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The Courier Spring 2011 COMMUNITY > ALUMNI The KEVICC Alumni

Since the last edition of The Courier members of the Society were pleased to support the Army Presentation on the 15th of November 2010. In introducing the speaker the Society Secretary drew students’ attention to work that is being undertaken with the Town Council to try and have a memorial plaque placed on the Mansion building to commemorate the fact that Major R R Willis VC had at- tended the Grammar School there from 1888 – 1890. Major Willis won the V C at Gallipoli during World War I. He also re- ferred to a more recent Old Boy who had just returned from another tour in Afghanistan flying helicopters – Lt. Com- mander N Whitehouse whose late mother had been a teacher at KEVICC.

At the end of the Autumn Term came the Annual Sixth Form Lecture at KEVICC which is presented by The Old Totnesian Society. This year the lecture was given by Richard Walter the current President of the Society who left KEVICC in 1972. The lecture was entitled Working with Earthwatch (How to pay for the privilege of working nights, chasing monogamous monkeys through the forests of Argentina, and other stories.)

Prior to commencing the lecture Richard made a presentation of a cheque for £500 to Jonathan Mason, the Head of Drama at KEVICC, to help offset some of the cost of the recent purchase of radio microphones and support equipment for the Ariel Theatre.

In presenting the

cheque Richard spoke of his memories of involvement in school productions which were performed in facilities which were poorer than the current facilities avail- able. Jonathan responded by thanking the Society for their generous support and pointed out that now that the col- lege had its own equipment, hire charges would be saved and more finance would be available to support productions.

Richard spoke briefly of his time at the Grammar School and then KEVICC, at University and of his work experiences and the number of countries he had vis- ited. He explained the concept of Earth- watch which involves volunteers becoming amateur scientists assisting proper scientists and paying for the priv- ilege. They were then able to look more deeply into specific aspects of research by having non expert field workers to gather data. The results are all published on the relevant website.

Richard Walter in Jungle

He spoke of his experience in the Com- munity Forest in Ecuador and the expe- rience of the accommodation in the village where some previous aid project had built toilets which no one would use as they were so bad and a water supply had been run to communal taps but there was no water in them. Cloud for- est was being cut down to make room to grow palms for the making of panama hats and other areas were cleared to provide grazing. Research was carried out to show how this was affecting the climate and in particular the water table. He also spoke of research into the mating habits of the Dancing Birds of Costa Rica. This was accompanied by a video of the ritual where it took two males to entice one female. The accompanying stories caused much amusement to the audience.

Whilst hiking in the forests of Peru he be- came caught up in a local riot in a town- ship and told of his escape to the airport by riding on the back of an old scooter driven by one of the local policemen who responded positively to a suitable cash incentive.

He also told stories about camping in the Argentine Forest where they enabled re- search into the habits of the Owl Mon- keys who were mainly nocturnal and lived in small family groups. Cautionary tales of not getting caught standing di- rectly under

them were told. future

Students showed their enthusiasm for the lecture with many and varied inter- esting questions and no doubt some will see working with Earthwatch as a future project for a holiday or gap year. The Society has donated a number of books to the College and continues to welcome applications for modest grants from the College or individual students to assist with obtaining equipment, aid- ing studies/projects or to assist with a trip. The latest to benefit is Lilli Unwin who is being assisted with the costs of a specialist music course during the Easter Holidays.

The Society prepares two newsletters a year and copies of these are made avail- able at the Kennicott Library and to Staff Rooms.

The Society are planning their Spring Re- union for Saturday 30th April 2011 on the Redworth site where we hope to be entertained by SaMS and to have a look around the site. We will eat in the can- teen and if any staff or former students would like to find out more about what we do please come and see us. Although we remember the past we also do much to support the future and the more of us there are the more we can do. Why not join us as you leave KEVICC. It only costs £10 per year.

For further information please contact Barry Warren, Honorary Secretary on 01884 34670 or

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