Old Girls' Association

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'There is no school in all the land to rank with EHS, Sir’ 

02 April 2020

Dear members of the Old Girls' Association,

Our school has endured times of trouble, others of great crisis, and I know that some of our 'Golden Girls' lived through our days in World War 2, endured evacuation, and faced impossible circumstances at that time.

This is another global crisis, the first most of us have thankfully ever experienced! It has brought with it unimaginable suffering and heartbreak, yet also incredible stories of heroism, community-togetherness and creative ingenuity like no other! The human spirit has the potential to be utterly remarkable and in these troubling times, we can see groups and individuals formulate solutions to many seemingly-insurmountable problems: economic policies none thought possible, inventions to solve and alleviate medical shortages, and the millions of volunteers who are helping others through.

I have wept at stories from both ends of the spectrum at this time and found three quotes to have been incredibly helpful:

“Hard times don’t create heroes. It is during hard times when the ‘hero’  within us is revealed.” Bob Riley

“Confidence, courage and determined spirit are vital for surviving hard times.” Lailah Gifty Akita

“Hard times arouse an instinctive desire for authenticity.” Coco Chanel

EHS has risen to the challenge of required ‘school closure’  by surpassing the legal requirement to stay open just for key workers in ways that will both impress and inspire you. As the crisis unfolded and social distancing became the main requirement while schools remained open, EHS changed schedules overnight to ensure that times of social gatherings like assemblies, breaks and lunchtimes could be achieved with as much social distancing as possible! The curriculum and schedules adapted, as staff and pupils alike worked very hard to be socially responsible. Many staff commented that they had never been so proud to work at EHS as in that week. It was also in that week that EHS girls and staff were trained in how to create and work within online virtual learning areas, which were rolled out on day one of the closures. 

This week, the school breaks for Easter holidays and many girls and parents have thanked EHS for providing an education that has been quite remarkable! Learning and adapting as we go, opportunities to learn creatively, reducing screen-time have been provided and reinforced. This has resulted in a burst of creativity from the girls and staff who would perhaps not have had time to explore these skills. EHS remains a hub of virtual learning, with creative initiatives being introduced as it moves forward. 

I am proud to work in, and be associated with, a school that has adapted quickly with the dedication of the Headmistress, her staff and all those support staff necessary to keep it all going. Daughters of key workers come into school and this provision is continuing with volunteer staff through the Easter break, as their parents remain vital in society at this time. 

Never have those words in our school song in the title been so relevant and defining as they are at this time! 

Clearly, from the OGA’s perspective, we will wait and see when we can rearrange our reunion events safely and within government guidelines. We took the decision to postpone our Open House in March, ahead of official restrictions, but we know that it was the right thing to do, retrospectively! 

Our plans for the Summer Supper are on hold but we will need to work out how to arrange the AGM in June as it is an important one for the roles in Committee. 
Watch this space...

I wanted to use this opportunity, during the final week of Spring Term, to update you on EHS’s valiant spirit and undaunted determination to overcome and excel. It has been enormously helpful for so many students to maintain a schedule where so much has changed so quickly! 

Please watch our student’s tribute to the NHS - Millie is one of our Year 13 students and her tribute has moved and inspired us all:  https://youtu.be/9Pz5WDL0gz8

In the meantime, until we can meet up, I’d like to send best wishes to you all, with hopes and prayers for safety and peace. 

Warmly,
Lindsay Lucas
Chair of Old Girls' Association

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