Portsmouth High School GDST Charity Week starts off with a fancy dress parade

Portsmouth High School GDST Charity Week starts off with a fancy dress parade

14 November 2023

Charity Week at Portsmouth High School was back in full force this week. Entirely masterminded by the sixth form, the annual fundraising week has been a highlight of the school year for over 30 years. Events this week, involving both pupils and staff, include a fancy dress parade, a lip sync battle, a talent show, quizzes and games and the renowned annual netball match between the High School and boys from Portsmouth Grammar School, all culminating in the finale of the Fashion Show running across the last two evenings.

‘Charity week is something the whole school looks forward to every year,’ said Priyanka, 17, Head Girl. ‘I am so excited to have had a hand in organising it. It really is all hands on deck with the entire sixth form coming together to make the week as special as possible and to raise money for an amazing cause. The staff are always on hand to help where they can and the enjoyment of the rest of the school throughout the week is incredibly rewarding.’

Priyanka explained: ‘This year we are supporting Stop Domestic Abuse, a charity which was founded in 1977 by a group of people in Havant who saw a need for a refuge for women and children. They established Havant Women’s Aid which later became Southern Domestic Abuse Service. In 2018, they rebranded to Stop Domestic Abuse with the intent of increasing awareness and extending their reach. They now deliver accommodation and community-based services across Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton and retain their head office in Havant where the charity was founded 45 years ago.’

Priyanka added: ‘Our lunchtime events involve engagement from both staff and pupils from all years and are always entertaining. The sixth form work together, organising everything from initial planning through to the content of each event as well as the finances, logistics and marketing. Everything we’re doing encourages imagination, organisation and a true sense of camaraderie.’

Mrs Ann Clark, an alumna from the Class of 1965 and a former teacher of the school, said:

‘The fashion show started in 1990 so is now in its 33rd year. ‘I remember the sixth form coming up with the idea of a fashion show,’ she said. ‘Jean Hapgood, a local dance teacher, was brought in to do the choreography with the girls. I let them lead the arrangements but I remember it being so much fun.’

Alumna from the Class of 1999 and now Head of Sixth Form at Portsmouth High School, Mrs Katie Wood (nee Farnhill), added:

‘As always, our Head Girl Team have been working tirelessly with the whole sixth form to ensure a Charity Week to remember. Every corner of our beautiful building has been given over to rehearsals, set painting and the storing of costumes, props and prizes, in advance of next week’s programme of events. This is always a colossal team effort and it is heartwarming and incredibly gratifying to support and watch our students pulling together and building each other up in the process. This year I have been additionally impressed by the sensitivity they have shown when engaging with representatives from the Head Girls’ chosen charity, ‘Stop Domestic Abuse’ and additionally with survivors who have been generous and brave enough to share their personal experiences with us. Our pupils are so invested in their fundraising efforts and the lessons they are learning beyond the classroom are really priceless; I’m very proud of them.’

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