Cleve Yates
Primary: 1943-50
Secondary: 1950- September 1955
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My education progressed inexorably slowly with very few riveting moments. I spent hours outside classroom doors because of Surplus Attention Deficit [SAD] behaviour. Secondary school was no different! I only enthused about the 25th Baxter Park Boys Brigade. In 1953, I had to repeat the 3-B year: (--an attempt to ‘get me to leave.’) It failed. Miss Coburn’s Report card stated of me ‘[he] achieved mediocrity without even trying!’ In September 1955, I decided I really had had enough and left!

I was employed as a Technician in the Bacteriology Department at Queen’s College. I was actually interested in the analysis, classification and microscopy of the various pathogens. This put a logical structure into my thought processes! I moved to the laboratory of a Brewery doing process control bacteriology. I gained further experience when I went off to Dortmund to study German brewing technology and computerisation.

In 1968, I joined a National Utility in their Systems and Computer Department. My computing experience was in the practical use of computers in process and production control, and the job involved ‘smoothing out’ operational problems of testing new systems coming on line. This too, became “Boring!” As a hobby, I began studying part-time with new Open University and 4 years later in 1975, I completed a B.A degree in History and Philosophy.

In 1977, I matriculated at St Andrew’s University; St Mary’s College as a Graduate entrant, and in 1980 graduated Bachelor of Divinity (Honours 2/1.) with two Faculty Prizes and a Research Scholarship. I completed my Church of Scotland Probationary year in Shetland and returned to University in 1981. My Research project was already mapped out as a Questionnaire Survey of the Church of Scotland Membership in the City of Dundee. The data was computerised, mapped and analysed sociologically and demographically using ground-breaking Computer aided graphics-mapping. Three years later I was awarded my Ph.D... I was fortunate to gain tutoring experience at St Mary’s.

After my mother died in 1991, I emigrated to New Zealand (1992) to join the Presbyterian Church and be a locum at Te Kuiti in central North Island. I later settled for 12 years at St Aidan’s, Northcote. Whilst there, I had the privilege of two Study Leave periods. The first in 1999 was at Holy Island, Northumbria, and the second at Cambridge University in 2002. I started reading about the ‘Conversion of the Anglo Saxons’ and have studied this topic for 13 years. In 2014, I completed my Thesis and was awarded my S.Th. degree [Scholar in Theology.]

My journey differs from the other admirable BIOGRAPHIES. School was a complete turn off. The late Miss Emma Cowie (in 1982) was congratulatory that “one of her boys had made ‘good’!” I dismayed D.B Smith, yet later went on to learn Greek, Hebrew some Latin, and now Maori. Miss Coburn would not believe that I read Chaucer for his religious thoughts. I still quote large chunks of Tam O’Shanter learned in three winter evenings in 1954/ 55. Teachers like Ernie Landsman did encourage me and invited me to the last, 1954 Forestry Camp at Aberfoyle.

I retired in 2004 leaving me with plenty of time to reflect. The Morgan DID (despite my best efforts otherwise) provide the tools for life. The irony is that I was granted ‘Visiting Scholar’ status at Cambridge University for my Anglo-Saxon studies there in March, 2013.

Perhaps not so bad for the one who was said to “achieve mediocrity without even trying!”

Who or what defines Mediocrity?