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Only five minutes home from a visit to the UK at the start of this week and before I had even hung up my coat, the second utterance from my daughter was that the Santa Lucia ceremony which I had missed in school was “really good”. Praise indeed from a readily cynical 13 year old! The photos confirm that it was a rather special event in the St John’s calendar; an authentic Scandinavian tradition, beautiful costumes, sweet singing and candlelight.

The week has been an unusual one in and around school with end of semester exams in full flow for many of the middle and high school students, so there was plenty of focused private study going on throughout the day as well as much animated chatter over lunch and at the ends of the day as friends relaxed after the quiet focus of exams and revision.

For the Primary School, Christmas and winter was very much in the air with a fabulous charity initiative arranged by the parents: donations had been collected of toiletries and goodies, then at lunchtimes this week, the primary students set up an amazing Santa’s Workshop production line, filling shoeboxes with the gifted items and wrapping them with care. The joy derived by a seven year old who has just learned how to successfully wrap a present is a delight to see!

The festive theme continued on Friday with an incredible Primary Nativity, Straw and Order. I have been in many schools now where there have been delightful nativity productions, full of music, humour and great performances. What stood out though with the St John‘s production was the sheer scale of the production – yes, it was full of music, humour and great performances, but putting the production on such a huge stage and the fact that the students did the stage such justice was phenomenal. The whole production was beautifully choreographed with groups of children moving around as well as on and off the stage with ease. For the audience, there was constant interest and not a single moment where the students could not be heard – really impressive in such a large auditorium. Music combined seamlessly with dance routines combined seamlessly with quiet moments combined seamlessly with humorous set pieces combined seamlessly with whole cast singing… And most impressive of all was the fact that every student was involved in a really active way; everyone took their turn centre stage and clearly relished their moment in the limelight. From the stillness of Santa Lucia to the exuberance of Straw and Order, what a beautiful way to go into our final few days term.

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