phenomenal, and his versatility often astounded those who served with him. In particular, theease with which he switched from academics to manual labour such as ploughin the fields, or singlehandedly, working night after night to construct a pavilion, engendered admiration in more people than is possible to enumerate.

He soon became something of a legend – a man to look up to, a man to follow wherever he might lead.  His term of office was tempered with justice, compassion and understanding.  But woe betide and who chose to err in their ways.

Mr Archer’s appointment as Circuit Inspector in January 1979 was richly deserved, and Extract from Speeches made by Mr Archer during 1975, first published in the 1975 Adamsonian:

There are many reasons why the good behaviour of our pupils is the most important factor that contributes to success.   It gives a teacher the opportunity to transfer knowledge undisturbed.  Is it really necessary for a teacher who has the ability to transfer knowledge effectively to be a good diciplinarian? In a good school, discipline comes from the pupils, not the teacher.

Schools make much progress during the year and then take gaint steps backwards ar their matric dances.

Two schools might each have an enrolment of 1 000 pupils.  School A might produce 100 matriculants (10 failures) and school B 50 matriculants (1 failure). In the eyes of the public school B is the better school. It is ridiculous to think that a school is judged not by its number of successes, but by its number of failures. For this reason we must be careful not to be tempted to fail more pupils inthe lower standards in order to ensure that all matriculants pass.

We have an excellent staff, a well-equipped school, efficient secretaries and we produce more matriculants than most schools in the South.  But until our first rugby team wins the Administrator’s Cup, some people will not believe that we also have a good school.was jut reward for his years of dedication to the teaching profession.


Extract from Headmaster’s Letter, 1979:

Sir John Adamson believed that a school is a depository of living traditions and a reserve bank of spiritual values.

I believe that his is still true today and in the context of society of the seventies is has an even wider application than before.  This school, born in 1902, came into being a period of our history filled with turmoil and chaos, warfare, hatred and confusion. In its own way it has discarded the negative aspects of that era, taken the best from it and it has continued to build and progress.

In 1979 we find ourselves in a confused period again.  Undeniably, rapid change is taking place around us.  We cannot be spectators of that change; we must be participants – even better – we must be leaders. Quite apart from anything else, education ischanging; commerce and industry are making demands which schools must try to satisfy; technologically we live in changing times which make demands on us as a community and as individual members to adapt; the norms and morales of society are undergoing alteration, again making demands on us and on the standards and values by which we live.

So called ‘prophets’ and ‘progressive thinkers’ are leading us to question a moral and spiritual code of values that has sustained Western Civilisation for 2000 years.

And the school’s role’ what is it?

We must equip our young people with the ability to think critically; to assess and evaluate life around them in a balanced fashion; to discard progress merely for its own sake; to accept responsibility for the task of leadership and to stand up and be counted on the side of whatever is right and good.

In this way ou school becomes a reserve bank of spiritual values.  But it is not like a jar of formalin which preserves only and imparts nothing.  It is dynamic and must strive to remain so.  Values that have become static or fossilised are of no earthly value to anyone.  They are merely productive of an air of smug self-satisfaction.\

That is why spiritual values must go linked with a living tradition.

Throughout its entire history this school has sought to create opportunities for its pupils.  Indeed, its very founding was based upon this principle and throughout its existence numerous examples spring to mind.  This is a living tradition and not a mindless repetition of a ceremonial or a rite.

What has been done and everything that remains to be done is not, nor can it be, the work of one man, the staff, the pupils or any group alone. It is the sum total of all of us together – pupils, staff, parents.

If I have any hope to express for the coming year of 1980 it is the fervent desire to see each and every one of us participating actively in the life and work of our school. We have achieved much but let us now strive to excel in the best which is part of our past.  Our glory lies where the sun rises ahead of us – not where it sets on the thresh-hold of dankness and oblivion.