Rydal Penrhos Newsletter
Foreword by Mr McDuff
Welcome to our new online newsletter. I am most grateful to all who have been involved in setting up this new medium and hope that you find it informative, enjoyable and easily shared with family and friends.
This issue rightly begins with a tribute to Robert Tickner. His 33 years of devoted service to Rydal and Rydal Penrhos speak for themselves.
His genuine delight at all that goes on at school was also clear to see, nowhere more than in his labour of love with the school archives. There were no school concerts, plays, talks etc where Rob could not be seen recording all that went on and he leaves us a rich legacy for generations to enjoy in the years to come.
This newsletter is also a testament to all that goes on in our busy school; busy, successful and happy.
As an electronic version it will, of course, also take up much less storage space – another attribute Rob would have been delighted with. I hope you find it a good read.
Tributes paid to much-loved teacher
It is with great sadness that we announce that Rob Tickner, who had taught here for 32 years, died on Monday, March 7 aged 62.
Mr McDuff, said: “Rob Tickner had taught at Rydal Penrhos since 1983. Thousands of pupils have gained enormously from both his high quality academic teaching and his warm pastoral care.
“He was a gentleman and a truly valued colleague. His wisdom and experience made him an exceptional teacher, archivist and friend. He is sorely missed. “
In addition to his teaching role, Mr Tickner was also appointed as the school archivist due to his wealth of knowledge about all things past and present at the school.
Mr Leach, said: “His knowledge of pupils, especially former ones to whom he had exercised his wonderful duty of care, was immense.
“Interested, intelligent, humorous, compassionate, selfless, sincere – irreplaceable and one of life’s greatest characters.”
Mrs Crimes, said: “We will be eternally grateful for the contribution he has made to the Dramatic Society and to our whole school community.”
Mr Tickner’s funeral took place on Thursday, March 17 at St Joseph’s Church in Colwyn Bay.
Rev’d Sissons, said: “Rob cared about his own teaching – it was always of the highest standard – and he wanted the pupils to care about their work too.
“Shoddy or sloppy work was the thing that most disappointed him, because he wanted people to do and give their best at all times.”
Miss Lloyd, added: “When I was hobbling on one leg, with crutches going up and down these maths stairs for six weeks before my London Marathon run, he kept me going with his positive attitude and caring ways.
“I loved his attitude towards life; nothing was too much trouble, and he was never in a hurry. He always made time to talk to us all and share his stories about his day or holidays.”
Latest news from the school
A huge congratulations to three of our pupils, who made it to the regional finals of a prestigious public speaking competition.
The team of Morgan Kendall, Sydney Johnson and Cerys Cuddihy came away victorious in the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition district finals, which was held at Glyndwr University on Friday, February 26.
They beat out a number of schools competing from North Wales, Cheshire and the Wirral, and they will now be returning to the Wrexham on Sunday, March 13 to compete in the regional final.
Miss Jones, said: “The standard of the presentations throughout the evening was incredibly high, with schools delivering speeches on an array of topics - from technology to time - in front of a large audience.
“Against tough opposition, the team reached the top spot and spoke with confidence and eloquence.
“The judges commended the team on the high quality and professional manner they conducted their speech.”
Well done to a number of our Year 8 pupils, have been rewarded for their hard work with numerous climbing awards.
No fewer than seven achieved either a level one or level two certificate from the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme at a recent grading.
The qualifications are part of the school’s Outdoor Education programme, which takes place every Wednesday afternoon.
The level one award winners were Cerys Cuddihy, Frankie Holmes, Natalie Lever, Adrian Lewis and Nicholas Riding.
To add to this success, the duo of Kevin Farrell and Tirion Jones managed to gain both level one and level two awards for their efforts.
Mr Cashell, said: “I am delighted that a number of our pupils have achieved the requirements and assessments needed to gain these certificates.
“It is a testament to all the hard work they have put in so far this year, and the awards are richly deserved.”
The Director of the our upcoming Dramatic Society production Mrs Crimes has given her thoughts on the play ahead of opening night.
Miles Poller as Atticus Finch, defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel - Tom Robinson - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.
Through the young eyes of Scout Jenny Blackman and Jem Finch (Tallulah Batley), Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties.
