William Young: Headmaster 2000-2008.
‘Billy’ Young, as he was universally known, was a former pupil of Foyle and Londonderry College and a graduate of Queen’s University, where he had studied Classics. He came to the Academy in 1968 and, having rapidly established a reputation as an inspirational teacher, became Head of the Religious Education Department in 1974.
Apart from his obvious gifts as a teacher of Classics, Mathematics and Religious Education, Mr Young was a man whose commitment to Christian principles was as evident in his life as it was in the more formal expression of his religious belief. By nature a kind and considerate man, recalcitrant pupils were only too well aware that when roused, he could speak with impressive vigour.
All of these qualities were powerfully expressed during his period as Headmaster between 2000 and 2008. This was nowhere more evident than in response to any attempt to abolish academic selection and replace traditional grammar schools with neighbourhood comprehensive schools. In this role he became a formidable advocate of social equality achieved by facilitating young to fulfil their academic potential regardless of parental income or social background.
In some respects, Billy Young bore a resemblance to his predecessor of two centuries before. A contemporary of Revd Dr William Bruce, the second Headmaster of the Academy, described him as a man of, “abounding energies, masterful temper and exceptional intellectual abilities, a capable organiser, an eloquent preacher and a vehement controversialist”.