Poetic Farewell to West Calder High School

Filed under: Readers’ Gems; in the year 2018, on the 2nd day of July at 1:55 pm

Readers of the great poet and tragedian will be aware that William did not restrict himself to the great public figures and disasters of the day, Occasionally events from his own life would inspire a gem.

As it was with the master, so too with the disciple. Our own Stephen Midgley has penned this epic to mark the relocation of the West Calder High School where, he tells me, he taught for most of his working life. I think you’ll agree that it’s a splendid send off for the old building…

Lines in Memoriam Regarding the Great Farewell Event at West Calder High School

’Twas in the year of 2018, on the 23rd of June,
When the flowers and shrubberies were in full bloom,
That the great West Calder High School did hold its Final Farewell event
To which many pupils, teachers and friends with eager anticipation went.

To see it once again, many a heart with excitement did race,
And former pupils flocked in their hundreds to the place,
Their beloved old school one last time for to see
And, as they approached, their hearts were filled with glee.

The reception they received was quite magnificent,
And many former teachers did also attend the event.
We were taken on guided tours round the classrooms and corridors,
As pupils, teachers and parents passed through long-remembered doors.

Many people did see the sign on the door of the famous Mr. Gruber,
Who had taught them much geography including the location and climate of Cuba,
And they recalled how in his lessons they had to stay wide awake,
So that, even to this day, seeing his name made them with fear for to quake.

There were photographs from former times upon the noticeboards,
And pictures of pupils holding aloft their many awards;
Old school magazines and notices were on display,
As well as articles, cuttings and stories all laid out in grand array.

A fine musical entertainment did continue through the day,
In which the West Calder High School Wind Bands most splendidly did play,
And the hearts of the visitors were full of glee
As the dinner ladies served most excellent food, drinks and tea.

Old friends and fellow pupils did meet again with great delight,
For some had remained close friends, while others were scattered far and wide,
And talking with long-remembered faces many an hour was spent,
Exchanging stories of old times to their hearts’ content.

Many former pupils greeted their teachers as long-lost friends
Even if at school they had sometimes driven them round the bend.
‘You were a brilliant teacher, miss or sir’, they did chime,
Although, strange for to tell, ’twas rarely mentioned at the time.

And ’twas a great delight to see old pupils present,
Who in their teenage years had varied from delightful to truculent,
But now are upstanding citizens most kind and sensible,
Many with families of their own, and in occupations worthy and respectable.

The school building at Limefield had first opened in the year 1965,
When many pupils and staff, past and present, were not yet even alive.
Since that time, thousands of young people had approached its portals with trepidation,
But once they entered in they did receive an excellent education.

And so the great school stood for fifty-three years until this day,
But alas! I am very sorry to say
That new safety regulations did finally come into play
Which filled the hearts of West Lothian Council officials with dismay.

For an underground gas pipeline close to the school had long ago been laid,
Which now did cause the authorities to be sore afraid,
For the further away from pipelines we our schools do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

Oh heaven, ‘twould have been a dreadful sight
To witness by day or in the dusky moonlight,
If the gas pipeline had exploded, and into pieces the building would blast,
At which the pupils and teachers would feel very downcast.

Therefore to replace the old school with a new one is no crime,
And let us hope that it will stand the test of time,
For the splendid new West Calder High School is now completed,
And its location closer to the town by many local people has been greeted.

Its classroom walls are strongly built of concrete, glass and steel
And the car park is big enough to accommodate many a wheel.
The new dark grey building is most handsome to be seen,
And ’tis to be opened on the 20th day of August in the year 2018.

I hope the boys and girls of the new school will work hard on their education
Whether they be from West Calder or its surrounding conurbation,
Because knowledge is sweeter than honey or jam,
Therefore let them try for to gain knowledge as quick as they can.

To the new West Calder High School let us wish happiness and long life,
May you always be prosperous and free from strife,
And success to all your pupils, be they of high or low degree,
In your brand new building which is a most magnificent sight to see.

But I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That the Final Farewell event on the 23rd of June
Was a day of great delight which chased away all gloom.

For this great occasion did mark the end of an era,
’Twas both a fond farewell and the start of a new and glorious chapter
In the history of an institution most sublime,
On a day which will be remember’d for a very long time.