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Chairman: H. G. Slater.
Secretary: A. A. Turner.
At the beginning of the Autumn Term a new committee was duly elected under the chairmanship of Mr. Slater. Our first main meeting was an election forum with the three main parties being represented in addition to a communist candidate, a sadist party candidate (with a policy of general "death, pain and deformity"!) and a CBC candidate whose main policy seemed to be the setting up of a complete state of terror. The meeting was well attended and proved to be very enjoyable.
The general informal discussion held at the end of October in an attempt to get some of the newer, younger members of the society to express their views proved to be very successful indeed and could have continued long after the chairman had closed the meeting which, in some cases, it did.
The first debate of the new year and in fact the only debate the present senior circle has held was on the chairman's pet subject, apathy, and the motion was worded, "This house believes apathy to be the malady of contemporary British society". Indeed if one were to read the minutes of the particular meeting which were written by the chairman one is able to see exactly where his sympathies lie. With such support it was not difficult to imagine which house would win.
At the beginning of December the Circle was fortunate in obtaining the lecturing services of Mr. Nejat Sonmez, press counsellor to the Turkish Embassy in London. He unravelled many of the intricacies of the Cyprus Problem and after explaining the origin of the Greco-Turkish conflict, he presented the case of the Turkish Cypriots on the island and suggested ways in which the problem might be solved. At the conclusion of his talk Mr. Sonmez was visibly shocked on hearing that his audience included a Greek Cypriot whose views differed considerably from his own. Question Time, inevitably, took the form of a verbal battle between Mr. Sonmez and Mr. Apostolides, the circle's aforementioned Greek Cypriot member.
Perhaps the most enjoyable meeting of the year was the "University Forum" which although the most poorly attended was probably the most interesting. With help, from Woodford County High we were able to obtain representatives from Loughborough College of Advanced Technology, Cambridge, Manchester, Sussex and Oxford. After outlining their impressions of the institutions at which they were studying, the panel answered questions from the floor, the answers to which proved to be a mine of practical information including such things as how to get back into college after hours by climbing over certain parts of certain walls and how to get an overdraft from the bank when funds were getting low.
At the beginning of the Spring Term the Circle organised a "Face to Face" interview with members of staff. Many of the staff invited to this meeting either refused immediately they were asked or after accepting backed out owing to "too much work"! In the end we were able to scrape together the services of Mr. Abbess, Mr. Jones and Mr. Pollard who revealed to us much about their lives past and present that we did not know already.
The theatre outing which has now become a permanent date on the Senior Circle calendar was to see "Inadmissible Evidence" by John Osborne. As Mr. Slater is also secretary of the Dramatic Society and Mr. Turner is President of the Dramatic Society it was decided that the outing should be a joint effort and so the girls from Woodford County High and Walthamstow County High were invited. The outing was so successful with the party numbering eighty that it is not unlikely that another outing will be arranged after the examinations.
The meetings of the Senior Circle this year have been most enjoyable but I feel that much more time must be spent on debating in the new year. Indeed, the Circle were unable to organise a debate with Woodford County High because it was felt that we did not have the talent. The reason for this was obviously that the Circle did not hold enough internal debates. However, there seems to be much potential in the Lower Sixth for public speaking and next year, if enough opportunity is given to them, inter-School debates should prove to be easy to arrange and to win.
Finally I would like to thank Mr. Couch for his guidance and Mr. Tomlin for making the Library available to us.
A. A. Turner. 6T. Lit.