Rydal Penrhos newsletter
New head appointed
We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new headmaster at Rydal Penrhos.
Simon Smith, aged 41, will take up the position in January, and is currently deputy head academic at Haileybury, a prestigious independent school in Hertfordshire.
Mr Smith, who is married with two children, said: “I'm delighted to be joining the Rydal Penrhos community, a school that respects its history and heritage while always looking forward and being ambitious for its pupils.
“It is my intention that Rydal Penrhos pupils achieve the very best they can inside and outside the classroom through inspirational teaching and coaching, a distinct curriculum, a caring community and a diverse array of co-curricular opportunities.
“Fulfilling every individual’s academic potential is a must but so too is developing those all-important values and skills learned from performing on stage, competing on the sports field, reflecting in Chapel, engaging in community service or climbing in the mountains of Snowdonia. Education can, if we are not careful, be all about preparation for the future, to enable our pupils to live fulfilled lives beyond school, but we cannot lose sight of the here and now.
“Children only get one chance at an outstanding education and I look forward to playing my part to ensure Rydal Penrhos inspires, challenges, excites and celebrates children at every stage, from Prep to Sixth Form.
“My wife, Karen, and I are looking forward to becoming part of the Rydal Penrhos community, as are our two children, Jamie (15) and Niamh (12 ), who will be joining the School in due course. Our Springer Spaniel, Nutmeg, will love the coastal walks we have in store!
“I enjoy running, including taking part in half-marathons, and am excited by the prospect of living and training in the stunning scenery of North Wales."
Acting head Mr McDuff will continue in his role until the end of the year, and will then return to his joint roles as Director of Strategic Planning and Head of Prep School following Mr Smith’s arrival.
Latest goings on at the school
A memorial service to commemorate the life of our former master Harry Stanley has taken place.
Mr Stanley began teaching with us in 1962 and retired in 1995, passed away on Tuesday, January 5,
A service was held in his honour at the school’s Memorial Hall on Saturday, May 7.
Originally from Oxford, Mr Stanley moved to the North Wales area after studying at Loughborough College and completing his National Service.
Rev’d Sissons, said: “He taught generations of students the skills of woodworking and also passed on the benefit of his talents to members of staff in the days before people popped out to IKEA to buy their bookcases.
“His workshop was not limited to wooden products and one former colleague recalls that when he arrived at the school he discovered that Harry had just completed a student project to build a working hovercraft the size of a car.”
In addition to staff and pupils at the school, alumni and ex-staff members are also welcome to attend.
Congratulations to our Catering staff, who have been praised after receiving a five star food hygiene rating.
Following an inspection by Conwy County Council’s Environment Health Officer, our catering facilities were given a five score, which is the highest available mark they can receive.
This is the same rating that the Preparatory School received from the local authority in January, meaning both our Prep and Senior schools are now operating under the maximum score for hygiene standards.
Julie Chmara, said: “I am delighted to announce that the Senior School has now equalled the maximum score of five awarded by the Conwy EHO to the Prep School for the ‘Scores on the Doors’ food hygiene rating system.
“A big thanks to Mark, Keith and all catering staff at both schools on this fantastic achievement, this type of rating involves a lot of hard and dedicated teamwork and I am proud of them all.”
Mr McDuff, added: “This news is absolutely fantastic and a testament to how hard our catering staff work to provide the best facilities possible to our pupils.
“Many thanks should go to Keith and Julie for their tireless efforts, which have been richly rewarded with this five rating from Conwy’s Environment Health Officer.”
A group of pupils visited a nearby lifeboat station ahead of a significant new development.
Our pupils and staff travelled to Llandudno Lifeboat Station, where they took a look at the old building before work on a new £2.6 million facility begins.
The facility at Craig-y- Don will provide a home for the station’s new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat, which is expected to arrive at the station in 2017 and will replace the existing Mersey class lifeboat, Andy Pearce.
Mr Cashell, said: “On behalf of the pupils, may I offer my thanks to the team and crew of the Lifeboat station for a fascinating and very enjoyable evening looking around the old station and getting excited about the new one and the new class of boat that will come with it.
“We wish them every success as the building of the new station begins and they can be assured of our continued support through fundraising on behalf of the Colwyn Bay branch.”
A staff member inspired by a colleague completed a marathon cycle race recently.
