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Alumni Newsletter
December 2014
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JACK KYLE – An Obituary…
It was with great sadness that the Academy community
heard of the death of Dr. Jack Kyle on 28th November
One of Ireland’s greatest rugby players, John Wilson
Kyle was a pupil at the Academy between 1930 and
1944, and during his last terms at school, 1943-44, he
was Head Boy, captain of rugby and captain of cricket.
He was renowned for his acceleration and balanced running in attack, and for his anticipation in
defence, and later won most of the honours that rugby has to offer. Those
who packed the touchlines at the Castle Grounds and the terraces at
Ravenhill were treated to displays of spectacular rugby. His try at
Ravenhill during the Ireland-France International in 1953 was described at
the time as the best post-war international try. Kyle’s long, swerving run
untouched by a single French player was saluted even by a French
journalist in the press box as “magnifique, magnifique, fabuleux!”
When he retired to Northern Ireland after working for more than thirty
years as a surgeon in Chingola in Zambia, he was a great supporter of the
Good-humoured, modest and humane, his was a life well lived: most of it lived far from the arena of his
fame and in the service of others. If a school is judged by the quality of its former pupils, we can be
proud indeed to be associated with Jack Kyle.
J.M.G. Dickson, Headmaster
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A warm welcome to the Class of 2014 to the Belfast Royal Academy alumni family! We wish you all a
fulfilling and happy future and hope that you will stay connected with Belfast Royal Academy and your
fellow alumni.
Class of 1989 Reunion
On the afternoon of Saturday 7th June, the Headmaster gave a tour of the School to around 15 former
pupils. Later that evening, 70 classmates from the Class of 1989 attended an informal reunion at the
Belfast Barge, Lanyon Quay which was enjoyed by all.
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Class of 1994 Reunion
Around 30 former pupils had a tour of the School on Friday 6th
June which brought back some positive memories! After travelling
into town on the School bus, we had an informal, relaxed evening
at 21 Social (owned by another Class of 1994 former pupil, Colin
Brown). We all bonded very quickly and had a wonderful evening –
some even remarking that they wished they were going back to
School on Monday morning!
Caroline Dillon
Class of 1974 Reunion
On Friday 27th June, former classmates from across the UK and USA attended a tour of the School
guided by the Headmaster, as part of a 40 year reunion celebration. This was followed, in the Hilton
Hotel, Templepatrick, by a drinks reception and a 4 course dinner, with entertainment by the Belfast
Royal Academy Senior Traditional Music Group.
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The modern era of school drama at BRA began in 1968 with a
Midsummer Night’s Dream and it has continued annually. On
Saturday 22nd November of this year, past and present pupils and
staff were invited to celebrate this tradition at a reunion in the
assembly hall. It began with a reception hosted by the Friends of the Academy when guests were able
to view over 50 framed pictures commemorating each show. The reception was followed by the current
senior pupils’ production of a one act play entitled appropriately “REUNION”. It was wonderful to see so
many former actors, crew and production staff who were represented on the evening by the
irrepressible Mr Stephen Connolly. Thank you to all who took part.
Roland Jamison
We are very proud of the continuing achievements of all our pupils –
past and present. We greatly appreciate when past pupils give of
their time to encourage and support current pupils by sharing their
knowledge, experience and expertise in varied fields.
In recent months several Alumni came into School to give
enlightening and interesting talks to Forms LVI and MVI about their
specialist areas.
Many thanks to the following for sharing their expertise:
Jonathan Rainey and James Donnelly for their talk on studying and
working with PWC, Steven Allen for talking about his career in Business Management, Dr Hannah
Shields, Dr Anna Diamond and Katy Shields for their presentation about studying Medicine and
Matthew Corkey for his talk on his work as a barrister. Adrian Mawhinney, now a successful dentist,
came into school on Tuesday 2nd December to discuss the Multi Mini interview process and to offer
tips and advice on how to prepare for these interviews. He spoke to our aspiring medical, dentistry and
veterinary pupils.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss an opportunity to support the School in this way.
Matthew Corkey (Pupil 1995 – 2002)
Adrian Mawhinney (Pupil 2002 - 2009)
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Darian Duffin (née Shotton) (Pupil 1954 - 1964)
‘Darian invites you to view her second solo
Photography Exhibition
‘Colours of Nature, Moods of the Mournes’
20th Nov 2014 – 3rd Jan 2015
Crescent Arts Centre, University Road, Belfast
(028 9024 2338)
All photographs are for sale, and reprints are
Dr Derek Enlander (Pupil 1942 – 1953)
‘Dr Derek Enlander has been given a grant of $1,000,000 for research in ME
CFS (Myalgic Encephalomylitis Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
As an attending physician at the Mount Sinai Medical School, he is the Clinical
Director of the New York ME CFS Centre and the author of ‘The CFS
Christine McMahon (Pupil 2001 – 2011)
Former Academy pupil and Head Girl Christine McMahon
experienced the highs of top-flight international athletics
during the summer when she competed for Northern
Ireland in the Commonwealth Games.
Christine raced in the 400m Hurdles event in Glasgow,
finishing 4th in her heat.
Nicola Jackson (Pupil 2005 – 2012)
Nicola, who is in the first year studying Electrical and Electronic
Engineering at Queen’s University Belfast, has been awarded a
prestigious scholarship by Northern Ireland Electricity.
