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80th Birthday Celebrations for Sister Helen at Alton School

Published on isbi School News dated Tuesday 17th of May 2022

On Tuesday 8 February at 2.15 pm, the whole of Alton School stopped to celebrate the birthday of someone the School holds very close to their heart. Over the last 6 decades, Sister Helen has been an integral part of Alton School, as a teacher and mentor and she continues in her role as trustee and Governor to play an important part in the daily life of the School and Nursery.

On Tuesday the Senior Choir led the whole school singing Happy Birthday. She was then presented with cards and gifts from the Lower School upwards including a portrait of Sr. Helen by A level art student, Izzy and a collage of every student in the Lower School by Year R teacher Mrs Naylor-Davis. Sister Helen was delighted with her gifts and all the kind comments she has received from past and present pupils, parents and teachers.

“Sister Helen is an inspiration to us all. She has been here since she was 16 as a pupil and as a teacher and so she knows the school really well. She’s such a great role model, she passes the history of the school onto us and above all she is kind and wise”. Ellamay, Safiya and Emma, Year 10

Sister Helen interviewed by Alton School Sixth Form

On the 19th of January, during our Wednesday afternoon activity sessions, the Sixth Form had the chance to visit the Manor House to get to know the Sisters better. Having never been in the Manor House or had the chance yet to get to know the Sisters myself, this was a privilege, and something I had looked forward to as soon as we found out we were going. The Sisters’ life at our school had always seemed a bit of a mystery to me, and the fact I had the chance to understand and learn more about this, was more of a treat than anything else.

After been welcomed by Sister Helen and shown into a sitting room with a cup of tea, we had a chance to ask Sister Helen and Sister Therese anything we wanted, and while we were a little tentative at first, the questions soon came flowing, as we learned more about their lives, from life with the boarders, to their years studying in London, and abroad. While we learned about their careers and interests, we, in turn, were able to tell them what we wished and aspired to do at university and beyond. However, what stood out most for me, was their commitment and dedication to our school, and its community. Having come to Alton School as a young girl, Sister Helen had stayed on as a Physics teacher, a position which she held for 47 years. It is this dedication which makes our school unique. It forms the basis of our school community and reminds us of our school’s roots; that it was formed by the Sisters of Our Lady of Providence to simply educate and inspire, a role which Sister Helen continues to do today. While she may no longer have an active role in teaching in school, her 80th birthday celebration reminds me how privileged I am to grow up surrounded by role models who motivate and encourage us, not just in their continued commitment to our school, but in their generosity and kindness in giving their lives to help and teach others. Written up by Helena, Year 13
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