As we reach our first break of this academic year, I’d like to reflect on how much we value our Alumnae and thank them for their continued support of the school.

We might offer our fond farewells and say goodbye to the girls as students, but we say a huge hello to everyone immediately afterwards, since as soon as a girl leaves NGHS she becomes part of the GDST Alumnae Network and all of the amazing benefits it has to offer, as well as being a member of our own alumnae family. We really value our leavers and don’t stop caring about them just because they’re no longer here, and that makes it really special when they get in touch with us and offer to come and talk to current girls about careers, university or any other life experiences.

We’ve had the pleasure these past few weeks of several alumnae coming back to see us for one reason or another, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting them. We had a brilliant piano recital by Clare Hammond who left us in 2003 and is now a very well-known and accomplished concert pianist. We also had a very useful and informative visit from Clare Third and Laila Shahrokhshahi who left in 2010. They talked to Year 11 girls about life at university and the career paths they’d chosen since, and then held an open session with the girls at which they answered questions about life after NGHS. Similarly, 2013 leaver Emma Payne was a guest speaker at our Year 12 Celebration Evening – her presentation was perfectly pitched, thoroughly entertaining, and offered really relevant, encouraging advice for our girls.

A visit from Elisabeth Kirkby, who left the school in 1937, has been a real highlight!  Now 96, Elisabeth lives in Australia but still has family in Nottingham and decided to get in touch with the school to see if she could come and visit. It was an absolute pleasure to welcome her back to NGHS and to hear about her amazing life in Australia including being a leading actress in a top soap, and leading the Australian Democrats in New South Wales for many years – incredible! Elisabeth particularly loved seeing the performing arts centre and was naturally impressed by this outstanding facility. She had so many stories and memories of the past; it was so great to welcome her back.

So I’d like to say ‘thank you very much’ to those alumnae who have been back, and I’d really encourage others to do the same. We have regular reunion events which are always popular and well attended.  We know how much fun it can be to see old friends – and old classrooms!  But I’m particularly keen for those alumnae who can be such inspirational role models to return and talk to our current girls and give them valuable advice. It’s so much better coming from somebody who’s been there, and done that, and I’m so grateful that people are willing to give up their time to do so.

Our Facebook page is a great source of information, and the Alumnae pages on our website, and with our dedicated Alumnae and Community Relations manager, Aisling Hooper, on board, there are lots of ways to get in touch, so please do. I look forward to meeting lots more of these inspirational young women in the future.