I trust that everyone in our school community has been able to enjoy something of a break over the last couple of weeks – needless to say this will have been somewhat limited for our Year 11 and Year 13 students who are all now counting down to those all important public examinations in the coming months! The final half term before Easter is always a busy time for the IB2 students with Extended Essay and Internal Assessment deadlines – I am sure for many the examination revision programme almost comes as a welcome relief! However they celebrated the end of their formal lessons in good spirits but with clear university targets in their sights. I must also add that once again an extremely impressive IB Art Exhibition was held over the final weekend of the term – exciting too to think that next year this exhibition will be held not in the Christine Warren Tutte building but almost certainly in one of our new facilities!
The Year 11 students still have one more week of formal lessons to run before their break for study leave but they too have been working extremely hard in preparing for their very important public examinations. March was full of Language Orals, Drama and PE practicals as well as Art examinations as their courses drew to a close. We wish all our students the very best of luck for their public examinations this summer.
Thinking of the future prospects of our older students, we once again held a very successful Careers Day on Thursday, 22nd March. Our key speakers included Dr Eleni Linos (an alumnus of St. Catherine’s and current parent), Mrs Marianne Bolger (Deputy Head of Mission at the Irish Embassy in Athens and current parent) and Daniel Cronin (a 2017 St. Catherine’s graduate and current undergraduate of Cambridge University). The students were fascinated by the individual career paths described and certainly will have picked up some vital advice. I would like to thank all of our parents and alumni community for their invaluable support in putting on this event. It proved a great day in assisting our students in deciding on their futures.
The LAMDA results were also published in the second half of the term and great credit must go to all the pupils and our staff in enabling to realise some outstanding results. There is no doubt that, whilst academic performance is crucial to enabling our children to progress in the world, the communication and interpersonal skills developed throughout such programmes also play a critical part in bringing about fully rounded individuals capable of making their mark in the world. In a similar way debate is important in such preparation and the two highlights of the second half of the term were the Forensics Tournament at ACS (see the excellent results below*) and the Durham University Competition where Fonie Mitsopoulou and Dioni Ellinikaki finished 6th overall in a highly competitive international field. Similarly our MUN (Model United Nations) team performed creditably against international opposition in The Hague and domestically at Costeas Geitonas – again superb events in assisting our students become global citizens. Another major event involving older St Catherine’s students was the 6th International Conference for G Theotakos where our team presented most impressively on “The artist’s portrait in Leonis by G.Theotokas”. Meanwhile at home our Key Stage Three pupils have had their curriculum enriched with trips to the Hellenic World Museum (Year 7), Nafplio (Year 8) and Ermou and the Jewish Museum (Year 9).
In the Lower School our curricular and extra-curricular programmes have also been extremely busy throughout the Spring Term. A number of curricular trips have added a large amount to the learning experience for our children: Year 4 to McArthur Glen, Year 5 to the National Archaeological Museum and Year 6 to IKEA whilst the Year 5 Egyptian Day and Year 4 Tudor Day were once again highlights for all concerned – not least for our visitors from the past: renowned Egyptologist Howard Carter and Henry VIII (who this year brought all six of his wives with him!). Linking to their historical study of World War II, Year 6 took part in a dedicated ‘Children of the Holocaust’ day, where learning focused on understanding this tragedy from the perspective of children. The day was launched by Mrs Flora Kamchi who recounted personal family memories of this tragic episode in history.
On an extra-curricular note, the final week of term also saw a new sporting adventure as a group of our Key Stage Two pupils competed in an international Basketball tournament in Girona, Spain. This was a great experience not only in developing their basketball skills but also in making new friends from across the continent.
Once again the St Catherine’s community pulled together in a number of charity fund-raising activities – one of the undoubted highlight of which was the “Goals for Good” football event held on the first weekend in March. Organised by a group of our Year 12 CAS students, they raised over €1,200 for “Doctors without Borders” – well done to everyone involved! Furthermore, we have recently received confirmation from the charity “Boroume” (“We Can”), whom the school has supported through various activities such as the St Cats Acts, that we have provided over 1300 portions of food in 2017! Our school Eco-Week which incorporated a Go Green Mufti Day and Key Stage 2 Eco-Council Smoothie sale has helped to launch a number of whole school initiatives – watch this space for more news on this theme.
The PTSA Quiz Night on Tuesday, 6th March was again a great success – most notably as for the first time an all-parents team came out victorious over the staff – well done indeed! The staff will be on strict revision programmes next year! The PTSA also trialled an afternoon slot for their termly General Meeting on the 15th March – this too proved really helpful in maintaining the dialogue between the school and our community. Please do try and attend these meetings as it is a really good opportunity for productive open discussion. Look out for the PTSA bulletins as there is another St Cats Acts initiative on 25th April: “Help us, Help nature”!
Finally I am delighted to welcome back from maternity leave Mrs Maria Stamou in the Upper School and Mrs Sophia Koutsou in the Lower School. I would like to extend our thanks to Mrs Paraskevi Grigoropoulou, Ms Sophia Loukidou, Ms Maria Psarraki, Ms Athina Tzouveleki and Ms Sofia Chatzigeorgiou who provided excellent supporting cover during their absence! I am also pleased to report that there is little staff movement as we move forwards the end of the academic year – an excellent sign as we enter into a really exciting but extremely busy 18 months with the new Building Development! On this note too please put in your diaries these important dates:
Tuesday 8th May, 7:00 pm
Thursday 10th May, 9:00 am
As mentioned in my blog/post of 3rd April we will update you on the progress of our new building, unveil design images and a give you a chance to ask questions and discuss the project. Please do try and attend one of these meetings to hear first-hand about these exciting developments and potential opportunities for you to become involved and support the next step in the future of St Catherine’s.
* St Catherine’s Forensics Successes 2018:
All of our 32 students who took part and in particular:
- Winner in Original Oratory: Thalia Agoglossakis-Foley.
- Winner in Oral Interpretation of Literature Comic: Joseph Johnson.
- Finalist in Oral Interpretation of Literature Dramatic: Thalia Agoglossakis-Foley.
- Honourable Mention in Oral Interpretation of Literature Dramatic: Rania Eleftheriou.
- Finalists in Duet Acting Dramatic: Odyssia Sifounaki and Nicholas Pavlakis.
- Honourable Mention: Joseph Johnson and Iason Hadoulis.
- Honourable Mention in Impromptu Speaking: Fonie Mitsopoulou’
- Debate quarter-finalists: Dimitra Georgantaki, Dioni Ellinikaki, George Roupas, Michail Piperakis and Ariadne Ntoriza
- Debate semi-finalists: Jason Singer, Fonie Mitsopoulou, Maya Paniaras, Thalia Agoglossakis-Foley and Aristotelis Fotiou