Everyone pulled together last night to prepare for today. Nine University students, parents, Gilly and I finished making four large frames, each the size of a trestle table. Year 6 work in groups of 6-8 to decorate the frames with stars and patterns of their choice. and transform them into large lanterns that punctuate the parade.
Last year’s pupils entered one such lantern into a competition to create the most original advertisement of a local radio breakfast show and won the top prize of £1000, which has helped fund this year’s parade.
This morning, Mr Repton held a whole school assembly, reminding everyone of the lanterns timetable. Whilst the pupils were there, the team made the roofs for the big lanterns. When Year 6 arrived, they set to the task with great gusto, some with more success in the team-building arena than others.
Some more family lanterns were being made and one confident and charming two year old succeeded in grabbing the attention of some year 6 boys, who happily entertained her with teddies and Mickey Mouse.
Ben, Luke and Keiron, all former pupils and now at work on various placements from college, came to create a sports-themed lantern. The design began life as a football, changed to a footballer and then the school shield holding symbols of various sports. The last idea stuck. As a finishing touch, it will have the school motto, Persevere written in silhouette across the top.
It was a pleasure to have them in the workshop – they worked with great humour and ease. When Mr R came to visit, they held a manly conference…
Having the students and the placements has been of real benefit. There has been a high proportion of young men, all of whom have modelled enthusiasm and interest in the children and the community. They want to be here and it shows. I overheard one of the medical students chatting to a Year 3 pupil about community while they worked together on a lantern. She was nodding and smiling whilst this big man gave her his undivided, gentle attention. I couldn’t help but hope that this day will inform his professional development as well as her personal course.
The sisters came back and completed their beautiful heart. There were gasps of admiration from Year 6 for that and the mosque, which is nearing completion.
Janette joined forces with the girl she worked alongside last year:
“There is no one more excited about lanterns than she is…”
The Sure Start team rigged the carrying poles on their lantern, so it’s ready to cover on Monday.
The day ended with more family lanterns and another team meeting, going over topical tips for the Saturday workshop and making lots of lantern bases in case there’s a rush. Lastly, a big tidy-up, leaving everything ready for the next day.