Anne Everest - Head's Message 11-05
The recent election may have focused our gaze primarily on the constituencies of Scotland and the fortunes and future of the rest of the UK, but there is a wider world out there, and it is important that our students see themselves as global citizens with a broader than parochial interest in humanity.
The recent earthquake in Nepal has also arrested the attention of the British people in recent weeks, and many have reached out to those affected by this disaster. At St George’s, post-election day was also an Own Clothes Day (with more than a passing nod to VE Day too by the staff’s choice of clothing) to raise funds for Nepal. Assemblies last week found out more about one particular primary school in Nepal that is well known to one of our teachers: the people she knows there are safe (more than a hundred miles from the earthquake’s epicentre) but the school building is badly damaged. We are hoping to support this school as well as provide funds for Shelterbox and Mercy Corps, who are active on the ground in Nepal.
The mock elections held in school last week were obviously a reminder of the political world. Through the international committee and through the school’s Amnesty International meetings, the girls take seriously the culture, the experience and the plight of others in different parts of the world. Each week letters are written here in Edinburgh to prisoners of conscience who suffer because of their beliefs and principles under regimes that are less tolerant than our own.
On a much lighter note, this week sees the return of our many Upper 4 travellers, who have been abroad through one of our school exchanges or through Outreach Week. 16 of our girls have been in schools in Canada and Philadelphia over the last four weeks, attending school and living with local families there. Many others have been involved in language or activity based trips to Greece, Germany and France.
However, it was not necessary to travel great distances to walk in another person’s shoes: last week 15 of our Upper 4 girls chose to work with children from the Royal Blind School on a joint project from which both schools derived great satisfaction. Their world became bigger as a result.
Similarly, some of our partner schools are in countries which our students have contacted without leaving their Edinburgh classrooms. Through digital exchanges, our girls can work with a class of children in India or America – or anywhere. Powerful learning activities are available electronically, and the recent ecological work shared by St George’s P6 and their counter-parts in Bangalore is a fine example of this sort of “free” exchange of ideas and expertise. This week we also welcome three teachers, including the Principal, from the St Francis Xavier Girls’ School in Bangalore, whose visit has been made possible by the Connecting Classrooms initiative.
And the amount we raised for Nepal? Thanks to the generosity of parents, students and staff, we managed to achieve a total of well over £2000 for those affected by the earthquake. As promised, the money will be sent to Mercy Corps and, Shelterbox – and to help rebuild a school, so that other children may thrive and learn about the importance of thinking on a global scale.
Anne C Everest
Head, St George's School for Girls