Happy 130th birthday Sydenham High!

P1030427 croppedSydenham High is celebrating a major milestone with its 130th birthday.

The school first opened its doors in February 1887 with just 20 students. This soon grew to 200 and today some 580 girls aged 4-18 attend Sydenham High.

Celebrations started on the school’s actual birthday – 22 February – with a whole school assembly, telling the story of the school’s early history, and a birthday cake for all the pupils and staff, cut by the Head Girls and the Junior Heads of House.

OGA 130 group 201085A few days later, the school played host to over 150 alumnae and staff past and present, for a birthday lunch.

Past students from 1950 to 2008 caught up with classmates, some of whom they had not seen since they left. They exchanged memories and anecdotes and explored the school to relive their school days.

One group even recreated a photo taken of their Geography class in the early 1960s.

201090 (2)22 geography (English corridor) 1963

After the lunch, the assembled audience heard speeches from the recently retired Headteacher of 14 years, Mrs Kathryn Pullen, now an honorary Vice President of the Sydenham High Old Girls’ Association; the Acting Headteacher Mr Karl Guest and the Head of Junior School Miss Claire Boyd. Mrs Pullen then cut the official birthday cake with her predecessor Dr Denise Lodge.

In May the school, which has a strong history of community action and fundraising, is aiming to field a team of 130 to take part in the St Christopher’s Hospice Fun Walk. The Hospice, located a stone’s throw from the school, is also celebrating a milestone birthday this year.

There are also plans to provide further support to Sydenham High’s sister school in Nepal, which was built with funds raised by students following the devastating earthquakes in 2015. The school is in one of the most remote regions of Nepal which was hardest hit.

“We are not celebrating our bricks and mortar but the community of students and staff who have made, and make, this school what it is today,” said Acting Head Karl Guest. “Our motto Nyle Ne Drede means Fear Nothing, and we aim as our founders did to ensure that the students in our care aim high, without fearing failure, to make the most of their future.”

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Trixie Sambidge

Sydenham High life through a lens, past and present