Dear Parent/ Carer
As I write this Blog, the songs from the school production of ‘School of Rock’ are still running through my mind. Every year, our staff and students set themselves a real challenge in the ambition of the production and every year they more than rise to that challenge. There was such quality in every performance from every student, in the acting, singing, dancing and the music. They were brilliantly supported by the production team, sound and lighting and of course the leadership of so many members of staff. With that quality, there was a real sense of joy that is so fitting for this season. My huge thanks go to all the students and staff who gave us such a wonderful show and huge thanks too to everyone who came out to watch.
Last week we also had our GCSE Prize Night, when students from last year’s Y11 returned to receive their GCSE certificates and many individuals received other awards and prizes celebrating their efforts and achievements. It was a wonderful evening, with Mr Murray returning to give the St Julie speech. We were also blessed to hear from Mrs Smith, who spoke to us before awarding for the very first time the ‘Friendship Award’ which is given in memory of her daughter Gabi. She was so inspirational and I know that those who were there at the evening were very touched and grateful for her generosity of spirit. The award was presented to Claire Levesley and I offer my congratulations to her and to all the Y11 class of 2017 for their many achievements.
We had some more success both in Sports and Academic competition over the last two weeks. Our Y7 & Y8 girls cross country team were recognised as the ‘Team of the Year’ at an awards evening celebrating Sheffield inter school sporting completion on Thursday 30th Nov. Following that, our team in the ‘Top of the Bench’ Chemistry competition won their heat, which earns them a place in the final. For these and for all our students who represent the school and to the staff and parents who enable it to happen, my congratulations and thanks.
As we enter our final two weeks of term, the theme running through everything will be Advent. During this season when we not only prepare to celebrate the Birth of Christ, but also remember our belief as Christians that Christ will return, we are finding time for prayer and activity which is focused on the idea of hope and goodness, especially where there is darkness. I always think that this Advent theme of light in the darkness links very well with our particular ethos as a Notre Dame school. Our motto is, of course, ‘Ah, Qu’ill est bon, le bon Dieu!’ which means ‘Ah, How good is the good God!’ It reflects St Julie’s experience and unshakable faith in the goodness of God, which goes beyond even the most difficult things that life could throw at her. Through this, she was able to inspire generations of women to bring joy and transformation through education, and offer us a perspective that we need whenever things seem dark.
A key part of our Advent activity is the fundraising which is already well under way. Each year group has chosen a charity to support and, by giving their time and money, they are reflecting that idea of bringing light into darkness. Of course, this work is of great benefit to those who receive the money, but it is also so important for us in school too. We all know what we gain when we generously serve others.
We will also be reflecting on the themes of advent during our end of term services, which this year will run over Thursday afternoon and all day Friday. This is different from previous years because, unfortunately, St John’s church is having some structural repair work done and we have not been able to use it, meaning we are more limited than normal for space for our services. While the organisation many have changed, our commitment to finish the term with time for reflection and thanks giving has not. The arrangements for our Advent services are outlined below.
Returning to the theme of service and support for each other in times of need, we will be working during Lent to organise a ‘Sleep out’ at school in support of the St Wilfrid’s centre. We are linking up with All Saints school who will be running the same event for their students and this will run at the same time as a sleep out event for adults being run by the St Wilfrid’s centre. We are very excited about this and will be sharing more details in the New Year, but for now I have attached a flyer about the adult event, should you be able to help generate interest or if you are interested in participating yourself.
If you are able to join us on Tuesday 19th December at St Vincent’s church Crookes for our Advent Carol service, it would be wonderful to see you. It is always a peaceful and prayerful evening, a time to reflect on the themes of this season and to enjoy listening to and singing some Carols.
For now though, I will wish you all the best through the rest of this season of Advent and, when it comes, I hope you have a truly joyful Christmas.
Dates for the diary
A Level Prize Night; Thursday 14th December 7-9pm (Salle)
Non-uniform day; Fri 15th Dec (Great to see as many Christmas jumpers as possible – money going to support the year group Advent charities)
On Friday 15th December we are having our next non uniform day. We are challenging as many students as possible to come in Christmas jumpers - though do not go out and specially buy one. It is for the students’ CHOSEN advent charity that their year groups decided to raise money for this advent. So, this is a great opportunity for each year group to make a special contribution of 50 pence (less if you cannot afford it or more if you can afford it) towards your year charity fund. Money should be given to form teachers labelled with the student’s form name and year group
Y11 Mock exams; Week beginning Monday 18th December
Advent Carol Service; Tuesday 19th December 7-9pm (St Vincent’s Church)
The Advent Carol Service in St Vincent’s on Tuesday 19th at 7.00 – St. Marie’s are with us once again and hopefully there will be a staff choir. There will be of course the obligatory mince pies, sweets and biscuits, coffees and teas.
Last day of school this term is Friday 22nd December, when we will be finishing at the regular time of 3.35. Term will start again on Monday 8th January.
Services on the last days of term are as follows:
Thursday Period 4 Year 7
Thursday Period 5 Year 9
Friday Period 1 Year 10
Friday Period 2 Year 12
Friday Period 3 Year 13
Friday Period 4 Year 8
Friday Period 5 Year 11