Coleraine Inst prinicpal Dr David Carruthers welcomed former pupil Graeme McDowell to the school for their annual prize day.
In his speech to pupils, parents, staff and visitors, the principal said:
"I did a little research into Graeme's school achievements, and I have to say I'm very disappointed. Very disappointed because I found nothing to dredge up to cause even a little embarrassment.
"All of us should take note; not only did Graeme excel at golf all through school, his academic work was always of the highest standard. His GCSEs were As and A*s, his A levels were almost 4 straight As, including A level Mathematics in 1 year. Comments from teachers used words like "mature, dependable, hard-working, pleasant, articulate" and most often "excellent". Ten years ago just after leaving school, Graeme was awarded a Mary Evelyn McNeill Scholarship and the Templeton Engineering Prize to reflect his success in Upper Sixth. As Adam said, he is an outstanding role model for boys in this school.
"There were a number of changes in staff personnel this year. Mr John Patterson retired from the Mathematics Department at the end of June. Mr Patterson's Inst. school life began as a boarder 44 years ago and after university he joined the staff as a teacher for 35 years. He was an expert and committed teacher of Mathematics. Mr Patterson was Head of Year 13 for 17 years and a successful rugby coach at all levels in school throughout his entire career.
"Mr Philip Blaney retired at the end of June, following a 30 year career teaching Biology and Science. He remained a dedicated and enthusiastic teacher throughout his career preparing pupils thoroughly and with enjoyment for examinations. Mr Blayney also introduced many boys to the joys of angling, which, along with teaching, is an activity requiring a great deal of patience.
"On behalf of the Board of Governors, the teaching staff, parents and several generations of pupils, I would like to thank both men for everything they contributed to so successfully in Coleraine Inst. over many years both in and out of the classroom, and to wish them both, and their wives, a long and happy retirement.
"Schools don't function without technical and support staff and, in July, our Guest of Honour finally persuaded our Physics Technician, his father, Kenny to spend more time with his family. If such family-time means spectating at the Ryder Cup, you can't really blame him. Kenny, from all of us, many thanks for all your help and dedication over the years.
"Retirements of course create opportunities for new appointments and we were pleased to appoint Miss Clare Morrow to the Mathematics Department. Miss Morrow has maths teaching in her genes and, as an U'23 international cross country runner, she has already made quite an impact on Harriers. Increasing school numbers necessitated a post teaching both History and English and this has been filled ably by Mrs Rebekah Smyth. Home Economics has come to C.A.I. and pupils are enjoying the enthusiasm of newly appointed Mrs Amanda Cooper. In the English department, Mr Boyd has taken a career break to be Head Teacher of a school in China and his position here has been taken for the year by Mr Ryan Hayes. My colleagues and I wish all these young professionals many years of enjoyment in teaching. I am confident they will fulfil the early promise they have shown both in and out of the classroom.
"I spoke last year about standards being part of a range of attributes that help to distinguish a grammar school. One of these standards is the level of achievement in public examinations. I also described last year how that achievement reflected very well on C.A.I especially when the traditionally broad intake into this school is considered.
"School improvement and raising standards are very much on our agenda, and real improvement was achieved in August. It would be reasonable to expect about 20% of GCSE grades to be A or A* in this school. It is, however, consistently higher than that, with this year 28% of grades at A or A*, which means that this school is able to stretch the academically inclined to achieve top grades.
"Andrew Whitmarsh deserves a special mention for achieving 10 A*s
In terms of top grades, Mathematics led the way with 44% of grades at A or A*, closely followed by Chemistry and Physics. Almost every single subject either maintained a very good performance at grades A* - C or improved their performance, in some cases, very considerably. Over half of school subjects are either matching or out-performing the performance of other grammar schools. Given our intake, which is broader than most grammar schools, this is an excellent achievement.
"The GCSE pass rate at A* to C jumped from 85% to 90% this year – a 5% increase in one year is to the great credit of the staff and boys of the school, and indicates that we are successful across the ability range.
