Anne Everest - Head's Message 19-06
The school year is relentlessly cyclical and punctuated by formal events that are either cherished or, occasionally, detested. The public examinations diet, which is almost at an end, is one area of the calendar that is not uniformly treasured, even in retrospect, and many of our girls will be relieved when the final paper is behind them.
Repetition of events does not necessarily mean that they are identical: each year group is different, and those wonderful occasions that mark the end of each school year are coloured by the personalities of the staff and students who have worked together on this collaborative enterprise we call education. The Primary 5 Farewell is one such event, at which each girl has her moment on the "magic spot", while she, her class mates, her parents and teachers hear about her - and just about her. Lower school and Upper School have similar ceremonies for the girls who are leaving those parts of the school, and the Speech Day for our Upper 6 has a special poignancy, as each student stands on her own and prepares to cross the stage one last time before leaving St George's forever.
These rites of passage are important. And the memory of previous, similar events resonates with the audience. However, although these traditional events appear to celebrate things past, they are really all about moving on and supporting students as they continue to make their life journeys.
"Moving On Day" highlights the fluidity of those journeys and is a special date in the summer calendar. Every girl in every part of the school will "move on" for the afternoon, to meet her new teachers and her new classmates. Some of the students who will be joining the school in August will also be there. Pre-school children get to be Primary 1 girls for the afternoon with Mrs Kumari and Mrs Adams; Primary 4 girls will be in one of three Primary 5 classes all set for next session; Primary 5 girls will move to Lower School where everyone is ready to give them a great welcome; Lower 4 girls move across to Upper School and become the youngest year group there. Everyone moves on. There is great excitement, lots of laughter and sometimes, of course, a few tears.
Part of our jobs as educators is to help build resilience in our students so that they may welcome change while building on their previous learning. At Speech Day there will be more than just a few tears: leaving school can be a very emotional experience! But they are ready and, come August, the tears will be gone and we shall all be looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that a new year will bring.
Anne C Everest
Head, St George's School for Girls