It seems unbelievable that a month has passed since my last blog.
February has been a month packed with exciting trips, lunch, break time and extra curriculum activities all aimed at enriching the unique educational experience of being a pupil or member of staff at Byron College. Ask any pupil at Byron one event which will stick out in their mind and it is unlikely to be the same event.
For Sixth Form pupils it might be their experience of serving meals at one of the many soup kitchens in Athens. For Year 11 pupils it would probably be the Carnival party they organised and ran by themselves. They had a good time, raised money for charity and did a brilliant job of cleaning up afterwards! For Year 10 pupils it would probably be the lunch they shared with some of the unaccompanied refugee minors, who seek practical help as well as psychological support at Faros, where they exchanged their life experiences and delivered much needed clothes and other provisions. For Year 9 pupils it would undoubtedly be their action-packed day at the Adventure Park at Malakassa where they climbed, balanced and swung among the trees, challenging themselves both physically and mentally.
Key Stage Three girls participated in the Greenlight for Girls science day at Campion School. All Key Stage Two and Three pupils had a wonderful morning listening to the Lyavros Ensemble playing homemade reproductions of Ancient Greek instruments. From their amazed expressions, as seemingly mundane everyday objects were turned into instruments, I am sure some would pick this as their special moment in February. Seven teams from Key Stage Three might remember trying to decipher cryptic clues and dashing around school in our first Carnival treasure hunt. While Key Stage Two and One pupils dressing up and parading in the hall where they also got to judge their teachers' costumes might be a highlight for them. Three costumes (or rather impersonations) stand out as the funniest; Natalia (Year 5) dressed-up as Mr. Chatwin, with a cat climbing up her back, Ms. Abastado as Mr. Chrysochoou, forever jacketless in his shirt and tie whatever the weather, and Mr. Chrysochoou getting his retaliation by dressing up as Ms. Abastado.
I would like to think a highlight for some of Year 7 would be when they coached and supported me in my very public bottle flip challenge. When the second bottle landed upright they roared and jumped around as if I had scored the winning goal in an F.A. Cup Final. I must admit that is how I felt too! The pupils who took part in the inter schools under14 football tournament hosted at Byron would identify with this feeling as they won second place.
Four of our Year 7 pupils might choose participating in the International Competition for Young Debaters at Campion as their highlight. This is an under 15 annual tournament held worldwide and organised by the Debating Unions of Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The four top teams in Greece go through to debate at the Oxford Union in May. Six Year 6 pupils also participated in the tournament which was incredibly challenging as the motions and positions were only announced 15 minutes before the start of each debate. We did amazingly well. John Roy (Year 6) being placed 6th best speaker out of 136 pupils and Louai and Fadi (Year 7) missing the semi-finals by only one position. It was also a memorable event for all our Year 6 researchers and timekeepers who participated in the event as part of their training to become debaters.
February also saw the introduction of our weekly Friday afternoon tea party and the Key Stage 2 children, who have already been chosen by their teachers to be invited, might choose this as their memorable moment. Most had not drunk tea before or eaten cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches, Victoria sponge, scones or shortbread but they all rose to the occasion with impeccable manners and wonderful conversation.
Year 2 pupils will certainly remember their visit to the Archeleon Sea Turtle Centre. They were enthralled to see the turtles at such close proximity and motivated to want to collect tooth brushes and plastic gloves to help support all the good work that is done at the centre. Year 1 pupils might choose their trip to the Goulandris Museum, or then again, they might choose the sight of Ms. Dimitratou dressed up as Mog the Cat!
And, last but not least, our EYFS were inspired at the Vorres Museum where they used recycled materials to make houses, telescopes, masks and many other creations. I am pleased to say that, since then, I have heard parents say that their children now look at empty packets and boxes with a creative eye!
Ask any teacher what they remember of February and they would probably say hard work, challenges and rewards.
Ask me what my most memorable moment is and I would reply...all of it!
Acting Head of School