Physics teacher, Mr Baxter, took part in the 172km Paris - Roubaix challenge after hearing the efforts of Miss Lloyd, who ran the London Marathon in aid of pupil Sara Owen, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2013.
The challenge included riding for 52km on the famous cobbled roads of the legendary Paris-Roubaix pro race, and the former mountaineering expert completed the course in just under nine hours.
Mr Baxter said: “Miss Lloyd did an assembly last year on her entry to the London Marathon and how it was a challenge for her. This inspired me to do something for myself where I was unsure of the outcome, rather like a big alpine ascent.
“Sure enough, it fitted the bill. The night before I’d checked and treble checked my gear, eaten properly, one eye on the weather, tons of self-doubt, anxiety; all the emotions I used to have about big, risky Alpine climbs in my youth.”
“My best memory was racing onto the Velodrome in Roubaix, the scene of so many epic finishes to the pro race. The cobbles were so erratic it was like cycling along a slippery stone wall turned on its edge.
“For people into cycling this event is a real ‘homage’ to the traditions of the sport, rather like playing at Wembley for a football fan or climbing the Matterhorn for a mountaineer.
“It was an incredible challenge for me and it was great fun.”
Year 10 pupil Isabel Demel gives her account on our International Baccalaureate group's trip to the Nowgen Biomedical centre in Manchester:
On Thursday, 14th April, the IB Biology Group visited the Nowgen Centre, a Biomedical Research Centre in Manchester. The aim of the trip was to develop the students' understanding on the subject of "Genetics" outside the classroom.
In this context, we had a closer look at different processes relevant to the IB syllabus including gel electrophoresis, a method to separate and analyse DNA based on their size and charge, as well as Polymerase Chain Reaction, the amplification and copying of specific DNA fragments.
All of us were allowed to actively participate in these processes making use of laboratory equipment. This was an alternative way of learning for us, which definitely contributed to our wider knowledge of the topic.
A special highlight of this excursion however, was marked by an analysis of each individuals DNA using the theoretical knowledge obtained before.
All in all, the group had an enjoyable day and the excursion was especially useful for all those interested in the Medical field.
Pupils volunteer at Colwyn Bay showcase
Our helpful pupils lent their support to this year’s Colwyn Bay Forties Festival.
Thousands of people once again descended on the town for the annual event, which saw the area transformed into the 1940s for the fifth consecutive year.
This year pupils were heavily involved volunteering with stands, displays and collecting money, which went towards the overall running of the festival.
In addition the Rydal Penrhos Jazz Band thrilled audiences over both days with two wonderful performances.
Sixth form pupils Grace Patrick and Adele Parry got into the '40s spirit by dressing up in traditional costume, while Augustus Skierus and Lluis Beringues Marti were praised for their outstanding fundraising efforts throughout the event.
Attractions included a military and firearms display and a performance by Colwyn Bay Ukulele Group, while the World War II battle also drew large crowds on Sunday.
Mr McDuff, said: “The Forties Festival was a huge success and it was great to see so many of our pupils give their time to help at the event.
“Our Jazz Band performed exceptionally on both days of the festival, and our pupils were on hand to help in whatever way possible to contribute to what is an extremely beneficial day for businesses and the Colwyn Bay community in general.”
Imogen Camp claims national honours
Congratulations to Imogen Camp, who was crowned joint Welsh U16 Champion after a superb performance at the national finals last month.
The child prodigy, who has a number of impressive titles to her name already, gave a tremendous account of herself at the World Youth Chess Championships as part of the Wales side that travelled to Greece last year.
The Year 10 pupil shared the crown with twins Shayanna and Venetia Sivarajasingam after a highly competitive day which saw all three accumulate four out of a possible seven points.
Mr McDuff, said: “What Imogen has accomplished in the sport of Chess despite her young age is remarkable, and everyone at the school would like to congratulate her on becoming a national champion.
“Until the tutelage of her father and Head of Chess, Mr Camp, she has developed into a magnificent player, and this latest accolade proves that she is one of the finest young players in the country."
That was not the only success for Imogen, who has also been selected for the Welsh Women’s team that will compete at the Chess World Olympiad in September.
The event, which will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, takes place every two years and Imogen will be part of a team of five who will be testing their skills against some of the best female players in the world.
Mother, Syringa Camp, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the news. Imogen has worked very hard at her chess over the last few years, training and studying for several hours each day and regularly playing tournaments at weekends and in the holidays.
