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Closing Ceremony

European School Culham

Closing Ceremony

3rd July 2017

After much deliberation, it was decided to mark the end of the final school term at the European School Culham with a closing ceremony in the Sports Hall on 3rd July 2017. 600 people (pupils, parents, staff and guests) witnessed a programme of music and speeches and had the chance to visit the S7 art exhibition in the Chapel. Here are some of those speeches along with photos and videos of the event. Despite the sadness surrounding the reason for the ceremony, it was a cheerful and uplifting display of everything that is good about our school.

The videos were filmed by Julian Weber (DS7)
The photos taken by Mr Scokaert.
The artwork, produced by the art department, is from the programme.

I hope you enjoy re-visiting the ceremony through this web page or, if you weren’t able to attend, get a sense of how it was on that day.

 

P R O G R A M M E

European Anthem (all sing)

Freude, schöner Götterfunke
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

Joyful, gathered here together
To live in work and harmony.
Children we of many nations
Joined as one community.
Building daily understanding
Of our aim to live as one.
Come, join with us in our striving
To live in peace and unity.

Chantons en chœur, tout ensemble,
Chantons l’hymne de la joie !
Notre chant est l’espérance
Pour le monde qui viendra.
Aidons-nous, soyons camarades,
Aimons la paix et l’amitié !
Répandons la joie de vivre
Dans ce monde fatigué.

Welcome from students

Performances by S2 and S4

Cécile Deer, on behalf of the parents

Je parlerai ici en tant que membre du CESPA depuis plus de 15 ans.
I will here speak as a member of CESPA, the Culham parents’ association, for over 15 years.

J’aurais pu commencer cette courte intervention 1) en mentionnant les divers membres du CESPA dont
l’activité a été si importante dans la vie de l’école, mais ils sont trop nombreux ; 2) En remerciant les divers directeurs, sous-directeurs et autres membres de l’équipe éducative avec qui nous avons eu le plaisir de travailler dans ce cadre, 3) en listant les diverses activités que l’association a organisées ou a soutenues d’année en année au sein de l’école, de l’accueil des nouveaux parents à la Summer Fête en passant par la fête de Noël et la cantine. Cela ressemblerait cependant trop à la routine des Grammy Awards et surtout ce serait risquer de ne pas avoir le temps de parler du plus important rôle que CESPA a pu avoir durant ces 15 dernières années : servir l’école en tentant de lui trouver un avenir.

When my first child joined the school nursery nearly twenty years ago, there were already rumours that the school was existing on borrowed time. Blithely uninformed, I dismissed it as scaremongering… who – in their right mind – would dispose of a school which was fulfilling both and at the same time such great pedagogical needs and economic utility for a region employing and welcoming so many international people? Then I joined the school’s parents’ association (CESPA) and after, say, 2 or 3 years, it all started to sort of “make sense”. There was a continent, que dis-je, an entire world around Culham, and its centre of gravity was firmly in Brussels. Many exotic names and their meaning had to be mastered: DG administration, Board of Governors, Admin Boards, Category 1, 2, 3, Gaignage Criteria, Interparents, Brussels schools I, II, III, IV, V, Primary and Secondary Conseils, Interparents, Working groups, etc…). In this world, the Parents Association played a surprisingly important role … but yes indeed the writing was rather on the wall. In spite of our determined and predictable opposition, Culham would be the first European School to be closed. It was very much unchartered territory for a Parents’ Association, and indeed for everyone else in the European School system and this was slightly daunting.

Today, an observer reporting superficially about the closure of our school in Culham could easily weave an imagined narrative around the result of a British referendum that took place a year ago. We all know this couldn’t be further from the truth. But in this period of “fake news” I feel it is important to reiterate that this decision was taken 1) for European legal, administrative and financial reasons 10 years ago, 2) that the eventual option of phasing the school out over a period of time was the result of delicate multilateral negotiations in which CESPA was influential, always with the aim of securing as much educational continuity as possible for the pupils and their parents. Somehow, with Brexit, two trains seem to have met at the same station but this was entirely by chance, or was it? I suppose historians with the broader picture will be able to disagree fruitfully about this matter in years to come.

On the other hand, the image of two trains successfully meeting at a station does apply quite meaningfully to what has been the phasing in of a new European school on site. I mean, of course, the setting up of Europa School UK which will now take over the entire operation. It will absorb our secondary pupils and allow them to complete their European education. I will not go over the full story here, this could be the object of a book in itself, but to say that CESPA has been central in the creation of this new school is not to overstate the facts, it is not “fake news”. More importantly perhaps, the entire project has highlighted the importance of maintaining trust, respect and cooperation among stakeholders: the parents and their representatives, the school management, the national and European authorities, to best serve the interest of those who should matter most to all of us: the pupils, the future.

