From the Headmaster
In the early part of this week, the unseasonably warm days of early September felt a distant memory as we grappled with snow and icy conditions and I am most grateful to our grounds and maintenance teams for their efforts in keeping the school open. As this busy and fulfilling Autumn term draws to a close, we have plenty of special events and achievements upon which to reflect. This term has seen us remember the victims of war and conflict in our School's Remembrance service, we have enjoyed presentations on topics ranging from Rhino conservation to the ‘growth mindset’ and we have been treated to a production 'in the rounds' of Arabian Nights and an exciting ‘Battle of the Bands’. Our A Block pupils have undertaken their mock exams and further academic successes have included an Oxfordshire Geography Quiz triumph. There has been notable unbeaten sporting success for girls and boys and amongst a wide variety of other adventures, children have enjoyed a farm visit, exchanges to Japan and New York and an Art trip to St Ives.
Of course in a short weekly round-up, it is impossible to highlight every single occasion which our community has enjoyed, but this week has seen an Aspiring (and inspiring) Music Scholars’ Concert, a very festive Christmas Concert and a thoroughly enjoyable E Block concert. On all of these occasions, we were treated to some tremendous individual and ensemble performances. These ranged from the Dragonetti Strings to the E Block Singers, alongside some particularly memorable solos on the drums and the harp. At the Pre-prep, the Year 1 Christmas Performance took place this week, and received excellent reviews, following on from the success of the Reception Nativity performance the week before.
Over the past two weeks, some of our boarders have been undertaking a special ’12 days of giving’ for the first 12 days of December, with a focus on acts of kindness in preparation for Christmas. On a related theme, the Lynam Hall was filled with exuberant Christmas singing on Sunday evening as our boarding community joined together for a ‘Christmas Miscellany’.
Excitement is now, of course, building towards the Dragon Sale, with the children’s stalls continuing to receive their finishing touches ahead of Saturday’s event. I really look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this seasonal whole school occasion. May I also take this opportunity to say how much both Lucy and I have appreciated your warm welcome, your good wishes and your support this term.
We wish you and your families a peaceful and relaxing Christmas and a very happy 2018.
With all best wishes,
High School Musical
Please reserve your seats by Monday, 15 January, 2018 in order to avoid disappointment. This is likely to be a very popular production and so there will be a limit of five seats per family, per performance.
Please also note the following…
• Dragons in the audience must be wearing their ‘B’ Suit
• No photography or video/DVDs of any kind are permitted
• All performers will be given supper at school but I am afraid there can be no similar arrangement for day children in the audience.
Athletics and Tennis Easter Training Camp, Mallorca 4-10 April, 2018
The camp is open to A, B and C Block. The Athletic training will take place at the modern Calvia track with Jaume Mulet, one of the best athletics coaches in Spain; the tennis instruction will be provided by professionals from the Guillermo Vilas Tennis Academy in Palma, with four children per court per instructor.
Invitation Reminder: New Parents’ Welcome Drinks – Saturday, 20 January 2018 at 12:30pm
DRAGON SALE NEWS
This short video clip featuring Tom Hiddleston is the final taster of what you can hear on the audio Dragon Book Of Verse read by Old Dragons, who generously donated their time to the Sale. This wonderful signed poetry book and audio CD will be sold only at the Dragon Sale Authors Corner. £10 for the CD or £25 for the book and CD. A perfect Xmas present!
Other video clips from the recording day are available here and here.
Its Finally Here! The Sale officially opens at 9.30am
The 74th Dragon Christmas Charity Sale will officially open at 9:30am this Saturday. Gates open at 9:00am where you can enjoy a BBQ and hot drinks. Please note that the Sale can only take cash and cheques (The Grand and Silent Auctions will accept BACS). Every penny goes to charity.
This year the Dragon Sale has launched a new and improved website where you can find everything you need to know about the Sale. Go to www.dragonsale.org where you can:
Buy Raffle tickets online – online ordering closes at 5pm on Friday.
Bid on the Silent Auction – bidding closes at 11.15am on Saturday
Order Supersaurs tickets
Order Dragonalia – all things Dragon
You can also view the interactive online programme, the stalls map, all the amazing items in the Grand Auction, starting at 11.30am on Sale Day, and the list of exclusive Authors signing at the Sale this year, which includes the much loved author Philip Pullman.
