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School magazine "The Way of Progress"
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Prof Arnold Cassola donates Valletta Lyceum class magazine entitled: “The Scholastic magazine in English and Italian: the Way of Progress, 1930-31” to UM Library, Special Collections Dept.

During a formal presentation held on 23rd May 2018 at the University of Malta Library, Prof. Arnold Cassola presented the Library with a 134-page handwritten copybook-magazine, which 88 years ago served as the class magazine for Class IVA pupils at the Lyceum, Valletta. The class magazine will be added to the collection of works known as the Albert M. Cassola Collection, which is housed at the University of Malta Library, Special Collections Department.   

The formal presentation of this work took place in the presence of the Pro-Rector Prof Godfrey Baldacchino, the Director of Library Services, Mr Kevin J. Ellul, the Head of the Department of Maltese Dr Bernard Micallef, members of Academic and Library staff as well as a number of descendants and relatives of Class IVA. 

During his address Prof Arnold Cassola spoke of how in the introduction to the first issue of the magazine, A.M.C. (Albert M. Cassola) identifies a problem, faced by many a young student of those days, which was the lack of written practice in the Italian and English languages. A.M.C adds that it is hoped that the setting up of this class magazine, to which all fellow classmates were invited to contribute, would serve to address this problem. He writes: "Cari compagni, non vi scoraggite a scrivere, perchè vi manca qualche dote delle scritture; la pratica è la migliore maestra. Non vi scoraggite perchè siete deboli nella grammatica"... "La nostra idea di fare questo magazzino, è venuta in mente, per la prattica delle lingue (Italiana e Inglese) fra gli scolari....".

Apart from Albert M. Cassola, other major contributors to the magazine include:  J.J. Cremona, Paul Pellegrini Petit, Giovanni Pisani, L. Scerri, Joseph Zammit and Lorenzo Zammit. Among the other students in the class were also, Edgar Rossignaud, William Sammut, John Laferla, Charles Degaetano and Gaetano Farrugia.

The school magazine is replete with poems composed by the students themselves, articles on a variety of topics including sports, biographies of famous personalities, humorist “tit-bits”, current events relating to Malta and abroad, quotes (sometimes in Latin) and so much more besides. Its pages are also peppered throughout with caricatures and cartoon strips drawn by the students themselves. The magazine attests to the all-rounded education received by Lyceum boys in the 1930s and the curiosity they display in their writing for the world around them reflects well on the Lyceum and on its dedicated teaching staff. 

This school magazine, which unlike so many others has, fortunately for us, survived, is interesting on many levels, not least because it allows us a rare glimpse of school life in the 1930s at the Valletta Lyceum as seen through the eyes of the schoolboys themselves. 




Text: Mary Samut-Tagliaferro
Photos: James Moffett 

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