Saturday 20th May 2017 noon-midnight.
In true British fashion, it rained most of the day. But, that did not deter an estimated 2,000 (ex) pupils, (ex) parents, (ex) teachers and (ex) admin staff from attending the closing festival of the European School Culham. (Photos of some of the current S7s with the school secretary Gill Brook – photo credits to Gill Brook)
In between rain showers, people came out of the tents and mingled in groups on the field and in the Harry Potter-style quadrangle. Statements such as ‘I haven’t seen you in ages!’ ; ‘haven’t you grown!’ ; ‘what do you
now?!’ ; ‘oh yes I saw that on your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram page [delete as appropriate]’ were thrown around all day. Funny stories were re-told, memories brought back to life and old faces remembered. ‘Who is that old man over there? I can’t remember his name!’
The school’s talent for cookery, sport, art and music was also demonstrated through bake sales (prepared by many mothers and fathers), volleyball matches, artexhibitions and live performances ranging from pop to opera. (Cake sale – photo credits to Gill Brook)
A dry spell of weather in the early evening allowed certain alumni (who shall remain anonymous) to start a conga line in front of the stage while salsa music played in the background. (Photo of some of the Bac 2011 year – photo credits to Francesco Gallo).
The festival ended with a bang or two thanks to a firework display (in the rain) across the road then the party really started with DJs Gino, TJ and Douglas. (Photo of fireworks- credit to Guy Janaway)
Many outsiders would be forgiven for thinking the school was closing in 2017 because of the B-word which is ubiquitous in the current British and European political sphere. In fact, the decision was made ten years ago to gradually reduce funding from JET, the European science centre down the road from the school in Culham. A commemorative book (1978-2017) was made specially for the event and was on sale. The unsold ones will be available from the school reception after the May half-term holiday.
The Culham project is certainly not dead. Not only will the ‘ Culham spirit’ (words of Director Miss Soekov) stay on with everyone involved with the school but the accredited European School (Europa School UK) will surely fill the gap as they promote the strong and stable bi-lingual European project on the same site.
This was my perspective of the day but there are another 1,999 versions of the story from the Culham Festival (and many more photos)!
By Guy Janaway (Culham Bac 2011) (Photo of the alumni stall with Guy Janaway and Gino Barth – photo credits to Gill Brook)