Girls’ School Celebrate Their Scottish Heritage

April 01, 2019 at 5:17 PM

Did you know, the old Kings and Chiefs of Scotland used Highland Dances to test a man’s strength, stamina, accuracy and agility as a way of choosing the best men for their armies? This was one of many facts the girls learnt this year’s Flora MacDonald Day.

Flora MacDonald Day is a chance for the girls to understand and experience their Saint Kentigern Scottish Heritage in more depth. Founded to honour Saint Kentigern’s ancestry from a feminine perspective, the day is named after an 18th century Jacobite heroine who risked her life to smuggle Prince Charles Edward Stewart – ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ – from exile in Scotland over the sea to the Isle of Skye. It was on account of her bravery and strength of character that Flora was chosen as a strong namesake for the day of celebration.

To begin the day, three girls from College Pipes and Drums led the Girls’ School clans, special guests and Preschool girls down the driveway in the parade, before leading them into the hall to be seated.

The orchestra made their debut performance of the year, playing ‘Sutherlands Law’ by Hamish MacCunn, arranged by school accompanist, Dr Jenkins, setting the scene for Principal, Ms Juliet Small to welcome the guests and tell the tales of Flora’s bravery and Highland Dance. Special guest, the diminutive and nimble-footed, Grace Broun was welcomed to the stage. At only 7 years old, Grace recently won regional U8 and U10 Highland Dance competitions and gave a very confident demonstration of the Highland Fling and the Sword Dance.

Formalities were interspersed with one and all joining in song including The School Song, the ‘Skye Boat Song’ and ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean’. The harmonies by the girls were beautiful and there were plenty of smiles from the visitors when the girls bobbed in time to ‘My Bonnie’ – the adults soon joining in.

Eager to get their day of fun underway, the girls readied themselves for the activities, while the guests made their way to the library to enjoy a morning tea of home-made shortbread – looking out with interest at the activities being set up on the field and pool – a giant obstacle course, a water slide and ‘water walkers’ on the pool

As the day unfolded, it was clear that one of the highlights was learning Scottish Dancing, as the girls danced for sheer joy - and they came to understand how hard it might have been for the clansmen trying to prove themselves in the 18th century! Along with the dancing and energetic outdoor activities, including Highland games, the girls also enjoyed some quiet time, weaving tartan, creating tartan art and tassels – and the favourite, cooking oaty pancakes to top with treats – the non-stop day of cooking groups caused a heavenly smell on campus!

For the girls, it was a fantastic day of celebration – and for the teachers too! The girls won’t forget seeing their Principal and Deputy Principal join them to zoom down a soapy, slippery water slide!


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