Celebrating Junior School Diamanthorst
Junior Event

On Friday 15 July, current and past parents, students and staff gathered to celebrate Junior School Diamanthorst (JSD) and the meaning the campus had for everyone who passed through its ranks. It was an opportunity to share fond memories and reminisce before the end of one chapter and the start of the next.

As the JSD campus closed its doors and the three BSN Junior Schools amalgamated into two, the community came together to support one another.

I really do believe that with a strong community and that kind of a golden triangle of parents, staff and students, that sweet spot, when you get all of them in balance together, you create magic. I think that is achieved here [at JSD].

- Chris Wathern, JSD Headteacher

The JSD Spirt and Identity

The JSD Newsletter from September 2003

From the moment each and every one of us walks through the newly painted doors of this intelligently designed building, we share a common identity and sense of purpose. We are the community of the BSN Junior School Diamanthorst.

These words were part of the written welcome sent to the families joining JSD in September 2003 from the Founding Headteacher, Paul Ellis.

Nineteen years later, this shared identity that Mr Ellis referenced remained strong. The word most commonly used by the JSD students, staff and families to describe their campus was ‘community.’ Many even referred to it as a family.

As far as I can gather talking to the Headteacher and lots of the people around, it’s [JSD]still like a family, so that family idea has continued; I’m very happy to see that it has done.

'That’s something that you will take with you; that’s nothing to do with the building. That’s to do with the people and how they make things work together.'

-Paul Ellis

Go Green

In moments of transition and change, it is only natural to have mixed feelings; however, the JSD community was set on making the day festive. The campus was awash with green on its Celebration Day. Students, staff and families were invited to “Go Green for JSD” in honour of the campus colour, and green feather boas and sequined hats were dotted throughout the crowd on the day.

The green theme extended beyond the JSD Celebration Day and focused on a brighter, more sustainable future. Ahead of the day, each class set themselves an environmentally friendly challenge or task to complete. Students had the option to take part in the challenge with their families by doing something good for the environment, like picking up litter in a local park, going plastic-free for a week, or trying to set an hour each day without electricity.

The ‘Go Green’ theme was also used in the collaborative art project that the JSD and Junior School Vlaskamp (JSV) students worked on before the end of the school year. Inspired by the British artist Bob and Roberta Smith (though the name suggests two people, the artist is one man), the students created banners to promote looking after the environment.

These banners are now hung up at JSV. They will be a visual reminder of the impact everyone can make to help protect the planet and provide a sense of collective belonging to the students.

Special Guests and Fond Memories for a Final Family Friday

In addition to fun activities for the JSD students during the Celebration Day, there was also a final, special Family Friday (a JSD initiative to provide the community with a chance to come together during the period of restrictions due to the pandemic and a firm favourite on the campus with staff, students and families).

The festivities began with guests gathering in the school hall for a reception with speeches from Paul Ellis, Founding JSD Headteacher, Oonagh Lewis, the link Governor for the JSD campus, Angela Parry-Davies, the JSD Headteacher from 2012 to 2019 (via a video message), and finally, Chris Wathern, Headteacher of JSD from 2019 until 2022.

The sense of community was a strong theme in the speeches.

Angela Parry-Davies also spoke about the value of the care and strong teaching and learning offered to each student: 

...students have flourished; they have had opportunities to grow and to understand how things move on, change, and have the confidence to take those opportunities in their hands, grab them, and move forward.

'I wish you all well as you move forward, whichever doors are going to be opened, whichever doors you choose to open.'

Oonagh Lewis shared her experience as both a parent and the JSD link Governor: 

'I've been incredibly lucky to get to know JSD from a unique perspective, both as a parent and as a Governor. I've been here for two years now and have experienced a lot.

It has been an absolute privilege to work with incredibly committed, professional, and fun individuals who have a real passion for what they do. 

Final Reflections on the Year

In his speech, Chris Wathern reflected on his time at the BSN over the last three years, and though it was bittersweet to say goodbye, he felt the past year was celebratory at JSD. After the difficulty of the pandemic, the 2021-2022 school year saw a lot of achievements and initiatives that the community should feel proud of.

I might be biased, I’ve worked in many schools, but there is a very, very special feeling, and as Paul referred to it, it’s a family.

'The thing about the family here is that even when we fall out or disagree with each other, we reconcile for the greater good. And like Paul said, it's about putting the students at the heart of our decision-making, but you can't do that without the wonderful parent body. You can't do that without a wonderful staff body. And I have to say, this is the most dedicated staff I've ever worked for and led.'

With a final toast, the guests were invited outside, where the JSD students joined them, and everyone enjoyed snacks, music and games.

A New Chapter Begins in September 2022

From September 2022, a new chapter begins for the JSD and JSV students, staff and families. Together, they will form a new community and family on the JSV campus.  

As a new chapter begins, the JSD spirit will live on, and the campus will be a valued part of the BSN's long history.

Flickr album: JSD Celebration 2022 | Height: auto | Theme: Default | Skin: Default - Transparent


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