“She has weekly coaching with two top players in Wales, alternately with International Master Tim Kett from South Wales (via Skype) and with local player Michael Vidler. We are delighted with her progress so far.”
“Imogen would like to thank both her coaches and all those who have supported her over the years with her chess, and is looking forward to this new challenge, albeit with some trepidation."
Pupils dominate for RGC at festival
A host of our pupils helped home nation side RGC to a perfect record at the inaugural Conwy International Rugby Festival.
The Gogs ensured they finished the competition with a 100 per cent record after a convincing 20-12 victory over Scotland Red.
Despite conditions making things difficult for both sides, the hosts managed to put in another sterling effort for what was their third victory of the week.
Dan Owen, Adam Sabri, Nick Dundee, Euan Humphreys and Henry Davies all contributed significantly to the RGC cause throughout the tournament and earned praise from Mr Boyd.
He said: “They all deserve enormous credit for the way they performed and conducted themselves throughout the festival, and they can be very proud of their efforts.
“Dan captained the side and was one of the standout performers throughout the week, scoring in their final game, and Adam’s last minute try ensured victory for RGC on day two.
“Congratulations to them and to RGC for a fine tournament - one that we were very proud to be involved in.”
Visiting teams trained at our impressive facilities throughout the event, in addition to staying at the school’s numerous boarding houses.
There was further success in game two, when Adam crossed the whitewash in the final minute to give RGC a hard fought victory over Italy.
Princess surprises us with visit
Over the Easter holiday we were delighted to be able to welcome three Ugandan visitors to our school.
Jacklet Atuhaire, who was visiting her family in London during April, came to North Wales with her sister and nephew and met with the Headmaster and three of the Uganda Team who went to Africa last July: the Chaplain, Mrs Davies and Mrs Pyves.
Mrs Atuhaire, who grew up in Uganda but studied for her degree in Dundee University, is on the board of trustees of Shuuku Vocational Secondary School in Kabwohe and in March was also elected as the Member of Parliament for the Sheema District, which includes the school. In recognition of her political importance Councillor John Davies, Mayor-elect of Colwyn Bay, was also invited to the meeting to bring greetings on behalf of the local Council.
The meeting was significant for two reasons: it is the only time anyone from any of the charities and schools we are linked to in Uganda has actually been here in Colwyn Bay to see the school, so this was a fantastic first.
Secondly, it gave us an excellent opportunity to discuss practical ways forward in developing the relationship between Shuuku and Rydal Penrhos. The next step will be for a partnership agreement to be drawn up that will set the relationship on a firmer footing and the Chaplain agreed to draft that document as soon as possible.
After the meeting our guests had a tour of the Senior and Prep school. They were especially delighted to see the large Uganda display outside the LRC, which includes a photograph of our Head Girl addressing the students of Shuuku.
Before she left Mrs Atuhaire gave an invitation to the next Uganda Team to come and visit her in her Kampala home in July 2017: ‘It’s like a palace,’ she said. Nor was this an idle remark, since Mrs Atuhaire and her sister are both princesses, belonging to one of the traditional Uganda royal families. The family today owns land in the area of Queen Elizabeth Park, where our Uganda Team go on safari and Mrs Atuhaire’s father also had the honour of teaching mathematics to the present president of Uganda, which is no small claim to fame in her country.
Rev’d Sissons, Uganda Co-ordinator
A number of canes for a Ugandan Blind School donated by us have arrived at their destination.
Money raised from the school’s Osborn Day in September paid for the white canes, which were given to the Hornby Junior School Blind Section in Kabale as part of our ongoing charity work in the country.
Among the fundraising events that took place throughout the day included a blind football match, where pupils and staff encountered some of the difficulties facing the children they were raising money for.
Rev’d Sissons, said: “Each cane was measured to suit the height of the child and depending on how they walk has their chosen preference of tip.
“But the greatest thing is to see the excitement of the students and to know that we have played our part in helping their mobility around the school. It was a fantastic effort by our pupils and staff."
The next scheduled charity mission to Uganda is set to take place in July next year, and Mrs Atuhaire extended an invitation to the group to visit their palatial home which belongs to one of the traditional royal families in Uganda.
Pupils raise funds for Mr Tickner memorial
Wesley Day, which was held at last month, raised hundreds of pounds and pupils decided to use the money for a bench in memory of Mr Tickner, who passed away on March 7 aged 62.
