Founder’s Day 2019 by Jess Cooney

As you may know, St. Mary’s Independent School has a founder; we choose to celebrate the day we were founded, our founder being Jean-Marie De La Mennais. On 22nd November came that day, on which we partook in many different activities that made it extra special, like our Mass led by Father Michael.

The day started off with tutor and normal lessons, which were cut slightly short for an early breaktime. After our break, we filed into the P.E. hall, where there were innumerous chairs waiting to be sat on. Once everyone was in their seats, pupils, parents and staff sat eagerly waiting for the Mass to begin. At 10:40, the altar servers walked up the aisle with Father Michael leading them, and carefully placed the crucifix and acolytes beside the altar. Father Michael began the Mass with the sign of the cross, and then proceeded to explain about Jean De La Mennais. Following Father Michael’s explanation, an educational video was shown to us, which gave us lots of information about Jean’s life in France. The video ended, and Father Michael continued with the bidding prayers. The time for communion came, but before it began, a group of students walked up and stood ready by Miss Tomkins’ piano. As communion began, the students began to sing, accompanied by Miss Tomkins and Mr. O’Farrell. Mass ended and everyone filed out of the hall, joyful and bright in spirit.

Shortly after, Founder’s Day lunch began, with a queue nearly out of the dining room door! Everyone sat happily munching on delicious food, and then when they were finished, ran off outside to either chat or play.

The following day, November 23rd, was the famed fireworks night. Fireworks night is always amazing but the display this year was something you definitely wouldn’t want to have missed – the hours preceding were also great fun, with games, a tombola and raffles laden throughout the canteen. The Year 6 students were running their superb games dutifully and with pride, which were great fun. I have been to fireworks every year since I have been at St. Mary’s, but this was definitely the best!

St. Mary’s Founder’s Day is always an amazing day packed full of fun, and it has a huge part to play in what makes St. Mary’s who we are – Jean De La Mennais founded our school in 1922, and I think he did an amazing job.


School Residential to Brenscombe Outdoor Centre by Boniface, Year 8

I really enjoyed Brenscombe outdoor centre as a residential. I thought that it was super and I would recommend it to everyone. We did lots of activities including high ropes, archery and air rifle shooting. However, my favourite was big canoeing. This is when up to 14 people go in one canoe and canoe round places. In our case, we paddled through Poole harbour and landed on Brownsea island. After a quick rest there, we headed back and arrived where we started. It was hard work and we had to keep in time but it was thoroughly enjoyable. We had to follow the person in front of us and sometimes that was hard when the person in front wasn’t rowing in time anyway. I sometimes got splashed but that I didn’t really mind. However, I did mind when I got salty water in my mouth! The canoeing was the highlight of the trip for me.

The skill I learnt during the activity was team work because when I went to Wales in Year 6, we went canoeing and Edward and I paddled down the canal diagonally because we didn’t work together. I feel that I improved that skill greatly at Brenscombe.


Year 8 & 9 Cinema Trip by Tom Finch

On the 13th of November, Years 8 and 9 went on a trip to the Everyman cinema in Winchester to watch an educational film called “On the Basis of Sex” which is based on real life events. The film is all about a woman who is called Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is fighting for equal rights but she is overlooked by every man just because of her gender, but by the end of the film she finally fights her case. We went on this trip as part of our PSHE studies about gender equality. I found this film very powerful and moving. It has taught me that women are as good at jobs as any man and you must not just look at the gender but at the ability the person has to do the job.

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