The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice, but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.”
The cast have been working extremely hard since October on this production, which has been voted the most life-changing book by a female author.
The play’s themes are very challenging and they have had to work with maturity and a strong team spirit.
Another of our talented actors, Arthur Hind, gave a rousing performance as the Shepherd Boy in the touring Tosca opera, which took place on Sunday, February 8 at Venue Cymru.
Mr Wright, said: “Arthur gave a stunning performance and represented Rydal Penrhos in a very positive way.
“To sing completely alone on stage, accompanied by a full professional orchestra, before paying public is a terrifying prospect for many.
“Furthermore, he did not go on stage until after 9.30pm following a full day at school so that made the quality of his performance even more impressive.
“Arthur had worked really hard to learn the part with me and at home during the last fortnight, and he deserves an enormous amount of credit for the way he handled himself throughout."
A number of our Prep School pupils also took part in the performance, with Lily Northcott, Naina Babbar, Katie Pritchard-Jonas and Priscilla Fu impressing on stage.
Love was in the air thanks to a charity committee fundraising drive.
The group of Sixth Formers sold roses to both our staff and pupils, and managed to raise £60 for St Kentigern Hospice.
Those that purchase a rose had them delivered by delivered by two special cupids in the form of pupils Olivia Williams and Omer Tahir during Friday lunchtime, the day before Valentine's.
Inaugural tournament hailed a success
Our first ever major rugby 7s tournament has been hailed as a tremendous success.
Eighteen U16 teams from across North Wales and the North West descended on us to compete for either Bowl, Shield, Plate or Trophy honours.
After a highly competitive day of action, Ellesmere College came away victorious after a thrilling 17-12 win over Pwllheli Rugby Club in the final.
Triumphing in the trophy category were Stonyhurst College, who defeated Eirias High School 27-5 in the final and ourselves by the narrowest of margins in the semis.
Chester Centurions beat their club rival Barbarians 39-5 to take the Shield, while Birkenhead School took home the Bowl crown with a 54-5 victory over Rhyl Rugby Club.
The final award went to Nant Conwy, who took home the plate after a series of fine performances throughout the tournament.
Would you like to see another 7s tournament here next year?
Mr Boyd said: “I would like to thank all staff who helped throughout the day, and a special mention must go to pupils Grace Patrick and Josh Lynch for giving up their time to assist."
Success in UKMT Team Challenge
Congratulations to four of our number crunching stars, who performed superbly in the regional round of a prestigious national Maths challenge
Eddie Farrell, Ioan Peake-Jones, Richard Wolfendale and Juan Rajagopal finished runner up in the United Kingdom Maths Trust Team Challenge, which was held here at the school on Thursday, February 25.
A host of teams from across the region took part in the event , with the winners going on to the national final in London later this year.
The quartet now face a nervous wait to see if they make it to the capital, as only the best second placed scores from around the country will be selected.
Mr Richmond, said: “Our own team, Eddie Farrell, Ioan, Richard and Juan Rajagopal had little time to practise before the event, due to their various other commitments.
“Nevertheless, they did the school proud, performing highly and finishing in a noteworthy second place out of the 14 teams taking part.
“Teams usually consist of Year 8 and 9 pupils, though younger pupils may take part if they demonstrate an aptitude for the subject.
“It is particularly pleasing to see one of our Year 7 pupils Juan performing so well, and we now wait to see if we are invited to the National Final, to be held in London in June, as one of the highest-scoring runners-up across the various regional heats.”
RNCM visit for Harp Masterclass
Talented musicians from the region descended on our Memorial Hall for a special harp masterclass.
Eira Lynn Jones, head of harp studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, shared her expertise with 35 budding harpists on Sunday, February 7.
During the event, Ms Jones, together with school harp tutor Helen Wyn Pari, went through a number of strategies including developing technical abilities and expressive skills.
Ms Wyn Pari, said: "It was a spectacular scene to see 35 young harpists having a great time exploring the instrument with the internationally acclaimed Eira Lynn Jones.
“Assistance was supplied by one of her final year Undergraduate student Sophie Rocks, and it proved to be a very informative occasion."
