I went to school yesterday afternoon to watch their Easter Bonnet Parade for the Seniors and Sixth Form and I did not stop smiling throughout the performance. Pupils with creative parents had made and decorated Easter Bonnets and the pupils had a catwalk set up in the hall, with pupils on one side and parents on the other, which they would walk down, on a class by class basis, to show off their creations. Making hats is not in my skill set and so we have struggled in previous years and now an adult in 6th form, I felt that Joshua had a legitimate reason to opt out, yet he was in the audience, across the hall from me and he clearly enjoyed the show and was lapping up attention from two teaching assistants.
This year the parade had a circus theme and everything was performed to music from ‘The Greatest Showman’, so they opened the show with a performance to a Million Dreams, which set the tone. Then starting with the youngest, each class had the limelight and the catwalk began; the swagger and attitude with which many of the pupils showed off their bonnets was brilliant and heartwarming. They were clearly loving the rare opportunity to be centre -stage and some were very reluctant to make way for their classmates. Each child was cheered and received a round of applause, and it was obvious from the support from the crowd and the photography where their family were sitting. There were three judges who were deciding on a class winner, who was awarded an Easter egg at the end of the show, and although the children gained reward enough from the catwalk in most cases, there was clearly an element of competition amongst the more creative parents, as there was honour in making the best bonnet – festooned in eggs, feathers and flowers.
When it came to sixth form’s turn to parade, I watched the TAs try to persuade Joshua to take part, with a bonnet that they had made in class to fit over his epilepsy helmet. I knew that this would not be his idea of fun and so I watched from across the hall as he resisted standing up and then walking to the front, he kept trying to sit down in protest. They succeeded in getting the very reluctant model to the front, but then he simply hugged the TAs and showed no interest in the catwalk that his peers were walking down. In many areas like this, Joshua has always preferred to be an observer than a participant , which is surprising as he is often a show off,but he sat back down again. I was content that he was there in the audience to enjoy the performance and the music.
After the catwalk, a new school video was played set to the song ‘This is Me’, also taken from The Greatest Showman and it was very emotional to watch. It showed staff and pupils around the school and was beautifully shot, celebrating difference across the school. I cried, of course, but I was also smiling and I need to see it several more times to take it all in as there was so much going on. The whole event showed the school off well, it was well organised and provided every pupil, who wanted it, with an opportunity to show off to an audience and to lap up the attention and adoration, so it was real ‘feel good’ event and I will certainly make the effort to attend again next year.