"AS examinations form the first half of A level at the end of Lower 6th and many AS candidates have put themselves in a very good position for later in the school year. L6th last year performed slightly better than the very strong performance of their predecessors, with 36% of grades achieved being at grade A. 16 pupils, a quarter of the year group, attained either 3 or 4 grade As, with 8 of these As being in a full A level, not just an AS. 16 names is a long list to read, but these boys are present today and more than deserve this recognition. They are Jason Bloomfield, Mark Cairns, James Cromie, Ryan Elliott, Conor Gaston, Michael Griffith, Tom He, Michael McDowell, Jonathan Mitchell, Ibrahim Nalbant, Matthew Patterson, Christopher Steele, Benjamin Steen, Markus Taeubert, James Taylor and Michael Wallace.
"U6 achieved the best results ever seen by the school with nearly 42% of all grades achieved being grade A. 13 pupils attained 3 or 4 grade As which is one fifth of the candidates.
"In both Lower and Upper 6 many departments continued to perform very well, or to make serious improvements. Art, Biology, Chemistry, Technology, English, Geography, German, History, Further Mathematics, Music, Politics and RE all increased or held steady the number of A grades achieved at A level and, in a considerable number of departments, 60% of grades were at A or B. Such a strong performance in top grades meant that the overwhelming majority of the Upper 6th leavers gained places on the university course of their choice. This includes a significant number of pupils studying Medicine, Dentistry, Law or Accountancy.
"None of this great success would be achieved if it were not for the excellent relationships that exist between teachers and pupils in this school. Equally, the relationships would not exist if it were not for the willingness of members of staff to spend their own time helping to provide the extra-curricular activities for pupils to enjoy and in which they achieve considerable success.
"As I pointed out last year, one of the strengths of this school, recognised specifically by the Education and Training Inspectorate a few years ago, is the outstanding opportunity there is for pupils to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. The breadth of these activities is truly outstanding, and I will endeavour to give you a brief overview of them. This year, however, we are having a change to proceedings and for some of the most popular areas of extra-curricular life in the school, namely rugby, rowing, football, swimming and the play, I have asked a number of boys to give you a short report of the year.
"So first, you will remember that, last year, our boys won the prestigious Formula 1 in Schools World Championships. This year, a new team of Colin Henry, Andrew Avery, Tom He, Michael Wallace and Matthew Adams did extremely well in defending our 2007 world title in Kuala Lumpur. Their newly designed car proved its worth on the track on day one of the competition, when we were in pole position. Overall, the team were placed 2nd in the world in engineering, managed the 3rd fastest time overall and finished an excellent 5th in the final of the world championships. We, and the team, are indebted to all our generous sponsors who made participation possible.
"The Debating and Public Speaking Club continues to grow in strength, and last year our debaters and speakers from the Junior and Senior sections of school participated in a range of both formal and informal debates and competitions. In the junior section Richard Nicholl was runner-up in the final of the NI Road Safety Public Speaking Competition. We also entered two teams for the NI Schools' Debating Competition organised by the Belfast Civic Trust. Our first team of Lee Forbes and Neil Henry progressed to the 3rd round where they were defeated by the eventual winners from St Mary's Grammar School. From our second team of Christopher Kane and Tom He, Christopher was selected to take part in the final of the Best Speaker's Competition at Stormont in April. The standard was exceptionally high and Christopher gave an excellent performance.
"The Drama Club was held weekly with pupils from all year groups attending and performing in an Open Night in the Drama Studio, and we held an extremely successful school production of Blood Brothers, of which more later.
As you will all be well aware, the school has a long and proud sporting tradition, and many of our former pupils have achieved world class success in sports.
"In Rugby, Year 8 have regular turnouts every Saturday morning attended by a large number of boys, followed by House matches and then school games against all the leading rugby playing schools. Each year CAI host a Year 8 tournament when upwards of 20 teams compete, including teams from Dublin. Years 9, 10 and 11 all play fixtures in Dublin and take in International matches, and occasionally Year 11 will travel across to Scotland for a fixture.
R"egular A and B fixtures take place each week with upwards of 40 games per year group each season. C teams occasionally play mid week fixtures against local opposition B teams. Each Saturday at least 190 boys are actively taking part in rugby at school with 12 members of staff coaching along with a further 12 volunteer parents helping. Last season over 40 wins were recorded by the 3 senior teams out of 65 fixtures.
"This year's Rugby Captain, Angus Warwicker will now give you a report on the 1st XV's performance in the last year, followed by reports on rowing, football, swimming and the play."
the Principal went on to get a report on the school's rugby achievements.
