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Last week was book-ended by two fabulous events; on Monday, a presentation by journalist and North Korea expert, Jeremy Hunter, then on Friday, our hosting of the Girls‘ Basketball ISST tournament.

The presentation by Jeremy Hunter was the first in our newly-conceived Speaker Series – and what a great launch to the initiative he made. Jeremy galloped through a fascinating montage of photographs, history, insight, facts and opinion on North Korea. Jeremy’s expertise has grown from the insight he gained into the country during a visit six years ago; since then, he has spoken to academics, politicians, historians and North Koreans, gathering statistics and images, many of which were really rather unfathomable. After the presentation, the questions flowed from the audience and it was great to see so many people linger afterwards for a drink and further discussion.

Wednesday heralded the start of the ISST Basketball Tournament with 11 schools descending on St John‘s from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Holland, the UK and Greece. Our Boosters parents had done a magnificent job in decorating the Sports Foyer with basketball and lion-themed balloons, creating a great sense of occasion for the teams. The Boosters continued the hospitality with their café catering running constantly throughout the tournament – our parents are amazing feeding all those very hungry girls!

Our St John’s girls played with such grit and it was brilliant to be able to pop into the Sports Arena and see the games in action. The first game on Thursday was an absolute scorcher! The players were enthusiastically supported by the school, their friends and family with every single St John’s heart just willing a win. We housed two players from the American School in Athens and after the first day’s play, they waxed lyrical about the St John‘s students and supporters: “We love the spirit at your school”. The whole tournament was so enjoyable and I really appreciated getting a real insight into the ISST format. Whilst our girls were playing at the ISST in St John’s, our boys were giving it their all in The Hague and our swimmmers elsewhere in Belgium. I am now super-excited for the tournaments to come and wondering whether I could stow away somehow for an away tournament!

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