The scholarship package, which is worth £25,000, includes
financial support as well as the opportunity to spend a placement
year and each summer break working for the Company.
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Jonathan Agnew (Pupil 1993 – 2000)
Past pupil of the Academy, Jonathan Agnew, has been awarded
the Danske Bank Prize for Mathematics at the annual Stranmillis
University College Prize-Giving Ceremony.
Jonathan, who graduated from Stranmillis in June with a BEd in
Post Primary Education Studies, received the award as the
student who, having taken Mathematics as the main subject of the
degree, achieved the highest standard in that subject in the final
BEd honours examination.
At the Old Boys’ Dinner on Saturday 29th November, Immediate
Past President, Mr David Haslett, handed over a cheque for
£3,000 to the Headmaster.
This donation was used to create a new, hand-crafted lectern,
which was the centre-piece at the Prize Day celebrations in the
Spires Centre, and will have pride of place in the Assembly Hall
for years to come, replacing one which was presented to the
School by the Association almost 30 years ago.
The next social event, organised by the Old Boys’ Association, is
the Former Pupils’ London Dinner, which will be held on Friday
27th February 2015 at the RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London. Last year, over 70 former pupils attended
the London Dinner in the Oxford and Cambridge Club, Pall Mall. This event was hugely successful
prompting a move to the larger venue of the RAF Club. Information about this event and enquiries
about joining the Old Boys’ Association can be obtained by contacting me at
[email protected]
Dr L Campbell, Hon. Secretary
Fancy a chance to catch up with old friends & to meet some new
If you haven't already heard, the Old Girls’ Association is in the
process of reforming! Our aim is to form a new & vibrant group,
providing the opportunity for old and new Academy girls to be
All are welcome, existing members, recent school leavers/graduates,
the more the merrier. For more information, including any upcoming
events, contact [email protected] or click on our Facebook
page 'Former Girls of Belfast Royal Academy' and please like & share!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all pupils, past & present, and members of staff, a very
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. We look forward to a fun & successful OG 2015!
Nikki Johns
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Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th January 2015
6.45pm - 9pm; Headmaster’s Talks, 7pm & 8pm
Prospective pupils (including Sixth Formers) and their parents are invited to
tour the School, meet staff and pupils, view the facilities and experience the
wealth of extra-curricular activities on offer at Belfast Royal Academy.
This year Belfast Royal Academy has initiated Arabic and
Chinese language courses as enrichment subjects, as they
form part of the British Council’s ‘Languages for the Future’
document. This indicates that Chinese and Arabic will be very
important for the UK economy over the next 15 years.
Five Form I pupils from Belfast Royal Academy visited
Stormont to attend a conference about Arabic language and
culture. This initiative was organised by the British Council.
The aim of the programme is to provide young people with information on the Arabic language and
culture. The Academy is coordinating this initiative and will work with five other schools, including:
Methodist College, Victoria College, St. Malachy’s College, Carr’s Glen PS and Ben Madigan
Preparatory School.
The Junior Maths team won the NI round of the UK Maths Trust
Team (UKMT) Challenge. Being placed as the top school qualified
the team to represent Northern Ireland at the National Final in
London in June. They were recently awarded a certificate by UKMT,
in recognition of their achievement.
The achievement is all the more impressive, as this is the second
year in a row that the Academy has won the NI round and qualified
for the finals in London.
Congratulations to Form V pupils Chloe Anderson, Rachael
O’Donnell and Juanita O’Kane, who all gained full marks in the
CCEA GCSE level Art examination
Congratulations to Kellie McLean, who was Joint 2nd in Northern Ireland
in GCSE French, and to Taylor McCombe who was placed 3rd in the
Province in GCSE PE.
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The Academy was well represented at the recent Sainsbury’s UK Schools’ Games, held in
Manchester on 4th-7th September. Results included a Silver medal in the 200m Backstroke.
The Academy had a great start to the school swimming season on Saturday 11th October, with a 20
medal haul at the Ulster Schools’ Minor Swimming Championships.
Special mention must go to Conor Ferguson, who had a stellar summer
of competitive swimming. In the build-up to the Schools’ Games, Conor
experienced top international competition when he represented Ireland
in the Canadian Age-Group Championships, setting multiple Irish agegroup records and winning 4 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze medals.
The addition of the Silver medal from Manchester to his Canadian haul
meant it was truly a summer to remember for this talented athlete.
On Saturday 11th October the
B.R.A. Show Jumping team
competed in the 2nd leg of the
Inter-Schools’ Show Jumping
League. The Open Team Competition stood at a rather
terrifying 1m course and the team pulled off a zero score,
which saw them race into first position.
Andrea Kerns is your main point of contact for alumni enquiries. We continue to seek
your help to ensure that your contact details are up to date and to actively encourage
friends, colleagues, siblings and other family members who were pupils at Belfast Royal
Academy to join the alumni family. All alumni data is held securely in the School in
accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Thank you for your continued interest in
and support of Belfast Royal Academy.
Alumni Office
Belfast Royal Academy
3 – 17 Cliftonville Road
Telephone: 028 9074 0423
Email: [email protected]
We wish you a very merry Christmas and
all our best wishes for 2015!
Copyright © 2014 Belfast Royal Academy - All rights reserved