The Alawtastig local harp ensemble performed an impressive lunchtime concert, before masterclass pupils performed their very own recital in-front of friends, family and members of the public to finish off the day.
Would you like to see more events like this here at the school?
Mr Wright, added: “It was a fantastic day and I would like to thank both Eira and Helen for their efforts in organising such a successful event.
“It was great to see so many pupils and non-pupils taking advantage of having such an experienced and well-respected harpist at the school, and hopefully the skills they have learnt here will stand them in good stead in the future.”
Mr Sherrington speaks on all things Art
How long have you been teaching at the school?
I have been here now for three and a half years after teaching in London and the south east for over two decades.
I am lucky enough to have Mrs Morris working with me from the Prep School. She brings her enthusiasm and natural handling of materials to the sixth form classes. We also have Mr Bonser, our technician, who helps us with constructions, exhibitions, ordering materials and the general smooth running of the Department.
What makes us different from other schools?
Rydal Penrhos is very different from other schools because it has “soul” and an underlying self-deprecating sense of humour that permeates all the pupils. In Art, we are different because the school has a wonderful purpose built department and we are able to be very ambitious in terms of scale and materials.
What sort of courses do we offer?
We offer GCSE Art, A-level Art, photography and textiles, and we also run the IB visual Art course for Sixth Form.
The Art department is open all day every day and on some Sundays during the term so pupils can make the most of the facilities.
What excites you about teaching here?
I am excited about teaching because I am able to put all my knowledge, training and experience back into the school that set me on the way back in the 1980’s!
I feel lucky to be working in a school that is independent and very well equipped in terms of printing presses, photo studio, ceramics Kiln, darkroom and painting studio.
What has been exciting over the last few years is seeing how being ambitious for the Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils has helped raise the grades and standard of the work produced by the examined classes.
We recently achieved 100 per cent A-B at GCSE and last year only had one C grade amongst As an A*s.
Although the department has grown in terms of facilities and numbers taking the subject it is the personal approach and ability to let every pupil work form their own interests that has been the key to our recent success.
Have any of your former pupils gone on to have any success of note?
Over the last few years we have seen a number of students go off to Art school and we are proud of our recent leavers Tor Williams and Cat Abend who have both gained places at University to continue with Art at a higher level.
We run trips most terms to visit major Art galleries and this feeds directly into what we hand in for the examiner to see every summer.
Last summer the whole of Year 9 tried out direct carving into blocks to create heads using chisels and hammers. This year the Sixth Form have all tried out Batik, screen printing and etching to name just a few of the varied and diverse techniques available to students here.
Why would you choose us?
Above all else it is a nurturing and supportive environment run by passionate members of staff (in a fantastic set of studios), keen and ambitious for all pupils to reach their potential.
Host of successes for former pupils
BOTTLEMEN'S BREAKTHROUGH BRIT SUCCESS
Former pupil Rob Hall, who left us in 2011, is now a drummer with the popular indie four-piece Catfish and the Bottlemen, and they added to their impressive list of accolades by taking home British Breakthrough Act at the 2016 Brit Awards on Wednesday, February 24.
The group beat out names including Jess Glynne, James Bay, Years & Years, and Wolf Alice to win the award voted for by BBC Radio One listeners.
Upon receiving their award on stage, they said: “Thank you very much to anyone who voted for us, you're class. We're very grateful, very humbled."
It has been a quick rise to prominence for the group, who began playing at venues in Llandudno and North Wales.
They have been together for nine years, and their debut album The Balcony gained widespread praise and made the UK Album Chart Top Ten.
The four-piece, led by frontman Van McCann, will play at a number of prominent festivals this summer such as Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds.
Stephen Hambley, who left us in 1993, was one of the referees overseeing proceedings at our inaugural 7s Tournament, which took place on Saturday, February 27.
Upon leaving the school Stephen undertook further education at the University of the West of England, Bristol, and he has refereed some prominent fixtures in his six year career to date.
He is currently a Level 6 referee and is hoping to become a Rugby Football Union National Panel Assistant Referee in the future.
Stephen said: “I have had several career highlights to date, one of these was refereeing the Varsity final in Bristol last year, which was held in-front of 3,000 spectators.
