The Celebration of Giving

Every school has its own particular traditions and, as we approach the end of term, we are busy preparing for one of my very favourites at the High School – the Celebration of Giving, which takes place on Wednesday afternoon. Part carol concert, part awards ceremony, it is the time of the school year when we focus on giving in all its forms.

This year, as usual, we will pay tribute to the energy and the sheer ingenuity of the students in fundraising. Events such as last Friday’s tightly-fought Strictly Come Dancing contest by Artemis filled the Hall (and the coffers) as performers went through their paces in styles ranging from Tap to Flapper via Bollywood and Barn, while Man v. Food brought, courtesy of Hestia, a spectacle of a very different (but equally lucrative) kind. The total raised so far, £1200, is impressive indeed and the Juniors, not to be outdone, have raised money for Macmillan Nurses and Children in Need. Gifts in kind have also flowed into school, as the Year 2s collected a car-boot full of provisions for the Hope Centre and the Senior Knitting Club made scarves and blanket squares to donate to the same charity.

Giving means more than just money, of course, and the increased emphasis on the service dimension to giving in our Celebration is a particularly welcome development. In our time-poor society, giving one’s time to another person or a worthy cause can be more of a sacrifice than a money donation. That is why I am particularly proud of the number of students at the High School who take part in volunteering of all kinds, whether through Duke of Edinburgh, Changemakers, National Citizens’ Service or Young Philanthropy. When the High Sheriff of Northants visited our Assembly on 6 November to present certificates of achievement to all the 6.1s who had completed their Young Philanthropy training, he reminded us (with all the solemnity that an appearance in18th Century court dress could bestow) that service to one’s community is part of any society’s lifeblood.

Willingness to take part is essential to the success of any community and that is why the readiness of our staff to be good sports is another priceless tradition at the High School. Where would Strictly be without Mr Attwood in his pumpkin hat or Mrs Langhorn twirling her umbrella? How could Man v. Food have worked without the men to go with the food?

Finally, speaking of sportsmanship, the staff Santa Fun Run, begun last year, is back by popular demand. Scheduled for Tuesday lunchtime, it may well prove to be the hottest ticket of the festive season. Are we, I wonder, seeing a ‘tradition in the making?’ In the true spirit of Christmas, I will only say – may the best team win (as long as it is ‘The SLT ThemsELVES’)!

With all best wishes for a happy and prosperous Christmas and New Year break