Friday 11th March 2016
Tours, time travel and tapestry
It is all too easy to take our heritage for granted. The historical culture of St Augustine’s Priory, for example, is laced with commitment: an unwavering commitment to a very special ethos; a commitment to maintaining our community and all that it provides; a commitment to ensuring the lifelong happiness and success of our girls which can only happen as long as the school adapts, performs, thrives. In order for us to stay true to our heritage we need to understand from whence it came. When trying to understand something of such complexity and sensitivity, is it possible for there to be a better source than our people?
We think not, which is why on Saturday last staff and students found great pleasure in welcoming back some very special guests: our alumnae.
In an attempt to provide these special people with a genuine taste of St Augustine’s Priory as it is today, we arranged tours, activities and lunch to coincide with our Spring Open Day. Despite the rapidly growing numbers at these mornings, our spring events have always been slightly more intimate affairs that provide a generous insight into the workings of our school and are complemented by a joyous, dynamic atmosphere.
Alumna and hostess extraordinaire, Ms King, led an engaging, provocative and very well humoured tour, during which alumnae were able to reminisce about ‘the old days’, cherish fond memories and share with the group precious stories of intrigue and drama. In addition to discovering the plethora of subjects at A Level we now offer – over and above the English, History, Spanish and French of the 1950s – alumnae were struck by the quality of work produced by current pupils. Head Girl Billie Morrison also added a lovely depth to the proceedings, regaling alumnae with the now quite alternative ambitions, antics and aspirations of our girls.
Tours were followed by a special complimentary lunch in the Nuns’ Refectory. A beautiful spread of dressed whole salmon, crayfish, prawns and caramelised goats’ cheese tarts, replenished the fuel used on a leisurely walk of our grounds. As alumnae aptly demonstrated the phrase bonum vinum laetificat cor hominis, Headteacher, Mrs Raffray, eloquently expressed how pleased we were that so many had returned and the profundity of their visit in our journey to better appreciate all that they have contributed.
Following the rather colourful gastronomic experience at lunch, alumnae enjoyed some peace and quiet in the Chapter Room, contributing to our community centenary tapestry project ‘A Stitch in Time’, led by Mrs Rosemary Cogswell.
It was such a pleasure for staff to get to know some of our alumnae, to hear stories and share anecdotes. The feedback from the day has been heart-warming. There is so much we may learn from those that have come before us; this was the first of what we hope will be many opportunities to develop our alumnae social circle, contributing in one way to the tangibly lifelong benefits of belonging to the St Augustine’s Priory community. We feel one step closer to understanding our heritage. We feel one step closer to fully appreciating from when and where our community came.
Then….. And now