The girls are very fortunate to have a huge range of extra-curricular activities which take place abroad, including sports and music tours and cultural trips.
Sports trips have included a Lacrosse Tour to the USA (a triennial event), Ski Trips to Italy for the Fourth and LV Form girls (annually), and the girls also enter teams into the annual British Schoolgirls’ Ski Race Championships in Flaine. This year, the girls did exceptionally well in Flaine with a young A Team securing 3rd place in the Overall Unregistered Teams and an individual 3rd place in the U16 Unregistered Giant Slalom, no mean feat given there were 45 schools and clubs attending the competition, 137 skiers in total! The girls were also inspired on meeting Chemmy Alcott, Britain's number one female alpine skier and four times Olympian.
“Wow what an amazing trip the girls had. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you so much for escorting the girls and giving them such a good time.” (Parent of a Ski Race Team pupil).
Forthcoming trips include Pre-Season Tennis Training at the Villa Tennis Academy, Mallorca for selected Fifth and Sixth Form tennis players and an International Junior Netball Tournament at Disneyland Paris for the U16 and U15 Netball Teams.
The Chamber Choir enjoyed a highly successful concert tour of Paris during the Easter holidays, 2014. They sang in the churches of Saint-Sulpice to an audience of 80, La Madeleine to an audience of 200 and then in Notre Dame Cathedral where it was estimated that there was an audience of over 1,000. The girls received some well-deserved praise for their performances:
“I was astonished by the sheer beauty and professionalism of your choir’s singing.” (Concert Tour Attendee)
“The global dimension helps pupils understand global issues and explore ways of addressing them within and beyond school. This more often leads to feelings of optimism and a wish to contribute to positive change in the local/global community.” (www.globaldimension.org)
St Mary’s girls did indeed wish to contribute to positive change when they volunteered to help build a girls’ school in the Chama region in Zambia. The trip was organised with The Livingstone Arts, Cultural and Sporting Development Organisation (LACSEDO) and The David Livingstone Bicentenary and Livingstone 2013 Initiative. The aim of the Programme is to bring children back into the education system and away from child labour and life on the street and, in particular, to help girls who are often denied an education and forced into marriage at an early age. While the girls were in Chama, the Minister of Education sent out an official notification to all the local villages to say that when the school is built, any girl under the age of eighteen who has been forced into early marriage (some as young as ten) can legally divorce their husbands and return to education – the girls felt that their efforts had indeed helped to make a positive difference, albeit small. The girls will continue to support the school in Chama, and will be visiting again in 2016 to continue their work with the school. Read more about the girls’ trip to Zambia.
In order to further help the plight of many girls around the world who are denied an education, St Mary’s Calne also supports Plan UK’s Because I am a Girl - their flagship campaign. Plan UK has already helped 58 million girls and by 2016, they aim to support hundreds of millions more so that they will be free from violence and can get the education, skills and support they need to become powerful forces for change in their communities. The girls are involved with many fundraising events throughout the year on an on-going basis to support this campaign, including the World Wide Walk.
Cultural Trip to Nepal
April 2014: From visiting the iconic whitewashed stupa of Swayambhunath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and trekking in the hills of Nepal where they had to cope with giant spiders, to visiting local schools and meditating with monks - the Fifth and Sixth Form girls had an unforgettable cultural trip to Nepal.