Reflections 2013 – KES Cadet Corps Church Parade
“In my beginning is my end.”
Read by Eric Dufour, Miranda Walsh, Brayden Graves, Michael Dennis, Madeleine Killacky, Prathana Nathan, Nico Castro, Robyn Githinji, Reilly Hind.
“In my beginning is my end.” It was November 1st. The year was 1788. It marks the official beginning of our School. This year marks our 225th anniversary. Not only the oldest independent school in Canada, not only the oldest residential school in Canada, but the oldest school in all of what was once called Britain’s Overseas Empire. Old ‘r us! but young, too!
Our beginnings were even earlier and in another place, in another country. Not England. No. America! Our School and its mission and life were born out of the American Revolution by eighteen loyalist clergy meeting in New York in 1783. They prepared “A Plan for a Religious and Literary Institution for the Province of Nova Scotia,” a scheme for education at a time when “the very fabric of their civilization seemed to be buried in ruins” (R.V. Harris, The History of King’s Collegiate School Windsor, N.S.1788-1938).
The year 2012 marked the amazing achievement of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. We celebrated her sixty years of devotion and duty with the visit to King’s-Edgehill of the Queen’s representative, His Honour Brigadier-General, The Honourable J.J. Grant, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. Our cadet corps arrayed in their scarlet splendor on the Front Hill in the glory of an autumn evening was a memorable sight.
What was the plan in the last decades of the eighteenth century, in the aftermath of the American Revolution that launched thousands northward to the Maritimes and Upper Canada? The plan, conceived in New York and supported by the Church and Crown in England, was that “a public seminary, academy and college, should without delay, begin to be instituted at the most central part of the Province [Windsor] consisting at first of a public grammar school for classical and other branches of education” (Harris, History of KCS). The father-founder of the School and College was Bishop Charles Inglis, one of the clergy loyal to the English Crown who met in New York. Consecrated in England, he was the first bishop appointed for a diocese outside of England; he arrived in 1787 and in 1788 established the School and, in 1789, the College. In 1804, a Royal Charter was granted. The purpose? An education that would contribute to public life in all of its various forms – church, military, law, politics, medicine, business, literature, and philosophy. For the Loyalists, education was key and the counter to revolutionary unrest.