The concept of Advent as a season of preparatory abstinence may have lost currency in our society, but I see that the spirit of giving – which is the season’s complementary facet – is alive and well among OHS students, staff and families at this special time of year.
Our Charity Prefects set the bar high with their highly successful Malala Fund Charity Event a fortnight ago, which raised over £2,500. Our building contractors, Beard, then picked up the baton by donating the handsome Christmas tree you see outside the main entrance, beautifully decorated by Ramona Ceobanu. Bringing light into the darkness is an instinct as old as humanity itself and our decorations in school, on themes as varied as Arctic landscapes and Christmas in the trenches, have created a visual feast in the final week of the term, as well as a tough challenge for the judges. Congratulations to our winners, 10G on their stupendous moon-landing diorama (inspired by the theme ‘Decades’) and congratulations to 8G, also, on their special award for their ski resort design, which they created as part of the ‘Christmas Around The World Theme’.
Moving from the literal to the metaphorical, the whole senior school community joined together to bring light into dark places through collections of food boxes for Asylum Welcome and The Gatehouse. Thank you to all family members who gave so generously to this endeavour, and special notes of appreciation go to Miss Hilary, who initiated and coordinated it, with the generous support of staff, and to Ms Girling, whose Assembly on the deprivation that blights many lives beneath the festive veneer in December powerfully set the scene for our giving initiative.
I often think that the gift of our time is the most important thing we, as parents and as educators, can offer the young women in our care in our affluent, time-poor society. Certainly, it is one of the magic ingredients of the education OHS provides. Easily under-rated amid the hectic exchange of presents, the value of our presence, fully alert and attentive to one another, surpasses anything wrapped in shiny paper with a bow.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and time-rich Christmas break.