A G Burgess memorial plaque
Memorial to Former Rector.
UNVEILED BY MR M'KECHNIE.
Mr W W M'Kechnie, C.B., Secretary, of the Scottish Education Department, visited Rothesay yesterday for the purpose of unveiling a plaque which has been placed in the hall of Rothesay Academy in memory of a former Rector, the late Dr A G Burgess. There was a large attendance of the general public and of the scholars. Mr James Munro, M.A., B.Sc., Rector of the Academy, presided accompanied by ex-Bailie Smith (chairman of Bute County Education Committee), Dr J M Lamont (chairman of Bute School Management Committee), Provost Thompson, Rothesay, and others.
Mr M'Kechnie, who was introduced by Mr Munro, recalled that Dr Burgess first had a short spell at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, and after five years as Mathematical master and second master in Rothesay Academy, he returned to Edinburgh in 1890 to work in the Mathematical department of the Edinburgh Ladies' College. During his 17 years stay in Edinburgh, Dr Burgess did not limit his activities to the school. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and he took a leading part in the work of the Edinburgh Mathematical Society, of which he became secretary and then president. He was also president of the first Mathematical Colloquium, which was held in Edinburgh some 20 years ago.
And then came the climax in 1917 when he was appointed to the rectorship of the school in which he had had his first real experience of the joys and the difficulties of handling mathematical classes, that were no doubt often mixed in more senses than one. Dr Burgess's rectorship coincided with a remarkable development of the roll and of the work of the Academy, and there was little doubt that, but for the financial stringency of recent years, a further extension would have been made.
Leaving certificate results were by no means the only criterion by which the work of a school should be estimated - most emphatically not - but at the same time they could not be entirely left out of account. Judged from this standpoint, the school prospered greatly in Dr Burgess's time.
Dr Burgess gave his school a signal example of devotion to knowledge, industry, kindliness of heart, high ideals. He was hampered in the later years by his health; he was stricken towards the end by grievous domestic afflictions, but he served his day and generation well, he spent more than half of his active life in Rothesay, and he enabled many a Rothesay boy and girl to develop their gifts to the maximum and to increase their usefulness to the country and the Empire. He deserved well of Rothesay Academy and of Rothesay - for the local school was indeed one of the most important factors in the life of every community. Of that there could be no question. On the educational ideals and efficiency of her schools, the future of every country was based. Dr Burgess deserved well of Rothesay, and it was most fitting that Rothesay should commemorate his service in an abiding form.
On behalf of Bute School Management Committee, Dr Lamont accepted custody of the plaque, and said that as long as the Academy existed they would find space for it.
A vote of thanks to Mr M'Kechnie was proposed by the Rev. J M Dickie, a former Chairman of Bute Education Authority.
JOC/EFR November 2007
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