Subject to approval, the bench will be placed overlooking New Field, where Mr Tickner would often sit and enjoy rugby and cricket matches over the years.
Mr McDuff, said: “This is a fantastic gesture from our Wesley House pupils, and it just shows how much Rob was loved here.
“He was the cornerstone of the school for over three decades and was always on hand to offer advice to pupils. It is only fitting that there will be a lasting memorial in one of his favourite areas.
“Rob had a great passion for everything Wesley house related, and he continues to be sorely missed.”
Rev’d Sissons, added: “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.
“He was a great believer in Wesley house and the principles it stood for, and was very passionate about his rugby too, so a bench at New Field is a very fitting and poignant tribute.”
Eager readers raise hundreds
Our eager reading pupils rose to the challenge and raised £500 from their Readathon initiative, which will be used to provide books to seriously ill children in hospital.
Their achievement also earned free books provided by Readathon in partnership with Scholastic Book Clubs to boost our library stocks.
Readathon, a nationwide charity, uses the sponsorship money raised to provide brand new books for children in hospital up and down the UK, as well as supporting charities who help seriously ill children.
Miss Earle, said: “I recommend Readathon to any teacher or librarian who wants to get their pupils reading for pleasure.
“Readathon creates a real buzz about books in the school. I found children talking about books, sharing and swapping favourites and genuinely motivated to read.
“Parents became involved in what their children were reading and shared precious time together talking about books. Our pupils raised £500 which Readathon uses to give books and storyteller visits to children in hospital, and we were only happy to help such a worthy and deserving cause.”
Brough Girling, founder of the Readathon initiative, added: “The wonderful thing about schools and young people is that even in today’s economic climate, they are still eager to raise money for those less fortunate than themselves."
Success at Chester Music Festival
Talented musicians have been praised for their performance at this year's Summer Concert.
Mr Wright, said:
The orchestra, School Choir and Community Choir performed popular film classics such as The Dambusters and Star Wars, alongside classics such as The Blue Danube, while the Jazz band played favourites such as Cantaloupe Island and Oye Commo Va?
Soloists included Shannon Yang, who played the Student Concerto by Seitz, a performance with which she had won first prize in the strings section of the Chester Festival the week before.
IB Music pupil Vincent Kohm performed the slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto K488 with the orchestra.
Vibrant saxophone solos from Sam Jones, Ieuan Franssens and Miles Poller highlighted the versatility of the instrument.
Pianist Kalina Tsaneva played Beethoven and the St Asaph Cathedral chorister sang Pie Jesu from the Faure Requiem.
GCSE Music student Sara Owen sang Meredith Wilson and Ben Gibson got us all clapping along to his Irish reels. AS Music students Alex Roberts and Nick Dundee performed covers of Jason Mraz and James Uings.
Congratulations to three of our talented musicians, who achieved phenomenal success at this year's Chester Music Festival.
Despite forgetting her music, Shannon Yang took first prize in the strings class, with Lia Britt Zenker taking second prize in the same discipline for her “assured and delicate” rendition of a piece by minimalist composer Einaudi.
Another musician who received high praise was Vincent Kohm, who played a prelude by Rachmaninoff, for which he was highly commended in the piano class for "understanding the darkness and drama of the peace".
Mr Wright, said: "The whole school can be proud of the achievements of these pupils, who greatly enhanced our reputation in the arts in the presence of many other young people, parents, and staff from other schools.
“The standard in the strings class was particularly high, but Shannon's excellent technique, gained by spending hundreds of hours in a practice room over the years, saw her beat the stiff competition by a comfortable margin.
“To perform as they did in such a prestigious event showed incredible poise and they are to be congratulated for their superb efforts.”
In addition to the senior school contribution, Prep pupils Rana Abou-Samra, Fflur Pierce and Caitriona Searl also gave excellent performances.
Pupils honoured at annual ceremony
Our sporting stars were acknowledged for their efforts at a special presentation event.
The school hosted its annual Sports Awards Evening on Friday, April 29, featuring England netball captain, Ama Agbeze, as special guest speaker.
Numerous prizes were given out throughout the event, with head girl, Hannah Cashell, coming out as the big winner on the night.
She was awarded both the girls' hockey and netball player of the year, while also winning the Director of Sport Award and the Derbyshire Shield.
