Christmas Card design by Eve, Upper Sixth
On Wednesday 14 December, we bid farewell to the busy Autumn Term whilst donning our best festive attire, raising money for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day. The final few weeks of term are always filled with plenty of festive fun, including trips to the pantomime, pizza nights, Secret Santa and ice skating! The glowing trees and decorations across the School have provided a sense of warmth and excitement for our community, and we will be donating the beautiful Christmas tree to Leatherhead Start as we close our doors for the term.
With twinkling lights and a fantastic array of stalls, the Christmas festivities began at St John’s School on Saturday 19 November with the SJPA Christmas Market. This year’s event was bigger than ever, with a fantastic array of stalls offering unique gifts, delicious food, fun activities and a very popular return of the snowboarding simulator!
The Autumn Term has seen a huge amount of collective effort, commitment and enthusiasm across all areas of the School. Pupils came together in Chapel on the Wednesday 14 December, to celebrate the impressive achievements made throughout the term. There was much to celebrate, as Rebecca Evans, Acting Head, awarded and recognised pupils’ academic achievement, sporting successes, stellar performances, selfless dedication to charitable causes, and outstanding individual achievements.
The Sports Department have had a phenomenally successful season, which has seen 621 pupils represent the School in 478 fixtures across hockey, rugby, netball, football, shooting, swimming, water polo, cross country, and badminton. Teams have achieved remarkable results in all sports, progressing to many finals with great commitment and enthusiastic team spirit. We excitedly look forward to supporting teams with their final cup fixtures in the new year.
Across the term, the Performing Arts Department has been busier than ever, with many wonderful performances to enjoy, including the ever-popular lunchtime recitals, Concerto Competition, Lower School Cabaret and the Michaelmas Concert which raised over £3,000 for Leatherhead Theatre. We have enjoyed two fantastic performances of the Autumn Term Drama Production ‘A Series of Public Apologies’ by John Donnelly, as well as the Christmas Rock Concert, which is always a festive highlight as we near the end of term. On Tuesday 6 December, a host of bands and soloists performed a fantastic mix of pieces from classic rock, power ballads and festive favourites showcasing the instrumental and vocal talents of our pupils. Boarders enjoyed watching the concert, which was followed by a delicious Christmas Dinner.
Thursday 8 December was jam-packed with festive frivolity, with the lunchtime recital ‘Wrapped Up with a Bow’ showcasing a vast amount of incredible musical talent. With a sprinkling of fake snow and Christmas cheer aplenty, the audience enjoyed festive favourites performed by pupils across the School. Thursday evening saw the boarding community enjoy Christmas carols around the Christmas tree, supported by the brass band.
On Sunday 11 December, we were delighted to warmly welcome 30 members of our local community to St John’s School for a special Community Christmas Lunch. This annual event brings together guests from local community associations, including The Fairfield Day Centre, Milner House Care Home, Ashtead Good Neighbours and local residents to the School.
As the temperatures dropped in the final few days of term, we warmly welcomed pupils and their families to enjoy a Festival of Lessons and Carols in Chapel. Reverend Moloney led the service and prayers, with wonderful carols and readings by staff and pupils.
Within their houses, pupils and staff have enjoyed a great variety of festive celebrations including pizza and games nights, ice skating and pantomime trips, Elf on the Shelf, and Secret Santa.
Alongside the fun of Christmas, this year our collective community spirit has been focused on giving. Following a hugely successful winter coat and clothing collection earlier this half of term, South House partnered with Elmbridge CAN to do something special for the young refugees that are currently being looked after at two local hotels. The St John’s community has rallied together to donate gifts, and the response from the whole school has been phenomenal. We are proud of the many ways our community has raised much needed funds for charities, including collecting clothes for homeless and refugee charities, and hosting stalls at the Christmas Market.
Due to the colder weather, and magical flurry of real snow, house sport competitions were postponed due to the conditions and frozen pitches. Not to be deterred, Lower School pupils put their zealous house spirit into a brilliant snowman competition instead!
Lower School pupils thoroughly enjoyed a fun and festive trip to Richmond Theatre to see ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ pantomime. Matt Baker awarded St John’s the accolade of ‘the loudest cheering school’ at the matinee performance!
On the final day of term, Lower School pupils enjoyed ice skating at Hampton Court Palace. Senior pupils enjoyed a traditional carol service. Our brilliant Catering Department provided a scrumptious Christmas Lunch, for our entire community. The Dining Hall was full of festivity and twinkling lights, as pupils were able to enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings and crackers
As we close the doors on the Autumn Term, we would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year.