Dear Parents, Guardians and Friends
Welcome to our final blog of this academic year! The long summer holiday beckons for students and staff at the busy end of a busy term. As we say farewell until September, I will leave you with some updates from recent weeks.
In our previous blog entry, Miss Ward brought you some highlights from the leavers’ events for Year 11 and 13. As those students have reached the end of their current stage of education, we were delighted to welcome our soon-to-be-Year-7 students on 28th June. I can’t share photographs of the event, but we were really proud of the way in which they dealt with this big step-up and look forward to getting to know them better in September.
Like Wokingham as a whole, The Holt continues to become more and more a diverse community. We want our students and staff to feel able to share the wide range of cultural heritages that help to make us who we are. To this end, Year 12 students Zanira and Preethi organised a series of school wide events culminating in a Cultural Day on Monday 10th July. The afternoon saw the whole school gather on the field where we were treated to song, dance, traditional dress and food from around the world. The preceding week had included a Zimbabwean cooking demonstration from Mrs Nyazika and Mrs Connor, and an Indian dance workshop led by Mrs Bernadotte. A cultural exhibition in the hall included stands representing South Africa, Russia, The Czech Republic, Nigeria, Ghana and several English regions. It was an absolute joy to see the school come together to support each other and to learn.
Thank you to all the students, parents and staff who supported these events, and a particular thank you to Lokesh Bhupathiraju – a cousin of one of our students – who generously supplied a large amount of henna paste for the very popular mehndi stall.
Speaking of gathering on the field: as I wrote this blog, we were preparing for our long anticipated SportsFest 2023 themed around the Women’s FIFA World Cup. The PE staff have been putting the students through their paces in longer races and field events over the past week or so, and today saw our procession, races, musical performances and colour run with 700 girls expressing themselves through sport – whether competing or supporting. It is hard to put into words how much more this all equates to than a traditional school sports day, but hopefully the pictures below do it some justice. Thank you to all students and staff for every ounce of effort that has gone into this.
Our Year 12 students normally assist with SportsFest (and occasionally take on the staff in a rather one-sided relay), but they are not in school this week as they undertake their work experience placements. We look forward to hearing about how they have got on. Providing work experience opportunities is one of the eight benchmarks of good careers guidance in schools. This provision is ably managed by our Careers Lead, Sharon Hart. Year 10 students returned from their placements a couple of weeks ago, and we have had some brilliant feedback from employers.
Students worked in settings including construction, engineering, retail, hair and beauty, computing, and marine biology research. We are very proud of them all. Aarushi, who had a wonderful time at Leighton House Museum, summed it up as she wrote “My work experience gave me a brilliant new perspective and really changed me and made me independent.”
The thought of speaking in public is enough to get many adults feeling more than a little clammy. Our KS3 students have been practising those important skills through competitions run by the English department. The winner of the Year 7 Speech Competition was Serena in 7T.
The winner of the Year 8 Poetry Recital Competition was Shayna in 8B.
The Year 9 praise song competition will take place on Thursday.
The drama department is also providing wonderful opportunities for students right up until the end of term. A recent performance of a devised piece, “Improvising Alice” by the KS3 Drama Club gave some of our younger students another chance to develop their creativity.
And there ends my epilogue for our play in three acts. Before the curtain really does come down following our final assembly on Friday afternoon, I wish you all a happy and healthy summer.
Two Battered Shoes – Katie Gregory
Two battered shoes sit in the hall
Bereft after a year at school
The right one sighs, the left one slumps
Comparing scuffs and scrapes and bumps
A year of battles, playground pacts
A year of daydreams, whispered chats
A year of friends, a year of foes
A year squeezed round ten growing toes
A year of plodding to the gates
A zig-zag path – never straight
A year beneath a school-room chair
While I’ve been here, and you’ve been there.
Today I passed them in the hall
Those battered shoes you wear to school
I stopped a minute on the way
And thought I heard the left one say:
We’re off to Malta for some sun
It’s been a blast – super fun
The truth is though, we’re old and tired
We’ve done our bit – now we’ve retired
Remember us, when next year beckons
Take a moment, pause a second
To think back on another year
While you’ve been there, and we’ve been here.
Exeunt by Richard Wilbur
Piecemeal the summer dies;
At the field’s edge a daisy lives alone;
A last shawl of burning lies
On a gray field-stone.
All cries are thin and terse;
The field has droned the summer’s final mass;
A cricket like a dwindled hearse
Crawls from the dry grass.