A number of special events have taken place to mark the departure of Karen Leahy who is retiring after 29 years as Head of Junior School. A tea was organised for pupils, parents, staff and governors on Friday 24th June to celebrate her tremendous service to the school and to watch the unveiling of her official portrait that was commissioned by the governors. There is a portrait gallery at Senior School of the past Talbot Heath Headmistresses, but Karen's portrait will be hung in the Junior School.
When she began there were approximately 80 Junior aged girls and she started a Pre Prep department and built the pupil numbers up to over 200 girls. She has always maintained that the traditional values of the school are upheld, but has been innovative in her approach, embracing the new and ensuring that Talbot Heath Junior pupils are equipped for the next stage in their education. Karen was immensely proud to have been given a letter and gift from Jeff Williams, the Director of Education from Winchester Diocese, thanking her for her contribution towards her maintaining a Christian focus at the school.
On Thursday 30th June another special event took place that had been kept secret from her for nearly two months. The Junior School children and many of the staff arrived at school dressed as cats (because they are her favourite animal). Amongst the clowder of cats were lions, tigers leopards as well as a multitude of moggies. The children, aged 4-11 have been rehearsing cat themed songs with the Music Department and sang them to her in their respective year groups, culminating in a very uplifting whole Junior School song Power in Me. Following the songs, was a book presentation containing farewell messages from every child, and flowers, including 29 single roses to denote each year of service. The special day ended with a cat themed street party for all the pupils in the Junior School courtyard. Thanks go to the support team and catering team for their help and preparation.