‘Twas the month before finals…

The Summer Term in Clarence brings with it a strange mix of emotions. On the one hand, an exciting journey beckons from beyond the cherished walls of Wycombe. At the same time, this is the business-end of the academic cycle, representing the culmination of many years of hard work. As you might expect, a hush hangs over Clarence for much of the time, with nothing but the whirring of brain cogs and the shuffling of colour-coded notes to break the silence.

These are Clarence girls, though, and a sense of fun is omnipresent, punctuating the pattern of serious revision with regular moments of mirth. There is frequent hilarity in houses, often centred upon the kitchen – isn’t that where the fun always happens? There have also been some weekend events to encourage the girls to switch off for a while and relax, including a Eurovision party and a tapas evening, the latter of which was largely hijacked by Dr Goward’s Spanglish toddler, Mateo!

In honour of the indomitable spirit and positivity of the Clarence girls, Dr Goward has composed an ‘Ode to the Summer Term’ (leaning heavily on the original poem by Clement Clarke Moore).

‘Twas the month before finals…

‘Twas the month before finals, and through Clarence House,
Every girl was revising, using her nous.
The girls had all mapped out their studies with care;
Each had an idea of what should go where.

The children had nestled their books by their beds,
While visions of top grades danced in their heads.
The Rev in her collar and I, balding chap,
Said “settle your brains and don’t get in a flap”.

In the day, on the lawn, in the sun they would natter,
Taking a break from the big things that matter.
Then back to the grindstone they flew like a flash,
Off to the notes that they knew they must bash.

Soon, it was planned, they to uni would go,
Where skills learned at Wycombe would obviously show.
We would all miss them, that much was clear,
And remember them fondly, be they far or near.

But it wasn’t all working and making things stick,
In these weeks before finals when minds are so quick.
There is much more to Wycombe than a world-famous name,
And more to the girls bound for glory and fame.

There are jokes on the stairs and the chats in the kitchen,
Being there for your friend’s valued more than addition.
Knowing these girls and how great they are, all,
I see many virtues, though I’m half up the wall!

I notice each caring when emotions run high,
If a mate is in trouble and feels she could cry.
Like lads in the trenches, their friendships are true;
They’re brimming with fun and confidence, too.

If you don’t believe me, well I can give proof,
Of dancing and laughing and being a goof,
Like the ‘vision of Euro’ (no, a rhyme can’t be found!)
When they were all singing and larking around.

And then there was tapas, with grass underfoot,
And food, which if German, we might say was ‘sehr gut’.
All covered in sand and sprawled out on his back,
Even Mateo enjoyed all the craic!

Their eyes, how they twinkled, so jolly and merry;
Perhaps the sangria? We didn’t serve sherry.
Each mouth with a smile was drawn up like a bow,
Their humour quite decent, if not white as snow!

So now as they grip these exams in their teeth,
Probably nervous a bit underneath,
I see that they have a real fire in their belly,
Despite legs at times that feel quite like jelly.

There’s a reason these girls have a strong sense of self,
That will last when books are put back on the shelf.
It’s the reason they’ll thrive as they press ahead,
Seize the future with passion and no sense of dread.

It’s because they’re all Wycombe, though you’ll think I’m berserk;
It is seen in their play, in their rest and their work.
It’s there in their friendships, gosh how it shows!
When they shout, ‘Fide Vade!’, everyone knows.

Their time here in Clarence has gone by in a whistle,
And soon they will fly like the down of a thistle.
Then we’ll exclaim, ‘ere they head out of sight,
‘You’re all amazing and your futures are bright!’

Good luck with all your exams, Clarence! Savour your last few weeks at Wycombe, as we will try to make the most of the remaining time that you are with us. Don’t work too hard (you are allowed a break!) and remember to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Best of luck and good wishes,
Team Clarence