"The CAI 1st XV started the 2007/08 season on the 1st September with a friendly home fixture against an Ulster Youth XV. The team narrowly lost 17-10 but as it was the first time the team had played together confidence was high. The opening school fixtures saw mixed results against some of the strongest school sides of the year. There were wins against Carrick Grammar and Regent House, but there were, however, disappointing defeats to Omagh Academy and Ballymena Academy.
"Howick College of Auckland New Zealand arrived in Coleraine in October after losing narrowly to Armagh. The CAI side ran in a comfortable 21-5 victory. The team then faced two of the hardest fixtures of the year, losing narrowly to both RBAI and Campbell College. From here the Coleraine side went on a small winning streak beating Banbridge Academy 29-12 and Portora College 44-14.
"However it was 17th November that CAI will recall with fondest memories. A home fixture against Methodist College, who later went on to win the Schools' Cup saw the maroon men edge out the Methody team to win 14-12 in a game that could only be described as thrilling to watch. This gave the team confidence which they carried through to beat Dungannon away from home 29-3 and then more impressively B.R.A 19-5 at home. This winning form stopped when the team suffered defeats to both Foyle and Londonderry College and Larne Grammar School in terrible conditions. However with only 2 weeks until the Schools' Cup the CAI team picked themselves up again to winning form to defeat a strong Armagh side 21-12 at home and then dominated a very good Sullivan Upper side 19-0 at home.
"These two difficult fixtures gave the team great confidence coming into their opening game of the Schools' Cup against Foyle and Londonderry College who had put them out of the competition the previous year. In harsh muddy conditions the team fronted up to get a deserved 8-0 victory. However, what should have been a good draw for the side in the next round turned out not to be so. In the match at home to Regent House, with a win securing either side a place in the quarter finals, we were unable to perform well and with a mixture of luck and determination the Regent side came out 10-6 deserved winners. However this did not mean the end of the season for CAI. We were into the Subsidiary Shield competition. This new campaign opened with a win over last years' Schools' Cup finalists, Wallace High School and then Banbridge Academy in the semi finals. This meant a final at Ravenhill against RBAI. Although the side played very well against a very good RBAI side we eventually lost 28-14. This marked the end of a very good season.
"By the end of the season a number of players had been awarded provincial and international caps. Jason Bloomfield, Josh Christie and Angus Warwicker all played in the Ulster U18 Inter Provincial Championship with Jason Bloomfield going on to represent Ireland in the U18 6 Nations Festival in Cork. The CAI 1st XV captain Jonathan Shiels had even greater success. Not only did he play a starring role in the Ulster U19 inter provincials and Ireland U19 tests against France and Italy but he also won the Ulster Branch School Boy Player of the Year and is now a member of the Ulster Academy.
This season has started well with four convincing wins over Carrick Grammar, Omagh Academy RBAI and Campbell College, and two defeats by last year's finalists Regent House and Ballymena Academy.
"This season has also seen a number of representative caps being given to CAI players. James Cromie, David Dorsett, Conor Gaston, Jason Bloomfield and Angus Warwicker all played in the recent Inter Provincial Championships in which Ulster came 2nd only to be beaten on points difference by Leinster.
"The 1st XV team is confident that they can challenge at the highest level this year and hopefully go a long way in the 2008/09 schools cup campaign.
"I will now hand over to Jonathan Mitchell for the Rowing Report
The success of our oarsmen, both past and present, has helped raise the profile of rowing within the school with the number of boys participating steadily increasing. Our Junior 18 Quad has consistently been our top performing crew winning their category at Bann, Lagan and Erne Head of the Rivers and ultimately claiming silver at the Irish Championship Regatta, the premier event in the Irish rowing calendar. This was a fitting way to end the season for a crew that has remained unbeaten in Ulster since they competed as Junior 15s. The quality of the crew was further demonstrated when they recently defeated a crew containing two Olympic oarsmen. Two of the crew, Jonathan Mitchell and Michael McNaul, went on to gain international recognition in Irish colours when they competed at the Coupe de la Jeunesse and Home Internationals respectively, both winning two silvers.
At Lagan Head of the River Ryan Dinsmore won the Novice Single Scull category while our Junior 15 Quad belittled their lack of race experience to win their category in their first competitive outing.