“I have also been selected to referee 7s in Dubai for the past two seasons where I refereed Poland vs Canada and ran touch on the main pitch in-front of 40,000 people.
“In addition I will be heading to Austria in June where I will referee at the World Youth Games, which I am very much looking forward to.”
This was the second time Stephen has returned recently, as he took charge of our 1st XV clash with Birkenhead School in November.
“My parents still live on Anglesey so I regularly come up to visit the area,” he added.
Group visit former nuclear bunker
History pupils visited a nuclear bunker as part of their study on the Cold War.
The 35-strong Year 11 group took a trip to Cheshire on Thursday, January 28, where they visited the former Government owned Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker, situated in Nantwich.
During the trip pupils were able to see the 1980s style computers and radar systems which were installed as part of Britain’s defence system against potential Soviet attack.
They also sat in a nuclear shelter with the sounds of a simulated nuclear attack being broadcast outside.
The first military use of the area was in World War II, when a Starfish site was established at Hack Green.
Mr Price, said: “It was a fascinating trip and no doubt will help the pupils understand a key aspect of the Cold War.”
Andy Powell part of coaching camp
A former Wales international and British Lion was among the coaches at our Rugby Sevens Camp.
Next Generation Sevens visited us for the two-day event, which took place on Tuesday, February 16 and Wednesday 17.
Andy Powell, aged 34 and capped 23 times in a colourful career, was one of the coaches lending his expertise to the event, which was attended by both pupils and non-pupils.
The former Cardiff Blues and Wigan Warriors star was joined by Nick Wakley, who has played for Sale Sharks and Connaught, and ex-Wales and Samurai International 7s Jonathan Hooper.
Powell said: “Camps like this are extremely important in a young player’s development, and I know if I hadn’t had sevens coaching when I was growing up then I wouldn’t have got to where I did in my career.”
After going through a series of drills, the budding rugby stars then had the chance to take part in a question and answer session with the coaches, where they got a further insight into what life is like as a professional and what it takes to make it to the top.
Mr Boyd said: “Next Generation Sevens are highly regarding for their coaching and in the rugby world, and we were delighted to have them here."
Pupils give account of Buddhism trip
By Isabel Bateson (7FLJ)
On February 9, Year 7 went to the Khalpa Bhadra Buddhist Centre in Craig-y-Don. When we arrived, we took off our shoes and went into the shrine room.
The shrine room was quite long and the back wall was blue; this is the same in most Buddhist temples. The statues were set out in front of the blue wall and water offerings were also placed with them. There were 11 statues of the Buddha in the room.
The teacher told us the story of the Buddha and how he was a Prince and was given the best of everything. He was not allowed out of the palace while old and sick people were not allowed in, so he did not see any suffering at all.
Once he was a teenager, he began to get curious about the outside world; too curious, his parents thought, so they found him a wife. One day however, he and one of his friends went outside the palace walls and into the town where he saw what is known as the four sights: old age, sickness, death and a holy man.
When he returned home, his wife knew that this was something that her husband had to do: to find the reason behind suffering (to attain enlightenment).
After that we learnt what Buddhists try to do is to attain as much good Karma as they can. The teacher explained it to us like this:
‘Your mind is like a meadow and every time you do something good, you sow good seeds into the meadow of the mind and when you do bad, even just getting angry, then you sow bad seeds and this is how we have down days and good days.’
By Joshua Peevor (7LVC)
On Tuesday, February 9 the Year 7s travelled to the Buddhist Centre in Craig-y-Don, Llandudno. When we arrived, we were greeted by a Buddhist nun, Kelsang Dragden, and were asked to remove our shoes.
We were then directed into the meditation room, where we sat on the floor and listened to the resident teacher, a nun called Kelsang Oden. She talked about the life of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha). At the front of the room was an open shrine, where there were many statues and a large one of the Buddha in the middle.
The nuns were dressed in red and yellow robes, symbolising wisdom and concentration, and they had shaved heads.
It was a very interesting trip because it was so different to the Methodist community at school and I really enjoyed it!
Fab four reach national finals
A group of our pupils have been praised after reaching the national final of a prestigious chemistry competition.
