Juhlat Irikselle - Celebration for Iris

Yesterday, 5 May 2018, was a special occasion for the Manchester Finnish School, as we witnessed and celebrated the award of the Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland to our most honoured member, Iris Mclintock.

This richly deserved award is a reflection of the part Iris played in the foundation of the Suomikoulu in Manchester, the leadership and inspiration she has provided in the school and also among Finns in Manchester and beyond; and last but not least, her astonishingly long career teaching students of the Finnish language.

The honours were performed by Chris Rostron, the Honorary Consul of Finland in Manchester, himself one of Iris's former students.

We had a lot of visitors! Not only did some of Iris's family come to celebrate with us, but also many former students. I think we ran out of cake at one point...! But not coffee, of course.

To be serious, there is profound love and appreciation for Iris in our community, and it goes well beyond the simple fact of her being with us for so long. She has embodied and expressed a love of Finnish and Finland, of incalculable value to the life of the school, and the bond between our two countries. Her energy and enthusiasm has been unflagging, and the touchstone of the positive spirit which has kept the school strong. And then, there is her deep knowledge of the Finnish language, combined with masterful teaching ability, such as has kept students coming to the school though several live some distance away.

A very happy morning. Some speeches were made, notably a very touching and appreciative one from Päivi. Some delicious sweet and savory cakes were brought along by some of our Liverpool friends. We enjoyed words and song from Kari's class.

And very special mention must be made of the beautiful music played and sung by the musical group, The Sound of Finland, consisting of singers Stella Tähtinen and Luke Scott, and keyboardist Fruzina Szücs. They are exceptional performers, and brought a highly appropriate touch of class to the occasion.

The award of the medal is a milestone in our story, and is surely a sign that the Manchester Finnish School has been doing good work all this time, as well as being an enjoyable place to come. And enjoyment is the one word all of her students have used, when talking about her teaching. Thank you Iris, you have a unique place in our hearts.


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