Clarence – Farewell from Miss Jeans

Miss Jeans has been resident in Clarence for the last four and a half years. As she prepares to leave Wycombe Abbey, I asked her to reflect upon her time in house:

And so, with the sound of Chris Rea in my ears, I will shortly find myself driving home for Christmas, and, for the last time, driving home from Clarence. Mrs Sparks has kindly given me the opportunity to reflect on this half term as a final ‘over and out’ to the four and a half years I’ve spent in Clarence.

This half term we marked the movement from October to December through celebrating Halloween, Bonfire Night, Advent and Christmas. A bit of healthy competition kickstarted the half term with the annual pumpkin carving competition and the new tradition of trick or treat for Junior House pupils. It was difficult to discern whether the bloodcurdling screams that ricocheted down the corridors were the Clarence pupils’ dramatic skills or the Junior House pupils’ surprise. The Halloween party in the CCR that followed included some creative costumes and even more creative karaoke rap renditions. With a greater degree of calm, at the start of December we decorated our Clarence tree, complete with the traditional frustration of wrapping the lights strategically around the tree. The abundance of mince pies and chocolate coins added the final polish to that evening. Each member of Clarence was also given a Cadbury’s advent calendar to mark the countdown to Christmas and the end of term.

In the house kitchens last week, we have seen some highly impressive cooking and firm friendships celebrated and cemented around different variations of Christmas dinners. On my duty nights alone, I’ve seen roasted hams, spatchcocked chickens, truffle mac and cheese and pigs in blankets galore, followed by raucously sung carols and karaoke. It’s been the perfect antidote to the pressure of UCAS applications and interviews. A number of different teachers have been lucky enough to have been invited to dine: House 7 and House 10 kindly invited me to dinner with Mr Vacarro and Mr Startup respectively which was delicious. House 9 also baked us some Christmas biscuits which brightened up Friday night for Miss Suto and me last week. But a special mention must go to Janelle for her incredible baking skills: her matcha cookies are a little piece of heaven. Clarence’s ability to cook and entertain will certainly serve them well at university and enable them to establish new social support circles swiftly, the value of which is immeasurable. Some have also taken the opportunity to relax and extend their Christmas film-based education at the same time, watching Love Actually, The Holiday and other modern classics to wind down in the evening.

It goes without saying that I will miss the culinary delights that Clarence pupils produce – I have learnt so much about international comfort food and have a much more interesting and eclectic kitchen cupboard at home now because of the things that have been recommended to me. Even in their moments of stress and disappointment, I have enjoyed working with them to see things through to the other side. I am so proud of the people they have become and the many different things that they have gone on to achieve. With a traditional Christmas nod to Dickens, I wish the students of Clarence past (Classes of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023), present (Class of 2024) and future (my current fabulous LVI) a very happy Christmas and an exciting New Year.”

Miss Jeans has been a vital part of Clarence and has seen  a number of UVI year groups through many highs and lows. She is there for the pupils day and night, always ready to help with anything. The pupils at her new school are incredibly lucky and we wish her the best of luck. Please keep in touch Miss Jeans!

All that is left for me to do, is to wish you a very well-deserved Christmas holiday. I am so proud of each and every pupil in Clarence and everything they have achieved over the last term. It is an absolute privilege to be their Housemistress. I look forward to welcoming everyone back in January.