Early Memories

Mrs. Rita Assadourian and Mrs. Nadia Kalindjian who joined The Junior School in 1950 and moved to the new school building, remember walking to their new school, carrying their books in their bag. When the School was opened children were given “the bumps” in each of the four corners of the front area of the School, trees were planted, and they remember that being a great day as they did not have any lessons!

Jackie Parr was a pupil from 1954-56 and remembers: “In summer as there was no air conditioning it was so hot, we only had school for half of the day. The grounds did not have any grass – it was sandy dirt. We used to play rounders or do PE. Initially school dinners were served because the boarders ate lunch at the school, but then it was decided that the boarders would eat at their house, so school dinners were discontinued. For some reason, curry was served on Tuesdays – none of us liked it because it was too spicy – there was a choice of red curry and green curry. The school hall was used every morning for assembly. At Christmas time, there would be carol singing – with pupils up on the balcony. Also, in 1955 we did a Christmas Play which had several performances. I had a small speaking part in it. I still have my class photograph – it was so great because it was such an international class – we were from all over – New Zealand, English, Greek, Turkish, Cypriot, American. Educationally we were very advanced. When I returned to England, I discovered I was at least a year ahead of my class at my new school. During the troubles, we use to get calls telling us there were going to be riots, and so we had leave school early – it always seemed to be on a Tuesday afternoon, when we had craft projects!”.

Former pupil Sally Anne Simmonds remembers being taught to hide under the school desks in case of bomb scares, and that during the Eoka struggles (1955) they had to make up different rules for rounders because there was barbed wire all around so the ball would be “out” if it went into the barbed wire. Children would come to school each day with a small case containing their night clothes, toothbrush and extra clothes, just in case there was any trouble and they couldn’t get back home.

Peter Harding was at the school in 1955/56, when he was 7/8 years old: “I remember a little about my days at The Junior School. I recall playing football on a pitch near the school buildings, making a model petrol station out of pieces of wood, and another time meeting with school mates Gabriel Pietroni and Mark/Martin Cox and a girl named Janet Brown, and chatting about who likes who!! At one time I got 100% in an arithmetic test of which my father was very proud and at some time doing a project on the Doomsday Book. I remember being a Cub and proudly wearing the green uniform and trying to pass as many tests as I could to get badges on the sleeve of my uniform. I remember waiting in a corridor to be given my Cub uniform and when it came to trying on the cap, I remember Akela saying it looked like a pea on a drum, either the cap was too small or my head was too big for the cap!”

“A very vivid memory I remember participating in a play in the School Hall. The story was that a picnic was being arranged and all the people attending the picnic had to bring something to cook in a large pot, more like a cauldron which was filled with boiling water. What each person brought had to be kept a secret from everyone else. As we came on stage, we had to leapfrog over the person in front so the first person went on stage, the next person leapfrogged over that person and then the next person leaped over those two and so it went on until everyone was on stage. We then pretended to put the secret item we had brought for the picnic into the large pot. At the end everyone looked into the pot and there was one tomato only in this large pot of boiling water. When everyone was asked what they brought they said salt because they thought that no-one else would bring salt except for one person who said they brought the tomato! Tasty picnic and not a lot to go round! Actually it was fun. Silly what one remembers from such a long time ago, Though I do remember quite a lot about Cyprus during the time I was there.”

Belmont Van Doren Worman, who now lives in Virginia, U.S., has very fond memories of the school: “In the photo of the Lower School Christmas Play of 1962, Old King Cole, (in The Junior School Hall) my brother Jeff (Worman) is in the middle of the “Fiddlers Three”. Note the organ with the bell on it and the Kenny house trophies in the premier position. I think the walls were darker green at the bottom and lighter green at the top. The floor was treated with an oil which I can still smell when I think of it.”
“We got to wear our uniforms on Wednesdays since that is when the Scouts and Girl Guides had their weekly meeting. Our leaders were Mr. Bevis, Upper One homeroom teacher, and Skip and Kim, an RAF Sergeant and his wife from RAF Nicosia. We had our summer camp on the salt lake at Larnaca across from Hala Sultan Tekke mosque. That area was pretty well deserted then; now there are roads and businesses everywhere. The airport wasn’t even a dream back then!”
“Teachers I remember were, of course, Buzzy, the Headmaster, Mr. Bevis who was my homeroom teacher, Mr. James Hughes who was Upper II’s homeroom teacher, Miss Kent, who had Upper 3 & 4, Miss Hawkes who was a middle school or lower school teacher at the time, and Glyn Hughes, our art teacher.  We had an RAF squaddy named Mr. Clifton who taught the boys physical education, and Miss Kent handled the girls.  Tassos was our custodian and made the hot chocolate in the winter along with his wife. Glyn Hughes was a funny fellow, hyperactive and impulsive.  He used to issue good and bad house marks two at a time, unlike the other teachers.  His art class was always a riot and he appreciated novel approaches to pictures.  However, if you tried your “novel approach, or concept” twice, because you couldn’t think of anything to draw, he would remember, and express his disappointment with you.  He used to leave the art room for a smoke several times during class, and sneak back quietly to see what was going on.  That’s how I got my 2 bad house marks since he caught me doing something, or talking, or creating mayhem like we boys used to do.”

Former pupil Myriam Arazi-Guy who was at the school from 1962-1965 remembers: “I must say that on my last visit to the school I was ‘upset’ to discover that the Assembly Hall had changed so much, and that the wooden balcony around 3 of its walls had been dismantled (there was a large door to the balcony from the original school library). As a matter of fact, as part of the Christmas play my class- consisting only of Michael Winter and myself- put on for Christmas, I climbed down a thick rope from the balcony to the Hall and cartwheeled to the stage. I doubt whether this would have been allowed today. The rope was the one also used to ring the big iron school bell (there was a bell monitor…), and Mr. Bevis was responsible for its safe attachment so that I could climb down. Another anecdote I just remembered is that when I arrived at the school, monthly arithmetic and spelling tests determined the seating arrangement in class. We moved seats in accordance with our results. When I arrived I was seated at the bottom of the class and quite quickly arrived at the top, changing places with Adriana Ierodiaconou- it was either her or me at the top. I can imagine the furore this would cause today amongst parents, especially the parents of the children who were always seated at the bottom of the class. As a mother, I shudder at the thought myself!”

Raymond has made a good beginning” Junior School Report Spring term 1949:“In rubber wellington boots I trudged through the snow and then up the steps of the single storey house that accommodated the ‘Junior School’ Kindergarten. It was about 1950 and it was snowing. Snow falls about every forty years in Nicosia. Sitting on the benches near the entrance I took off my boots and put on my ‘takeys’. I was reminded by a friend that we used to shout out “who can tie shoes” as few of us were able to accomplish such a complex operation.”

Bill E Featherstone: “Brings back memories. I recall Mrs. Gee, our matron at the time coming up to the dorms frantically telling everyone, …”it was just the wind!”…. after an EOKA bomb blew the front doors off the place. Of course, we all laughed after she left…. we knew otherwise.”