Jay Jay, former BBC kids TV presenter, gives an exciting talk with illustrations about his new book at 11.25am in the MCLT when the pupils stalls close. To book click here. The exciting new children’s imprint and epic six-part global adventure series is making an entrance at The Dragon Sale with a life-size Titan Tyrant. Standing 3 metres tall!
Dragon Parents’ Choir
The Dragon Parents’ Choir will be performing Christmas songs at 9.20am, just before the official opening, in front of Polly’s Tree. Please gather around and give them an audience! New members are welcome – if you would like to join please chat to Kate Rittson-Thomas.
Safeguarding the Sale
Please can everyone note the following to ensure everyone is safe on the day (all children at School have been told this too):
Toilets are a bit different on Sale day because there are a few more grown-ups around. The Lynam Hall toilets will be for adults only (along with the visitors’ toilet on the fields) and will have a sign outside them saying so. All other toilets in the Forum (apart from the Disabled toilet) are for children and will also have a sign outside them so please use the right toilet.
Children have been asked to try and remember where they have agreed to meet parents and at what time. Polly’s Tree – the tree outside the Forum - is the official meeting point and will have a sign saying “Meeting Point” on it. If you are worried about any child, tell a member of staff and we can get a message out over the speakers.
If you have concerns about anyone or any group who does not seem to be enjoying the sale in the right way – please do feel like you can tell a member of staff who will be able to deal with the situation.
In the very, very unlikely event of a Fire Alarm, please walk quietly and slowly out of the nearest exit and meet with everyone else on the near Astros by the back playground.
Can you imagine a new member of your class walking through the door with four legs? Amazing colourings, moveable eyelids and a flicking tongue that helps them explore their environment?
Well that is exactly what happened to 3TC on Friday. Kitty the Leopard Gecko came in for a day visit with her owner Edward. Edward kindly taught the class all about Kitty's diet, sleeping habits and favourite pastimes. He also spoke about how to look after your pets and what it means to be a responsible pet owner. The class were amazed at how fast she could travel and climb and are hoping that she will come back soon for another visit!
Years Two and Three Concert
Christmas was heralded-in beautifully at the combined Years Two and Three Concert, led superbly by Christine Connell, our new Head of Music at the Pre-Prep, assisted by Megan Sharp and supported by Joff Morgan on Drums, David Smith on Sax, and Keyboards played by William Morris, Director of Music at the Prep School.
Parents arrived to the sound of the Year 3 Strings Music Makers making their first appearance in Lynam Hall and playing a range of pieces including Jingle Bells. What a brave debut! The children charmingly depicted the Christmas Story through their own words and a range of song, from traditional to those with a modern twist.
As always, the sound these young children make is astonishing and rightly described by Ma McNeile as a superb wall of sound. Everyone enjoyed watching the children perform ‘We are Camels’ with a befitting attitude and actions, and it was lovely to see the proud faces of the parents. Well done to all involved.
The Dragon Quiz teams were on sparkling form for the Geographical Association Worldwise Quiz held at Wheatley Park School recently. A Blockers Benedict, Arthur and Caspar, who won the Year 7 & 8 competition last year, held their own against older teams in the Year 9 & 10 competition, which was eventually won by MCS. Meanwhile, Patrick, Felix and Luke from B Block excelled in a closely fought Year 7 & 8 quiz, coming back from a slow start to deny MCS a “double”, whilst our second B Block team of Jasper, Caspar and Thomas also acquitted themselves well. A fine evening’s work all round!
A Scene from the Arabian Nights
Six Musical Events
The Lynam Hall has been alive with the sound of music over the past week. There has been an incredible six musical events in six days: from our fledgling stars in the E Block Concert to the hearty singing of the Christmas Miscellany. This week of musical excellence culminated in the fantastic Christmas Concert for our preselect ensembles in which our finest musicians entertained a packed hall. Everybody in the School had an opportunity to perform, whether in one of our music groups or choirs. It is a joy to see so much engagement in our musical children. The next event will be the Carol Service at St Andrew’s on Friday which promises to be another musical treat and a lovely way to end the term.
'A Rockin' Christmas'. Musical score at the Upper School Concert
Jane Pendry, Head of Development, announces that she is leaving the Dragon on Saturday, 16 December 2017, the day of the Dragon Sale. “I have very much enjoyed working in this warm and unique community and getting to know so many of you. It is now time to move on to pastures new. It has been wonderful to meet so many interesting parents, Old Dragons and, of course, children, since I joined the School in March 2014.” Jane hopes to say goodbye to parents, children and staff that she knows on that Saturday.
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