Inst was well represented at the Beijing Olympics. Alan Campbell defied all odds to reach the final of the single sculls despite his build up to the games being interrupted by a serious knee injury. Richard Archibald rowing for Ireland and Richard Chambers for GB met in the semi final of the Lightweight 4s with the latter progressing to the final. Any school would be proud to boast three Olympians as Old Boys. To have three rowing at the one games is truly remarkable and provides an excellent incentive for our current crop of oarsmen.
The boat club is indebted to Coleraine Old Boys' Rowing Association for their considerable coaching and fund raising input, ably supported by our dedicated parents. The efforts of the association in conjunction with The Old Boys Association and Coleraine Inst Friends Association saw the purchase of four new boats this year. Special mention must go to our Head Coach Bobby Platt MBE who continues to pass on his expertise year after year and Dr George Hull for the time spent coaching and encouraging members of the club.
Christopher Steele will now read the Football Report
Football has been a prominent and successful sport at CAI ever since it was introduced. Teams ranging in ages from under 15 to under 19 participate in the Coleraine District Schools' League and also the Northern Irish Schools' Cup where the players test their skills against the best footballing schools in the country.
The under 15 team enjoyed a successful season considering it was their first experience of playing together. They managed to win 3 out of their 5 league games, meaning that they missed out narrowly on the semi finals.
Even though the under 16 team endured a disappointing start to the season, going out in the Northern Ireland Schools' Cup to La Salle, they showed tremendous courage to recover from this to have a very rewarding league campaign. The climax to their season was the District League Final against Ballymoney High School. This was the first competitive match in which they were able to field a full strength side and they won a thrilling encounter 4-1 with a hat trick from Stevie Mason to ensure a memorable season.
The under 19s campaign started with a run of bad luck. Injuries to key players, midfielder Ryan Peden and captain Howard Beverland meant that they missed the first round of the Northern Ireland Schools' Cup against St Mary's, Magherafelt. The team were very unlucky to lose the match 4-1 after a very close first half. This disappointment was made worse from the knowledge that their opponents went on to reach the final. However, like the under 16s they recovered from this setback and reached the District Final for the third year in a row. The match against Limavady Grammar was a tense affair until the last minute. With CAI pushing for the goal to win the cup unfortunately Limavady scored with a late break away goal to win the game 2-1.
A special mention has to go to club captain, Howard Beverland. During the season Howard forced his way into the Coleraine first team and was terribly unlucky to miss the Northern Irish Cup Final through injury. He also represented Northern Ireland in this year's Milk Cup which was a fantastic achievement.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, McClarty's Insurance, Northstone and Gareth Francis Interiors for their support during the season. Also on behalf of all the players I would like to thank the teachers in charge of the teams, -
Mr Spence, Mr Kane and Mr Gault for their guidance and encouragement throughout the year.
I will now hand over to Michael McDowell for the swimming report
The Swimming Club has continued to grow in numbers over the last few years and now has a membership of almost forty. There are four training sessions per week and the results in competitions over the past year have reflected the hard work put in by the boys. In the Ulster Grammar Schools' Championships we retained the Junior Trophy for the best school and narrowly missed out on the Intermediate Cup .The Ulster Secondary Schools' Championships saw further success and we picked up medals in the relay events along with individual medals from Jay-Dee Ferguson and Chris Coils in the brs and bf events. In the Irish Championships we made four finals and Jay-Dee Ferguson came close to a medal in the 100m brs, gaining fourth place in his final.
In March the Bath Cup team travelled to London and swam extremely well to reach the Aldenham Cup 400m freestyle relay final and the 200m Medley Relay final. The same team will be returning this year, hoping to be in medal contention.
The only gala to take place this year has been the Ulster Minor Schools' Championships. Our Group 5 team of Calum Ferguson, Andrew McCulloch, Michael Evans and James Richardson won gold in both relay events. Michael Evans picked up gold and silver in BF and FC and James Richardson swam very well to take two bronze medals.
Peri-Jake Stynes will now read the Drama report
Blood Brothers, one of the longest running musicals in the West End and a massive success all over the world, became the focus of CAI's dramatic endeavours last year.
Set in Liverpool during the 1950s, the play tells the story of a working class mother desperately struggling to bring up a large brood of children on her own. On discovering she is pregnant with twins she is emotionally blackmailed into giving one of them to Mrs Lyons. The brothers are raised apart in very different circumstances; however fate draws them back together.
