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Lisnagarvey High School began life in September 1957 as Lisnagarvey Boys Secondary Intermediate School, the first school of its kind in the Antrim County Education area. It was built at a cost of £190,000, a sum, which at the time was considered to be an extraordinary amount of money to spend on education.
When the school was officially opened on September 11th by Mr A N Stevenson OBE, JP, Chairman of the Lisburn Urban Council, 750 boys took up residence in four year groups with 21 classes.
Two hundred guests attended the Opening Ceremony at which Mr Stevenson hoped that the boys would not take too literally the meaning of Lisnagarvey - "The fort of the gamesters". To those critical of the high cost of the school he had this to say:
"It is easy for people to talk about the enormous cost of education but look back at the years when education was neglected and teachers were paid a mere pittance. We have to march with the times and we cannot have our cake and eat it. If we are to have the best schools we must pay for them."
Mr Stevenson was sure that the scholastic attainment of the future pupils of Lisnagarvey would be manifold and worth all the great amount of money and time put into the provision of such facilities.
In March 1960 the Minister for Education in the Stormont Parliament Mr W M May M.P. presided over the school’s first Prize Day. The Headmaster, Mr W J Morrison, reported on the development of the school since its opening saying that the pupils enjoyed the extra-curricular opportunities offered by thirteen societies and had taken part in two concerts and a pantomime. The choir, under Mr McCartney’s baton had achieved considerable success at Portadown and Belfast Musical Festivals and the Air Training Corps has attended its first camp at Wattisham near Ipswich.
Life at Lisnagarvey throughout the Swinging Sixties continued to be exciting and full of variety for many of the boys. The Ulster Star had appeared on the scene and it reported trips to Scotland, Belgium, CID Headquarters, Botanic Gardens and a journey down the Foyle Estuary on HMS Blackwood. The choir continued to win trophies and pantomimes like Snow White and Humpty Dumpty had audiences rolling in the aisles while giving a first taste of the footlights to boys like BJ Hogg currently a star of both the big and small screens. Sports Day brought summer terms to their happy conclusion and threw up stars like Kenneth Totten, Clifford Cullen, Richard Smith, Raymond Moffett, David McDowell and John McClure.
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