Rugby player of the year went to Ben Squibb, and Matt Welden was given the honour in the boys’ hockey category.
Talented Daisy Lee-Browne won the Sailing prize, and the girl power trend continued as Louisa Weber won Golf player of the year.
The Headmaster’s Award went to Wales U18 international, Efan Jones, and RGC academy prospect, Adam Sabri, was presented with the Morphy Cup after a fine season for school and club.
Mr Boyd, said: “It was a fantastic evening and I would like to thank Ama for giving up her time to attend.
“To have the England netball captain here was inspirational for our pupils, who saw for themselves just what rewards you can get if you work hard.
“Hannah has been a standout performer this year, which has led to success both regionally and nationally, so her awards are richly deserved.
“It has been a fabulous year in terms of sporting achievement here, and it is only right that our pupils have their night in the limelight, which they always seem to enjoy.”
Canine calming event held
Well done to our Year 12 pupils Adele Parry and Grace Patrick, who hosted a Canine Calming afternoon on Wednesday, April 27, with all proceeds going towards Guide Dogs Cymru.
There were a host of guide dogs in attendance throughout the event, and all year groups had the chance to stroke the canines and ask questions to their owners and representatives of the charity.
Adele said: “This is something that Grace and I have arranged ourselves and it was a great way for pupils to learn more about guide dogs, and the good work they do throughout the region.
“We raised money through several collection buckets and various wristbands/pin badges, and we would like to thank them for their support during the planning process.”
In addition to the wellbeing event, this year’s proceeds from the Easter Concert will also be added to the fundraising total.
Adele and Grace enlisted the help of their Year 12 classmates, who assisted with the overall running of the event.
Mr Cashell, said: “It was a fantastic event and we would like to thank Guide Dogs Cymru for taking the time to visit us.
“The work they do is exceptional and a huge well done also goes to Adele and Grace for organising the event, which proved to be a big hit with our pupils.”
U16s win national championship
A huge congratulations go to our Boys' U16 hockey side, who were crowned national champions at the Hockey Wales National Schools Finals.
Despite being a goal down at half-time, the team responded brilliantly to come away 3-1 winners over South Wales team, Ysgol Glantaf, after a rousing second half display.
They were captained superbly by Alexander Benfield, with other performances of note from Tawanda Harris, Jack Jones, Adam Lee-Browne, keeper Josh Thomas and vice-captain Sam Khorram-Sefat.
To reach the finals, the talented side emerged victorious from the North Wales regional tournament.
Mr Mather, said: “This was a fabulous effort from our U16 side, and to be crowned national champions is an unbelievable achievement.
“It has been a great year for our hockey teams across all age groups, which is a testament to how hard both they and our staff have worked throughout.
“This is a fantastic platform to build for the future and hopefully next season will bring with it even more success.”
In addition to the U16 success, the school’s U14 and U12s were also competing at the finals, and performed well in the face of stern competition.
Challenge success for pupils
Three of our number crunching stars achieved success in a prestigious maths challenge.
More than 1,600 pupils nationwide competed in the Mathematical Education on Merseyside Challenge, which is run by John Moores University in Liverpool over the February half term.
Mr Richmond, explains more:
"Year 8 pupil Richard Wolfendale was named as third prize winner in the Challenge ’16 category, and also receiving a Best in School certificate.
"In addition he has been invited to attend an evening of Mathematical Recreation (including the FunMaths Roadshow, a number trail and computer quiz) at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday, May 11, where he will receive his prize, a voucher to spend in “Joyce’s Shop”, which has a large selection of mathematical books and puzzles.
"Year 11 pupil Sara Owen was a certificate winner in the Open Challenge ’16 category, and has been invited to attend a similar event at the University on May 4.
"This follows on from her success in the Senior Challenge two years ago, where she was awarded a best in school certificate.
"The final pupil to receive recognition was Ioan Peake-Jones, who received a best in school certificate in the Senior Challenge category.
"Given that entries came from approximately 120 schools, with around 1,600 individual entries for Challenge ’16 and a further 900 for Senior Challenge ’16, I think the three pupils have done tremendously well and are to be congratulated for their efforts.”
Foreign pupils broaden learning
A group of Finnish students got the taste of UK school life when they paid us a visit last month.
