So, it turns out that Activities Week was just what we all needed at the end of this momentous year! Paddle-boarding, pebble-painting, pallet furniture-making, gardening recycling, upcycling, stand-up comedy… you name it, we’ve done it this week. As well as allowing students (and staff) the opportunity to learn new skills and let off steam, Activities Week has reminded us, once again, of the importance of community; the week was masterminded by Mrs Watson but, as ever, it took a huge team effort to make it happen.
Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve become accustomed to disruption and last-minute changes, and this week has been no different. Even before the week got going, we were already reaching for ‘Plan B’; it was frustrating (but not completely surprising) to hear last Sunday that Lagoon Watersports had been forced to close (cue an eleventh-hour trip to Hobbycraft to buy acrylic pens for Year 8). With COVID-19 cases rising nationally, it was also no surprise to encounter positive cases in school this week (our best wishes go to those affected). With students unwell and others self-isolating, it meant that numbers were slightly depleted for Sports Day yesterday, but you would never have guessed. Having only three runners for a four-leg relay is not a problem when you adopt the attitude I witnessed time and again on Thursday. It’s simple: one person steps up (without hesitation or complaint) to run a double leg. Likewise, being told by the Sealife Centre that an extra member of staff is needed for the Year 7 trip at five minutes’ notice is not a problem when you’ve got staff willing to step in (on this occasion it was Mr Winter who saved the day).
Activities Week has brought out the best in Brighton Girls and, coming at the end of a long and challenging year, this says a lot about our community. Throughout the week, students have exhibited great courage and a ‘can do’ attitude; they have thrown themselves into each activity and have smiled and laughed their way through each new challenge.
Watching the Year 9s in action during the DIY workshops with Charis Williams (aka the Salvage Sister) and her side-kick, Bronwyn, on Tuesday made me immensely proud. Circular saws, sliding miter saws and huge, splintery pallets proved no match for the Year 9s who took it all in their stride. A new form of mindfulness was born as they got to work – some tasks required unwavering individual focus, others required a team effort; either way, they were all quickly “in the zone”. When I spoke to Bronwyn at the end of the day, she told me she had learn some new teenage lingo, a phrase she had heard our students utter over and over again:
“So satisfying!” was their refrain.
I agree, and I feel the same about all the things I see happening at Brighton Girls.