GALLERY| Frances students bring Christmas joy to town

Frances Primary School students welcomed in the festive season last night with their Christmas concert.

The school oval was full of festive decorations, bubbles and laughter as families gathered on the oval to watch the children perform.

The show was a delightful combination of music and dancing paired with the acknowledgement of student's successes.

The children from the play centre melted hearts with their rendition of Reindeer Hokey Pokey, and all the students showed off their musical talents with a ukulele number.

Awards were also given to students who had embodied the school values or had excelled academically.

Former students and longtime friends Holly Hannaford and Anna Hawkins spoke about how Frances Primary School had shaped their lives and friendships.

The show was bittersweet however, as everyone said goodbye to year seven students George Koch, Ada Hoctor and Zahli Williams, who will be moving onto Naracoorte High School next year.

Principal Joyce Dinan said the three students will be greatly missed by both staff and students.

"Those three students have just flourished this year - they have become the best versions of themselves," she said.

"George made two SAPSASA events this year, and couldn't attend either because of the border closure. He was devastated by that but he just dealt with it and kept going, it was extraordinary.

"Ada has had a lot of success academically, and Zahli is probably most of the student's best friend at the school - there are a lot of parents disappointed that she is moving on to high school."

The highlight of the evening was a visit from the man in red himself, who arrived in style on the back of the Frances CFS truck.

Ms Dinan said she was very proud of the students for their excellent performance.

It was the first time the annual event was held at the school, and the change proved to be a success.

"This is the first year we haven't been down at the Frances hall, due to COVID, and I think it worked really well,"

"Most people I talked to were much happier being at school - the younger kids could run around and play, and they were safe, the parents were more relaxed.

"The sound travelled really well, even though we were outside, and the weather was kind to us.

"It worked really well being outside, we might look at that again next year."

Ms Dinan said the success of concert was a reflection of the work of the staff over the school year.

"We've had a really good focus on increasing the academics at the school," she said,

"We do have some very capable students here, and next year our STEM focus and our space seed project, that will really further that.

Read more on the space seed project here

"Our Spanish program is doing extremely well, because we have the community involvement with our native spanish speaker from Barcelona.

"With the ukulele, we just started that in the middle of the year, and they have done really well.

"It's about the the discipline of it and being able to experience themselves as part of an ensemble or group, and the team experience, where everyone contribution matters and how everyone else supports them in that group setting."

It isn't just the academic side of things that the school has been focusing on this year, with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the cross-border community.

"We have been running a kindness challenge every week, because with COVID, it has been important to keep positive while being focused," Ms Dinan said.

"The kindness challenge has really defined the culture of the school over the year and kept kids attention on how they can support others and not just think about what is happening to them.

"That's been a really positive experience for the whole school, very character building and helped to foster a culture of community - we're a family school, it's like we are one big family.

"The students are so proud of each other and when one person experiences an award or a success, it's as if everyone has experienced it.

"It is very much a characteristic of the school, they are so supportive of each other. It doesn't matter who you are, where you're from and what your strengths or challenges are, everyone is just accepted for who they are as part of our school family."

In a show of appreciation for the school, winner of the school's first place raffle prize Jo Koch donated her $2,000 prize back to the school.

"It was such a generous thing to do," Ms Dinan said.

"We normally have a lot of fundraisers through the year, and this year we haven't been able to do that so Jo being able to send another $2000 our way was a really big help.

"Frances is a very generous community though, with their time and efforts- if we have a working bee, they bring in equipment and incredible skills and we just get jobs done."

Ms Dinan thanked the whole community for their continued support of the school.

AWARD WINNERS

Hannaford Family Perpetual Junior Citizen Award 2020

Hope Wilkinson

Frances Primary School Flower/Roberts Families Perpetual 2020 Academic Junior Award

Harry Ramsden

Frances Primary School Flower/Roberts Families Perpetual 2020 Academic Senior Award (Dux of the School)

Ada Hoctor

Frances Primary School Friend of the School Junior Award 2020

Zoe Livingston

Frances Primary School Friend of the School Senior Award 2020

Zahli Williams

MacKillop School Values Junior Award

Gus Sambell

MacKillop School Values Senior Award

Eva Sambell

Volunteering Award for Outstanding Service To Frances Primary School 2020

Loren & Kenny

Frances Primary School Sheila Herold Memorial Award 2020

George Koch