Published 20 December 2019

End of Term Ceremony and speech from the Principal

Today we gathered in the early morning hour for our end of term ceremony, with beautiful musical performances, a farewell speech from the principal and hundreds of garden candles lit all over the school campus. You can read Principal Carina Nilsson’s speech below.

We wish you all a Wonderful Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Dear students,

Here we are, standing together at 6.30 in the morning to celebrate the end of term and the holiday that is almost upon us. Garden candles are burning brightly across campus, one for each student and employee here at SSHL.

The light from these candles truly brings life back to campus after the long dark autumn here, up north. All of you, students and staff alike, are vital to the vibrant SSHL community. Every candle lit today represents each of your unique contributions to the SSHL community and symbolizes the gratitude we have for your choice to all be here, together!

Christmas brings light to the mid-winter darkness making it a very important holiday for us during this dark cold season. My thoughts wander to the sad but touching short story by HC Andersen called The Little Match Girl.

The story is about a poor young girl, shivering and barefoot, trying to sell matches in the street on a freezing New Year’s Eve. Not a single person was interested in buying matches. As the girl strolled through town, she saw people through their windows celebrating New Year’s Eve in the warmth of their homes.

Afraid to go home because her father would beat her for not selling any matches, she huddles in the angle between two houses and lights matches to warm herself. In the flame of the matches she sees a series of comforting visions: a warm stove, a holiday feast, a happy family, and a magnificent Christmas tree.

In the flame of a match she sees her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. To keep the vision of her grandmother alive as long as possible, the girl lights the entire bundle of matches. When the matches are gone the girl dies, and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven.

The next morning, passers-by find the girl frozen with red cheeks and a smile on her lips. They do not know about the wonderful visions she had seen, or how happy she is with her grandmother in heaven. It was, of course, extremely tragic that the poor girl had frozen to death, but the light had brought her immense joy before she died.

Light a candle for someone that is dear to you over the Christmas holiday. Let your light be a gift to friends and family. A gift doesn’t have to be a physical object. A gift can be a kind word or a loving gesture. The candles burning on campus today are a gesture, a symbol of the gratitude we have that you are a contributing member of the SSHL community.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for this term and thank you for spreading light around you here at school, every day.