Week 51: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Dear reader,

The week leading up to Christmas has been extra exciting and filled with activities, lectures, music, chief's ball, torchlight procession to the Christmas service, Christmas cleaning and preparations for the upcoming cultural studies trips. We have completed the first semester and can look back on a fantastic student body that has embraced afterschool life and lives in a strong afterschool community.
Thank you to all parents, students and staff for a great first semester, we look forward to seeing everyone again on January 3rd.

Christmas weekend and Lucia parade

This weekend, over 250 students were in Aalborg to experience the Christmas spirit and shop for Christmas gifts for their families. In addition to the Christmas trip, there was also a lot of fun with Christmas cakes and cookies. On Monday morning at assembly, the students had a somewhat different Lucia experience as the teachers M/K surprised them with a very colourful Lucia procession. For traditionalists and girls with dreams of becoming Lucia brides, this was something of a shock, but fortunately it was also very entertaining and a stark contrast to the genre.

Lectures on UWC

On Wednesday evening we had a visit from Maria Bredholt, a student at a United World College school, UWC, in Norway. She explained to about 30 students how to become a student at an international IB college. The values of the UWC schools are close to the values we build on in Ranum, for example there is a great diversity among the students, typically there are 2-3 students from almost every country in the world in each school. The schools are located on different continents. It is relatively difficult to get in, but there is no doubt that many people at Ranum would like to apply for a place in the future.

Chief's Ball

On Tuesday afternoon, after the book classes, all contact groups gathered in the big sports hall and competed against each other in contact group chief ball. The battle was intense and it is reported that both students and teachers had to cool down several times to avoid a commotion about the results. Steen M. contact group deservedly won and received a great prize for their fighting spirit and sportsmanship.

Thai dinner

On Wednesday night, all the Asian and other foreign students were on hand to cook dinner for the whole school. We had a very tasty rice and chicken dish, where no spices were spared. The foreign students presented the food themselves and after 5 months in Denmark, the Danish is doing really well.

Fantastic musical cultural lecture

Thursday afternoon we had a visit from Rune Thorsteinsson, who has just won the Danish Music Award in the category World Music. Rune captivated the students from the first clap and played for 1½ hours on all keys including his own body and all surfaces, as well as the grand piano. He presented in the most vivid way 7 different music cultures from all over the world and the students were introduced to different languages, rhythms and human images along the way. It was mao. a great end to the last 3 months of preparation for the upcoming cultural trips in January.

Christmas Rooms of the Year

The big Christmas room competition got off to a bit of a rough start this year due to term tests and bridge weeks, as well as project writing. But in the last week, Christmas has been totally celebrated and all the resources of the competition have been put to use. Evening teachers have been treated to tasters of Christmas songs and treats. This year's Christmas rooms were voted for in the banquet hall at the end, and the following rooms were chosen: Kærhuset: 312, Seminariehuset. 39, Ranum House: 39. And finally, the best Christmas room of the year was number 7 in the Seminary House.

Torchlight procession and Christmas service

Thursday evening we lit 100 torches and went in procession to Ranum church. The torchlight procession stretched more than 300 metres through the whole town and many locals came out to enjoy the beautiful sight. In the church we sang both Danish and English hymns, and the school choir entertained. The atmosphere was particularly festive when one of our talented Thai students gave a Christmas concert on the piano. The priest, John Vestergaard, told a little Christmas story and at the end promised a short summary in English. It can be reproduced here: "Everything will be okay in the end. If it´s not okay, then it´s not the end! After the last song, the students went back to school and had a good time in their rooms, while the teachers circulated and were pampered.

Christmas dinner and mulled wine at the Tree of Life

Despite the church warden strongly warning students not to be on the night end of this last holy REC evening, and certainly not to meet at the Tree of Life in the schoolyard, there were still well over 300 students in the courtyard at midnight. Luckily, the kitchen had happened to make 40 litres of mulled wine for the parents who were coming to collect their pupil the next day. We then served it to the pupils and, together with gingerbread and Christmas music, it was really cosy. We could have provided dishwashers for the rest of the school year at once, but we gave them free rein because of the Christmas spirit.

Visit of Santa Ib and his faithful squires.

On Friday morning, the students were pretty sleepy, but after a good brunch, the Christmas cleaning in all rooms and corridors started. It went beyond all expectations and was rewarded with a sumptuous Christmas lunch. At 1 pm all teachers and students gathered in the banquet hall and the Christmas room of the year was awarded, also Merry Christmas and Happy New Year were said in at least 10 different languages by the different foreign students and in 3-4 Danish dialects. After singing Christmas in Ranum town one last time, all students and staff danced throughout the school to the song "Now it's Christmas again" and gathered at the Tree of Life. After calling Santa Claus in choir, Santa Ib and his faithful companions came with the cane. A Santa Claus speech was given and sweets were distributed to the expectant students, and finally we danced in a chain around the Tree of Life, hugging each other goodbye after the first 5 months of togetherness.

Now the school is closed, only the office is open between 10-12 every weekday. However, work is in full swing to refurbish the kitchen in the Seminary building so that we can have a new production kitchen up and running by the end of January.

On behalf of all staff, board and students, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Best regards and Merry Christmas!

Olav Storm Johannsen