During Labour Weekend 1955, three hundred former pupils gathered to celebrate for this landmark anniversary for the school (which, incidentally, should have been celebrated in March 1955, the actual month of the school’s founding in 1880, but it was hosted in conjunction with the annual convention of the New Zealand Deaf Societies). Alumni paraded in groups representing decades, speeches are given, and a troop of marching girls give an impressive display. This footage was filmed by Leslie Barratt from Auckland. On Friday, there was a roll call, a march past, and formal speeches by the Mayor of Christchurch, Sir Robert MacFarlane, the MP for Lyttelton – Mr H.R. Lake, Dr C.E. Beeby, the Director of Education, Mr Pickering and the Presidents of the three Deaf Societies (Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland) – Messrs M Ward, W.G. Williams and H.M. Williams. An official visitor was Kate Menlove, the only surviving member of van Asch’s original family. She had been 10 years old when her father opened the school.
After the official march past and speeches, lunch was served and the school was open for inspection. The afternoon began with a display at the school by the School for the Deaf girl’s marching team. A jubilee ball and social was held at the St. John Ambulance Hall in Christchurch in the evening.
Source: They Hear With The Eye: A Centennial History of the Sumner School for Deaf Children, A.B. Allen.