The team of Mili Jayadeep, Imogen Camp, Eddie Farrell and Ioan Peake-Jones beat out nine other schools to take the Royal Society of Chemistry’s ‘Top of the Bench’ regional heat, which was held at Bangor University.
In order to qualify, the quartet took part in a written quiz where they scored 47 out of a possible 60 to claim the heat in impressive style, and they will now begin preparations for the national final which will be held at Loughborough University on Saturday, April 16.
They were presented with their trophies by Dr Lorrie Murphy, the academic in charge of the event from the School of Chemistry, Bangor, during assembly on Thursday, February 25.
She said: “It is great credit to Rydal Penrhos and their chemistry department that they always seem to do really well in the competitions that we put on at the university.
“We would like to offer our sincerest congratulations to the four who made it to the national final, and we are confident that they can do the region proud in the national final.”
Also receiving recognition was chemistry teacher Mr Pender, who received a special trophy to mark our overall achievement.
Pupils enjoy USA ski trip of a lifetime
More than 30 of our pupils school took a trip of a lifetime to the United States during their half term break.
The group departed for New Hampshire on Saturday, February 13, where they took part in a host of activities during their eight day stay.
After spending five days skiing on the slopes of Shawnee Peak and Cannon Mountain, the group travelled to Boston where they were taken on a tour of the world famous Fenway Park, home of former Major League Baseball champions the Boston Red Sox.
In addition, they were also be given a guided tour of the city and key attractions such as Quincy Market, and members of the group were given the opportunity to embark on an evening trip to the Boston Skywalk, while also visiting the prestigious Harvard University.
Hockey stars continue fine season
Our U14 and U15 boys’ hockey sides have enjoyed a fabulous season, and continued their stunning form with a fine double over St Anselm's.
The U15s were looking for revenge after a narrow 3-2 defeat earlier on in the campaign, and they managed to achieve yet another victory to end the season in style.
Although dominant for long periods of the first half, the hosts were unable to turn their vast possession into goals.
A greater sense of urgency brought with it an even better showing after the break, and we finally took the lead seven minutes after the restart when Will Sissons’ deflected effort found the net.
The talented Adam Lee-Browne then took over affairs, producing an exceptional hat-trick to give the home side a comfortable 4-0 win.
There was even more home success in the form of the U14 side, who produced one of their finest showings of the season to record a 7-1 victory.
We began the game on the front foot and took the lead on six minutes when Finlay Hare struck following a period of sustained pressure.
A lapse in concentration allowed an equaliser soon after, but Hare notched his second of the afternoon to restore the advantage, and Kevin Farrell scored on his U14 debut to increase their cushion soon after.
We managed to add four more goals after the break, with Hare and Farrell completing their fine afternoon in-front of goal with a hat-trick apiece, and captain Adam Lee-Browne also found the net to put the exclamation point on a resounding triumph.
Our first XI football side travelled to Liverpool College on Saturday, February 27, where they competed against 11 other teams in a special tournament.
Their first clash against Bury Grammar School began in positive fashion, with Darrell Martin-Lawson giving us the lead with a superb finish.
Despite creating a host of chances to double their lead, we were unable to capitalise on our superiority and were made to pay soon after when two quick strikes resulted in a 2-1 defeat.
The group responded well to their initial setback and would end up finishing the rest of their league stage unbeaten with some excellent team play and individual finishing from Harvey Holmes, who caught the eye with a number of fine efforts including a spectacular scissor kick from a corner.
We made it through to the semi-finals after finishing second in the group, but with little time for rest the boys' suffered a narrow 1-0 reverse to QEGS Blackburn despite a heroic goalkeeping performance from Max Helle.
Mr Farnell, said: “Considering we were up against far bigger schools with hundreds of players to choose from, the team did exceptionally well.
“To finish second in the group was an outstanding achievement and the pupils can all be proud of their efforts, as they served the school proudly.”
Martyna Ruszkowska was part of the Eryri squad that competed at the Welsh Schools Cross Country Championships which took place in Brecon on Wednesday, February 10.
Despite difficult conditions the 14 year-old performed well and managed to earn a 24th place finish for her efforts on the day.
The talented sportswoman finished fifth in middle girls’ category at the Eryri Schools Cross Country Championships last month to qualify for the event.