Two teachers and 10 International Baccalaureate students from Jyvaskylan Lyseo Upper Secondary School, situated three hours north of Helsinki, visited us as part of an ongoing exchange programme.
During their week-long stay, they took part in IB and A-level lessons, which introduced them to a more diverse way of learning.
There was also time for them to visit a number of prominent attractions in the area, including the Welsh Mountain Zoo, Conwy Castle and Llandudno.
The highlight of the visit was a special traditional Welsh tea which was arranged by Mrs Williams.
Mr Price, said: “Our Finnish visitors certainly enjoyed the delicious sandwiches and homemade cakes on offer.
“During the week I worked closely with the teachers – Susanna and Elina – to ensure that the students had a great time and will take many happy memories back to Finland.
“As a result of the success of the exchange, the Humanities department is planning to organise an opportunity for some of our Sixth Form students to visit Jyvaskyla early next spring.”
We also had the pleasure of welcoming a partner school from France to continue work on a discrimination project.
Our pupils have been working in partnership with Lycee Professional Gustav Eiffel, situated in Aubagne in the South of France, and they spent two days at the school to finalise their findings.
Working in groups, they looked at discrimination in the media, workplace and what laws currently exist.
They also produced a bilingual charter of rights that they believe all should have.
Mr Farnell, said: “What was most impressive about their visit was the way pupils were breaking down the language barrier to get their opinions across.
“The charter will be used to help pupils in school understand better the sources and impact of discrimination, and we would like to thank everyone at the Lycee Professional Gustav Eiffel for their marvellous contribution.”
The visit followed our trip to France earlier this year, which attracted the attention of the local media, while a special bilingual YouTube video was also produced in relation to the project.
It was not all work and no play for the visitors, who also took in prominent attractions such as Bodnant Gardens, Caernarfon Castle and Chester.
Pupils excel at national final
A group of our young scientists achieved success in a prestigious national chemistry competition final.
The team of Mili Jayadeep, Imogen Camp, Eddie Farrell and Ioan Peake-Jones competed at the Royal Society of Chemistry’s ‘Top of the Bench’ national final, which was held at Loughborough University on Saturday, April 16.
After a short test of factual chemical knowledge and a practical chemical problem-solving team exercise, and they managed to finish in joint 12th position for their efforts.
Mr Cashell, said: “This was a fantastic result when you consider the standard of schools the team were competing against, and all four did themselves and the school proud with their efforts.
“They did remarkably well not only to reach the national final, but to also finish prominently in a national competition demonstrated great composure and talent, something they should be very proud of.”
To reach the national final, the foursome scored 47 out of a possible 60 to win the competition’s regional heat in fine style, which was held at Bangor University’s chemistry department.
Year 8 create Giacometti sculptures
Mr Sherrington gives his account on a recent project from Year 8, which explores life sculptures inspired by the world renowed artist Alberto Giacometti:
After drawing each other from life, Year 8 pupils set about making wire figures which they later covered with plaster.
Using metallic paint the pupils have created the illusion of bronze sculptures very similar to the original by Giacometti himself.
Mrs Morris has been inspirational in her teaching and managed to help the pupils create some magical and imaginative work.
All the pupils seemed to have enjoyed the chance to get making and there is a real creative, active buzz around the Art department and a genuine desire make the figures as good as possible.
Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was born in the canton Graubünden's southerly alpine valley Val Bregaglia, as the eldest of four children to Giovanni Giacometti, a well-known post-Impressionist painter.
Latest successes from young stars
Our resident powerlifter Josh Lynch was part of the NW1 Strength and Conditioning squad that took on other weightlifters from Wales and England at a special event for Olympic Clubs in Manchester on Saturday, April 23.
The sports scholar came away victorious from his category, setting new personal bests in the snatch and clean and jerk.
After setting a new Welsh record at the National Schools’ Championships in January, the 12 year-old bettered that achievement by lifting 47kg in the snatch, and was also successful in lifting 60kg in the clean and jerk.
Unfortunately as the competition was not held in Wales Josh’s old records will stand for the time being.
Martyna Ruszkowska, Tom Cuddihy and Zach Speakman all competed at the Swim Wales National Finals, which were held in Swansea over the Easter break.
It proved to be a successful and busy meeting for Martyna, who produced a number of exceptional performances to come away with seven silver medals from the competition.
These included 100m freestyle and backstroke, 200m backstroke, in addition to 200 and 400m individual medley success.
