I once believed and still do that the Great House at Knockalva Agricultural School stood tall, strong, and probably holds great secrets. Secrets that while studying in the halls I often tried to imagine, knowing at the same time this grand structure will never give up all her secrets.
Built in 1860 this Great House, in the parish of Hanover, is now home to many students who are pursuing a career in the agricultural sector. With its manicured lawn and expansive view, Knockalva consists of; agronomy, pig, poultry, and dairy-farming as ‘practicals’ while chemistry, physics, biology, agricultural business, math and English are the ‘theories’ taught. There are also mechanics and welding classes. Knockalva also has expanded its’ curriculum over the years.
There are three, what we called, batches; first, second, and third year, where as third year students are the most senior, have many privileges, and are to be respected by their lower counterparts. The Head Boy and Girl are selected from this batch. Second year students are of course next in seniority, have certain privileges, and are to be respected by first year students. However, first year students have no privileges, are called ‘Grubs’ (males) and ‘Grubesses’ (females), and get no respect.
There is also an alias (nickname) system in place, for instance when a first year student arrives for school for the very first time, he/she will be given an alias. Now the alias one is given is based on who that first year resembles from the second or third year batch. So, when that student is named, the word Grub or Grubess is added on as a title. Hence, Grubess Bird Beak would be an example. Upon getting this alias, that second or third year student (whose name was given) then becomes a campus mother or grandmother respectively, for that new student. On the other hand the males are campus fathers and grandfathers.
I believe from my experience this ‘system’ was put in place by ‘Ole Farmers’, past graduates, to keep order, have fun, and to support a very disciplined learning environment. We all lived, worked, learned, ate, cried, and laughed together. I had fun and learned a lot while attending Knockalva Agricultural School. It is a beautiful place and it was exciting going back after eighteen years.
In this slide show you will see a panoramic vista from the Great House veranda, displaying her breathtaking view, which over looks the boys’ dormitories and poultry farm.