And that’s a wrap.
Such were the words that rang out once Miriam Margolyes had spoken to us on Wednesday. An extraordinary storyteller she told us of the school that she loved when she was here, of the staff who inculcated in her her love of learning and her desire to push boundaries throughout her life including the cultural and social expectations of a woman at the time, her pioneering work on LGBTQ rights and her pride in being Jewish. Those same qualities of questing for what is right, rather than what is easy as well as a strong incisive critical mind are just as important and central to our ethos now as they were in Miriam’s day and it was terrific to see how much the Sixth Form enjoyed her tales as well as Miriam’s pride in her school. It would be wonderful to have just had Miriam come and speak to us but the range and plethora of speakers this term has been extraordinary whether it was Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (another OHS Alumna) on the science of the teenage brain or Dr Fitzroy Morrissey on the History of Islamic Thought; lawyers, scientists, fashion designers, poets, writers and historians are so generous with their time and the fun continues next term as we welcome back so many of our alumnae for our annual Careers day on the 4th February.
And, so, finally, the last Form room has been decorated, the last carol sung, the final reading read and the presentation assembly at the end of the Autumn term concluded and what an extraordinary term this one has been. Who would have guessed a year ago that we would still be engaging with vaccinations and the rigours of Covid. When I look back on this term, however, I am so proud of the ways that we have moved the school forward towards a new normality to ensure that our students, your daughters, get the best possible experience under the current circumstances. The musical and concerts forged ahead, Sixth Formers spilled out across the school to engage and meet with younger year groups, students have been inspired, personal statements written, school pantos performed, a huge number of fixtures played (and won!) and students at all levels have tried something new from our revitalised club offer. With 2022 just around the corner I marvel on the warmth of our community and am intensely grateful to every one of you for the appreciation for our staff and your support in getting to this point.
It is also a wrap, of course, in that so many are due to celebrate Christmas and whether you are going to wrap gifts for your family or wrap yourself in rest and relaxation please take that time just for you. It is at Christmas, especially, that we think of those who will spend the festival alone, and those for whom the past year has not been kind. I am proud that our students have remembered throughout the term those who are less fortunate, in their charitable enterprise and giving (Christmas jumper day today has been a riot of colour and amusement, not least in the staff room, all in aid of charity), together with the many who volunteer for all sorts of reasons to help out in their local community.
This has been a long hard term, and making sure that your daughters find time to relax and recharge ready for the rigours of the term ahead will be your priority, amidst the fun of visiting family and friends. Some students will be looking ahead to mock examinations in January, so it’s especially important to encourage them to take time out and enjoy being a child again at this magical time of the year.
With best wishes to you all,
Marina Gardiner Legge