Thank you to the parents, staff, students, governors and benefactors who attended the official opening of our new Biology building on Wednesday 14th October. It was a wonderful occasion celebrating another significant step forward in the ongoing refurbishment of the Science facilities at Aylesbury Grammar School.
Thank you to our students Alex Taylor (R12) and Ross Buchanan (Ph12) who spoke eloquently about the benefits of learning in the state-of-the art laboratories and to Mr Pilkington for some great anecdotes from the Biology teaching team about the modern laboratories from a teaching point of view.
Wing Commander Lee Cobley, Old Aylesburian and Campaign Chairman, talked about his pride of being an OA and part of the Science Campaign Board. He said “I was a pupil here at AGS 45 years ago, and my son, William, was here 10 years ago, so AGS is doubly close to my heart, for what it did for me, in getting me to Bristol University and preparing me for an exciting career in the RAF, and for what it did for my son, who now works at the top of a skyscraper in Singapore.
AGS was an exceptional school for me and my son, and it will be for your children and maybe your children’s children. You will see them getting excellent results, getting places at top universities, and rapidly becoming leaders in their fields. But all this doesn’t come without investment, and we will reap what we sow. These Biology laboratories are a result of parents’ and old boys’ and other benefactors’ generosity, and it is fantastic to know that generations of boys will benefit. So many, many, thanks to all of you who have supported the Science Campaign, and we will be in contact with you in the new year to explain how you can continue to support the School in producing exceptional students for years and years to come. Thank you.”
Mrs Gillian Miscampbell OBE, immediate past Chairman of the AGS Foundation, cut the ribbon to officially open the building and explained “In 2010 it was recognised that there was a great need to improve and enhance the facilities for the teaching of Science if the School was to provide the best opportunities for the growing number of boys who wanted to study Science. The School had no money and none was forthcoming either from the government or the County Council and if we wanted the project we had to raise the £2.3 million needed. As a result of some generous charitable donations we were able to refurbish 4 laboratories, a preparation room, staff facilities and to completely refurbish the Lecture Theatre as well as do a lot of necessary enabling work. The School then had a big decision to make. In 2013 we had only raised enough money to build the shell of the Biology block. A brave decision was taken by Mr Lehec, Headmaster until 2014, to go ahead and build the shell knowing that it might remain empty for some time. Building prices were very competitive at the time and we were concerned that if and when the market improved, if we waited until we had raised all the money needed, prices would have got away from us and we might still be waiting today. You have heard from Mr Sturgeon that we are nearly there, having completed 80% of the work needed, and the completion of the refurbishment of the remaining laboratories is a top priority for the School.
Through the AGS Foundation, several charitable trusts and alumni and parental contributions the School has raised over £1.8 million of the £2.3 million to complete the project.
Gillian emphasised “We are enormously grateful to all our generous benefactors. Unhappily it is coming too late to benefit my sons and grandsons but earlier generations built and developed this School for their generation and now we have the opportunity and responsibility to do the same for not only the present generation of boys, but for future generations. Tonight sees the culmination of one of our dreams and it is with the very greatest of pleasure that I declare these new state-of-the-art laboratories open.”