The IHS-WHS Relationship - Chris Snuggs (Berners/Halls 58-65)
Joe-Joe (Joseph Ogugua - Hansons 77-84) recently wrote the following to WHS Old Boys on Facebook about the generosity of IHS in welcoming us to their school ever since WHS closed, now over THIRTY YEARS ago!
"I'm heartened by your amazing response, which is very much appreciated by Ipswich High school, who for some unfathomable reason cherish having an association with us old coggers from yesteryear."
This was in connection with his project to make the WHS summer reunions at IHS a regular event, for which it is only fair and just that we compensate them for their costs involved. This is a hugely heartwarming and honorable project, for which many thanks. I would, however, like to explore the "unfathomableness" of their motivation for having welcomed us so warmly for over three decades now. This means delving into psychology as well as making some (hopefully reasoned) assumptions. As for psychology, I have always regretted that it plays no formal part in any school curriculum that I know of, since it is both so important, useful! and fascinating. I always wanted to study PPE at Oxbridge (Philosophy, Politics and Economics), but was not clever enough to do so. However, I have also always considered they should have added Psychology to the mix!
Anyway, here are some possible reasons for the remarkable IHS generosity:
- IHS management has always had a deep and lasting respect for tradition, and therefore both for the premises they occupy and those who came before them. In addition to their approach with us over three decades, the recent refurbishment of Jock's grave was a symbol of that respect for the Berners family. Such respect is something noble and right, but to be honest is not these days always something demonstrated as movingly as by IHS.
- IHS had a long and friendly relationship with WHS right from the founding of the latter in the early 50s. There were frequent collaborations in a variety of ways, particularly music and drama. These were enriching for both schools and remembered to this day with great affection by those taking part.
- The generosity of IHS reveals in addition a remarkable grasp of empathy. WHS was a very special school for all sorts of reasons. Of course, most ex-pupils might say that about their school, but the extent of its specialness is shown by the great and enduring love and affection that many former WHS boys have for the place. In a sense, each time I return I almost feel as if I am going home. I think that IHS has always understood, respected and responded to that deep love for our former home, and their truly remarkable generosity in welcoming us (at some cost in terms of money and convenience) is a clear sign of such empathy. Had some other organization shown indifference to WHS Old Boys then many would have been deeply saddened. This capacity for empathy shown by IHS over the years - and even enhanced with the recent arrival of Mr Browning - is a profound mark of the Human Spirit, but as with a respect for tradition is not one manifested and acted upon as often as one might hope for.
Well, those are my thoughts on the subject - for what they are worth! Other comments would be most welcome!