This was the first full-length play that CAI had performed since Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder" in 2002. The task of reviving this tradition was tackled by Miss Magee & Mrs Taggart following eager pleas from staff and students alike. Having been a keen member of the Drama Club since my days as a pupil in the junior school I was excited to hear we were to be given the opportunity to do a large scale production. My excitement was only heightened when I heard pupils from Coleraine High were auditioning. I signed up immediately.
Pupils from all year groups, from our two youngest members of the cast who were in Year 8 right through to GCSE and A-Level students, participated. There were an array of opportunities for pupils to get involved in this venture, from the thespians treading the stage, the artists who produced a visually enticing set, to our backstage crew, sound technicians and one pupil even got the opportunity to co-direct. Of course all this wouldn't have been possible without the large number of staff & people in the wider school community who gave up their time to co-ordinate all the different aspects of the show.
However, the production had a few initial difficulties to overcome. First, we had an enthusiastic yet largely inexperienced cast & crew, many of whom had absolutely no previous dramatic experience. This was initially fairly daunting, but the audience's reception to the opening night performance assured us that our director's mantra "practice makes perfect" did have more than an element of truth!
Also, another consideration was that the majority of cast members participated in a wide variety of extra-curricular clubs, including sports and music. Most importantly our academic studies had to take priority during the six months preparation for opening night. But, it was a tribute to everyone's organisational skills and dedication that the intense rehearsals did not have a derogatory impact on these other activities. This unique opportunity really helped us develop many life skills, such as how to work as a team and balance commitments.
Playing a key role in this production was definitely one of the highlights of my time at CAI. As well as making lots of new friends, it improved my confidence whilst under scrutiny & pressure. I am sure this will stand me in good stead later in life, when the metaphorical 'spotlight' is on me.
Thank you Angus, Jonathan, Christopher, Michael and Peri-Jake.
In Badminton, the 2007-08 season brought with it various levels of success for the CAI teams. The Senior Boys reached the final of their league, only to lose out narrowly to Ballyclare High in the final. Brent Haslett, a member of the senior team, took part in the USBA Champion of Champions tournament held annually in Lisburn, and finished runner-up – an excellent achievement. The Junior and Minor teams also enjoyed success this year, with each team winning their respective sections at the annual North Eastern Board tournament. Congratulations must also go to Simon Curry of Year 10 on his recent selection for the Ulster Squad.
Tennis continues to be a popular sport throughout the school, with 35 boys playing regularly in year 8. The Junior Team consisting of Mikey Poskitt, Simon Curry, Christian Grossie and Jasper McKeag, had a successful season, as did the Senior Team where there was fierce competition for places between Michael Griffith, Chris Kerr, Finlay Brown, David Mawhinney and Matthew Patterson. The Intermediate Team of Adam Brown, Andrew Mawhinney, Philip Gilliland and Christy McLaughlin was strong throughout the year, qualifying for the semi-finals. Against a strong RBAI team we were defeated by the narrowest possible margin.
In Squash, the Under 15 team of Peter Murphy, David McCluskey, Andrew Avery and James Taylor repeated their success of 2 years ago by winning the Ulster Championship at the Lisburn Racquets Club in April. They had a strong win against major rivals, dropping only 1 game out of 12. Many congratulations to our Ulster Champions.
The Harriers have got off to a strong start this term, and the team travelled to Wallace Park in Lisburn to compete against some of Northern Ireland's top athletics clubs and schools. Despite tough competition, the Under 14s won their race, bringing the McCue Shield back to Coleraine for the first time since 1999.
I thought I'd better mention golf in school. Last year saw some success, which is being built on this year. We are one of only four schools to reach the knockout stages of the Ulster Schools' Matchplay competition. The team is Adam Brown, Chris Barber, David McFaul and Stuart McCaffrey. Adam Brown was 2nd in Ulster in the Individual competition and this team has now reached the quarter finals of the Winter League. Year 8 and Year 9 golfers competed against RBAI for a new trophy called The McDowell Cup. I'd like to assure Graeme that the cup is on very short term loan in Belfast. In September, 35 of our golfers were lucky enough to be given a master class by our guest today.