Cécile Deer
Vice-Chair Secondary & Interparents Representative, CESPA
European Trust for European Education

Performances by S3 and S4

Céline Martin, Uwe Schmidt and Frank Wright,
on behalf of the staff

Part 1: Herr Uwe Schmidt:

Honoured Guests, Ladies and Gentleman, dear Colleagues, dear Students,

everything started with a tower, or rather with the building of a tower.

Angefangen hat alles mit dem Bau eines Turms; wahrscheinlich, nein, ganz sicher nicht so elegant und ästhetisch wie unser Towerblock hier in Culham, aber groß und gewaltig. So gewaltig war dieser Turm zu Babel, dass er bis hinauf zu Gott reichen sollte. Und irgendwie war schnell klar, dass dies kein gutes Ende nehmen konnte. Denn Gott schaute sich dieses Treiben eine Weile an und überlegte dabei, wie er diesen Größenwahn unterbinden könne. Und er entschied sich für eine äußerst wirkungsvolle Strafe. Er schickte keine Sintflut, sondern sorgte dafür, dass die Menschen auf einmal begannen, in unterschiedlichsten Sprachen zu sprechen, bis sie einander nicht mehr verstanden.

Doch wie hätte Gott damals ahnen können, dass genau diese Strafe viel viel später nun zu unser aller Vorteil werden sollte? Denn wie anders und wo anders hätte dieses Problem der Sprachverwirrung je gelöst werden können, als in einer multikulturellen und multilingualen Schule wie dieser hier in Culham, in der auf wundersame Weise plötzlich selbst Engländer und Schotten wieder miteinander kommunizieren konnten.

Das also gab uns allen, den Schülerinnen und Schülern, den Lehrerinnen und Lehrern, den Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern in den administrativen und organisatorischen Bereichen, die Gelegenheit über annähernd 40 Jahre aus den unterschiedlichsten Ländern und Regionen kommend in dieser einzigartigen Europäischen Schule miteinander und voneinander zu lernen.
Bis heute.

Part 2: Mr Frank Wright

As many of you know, the management, and teachers are going their various ways: some will continue their careers in the new context of the Europa School, some are returning to their home countries; others again are transferring to other European Schools. For a handful however today marks the start of a new life and we wish them a happy and healthy retirement.

We are also thinking of the primary colleagues who we have been missing over the past year. The success of the secondary school is built on the foundations laid down in the primary.

Apart from management, teachers and counsellors, there is another group of people without whose work – often done quietly in the background – this School could not have worked and functioned as well as it has since 1978.

Secretaries, caretakers, nurses, technicians, and many more belong to this segment of the staff known as our Administrative and Ancilllary Staff or, PAS in the French acronym. And, of course, we must remember out dinner ladies.

Like the rest of us – and especially in these last challenging years – these members of staff have shown their loyalty and dedication to this wonderful School.

If I could finish with some wise words. Apparently, Charles Darwin never actually wrote these words that are often attributed to him, but they do reflect his thinking:

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.’’

I am convinced that the members of this school community are equipped not only to survive but also to thrive.

Part 3: Madame Céline Martin

… survivre, c’est s’adapter…

Certes, mais bien vivre au travail, comment s’y prend-on ?

Par une attention à chacun, dans la conscience que chaque membre a son importance en interaction avec l’ensemble. Et nous faisons équipe avec cette écoute et cette bienveillance. D’autant plus certainement que nous créons, nous bricolons, au meilleur sens du terme car nous nous interrogeons constamment sur nos outils, sur la manière parfois de les harmoniser, de les métisser.

Nous avons également vécu des moments forts, collectivement. L’actualité, notamment européenne, est au cœur de nos préoccupations et de nos discussions. Des moments festifs, aussi. Cette dernière année, il me semble que nous l’avons goutée pleinement.

Et je n’utilise pas ce mot « gouter » par hasard. Nous nous sommes nourris ; au sens propre du terme, parce qu’il y a vraiment tout le temps à manger dans cette école ! Et au sens figuré, et c’est ce qu’il faut que l’on apporte avec soi, cette certitude que l’on peut construire ensemble. C’est une grande force sur laquelle chacun peut s’appuyer pour la suite, tant personnellement que professionnellement.

Performances by S5, S6 and S7

Giancarlo Marcheggiano,
Secretary General of the European Schools,
including presentation of the Culham Awards
with Lynn Wood

Songs from the Musicals

Leene Soekov, Director

An extract from our Commemorative Book

Philippe Antignac (DS4) read his contribution to the Commemorative Book:-

It’s been eleven years since I first joined the school. I started from the bottom and now I am here. When I was told that the school would be closing, I thought: “Well – that is ages away.” Now here we are at the end of the line. In my memory it doesn’t seem like a horrible time, but the best you could have.

Finale: S1 sings ‘We are the children of Europe’, written by Lin Marsh