|Rushden Echo, 17th October 1919, transcribed by Kay Collins
Pleasing Present at Rushden Ten Years’ Perfect School Attendance Remarkable Record
An interesting ceremony took place at the Alfred-street Council School yesterday week when a wristlet watch (guaranteed for ten years) was presented by the Council School Managers to Henry Dunkley (son of Mr and Mrs W P Dunkley, of Victoria-road, Rushden), in recognition of his remarkable record in school attendance. For ten yearsstarting when he was three years of agehe was never once absent, and never late. The scholars gathered at 3.30 in the assembly hall, and the seniors sang a folk song “Young May Moon” and the patriotic song “Land of Hope and Glory.” Mr J T Colson (chairman of the Rushden Education Sub-Committee) presided, supported by Messrs John Claridge, J.P., C.C., B Vorley, F Green, and C Cross, C.C. (members of the Sub-Committee).
Mr W W Rial (headmaster) said that last year the attendance was not so good as usual, as there were only four perfect attendance medals awarded. War conditions had something to do with this, and sickness was partly responsible, but there had grown up a general carelessness about school attendance during the last two or three years of the war. An improvement was now noticeable. During the present week every girl but one had attended at least part of the week, and only four boys had failed to put in an appearance, so that out of 340 scholars only five had not been seen during the week. Alluding to Henry Dunkley, who had left the school during the past year, Mr Rial said he came to the school when only three years of age and left when he was over 13 years old, having never once been absent or late. When Dunkley was in his eighth year he was troubled one day with his eyes, which were bandaged up, but his mother led him to school and told the teacher that if the boy’s eyes were bad so that he could not read or write, he could listen to what was said. Such a record attendance was not made without some sacrifice.
Mr Colson said this was a unique occasion. The wonderful attendance of Henry Dunkley was something worthy of being recorded. His parents must have taken a keen interest in his schooling and assisted him in his effort to be present every time the school was opened; his health had been good so that he could attend in all weathers; and he must have been happy in his school life.
Mr Claridge, as a member of the County Education Committee assured the boys and girls that they would never regret having attended school regularly and having paid attention to their teachers. It was a great advantage to have such a school as that, and he hoped the school would appreciate it.
Medals were then presented by Mr Claridge to the following: Jessie Tuffrey, two years’ perfect attendance; Bert Bailey, three years’ perfect attendance; and Arthur Harris (formerly of Irthlingborough), five years’ perfect attendance. A silver bar to medal was handed to Grace Morris for six years’ perfect attendance. Mr Rial explained that in the case of Jessie Tuffrey, the girl remained at school, she reaching the age at which she could leave, in order to secure the medal. Mr Rial also paid a tribute Grace Morris’s aunt who had made sacrifices in order that the girl should attend school regularly.
In presenting the watch to Henry Dunkley, Mr Claridge said the attendance was a record for Rushden and the county. He congratulated the recipient most sincerely on his wonderful record. The School Managers in the past had presented him with booksbooks which he had chosen himself, showing he was of a studious nature. His mother must have made great sacrifices to get him to school every day for ten years. It also spoke well for the teachers, and the boy must have been interested in what he was taught.
Mr Vorley, quoting the proverb “No gains without pains,” said that both Mrs Dunkley and her son must have taken great pains to accomplish such a unique record. Mrs Dunkley had a large shelf on which were over 30 first prizes received by her children from the Sunday school.
Mr Green also complimented the boy on his record, and hearty cheers were given for Dunkley and for the School Managers.