For the cricket club, the 2008 season saw a genuine renaissance in the club at junior level. A number of very talented cricketers are now playing for the under 12s, 13s and 14s, as evidenced by the selection of Scott Campbell for the Ireland Under-15 squad and Riishi Chopra for both the Northern Ireland and North West Under 13 squads. The first XI also had a good season this year, but unfortunately could not make it past the quarter finals of the President's Plate, and so were unable to replicate their victory of the previous year.
There are many other activities on offer in the school. For example, in Bridge, Alex Thompson and Adam McKee won the Novice Section of the Ulster Schools Pairs competition, with Andrew Woods and Luke Caulfield as runners-up and Hamzah and Zarak Khan taking 4th place. Tom He and Ryan Elliott finished a creditable 3rd in the intermediate section. The Ulster Schools Teams competition novice section was won by Luke Caulfield, Matthew Dougherty, Adam McKee and Richard Caulfield.
Angling remains a popular past-time, with the club meeting weekly. An inexperienced team took part in the Ulster Schools' Coarse Fishing Competition and gained valuable experience for the future in coming a very creditable 4th out of 16.
We remain heavily involved in the Seven Schools' Project and Stripes, the bi-monthly school newsletter, continues to grow in popularity.
Many school trips continue, for example last September, the year 14 pupils who are studying French for A2 participated in an exchange in partnership with 8 pupils from year 14 at Coleraine High School, a good example of the close collaboration between our two schools. The annual school ski trip also remained popular.
There is growing participation in Young Enterprise in school, with the programme now expanded to include years 8, 9, 10 and 11. It was also the first year that we participated in the Young Enterprise Company Programme, with the company formed by year 13 boys. The idea is to set up and run a company, sell shares to generate capital, produce a product, market it, sell it, and pay VAT and corporation tax. The company, under the direction of Owen McIntosh, generated profits of over 800 which were donated to the Children's Cancer Charity.
This year, the Summer Camp reached the notable landmark of 25 years at Castlewellan Castle. The very damp weather didn't curb the enthusiasm of the 68 new year 8 boys who took part in a hugely varied programme of activities. A great time was had by all and, as usual, the camp enabled the new year 8 pupils to make friends and ease their transition into "big school". Thank you to Mr Irwin and all the staff who gave up some of their summer holiday to make the camp such a success.
Boys and staff also found time to raise a considerable amount for charity. Over 9,500 was raised for a variety of different charities, including Action MS, Children in Need, Action Cancer, Childline and many others. For many the highlight of the year was the school's first ever Charity Fair before Christmas.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Old Boys' Association, and CIFA – the Coleraine Inst Friends' Association, for their work and support of the school throughout the year. The Old Boys continue their support of the school website, and CIFA held a number of events during the year, including vital support at a number of school occasions. The two organisations came together to organise a Midsummer Ball, an extremely successful and enjoyable occasion, which has raised thousands of pounds to help learning in school.
The School Museum continues to grow – almost on a daily basis! I would like to pay special tribute to former colleague Mr Joe Cassells for his continuing work in expanding the museum, which has now become one of the most comprehensive school heritage centres in the country. The collection of memorabilia has expanded since last year, and all guests today are invited to visit the Museum at the conclusion of Prize Day.
I'm sure you can see just how wide and varied our programme of extra-curricular activities is. It must be remembered that none of this would be possible without the dedication of the staff who freely give up their time to provide these activities for the boys, and to make them a success and, on behalf of us all – parents and governors, I would like to thank all staff who contribute so much to the extra-curricular life of the school.
We still face a great deal of uncertainty in the education world, but this school will continue to provide a high standard of education for our pupils and expect high standards in return. We are engaged with the Revised Curriculum at Key Stage 3 for the pupils' benefit and we have broadened the provision at GCSE and Sixth Form with vocational subjects, in a way that suits the needs of the pupils, because that is what we are here for – to offer opportunities for pupils to develop fully their abilities - academic, vocational, cultural and sporting.
I would like to conclude by thanking the pupils for all they contribute to school, and their parents for their support. I thank the staff for their unrelenting hard work and commitment and I thank the governors, and particularly the Chairman, for their support throughout a challenging, but thoroughly enjoyable, first year at Coleraine Academical Institution.
Chairman, it is with pleasure that I present this report.