OATLANDS COLLEGE PAST PUPILS FORUM.
It is seventy years next year since the first handful of students made their way up to the old manor house on the grounds of Oatlands in September 1951. The students who arrived that day and at the beginning of September every year since, are now scattered to the four winds and many sadly are no longer with us.
Over the years various school leaders have motivated former pupils to meet up to share their common heritage and celebrate together their life journey. Michael Murtagh known to generations of students as “Bunty” did so during his term as Deputy Principal in the nineteen eighties when the college was a relatively young institution. Michael Madigan during his nearly twenty-year tenure as Principal motivated a group of former students to organise annual get togethers for class groups along with golfing events held in the K Club courtesy of Dermot Smurfit.
In recent years individuals from specific year groups have taken it upon themselves to organise a dinner in the Stillorgan Park Hotel to commemorate the 30th, 40th, 50th etc anniversary of their departure from the college. The current Principal, Ms. Caroline Garrett has facilitated these events, and attended them when invited to do so.
In this Covid era, all such planning has unfortunately not been able to happen and may not be able to do so for some time to come.
Conversely, Covid19 has generated some highly innovative developments which may allow Oatlands past pupils who live in every corner of our planet to meet up electronically, due to the wonders of Zoom and similar platforms to share their memories of their Oatlands year and reconnect with those they may not currently be in contact with.
Whereas technology has made such contacts simplicity itself, data protection legislation in the form of GDPR puts a heavy onus on all bodies to protect the personal data of all.
The college is therefore proposing to facilitate through their website the creation of a secure forum in which former students from each year group, provide their basic contact details to the College, to enable a reformed committee of past pupils to create the equivalent of WhatsApp groups for every year.
It is envisaged that if successful it would enable each year group to begin to communicate electronically in a manner in which each one is totally comfortable. They might just agree to meet up online occasionally and chat or to plan a physical event in or close to the college in the future.
Every year group of willing participants could chart their own course and take the process as far as they wished. The only role the college itself would play would be to facilitate the formation of the group by hosting the data required to make it possible.
Whereas the college can play that role it is always a matter for past pupils themselves to decide how such a Past Pupils Union (PPU) to give it its formal title would operate. The last committee of this body in Oatlands has not met for some time and no formal office holders are currently active.
The College is therefore proposing that they facilitate the holding of an online meeting to enable a willing group of past pupils irrespective where they live in the world to hold a meeting to constitute a reformed management committee.
This committee would then put in place the basic administrative architecture to enable year groups to function. Previous committees have left a small legacy in the form of a PPU bank account with a very modest sum of money, but sufficient to get this project off the ground.
If you as a past pupil are prepared to get involved at either of the two levels outlined above, we would ask you to fill out the attached registration form which will enable this project to get off the ground.
The college would anticipate facilitating an online AGM, to elect a committee in about two months’ time as we approach the end of 2020. That committee once in place would then put in place the IT infrastructure to enable year groups to communicate effectively.
This project is a very exciting one, as through the technology which has grown exponentially over the past year, it has enabled those who have scattered around the world to reconnect with their childhood school friends. Its success it totally a matter for our past pupils.