2020 has of course been a year like no other, and as we draw the Autumn Term to a close, we reflect on the unwavering strength of our community, and the joy of being together this term.  Despite the challenges we have endured this term, the adaptability of our pupils and staff has been incredible, and there have been a wonderful array of moments to be proud of.

St John’s Christmas Card 2020 by Emma Lloyd, Upper Third

On Friday 11 December, we bid farewell to the busy Autumn Term whilst donning our best festive attire for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day. Amongst the many moments of pride this term, we are delighted to have still provided our pupils with the variety of school life they have come to enjoy and cherish at St John’s, from virtual performances showcasing our pupils’ vocal and instrumental talents to sporting triumphs. Perhaps most importantly our pride is in the unwavering enthusiasm of the pupils, and the kindness they have shown in the face of adversity.

Despite the differences we may feel as a community and a nation this Christmas, The Head recently discussed finding light in the darkness and this was a common theme in the end of term Christmas services for the Lower Third and Upper Sixth. Upper Sixth came together on Wednesday for a moving Christmas service, their last as St John’s pupils. With carols sung by the choir and readings by staff and the School Captains, Nick and Jess, the service was a moment of comfort to all.

The final few weeks of term are usually packed with festive fun, with House competitions and social events aplenty; this year was a little quieter, but no less fun. The decorations across the School provided a sense of warmth and normality for our community, and we will be donating the beautiful Christmas tree to a local charity LeatherHEAD Start as we close our doors for the term.

Our sincerest thanks go to the SJPA for providing a new set of benches for pupils to use outside on The Quad. The SJPA were able to organise the sale of their much loved Christmas trees, and this year provided a wonderful Virtual Christmas Market. Although we missed the excitement and fun of the real event, it was great to see our community get involved with purchasing raffle tickets, joining in with the silent auction and purchasing gifts. The significant amount of money raised from the market will go towards two important causes, Leatherhead Youth Project and the St John’s Community Holiday. Pupils in Hawkins House and Haslewood House also created magnificent wreaths and decorations for purchase, with their proceeds going to their respective house charities.

Across the term, the Performing Arts Department has driven forward with a jam-packed schedule despite all the challenges presented by bubbles and technology! The pupils have valiantly stepped up, performing to the camera instead of a packed Chapel or auditorium filled with encouragement from our usual wonderful audiences. On Tuesday 8 December, the much-loved Christmas Rock Concert was streamed live to families, and a host of bands and soloists performed a fantastic mix of pieces from Christmas classics to power ballads, showcasing the instrumental and vocal talents of our pupils.

On Wednesday 9 December, pupils in the Brass Band surprised everyone with a Christmas performance outside the Dining Hall. Pupils and staff were overjoyed to hear an array of wonderful festive favourites performed on The Quad. Fourth Form musicians performed in a joyful ‘Tis the Season’ themed lunchtime recital on Thursday 10 December, with festive solo and group performances and a poignant ‘Love Actually’ themed message to their virtual audience.

Throughout the week, pupils from Fourth Form to Upper Sixth put a huge amount of hard work, research and effort into their final house debates, whilst those in Lower School spent time writing Christmas cards to local care home residents to wish them a Merry Christmas.

On the last day of term, the Catering Department set to work on a military level mission to provide a safe yet 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.

We have shared below, our recent winning entries from our Christmas Limerick Competition, which we hope you will enjoy.

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.

Snowmen by Theo Wooden, Lower Third
Snowmen are made out of snow.
Really, didn’t you know?
A hat on their head
A stick as a leg
But snowmen will melt, oh no!

Bob Cratchitt by Jemima de Rauville Rohm, Upper Third
There once was a man named Bob
Who didn’t really like his job.
On Christmas day,
His boss didn’t pay,
But jolly old Bob didn’t sob.

Christmas by Gracie Nicholls, Fourth Form
The baubles are hung and don’t drop,
And the angel lies on the top.
Choirs are singing,
And bells are ringing,
As for Christmas the world will stop.