Mrs Stringer's House: Cygnus
In the first part of a new four-part blog series, we explore what it means to be a member of each SGGS House. First up is Cygnus, as told by the current House Captains, Imogen and Imogen.
“There is no ‘I’ in Cygnus, but there is an ‘us’, because we are a team”
Hello everyone. We are Imogen and Imogen (confusing, we know!) and we are this year’s Cygnus House Captains! We would like to start with some quick context. Aside from being far and away the best House in the school, what is Cygnus? For some, Cygnus might symbolise a swan, the constellation or even the colour blue, but it goes far beyond that.
Cygnus has always been defined by those who represent it - so maybe it is better to ask, who is Cygnus? It’s every girl in every class who proudly sports a blue stripe on her blazer or lanyard, from Year 7 all the way to Year 13. It’s every Tutor who gets stuck in on Sports Day relay races or dresses up at House Festival. And of course, it’s our Head of House, Mrs. Stringer, and her cuddly toy swans! These are the things, or rather people, that make us immeasurably proud to be Cygnus House Captains.
Returning to school
After months of online learning, we were greatly looking forward to returning to school in person and resuming our House Captain duties. Although confronted with new challenges that naturally arose from running a COVID-19 safe school, we were determined to maintain normality as much as we could and set out to make all new students to Cygnus feel welcome and well informed.
Being back at school these past few weeks has been fantastic. Having face to face contact again is truly invaluable and the House community feels much closer together; both literally and metaphorically! We can’t deny, however, that our role has had to adapt to the new rules and systems put in place around school. For instance, the introduction of year group bubbles has meant that we are no longer able to interact directly with younger years, which would normally be an integral part of what we do. Nevertheless, this has not stopped us from finding new ways to reach out to the girls in Cygnus.
Collaborating with the other House Captains, we have worked on numerous videos to explain our roles and even created parody music videos. Equally, our competitions, such as the weekly House Quiz, have encouraged involvement from across all Houses. Most recently, we have launched the House Acronym Competition, which aims to get students thinking about what their House means to them. We have already been overwhelmed by the high quality and quantity of submissions from Cygnus students, and we can’t wait to select and announce our winner.
Adapting with the times
It has been really encouraging to see how enthusiastic and receptive the Cygnus girls have been so far and we have lots of things planned for them to enjoy this term. For one, we hope to start up ‘Talking Tuesday’ House Council sessions in individual Tutor Groups. House Council has long been a part of life at SGGS. It is a great forum for discussion and collaboration across year groups, but given this year’s restrictions on year group mixing, it can no longer run as it once did. We recognise how important it is for each member of Cygnus to be able to voice their opinion, and we don’t want to deprive them of that opportunity. That is why we have adapted the format to allow for discussion in Tutor Groups. This will hopefully be implemented very soon.
With Microsoft Teams becoming a more important part of everyday school life too, there has been lots of learning to do for all of us, from both an educational and technical point of view. It has enabled us to reach out to all our ‘Cygnets’ across the years despite the year group bubbles. We have used this platform to post our House videos and competition on the Whole School Team and it has been a great way to encourage House spirit from a distance.
What comes next?
Reflecting on our time as House Captains so far, we have both been so impressed by the unwavering Cygnus spirit and positive attitude. Adapting to new changes has been made so much easier because of constant enthusiasm and receptiveness and we are sincerely thankful to everyone who has got involved. We cannot wait to continue creating new competitions, videos and events for our House and we are looking forward to watching our bank of swans continue adapting to the new school environment.