West Side Story at Rossall School

What an incredible privilege it is to be a part of the Rossall community. Over and over again I am moved by the positivity, compassion and drive that underpins organically, without force or pretence, the individual and collective relationships that exist. Whether taking centre stage and representing the school, having agency in their own lives and using it for the good of others, looking out for those in trouble or in pain and doing something about – it is beautiful and life affirming and it is heartwarming to witness our pupils, parents and staff inspired and moved to act.

No month symbolises that more strongly for me than the one that has just been. Between charity bake offs, stupendous achievements on the sporting stage with so many of our teams reaching the highest echelons of national competitions, the continuing rich programme of lunchtime concerts or Year 3 playing their first ever hockey match, the hours and days invested by so many in making West Side Story such a resounding success, Oliver Jnr! rehearsals, fundraising campaign proposals by pupils and colleagues, Chapel vigils, charity collections – we are lucky to be members of a school community where so many take part and contribute in so many ways.

But, it’s often the things we don’t see or get to applaud where the steady beat of a community built on love resides. One of the greatest privileges for me of working here is that I do get to see it every day. Small acts of kindness through to gestures of incredible generosity, unprompted and selfless, characterise the community that I have come to call my home.

In particular, I wanted to mention our pupils, who, on so many fronts, have gone above and beyond for others. There are the everyday things like supporting friends who are upset, standing up for those not in a position to, reporting concerns to those in the school who can make a difference when things have gone wrong, challenging others who do not uphold the values that bind us. And then there are the beautiful and extraordinary things too – at the moment shaped by the urgent personal and collective need to respond to the crisis unfolding in Eastern Europe. Sometimes these initiatives are led by pupils who are themselves experiencing emotional and personal challenges, but nevertheless find the capacity, time and inspiration to organise and follow through with what they set out to do.

Over the course of the last few weeks, our pupils have driven a substantial part of our school response to support those who are suffering. We have had incredibly moving pieces read, performed and shared in Chapel vigils. We have watched pupils engage with one another and with those living through the conflict with incredible compassion and strength. We collected more than £2000 through our non-uniform day to send to the Red Cross. One of our Year 12 pupils, Milica Blagojevic, organised and ran a full bake off in the Rossall Kitchen a week ago that culminated in a cake auction. Our Lower School pupils have run a whole series of charity sales to raise money; including a very successful sweet sale to a captive West Side Story audience. Tineka Jennings, Year 13, has just launched a fundraising campaign that will involve the entire community in rowing, skiing and cycling the distance to Ukraine. Other groups of pupils are in the early stages of planning events as well as sourcing or creating items to sell. We couldn’t be more proud of all of them for the lengths they are going to, to ensure that these events happen, have meaning and a successful outcome.

Parents, you should be exceptionally proud of your sons and daughters who give so much and be in no doubt that we know that the strength of our community relies on the values you instil at home too. Ultimately, we are all incredibly lucky to be a part of this wonderful, compassionate Rossallian community.

Floreat Rossalia!