Schoolday memories of casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, democracy activist Szeto Wah and other dignitaries will become part of a project to study how the city's first government school, Queen's College, shaped the development of Hong Kong and affected Chinese history. The project is jointly organised by the school and the Department of History of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school's foundation, in 2012. The project, which will gather anecdotes from prominent old boys, will take 30 months. 'We will interview the old boys for their experiences, feelings and first-hand information,' project leader Philip Leung Yuen-sang said. 'We want to put a human face to the information.' Leung, the chairman of the university's history department, said the project would go through the archives from the founding of the school in 1862 until the second world war. It would also collate information on events during the 1950s and 1960s from former students and look into the relationship between the school's role in education and the city and its implications on Chinese history. The school has among its notable students Sun Yat-sen, the late Henry Fok Ying-tung, Ho, Szeto and top government officials including Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung. It was first known as Central School, was renamed Victoria College in 1889 and acquired its present name in 1950. Leung said the school magazine, Yellow Dragon, first published in 1899, had been an important source of information. 'Through the pages of the Yellow Dragon and the school archives, we will get to know more about the school's past and its connection with society,' he said. 'The project not only aims to have a glance at the past but also look to the future. One must know his past to figure out his road ahead.' The launching ceremony yesterday offered a glimpse of part of the project. In a taped interview three years ago, Szeto said the school adopted 'negative non-interventionism' on students. 'It paid little attention to us and gave us a great deal of freedom.' In another taped interview, Ho spoke of how he turned from one of the worst students to a top achiever after his family was laden with debt. All the anecdotes will be part of the project. The school's Old Boys' Association is appealing to its alumni to raise HK$5 million to set up a fund for the anniversary celebration. The school will open to the public on Friday and Saturday.