Where has this first half term of the year gone? It is self-evident that the busier a school is, the quicker the time flies! This has certainly been a really busy term for everybody in the school community.
As our second group of Year 6 pupils return from their residential trip to Nafplio I’m delighted to hear of their excellent learning experience but also of their first class behaviour – well done to the Year 6 pupils and their teachers! There have been a number of other memorable visits taking place over the last eight weeks – IA Gold and Silver expeditions to Ziria and Parnassos; Year 9 to Vouliagmeni Lake near Loutraki; Year 7 to Malakasa; Year 2 to Nea Makri and Year 4 to Afidnes. These experiences will not only live long in the memories of the pupils but stimulate the inquisitive and curious nature of their minds thereby enhancing their learning. I have no doubt that these contribute significantly to the outstanding quality of our school. Further stimulation is certainly added via Debate across the school – last week we heard that two of our older students, Jason Singer (IB2) and Fonie Mitsopoulou (IB1) have been selected for the Greek National Debate Squad. Our Annual St. Cats Debate Cup always draws competitors from across Greece as well as Athens and on the 30th September three of our teams made the quarter-finals (Fonie Mitsopoulou and Dioni Ellinikaki; Maya Paniara and Jason Singer along with Dimitra Georgantaki and George Roupas). Dimitra and George ultimately losing in a closely fought final on the motion “This House believes that social media sites should be required to filter out “fake news” stories.” Oral communication is arguably one of the most important of life skills and there have been two other really notable examples this term (I’m sure there are others that I may not be aware of!) Firstly a number of our students at the older end of the age spectrum were involved in an amazing all night reading of Homer’s Odyssey at the Megaron, incidentally organised by one of our Alumni, Athina Kefalopoulou and featuring the legendary Yannis Simonides. At the other end of the age spectrum I really enjoyed reading to our Reception classes over the last fortnight – I must say that their behaviour was exemplary and their responses in English very impressive indeed. The story I chose to read was from the “Little Princess” series – “I don’t want to wash my hands.” The point of the story i.e. that everyone should wash their hands regularly is particularly relevant at the moment as we enter the time of year of “germs and nasties” – to quote the author Tony Ross!
I must also note an amazing new event organised by IB students Jason Singer, Stefanos Karathanassis, and Nikolaos Kamarinakis last weekend. “St Cats Hacks” was 24 hour hackathon event organised by the students and aided by Mr Zisidis and the ICT Department – rarely have I seen such focus and devotion to a competition which even attracted a team from Trikala!! One of our teams – Stelios Gavrielides, Stavros Galatis, Spyros Babalitis and Spiros Miliakis – came second to a team from HAEF. But what a superb event – the first of its kind for school-age students in Greece.
Lest we forget, the focus on academic attainment remains strong. We celebrated the achievements of last year’s Key Stage Four in September and more recently students have taken LAMDA examinations as well as university entrance tests for both the UK and US.
There has been lots of parental engagement too with Lower School Parents’ Evenings, various Partnership with Parents workshops, Lower School Class Reps meetings and also Year 11 and 13 Parents’ Evenings. And don’t forget the PTSA event of the year, the Halloween Bonfire Night spectacular on Saturday, 4th November – see you there although no doubt most of you will be impossible to recognize!
As we end the half term with MUFTI days raising money for good causes, I would like to thank again the school community for supporting two particularly notable causes – one local and one international. I was delighted to pass over €1000 worth of school supplies for the benefit of disadvantaged children in the local Dimos of Lykovrissi/Pefki and also see the school raise over € 700 for the Race for the Cure charity with a wear Pink Day on Friday 29th September.
You will also be pleased to know that excellent progress is being made on the new building front. The plans were passed by the Archaeological Commission last week and this week they have been approved by the Architectural Committee. Next week we will be submitting for building permits – watch this space for more news in the coming weeks!