Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Young Adult reading, Autumn 2017

Our Librarian, Ms Kent-Sutton, has created this excellent list of recently-published books which may be of interest to pupils (and their parents for Christmas presents....).  

Flip through the pages using the arrows, and click again for a closer look. The document can also be seen and downloaded here.

Bullying Awareness Competition 5

The final selection from the recent competition:

Insignificant Creature? 
(a ‘top to bottom, bottom to top’ poem inspired by Brian Bilston’s 'Refugees') 
by Éile Ní Chianáin and Charlotte Moffitt (III)

All different, all equal.
Lest we forget,
The strongest survive,
The weakest will die.
Do not be so stupid to think,
The importance of the bee should matter to you and me.
Could the earth survive
Without the oxygen they provide?
An insignificant creature but
Because honey is its only feature
Bees will become extinct,
Don’t you think?
The human race is helping prevent global warming
Stopping pesky bees from swarming,
Saving many endangered species’ lives.
The truth is they
are all lies, all lies.
Bees will die,
Humans will thrive,
Because the strongest survive,
The weakest will die.


by Hugh Casey (Primary)

Lives in Sandyford
Hears nothing of interest (at home)
Sees differently to others
Touches a keyboard
Needs food and water
Fears killers and healthy food
Gives a loopy atmosphere
Wonders what is the creation of life
Dreams of another galaxy,
Believes in himself
Loves his family (sometimes).
Is different.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bullying Awareness Competition 4

Two more poems from the recent competition:

(a side-by-side poem - showing two views on one idea) 
by Linus Mertes and Timothy Otway Norwood (III)

Eternal darkness
Loved ones left behind
Lifeless matter
Buried underground
Turning into dust

Eternal slumber
Watching over loved ones
A new start
A new life
A new story
Carried in hearts


by Sadie Keogh (III)

Hear my voice.
It’s my choice.
A baby’s breath for a mother’s death.
‘Murder,’ you say.
‘Better,’ I pray.
Twenty-five or forty-five -
It’s a choice.
Hear our voice.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bullying Awareness Competition 3

Another winner from last week's competition.

lives where it's dry but she
Feels the rain,
Sees the lightning,
Hears the thunder.
Needs the sun but
Fears the sunm
Gives light,
Takes darkness,
Dreams she can fly,
Wonders if she can,
Believes she can't,
She is the light and the darkness.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bullying Awareness Competition 2

Another of the winners from this week's Bullying Awareness competition, this time by Lucy Maher. This poem was read out in Chapel yesterday. The model given was Brian Bilston's 'Refugees', so when you've read this in the order below, turn it around and read from the last line up.

Happiness has appeared. Cue the spotlight.
I don't want anyone to hear anyone saying
I'm going to rain on your sunshine.
I will skip and jump and
Teach you all
The magical powers of a day with blue skies won't
Disturb those who wish to console in darkness,
I tell you don't 
Forget to dance about in the garden
Encourage those to
Enjoy this marvellous day
Just please don't 
Waste your enthusiasm on mundane things
Happiness is here
I cry.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Bullying Awareness Week Poetry competition

This morning in Chapel Ms Smith introduced the winning poems from the Bullying Awareness Week competition, and there were several readings of these. Over the coming days we will publish some of the entries; there was an excellent field overall.

The overall idea was 'awareness' - of others, of difference. The tagline for BAW this year is 'All Different, All Equal'.

First, anonymously, 'Tainted Love' from the Senior section.

I fell in love with the moon
A pretty girl with bright blonde hair,
Soft as silk and unmarred velvet,
She smelt of lemongrass and steel,
Her eyes deep pools of forest green.
Cool as marble to the touch,
She danced her fingers on my skin
And laced her hands with mine.
Her kiss left bitter in my mouth,
Like blood mingled with rusting iron,
Our tainted loved stained lips.
She told me: 'A girl can't love another girl',
But how could that be true?
When all I cared about was her,
And my mind could think of nothing else.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Five Books

The site Five Books is strongly recommended. A simple idea, well-executed: experts in many areas recommend the five books essential to that subject. There are lots of riches here, with ideal introductions to many subjects. It's also very well laid-out.

For instance, Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland, on cultural memoirs, and Nigel Warburton's  choice of philosophy books.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

House Speech Competition 2017

Eliza Somerville from Fourth Form reviews the recent TY House Speech evening:

An evening full of captivating speeches began with a talk about concussion from Thady McKeever. He spoke about the dangers of contact sports, and the effects of repeated concussion on the brain. He ended his speech with a thought-provoking anecdote about an American football player, who ultimately died as a result of his eighteen-year career in professional sports.

I thought that this speech was very engaging. It began with a strong metaphor of your worst enemy hitting you with a bowling ball, and it was shocking to learn that this is equivalent to the force of a boxer’s fist. I also thought that the story about Mike Webster at the end of the speech was very powerful, as it showed the real-life effects of contact sports on the brain and body.

Next, Frances Wilkinson told us about the Butterfly Effect. She explained how small events can have huge, unforeseen consequences. For example, a butterfly flapping its wings could eventually create a tornado. She used an example of a man who spared the life of a soldier in World War I. This soldier turned out to be Adolf Hitler, who was responsible for millions of deaths in World War II.

I found this speech very interesting, as I was curious about how large an effect a small change could truly have. From the examples Frances used, I realised that even the smallest of actions can change the course of history.

