Eighteen years ago, all the way back in 2002, St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High school entered into a school partnership with Donaldson Senior Primary School of Soweto, South Africa. This partnership, extremely long distance though it is, has endured and been strengthened over many years of correspondence and visits, the most recent of which being just last year.
Over Easter time in 2019, Mr Dumican, Mrs Chapman and Mrs Morgan traded in rainy Wigan for sunny South Africa and headed out for Donalsdon Senior Primary school to pay them a visit – the details of their trip can be found here.
Every year, at Christmas time, we raise money for our partner school with the catchily named ‘Sweaters for Soweto’ day. On this day, our students and staff donate £1 each to raise money for Donaldson Senior, and in exchange they get to wear their finest Christmassy Sweaters - last year we managed to raise a whopping £364.93, this year we are aiming even higher. So, if you would like to get into the Christmas spirit and help out our friends in Soweto, then please give generously and get those Christmas jumpers on!
The proceeds of this event are put towards travel expenses so Mr Jabu Hlatshwayo
(the headteacher of Donaldson), teachers and pupils from his school can visit us here at St Edmund Arrowsmith. One of these trips was scheduled to take place over the summer of this year but unfortunately, due to complications with COVID-19 , the visit was forced to reschedule – but we hope to see our friends from overseas very soon!
But Christmas sweaters aren’t the only trick up our sleeve! Last year, our own Mrs McDonnell organised ‘Dance for Soweto’. This scheme functions very similarly to Sweaters for Soweto, but in place of a Christmas sweater we have a school dance off! After donating £1 per lesson, our students were able to take place in a choreographed dance routine in the school hall, where other pupils who had paid were invited to join them.
Under the supervision of our dance teachers and a few GCSE dance students, the school dance carried on until the end of the day and the end of the term, this was a fantastic way to end the school year while contributing to a good cause - and having some fun while doing it!
By the time the day had concluded, a staggering £982.21 had been raised by our staff and students, all through the power of dance – not bad, right? The proceeds of this went to Soweto travel fund, meaning the more money we raise the more children we can welcome to our school next time!
We encourage everyone to get involved with our yearly Christmas tradition on Friday (11th December) and hopefully we can see our friends from Soweto soon!