Views from the Headmistress's Study - 8th May 2017
Although last week was only a four-day week, it certainly didn’t feel that way. Partly due to the expected inspection on Thursday and Friday that we were preparing for, the week seemed as busy as ever.
Before I launch into this week’s Views, I would like to say an enormous thank you to all students and staff for their hard work while the Inspectors were here. I am especially proud of the girls for doing their best to make our visitors feel welcome. We are also extremely grateful to all students and parents who completed our questionnaires!
First off – a report from Miss Minto on the ski trip:
After last year’s disappointing snowfall during our trip to the East Coast of America, we were hoping for bigger and better things on the West Coast this year. I believe the saying is ‘be careful what you wish for’! We were incredibly lucky to be travelling to a resort that had record snowfall – over 600” this season alone. This produced some fabulous ‘powder days' as they’re known in the business.
However, before the glorious powder, we had two days of blizzards which provided us with some interesting challenges. Walking from our hotel to the breakfast room was certainly a challenge, with goggles and snow boots needed at all times. On the whole though, none of us had seen that much snow – ever!
We couldn’t speak highly enough of the ski resort itself. Words such as ‘grand’, ‘diverse’, ‘immense’ and ‘epic’ (to name a few!) were thrown around. The resort was so large that I doubt any of the groups completed the same run twice in one day.
What was also unique about the resort (compared with previous trips we have run to the USA) was that it had a gondola the groups could ride to the top of the mountain (11,503 ft) and get off to explore the peak. The advanced and intermediate groups skied down from the top – what an experience that was.
As ever, the ski instructors were an eclectic bunch, full of enthusiasm and willingness to show the girls the best of the mountain, teach them some new tricks, and for those in Jake’s group, teach them some gnarly Californian vocabulary! The girls loved the jump parks, skiing through trees, and challenging themselves on the most complex runs.
Our après-ski programme was filled with trips to the town (thankfully, there was a Starbucks…!), tubing at Woolley’s Tube Park , bowling, and an awards night. The tubing was great fun too – we rode up the hill on a tube attached to a carousel drag lift, we could then decide to go down the slope either as individuals or as part of a pair or a group, and tubing over the bumpy slope, down the fast slope, or with spinning action. Naturally we chose the group option, bumpy slope, and spin variation. Poor Miss Brown was not feeling fresh when we got to the bottom.
Unfortunately, our skiing fun had to end but only with more excitement to come, we were off to Los Angeles. After our comfortable (and rather quiet!) journey, our first stop was Santa Monica. It was a complete contrast in weather, beautiful sunshine and over 20 degrees. The girls enjoyed some shopping time along the pedestrianised 3rd Street Promenade and were able to spend their dollars on a range of things from make-up to American candy. Following our shopping spree, we went to the pier and beach before having dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
On the second day in LA we visited Universal Studios. It was another beautiful day and the girls had a fantastic time. We were able to visit Harry Potter World, learn about the special effects they used in the film, and ride the Backstage Tour train around the sets they used for filming.
It is fair to say that we all had a fantastic time and definitely did not want to come back home. We only have 11 months until the next trip and we can’t wait!
Further information on the 2018 trip will be published in due course. How will I organise something to top 2017, though?!
SPEC Day Retreat
Mr Green reports on the Catholic Day Retreat the girls enjoyed last Friday:
Last week 8S and 8SG made a spiritual day retreat to the Westminster Diocesan Youth Centre SPEC. We began the day with an exciting journey through the various interchanges of the Piccadilly, Bakerloo, and Metropolitan lines. Before we knew it, we were in the leafy surroundings of Pinner and ready to start the retreat.
The girls began with some high-energy ice-breaker games to get to know their facilitators and then broke off into small groups to discuss the importance of the story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt. They spent their day thinking about what lessons children of all faiths can learn from the struggle of the Israelites.
After lunch, we had a half hour to explore the beautiful and extensive gardens of Waxwell House, although the attraction of rolling down the hill sideways seemed to trump the numerous varieties of rose bushes! The afternoon continued with some more fun games and another small group discussion.
At the close of the day, all students, facilitators, and teachers gathered in the serene chapel for Eucharistic Adoration. Our non-Catholic students were informed about why this sacred act is so important for Catholics and all staff were extremely impressed with the respect shown by the students during the explanation.
Let's hope 8T's journey on the 23rd will see a repeat of the beautiful sunshine that we all enjoyed on this very special retreat.
On Friday, the More Green team ran a Mufti day to support their trip to the Amazon this summer. They also held a bake sale alongside this and an incredible variety of mouth-watering cakes were available – although, they disappeared quickly!
Mrs Hunt, Mr Robertson, and the entire More Green student team would like to thank staff and students for their generous contributions. They were able to raise £212.57!
The Amazon trip is only 2 months away and the girls are busy preparing for their trek in the jungle and their journey to the Cloud-Forest, where they will be working with the local tribes on community projects.
That sums up another week at More House. We're set for even more excitement this week - but that will have to wait until the next Headmistress's Views.