Alexis Haarmann then told us about the controversy surrounding the death penalty. He explained that five per cent of people who are sentenced to death turn out to be innocent, and pointed out that waiting for the death penalty to be carried out is mental torture even for rightfully convicted criminals. I thought that this speech gave me a good background to the death penalty, and it made me more convinced that it should be abolished everywhere.
Ben Upton then outlined each side of the argument on whether marijuana should be legal or not. He explored both the recreational and the medicinal side of marijuana, explaining how the legalisation of marijuana would benefit the economy, and how people who experience seizures can benefit greatly from the use of medicinal marijuana. He eventually came to the conclusion that marijuana should not be legalised, as it just causes people to drift further and further away from reality. This speech was well-researched and it was an interesting view on the controversial topic of marijuana’s legalisation.

This was followed by an impressive speech from Tania Stokes on climate change. She first acknowledged that thinking of global issues can be daunting, and then emphasised that even one person changing their behaviour can have an effect on global issues. She then told us some simple tips on how we can reduce our own carbon emissions and waste. Tania ended her speech by telling us to imagine the most beautiful place we’d ever been to, destroyed forever because of climate change.

Tania’s speech stood out to me as she clearly knew her topic very well, and she was truly passionate about environmental issues. I thought that her ending, where she told people to visualise an amazing place, gone forever, was very strong, as it emphasised the shocking influence climate change could have on our world over the next hundred years.

Next, Andrew Kim gave a speech about transport. He pointed out that, four hundred years ago, people had to walk everywhere, or if they were lucky they had a horse. He described the efficiency of the transport system in South Korea, where they have a single card for all modes of transport. Andrew then went on to talk about the various improvements in transport in recent years, such as self-driving cars and the Hyperloop.

Andrew presented what could have been a dull topic in an engaging way, showing how our lives would be drastically altered if modern transport did not exist. I also found the modern advancements in transport fascinating.

Sam Lawrence then gave an absorbing speech about conservation. He informed us about the issues caused by our over-consumption of products such as palm oil. Deforestation of palm trees is occurring at an alarming rate, as fifty per cent of all products in an average supermarket contain palm oil. Sam covered many important issues in his speech, and showed how vital it is to conserve our planet’s resources.

Afterwards, Sophia Cabo spoke about divorce. In her speech, she drew from personal experience to paint a stirring picture of what it is like to go through the divorce of your parents at a young age. Sophia said that there are three stages to divorce: sadness, anger and happiness, and revealed that she was finally in the happy stage.

In her speech, Sophia showed a side of divorce that many people do not get to see. I thought that she described her journey through a difficult time very effectively.

Killian Morrell then talked about the Beatles. He said that his dad was a fan of the band, so Killian had grown up listening to their music. He added that now, when he listens to their music, he instantly gets nostalgic because it reminds him of his childhood in Dubai. Killian’s speech was unusual, and it gave an interesting picture of the different musical influences in his life.

Finally, Sophia Cole talked about women in sport. She said that recently, people have begun to see that women should not work solely in the home, as they have a lot more to offer. However, she explained that there is still huge inequality between men and women’s sport. For example, men get paid a lot more money for playing the same sport as women, and often get to play in drastically better venues than women.

Sophia raised some interesting points, and her speech was both clear and coherent. It was shameful to hear some of the inequality women still experience in the world of sport today.
At the end of the evening, I thought that the joint winners, Thady McKeever and Tania Stokes, were well-deserving of the prize as their speeches were both compelling and thought-provoking, and they each approached their topics with striking originality.

National Poetry Competition

Many congratulations to Tania Stokes, who has been awarded second place in the junior section of National Poetry competition from  PDST/WellRead for her poem ‘Resonance’. The awards ceremony is on November 7th at the CityWest Hotel.


I balanced on the strings.
Light as a tightrope walk:
Tentative, timid.
The first sound crept
At the draw of the bow
Like some small creature
From the dark.

I missed my mark.
The tone not true,
My arrow flew into
Nothing. The music played
Itself in my head. Pure,
Featherweight. Nimble.

I composed myself;
I could see it, crystalline,
The filigree lines.
I fixed my aim.
No stray note would escape.
I would catch it
And carve it to perfection.

But I was mistaken
In my reflection.
A cello’s purpose
Is not to take away –
Music grows. Its source?
A spark. Music throws flames
To the dark, illuminates hearts.

I reached deep, my arrow
Steeped in power. The melody,
I let it fly and it soared high –
It felt alive. I dived
Into the rising tide, and once inside,
I let it carry me to shore.
Music is more than perfection.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Shakepeare's Shadows

An excellent site (and idea, of course) is Emily Rome's Shakespeare's Shadows, where actors and directors talk about individual characters in the plays.  For instance, our current Sixth Form should listen to Cordelia and Lear.

Other characters who have featured so far are Mercutio, Ariel, Ophelia, Rosalind, Malvolio, Richard II, Hermione, Henry IV and Viola.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Bullying Awareness Week poetry competition

For the coming Bullying Awareness Week, we are organising a poetry competition, with winners getting vouchers and having their poems read out in Chapel on Friday 20th October. The deadline for entries is Wednesday 18th.
Your teacher will explain to you the tasks, with P, I and II having a go in class/prep. III, IV, V and VI are invited to write a poem in the form of Brian Bilston's 'Refugees', a 'two-way' or mirror poem. More in class soon.