Friday, 17th November 2017
Yesterday morning we had the second round of our charities presentations. This year we had a huge number of charities which pupils and parents of the school wished to support. The list was sent round to all pupils and parents to consider and the pupils voted on the list after Miss Farmer had given explanations for them. Following the first round of voting, four charities remained, charities which were very clear winners as it happens.
Yesterday the pupils who were the primary supporters of the charities put forward their cases for supporting their chosen suggestions. Those charities in the running were:
- Guide Dogs for the Blind
- Macmillan Cancer Relief
- The Woodland Trust
- Zakynthos Turtle Rescue
Henry, from Form 7, spoke about Guide Dogs for the Blind, something he feels passionately about because his Aunt lost her sight at University and so has had her life transformed by such a dog. Daniel spoke about Macmillan Cancer Relief and eloquently put forward the many benefits of that charity, while Mike spoke to us about the Woodland Trust and of the many benefits of that organisation. Miss Farmer presented a collection of slides on behalf of the Zakynthos Turtle Rescue Centre, telling the tale of those extraordinary creatures who make their way back to the beaches of their birth to lay their eggs, swimming hundreds of miles to do so. Today, unfortunately those beaches are under threat from human activity.
In the end, Guide Dogs for the Blind emerged as a clear winner and so I look forward very much to seeing the whole school community getting behind the enterprise. One of the shattering statistics which so impressed me was that every hour someone in Britain becomes blind. The dogs in question are able to transform the lives of such people, giving them the ability to function as nearly as possible to normal human beings but it takes on average 14 months of intense work to train a guide dog so it is not an easy business. I was very struck by the seriousness with which the whole voting process was taken by all the pupils and I have no doubt that the boys will enjoy the prospect of raising as much money as they can to transform and enhance the lives of the blind.
I am, as I have no doubt many of you are also doing, following the events in Zimbabwe very closely. I told the pupils on Wednesday that they should take a particular interest in them as it was for orphans in that country that we raised money last year and it was only just before half term that we presented Henry Chitsenga and his charity SuchHope, with a considerable cheque towards the education of orphans in Zimbabwe. What ever happens there, and let us hope that the outcome is a positive one, education will be a key part in the improvement of the lives of people there and I am very proud that our school has helped give so many young people the opportunity to help their country and its inhabitants through education.
I am sorry to say that Miss Sheena is leaving us today after 10 years to pursue an opportunity which has recently come up at Oxford City Council. Miss Sheena has spent the entirety of her working life at CCCS, starting out as a cleaner and subsequently becoming a Teaching Assistant. Throughout her time at the School, she has succeeded in every field she has found herself. She has always been versatile and willing to help out, even if the task was not her responsibility.
Miss Sheena is such a vital, friendly, competent person that it is no wonder that the Council has employed her for their front of house. Her lovely, open nature, which we have seen so much of here, will serve her well in her new role. We wish Miss Sheena all the best for this new chapter in her life and, given the Council's proximity to the School, we very much hope that we will still see lots of her.
Amazingly, the end of term is fast approaching. The very last moment of this term is of course the Punch Party to which I hope that all of you will come. One of the innovations introduced by our new PA chairman Angela Torres Tatay is an auction of promises. I have said that I would be delighted to provide my services as a punter, poetry reciter and dispenser of champagne for anyone who wishes to experience Oxford from what Lady Bracknell described as a "semi–recumbent posture." I am certain though that this is not everyone's particular "cup of tea" or indeed glass of champagne, so I would very much like to encourage you to think of opportunities which you might provide for such an auction. I also hope that you might think of bidding for some of the many excitements on offer – I am sure that this will prove to be a most engaging way of supporting the school.