Posted on February 16, 2018

The end of another extremely busy and productive half-term has arrived and I am sure everybody is looking forward to the Carnival holiday weekend!


At the top end of the school our two Parents’ Evenings for Year 11 and Year 13 were followed last night by our GCSE and IB Options Evenings.  Mrs Bougos presented the Key Stage 4 GCSE programme for our Year 9 students and parents whilst Mrs Peters, ably assisted by Mrs Feteri in relation to CAS, went through the IB Programme for those of the Year 11 community.  The whole evening was of course overseen by Dr Bond and I have to reiterate that our programmes from Year11 to Year 13 really are the very best academic preparation for university and the global challenges that face young people today.  In such a vien I am pleased to report some further university offers of note: Georgios Hadjiminas has received a formal early offer of a place at Northwestern University in the USA whilst Konstantinos Papathanassiou has received a similar offer from Ecole Hotelier de Lausanne in Switzerland.  Incidentally two of our Year 11 students, Georgia Fragkista and Roxani Koutsoudakis, submitted a competition project to EHL and have been rewarded with an invitation to visit their state-of-the-art campus in Switzerland – bravo girls!


Adolfo Perez Esquivel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 for his courageous advocacy of human rights in Argentina and in 1987 Amnesty International awarded him the title “Prisoner of the Year.”  I was delighted to be invited to his opening ceremony speech for the PeaceJam Youth Leadership Conference on the first weekend of February – indeed he is a most inspirational individual.  I know our Year 12 students who were involved with the conference throughout the weekend concurred with that view.  They returned excited and full of ideas about projects that can contribute towards making a better, more peaceful world.  “The Theta Project” by Marianna Kletsa, Laura Grigorakis and Jason Hadoulis was the first project to be uploaded to the “Billion Acts of Peace” initiative and I am sure it will not be the only one!  Coincidentally I have really enjoyed my assemblies across the whole school from Early Years to the IB students reflecting not only on the wonderful birds of Costa Rica but also focusing on that most topical of world environmental issues – plastic and what to do with it!  The impact of plastic garbage in our oceans and the wider environment has been most profound across all our year groups.  The work of our Lower School Eco-Council as well as the “Theta Project” itself will be spread across the whole school as we try and reduce, and ultimately, eliminate the use of all non-reusable plastics.  A tall order indeed but a really, really vital one!


I hope you enjoyed the daily reports on the World Junior Games in Dubai at the end of last week.  Clearly another really great event on the St. Catherine’s calendar and to win the “Spirit of the Games” Award reflects well on the competitive but sporting approach of our team drawn from Years 5 and 6 – well done to all involved!  On a congratulatory note the LAMDA examiner has been really complimentary about all our students who have been taking LAMDA examinations over the last fortnight – we look forward to seeing the results in due course.  Congratulations are also due to Takis Dimitrakopoulos from Year 9 who came out 4th out of 128 speakers at the International Competition for Young Debaters recently.  A superb achievement indeed and one rivalled by Stavros Mastrogamvrakis from Year 7 who won his age group at the National Tennis Tournament in Herakleion, Crete – Bravo Stavros.


As I close my blog/post for this half-term I am also really pleased to report excellent progress on the new building development.  This week the Executive Leadership Team and the Governors met to consider the tenders received for the building of the first phase of our new school.  The final decision will be taken at the second meeting before the end of the month.  Make no mistake work will be starting very soon – exciting times ahead!!


Wishing you all a restful half-term break.


Stuart Smith