From our Head Girl
When I first joined St Mary’s in Year 9, I would never have believed that I would make it all the way to Upper Sixth, let alone become Head Girl. It took a lot of bravery for me even to walk (tearily) into my Year 9 form room for the first time, as I am sure the Heads of Year, Mrs Beer and Mrs Hutchison, will testify!
However, during my time here, my confidence has grown beyond recognition, and I owe so much of that to the incredible support system woven into every department at St Mary’s. ‘Courage’ and ‘Resilience’ were the last two Junior School words of the week before the Easter holiday, and I think that they are two distinguishing features of a St Mary’s girl, demonstrated not just in the face of this uncertain time, but throughout our lives.
Sixth Form memories
The last two years in Sixth Form have been phenomenal. From the 80s themed Fun Run and the 20s American musical ‘Chicago: High School Edition’, to engaging in ‘Girl Up’, a worldwide initiative to empower young girls; from dining room flash mobs to sports fixtures and breaking the turf at our soon-to-be sports facility on Long Road; from our Sixth Form Revue (who would have thought that the male teachers could make such convincing Spice Girls!) to A Level study and university applications – I will never understand how our school manages to pack so much into each term!
Not only that, but I have had the chance to meet so many inspiring individuals, such as entrepreneur and educator, Jo Cruse; Deborah Griffin, a pioneer in the growth of women’s rugby, and Eva Clarke, one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, to name just a few. It has been two years of extraordinary opportunity and, although I never expected my time at (the affectionately named) St Maz to end quite so abruptly, I will always be so grateful for every minute, not to mention the life-long friends that I have made along the way.
In the Head Girl book (an incredibly significant, historical document!), each Head Girl passes on her wisdom to the next.
My pretty generic advice to future years is... believe people when they say treasure your lessons, breaktimes, lunchtimes and after school activities, for I can now vouch for the fact that it genuinely does fly by!
In her Prize Giving address to the previous Upper Sixth students, Jo Cruse talked about the “powerful network of allies” that each and every student leaves St Mary’s with at the end of their time here. I think that this is a wonderful way to describe the community of extraordinary girls and teachers that provide such an awesome foundation for the next phase of our lives.
Last year, I was lucky enough to be involved in two different work experiences, and in both instances I met an Old Pastonian. Despite never having met me before, both girls were so lovely and kind and helped me settle into what seemed an initially daunting environment.
We bonded over our shared experience and I finally realised the truth of Ms Avery’s cracking slogan, “once a St Mary’s girl, always a St Mary’s girl”.
A big thank you
So, on behalf of Year 13, I would just like to say a humungous thank you to the absolutely legendary teachers and staff at St Mary’s who have made our school career so special – although you will not be getting rid of us that easily!
I am sure that I am not alone in saying that I am so sad not to be able to wish everyone a proper goodbye in this period of lockdown, but in the spirit of #stillstmarys, I will always be #stillastmarysgirl, no matter what!
Molly, P. Year 13
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