She narrowly missed out on further medals, finishing fourth in both the 200m and 400m freestyle.
Additional medal success came from Zach, who continued his fine form in the water with silver in the 200m butterfly and bronze in the 1,500m freestyle events.
Mr Ruszkowski, said: “It was a wonderful effort from all three pupils and they are to be congratulated for their efforts.
“Martyna once again proved why she is regarded as one of the finest swimmers in the country in her age group, and Zac also continued his impressive progression in the face of stern competition.
“Tom also did himself and the school proud and we look forward to even more success with these three pupils in the not-too-distant future.”
Josh Thomas received the Bill Beattie award for Young Player of the Season at Colwyn Bay Hockey Club’s end of season presentation evening, which took place on Saturday, April 17.
The goalkeeper has made a sterling contribution to the men’s second team this season, having moved up from the third team despite being just 15 years-old.
His fine play has also caught the attention of regional scouts, who called him up to the North Wales U16 squad recently.
The talented sportsman has also enjoyed a fine year in school colours, having been a prominent figure for both hockey and rugby sides this season.
Mr Boyd, said: “This award is testament to how much Josh has improved throughout the season for both school and club, and the recognition is richly deserved.
“He is a very talented individual in a number of sports and has enjoyed a fine year. The sky is the limit in terms of just how much he can develop in the future."
Josh said that he “was not expecting to win”, and added that he was “shocked” when he name was announced.
A group of our talented sailors performed well at a national championship event.
The eight pupils tested their skills against some of the best sailors in the country at both the Welsh Youth and Junior National Championships, which were held in Pwllheli on April 23-24.
The pair of Zac Blomeley and Ewan Luke produced the school’s best performance of the day, finishing runner-up in the Feva class, with 12 year-old Felix Corson finishing in fifth.
Aidan Skinner finished in sixth place with two crews which consisted of Tirion Jones and Kathleen Cheesley, with Ruby Hodgson coming in seventh.
In the 29er class Daisy Lee-Browne and partner Chloe Butterworth narrowly missed out on a medal, finishing fourth in a highly competitive fleet.
Mr Cashell, said: “The first day saw four races over the course of seven hours on the water. A long day by all accounts, it was only a nights rest before racing was to return on the Sunday.
“Another two races were to follow in lighter, gusty and shifty, winds. This proved to be the difference and well done to all our sailors for their sterling efforts.”
Teddy Roberts achieved a gold medal in the 200m butterfly at the Liverpool Sprint Meet, despite not being fully fit after injury ruled him out of the Swim Wales national finals.
In addition to his gold, he gained a pair of Bronze medals for his efforts in the 100m and 50m butterfly events in times of 1:12:67 and 32:92 respectively, while also claiming bronze in the 50m freestyle.
The gifted swimmer maintained his rank as number one in Wales in the 100m fly in the aged 13 category, while he is also now ranked third in the 200m discipline.
Mr Ruszkowski, said: “It was great to see Teddy performing as well as he did despite not yet being at optimum fitness due to injury.
“When he is 100 per cent we should see even better results, which will hope fully see him reach number one nationally in all three butterfly distances by the end of the competition calendar.
“Teddy is one of the most naturally gifted swimmers in his age bracket anywhere in the country, and he has shown tremendous commitment to recover from injury which is already paying dividends.”
Daniel Pearce put his new qualification to good use by stepping in to referee an U13 rugby match between Colwyn Bay and Ruthin on Saturday, April 23.
The 16 year-old was able to officiate after completing his Welsh Rugby Union refereeing certificate last October at the school.
Daniel is following in the footsteps of many other pupils who have gone down the referee route in recent years, such as ex-pupil, Stephen Hambley, who is a current Level 6 official and who has taken charge of world class sevens contests with a 40,000 audience.
Mr Boyd, said: “It was great to see Daniel giving up his own time to referee a youth rugby match, and we are thrilled that he represented the school in a dignified manner.
“We offer a number of extra-curricular courses here that are entirely optional, but our pupils show tremendous dedication in wanting to gain more out of their education, which is extremely pleasing.
“This experience will do Daniel the world of good and I am delighted that he is putting his referee qualifications to the test.”
Indoor cricketer Aaron Sherrington was part of the triumphant Wales side that came away victorious from a Tri-Nations competition, which was held last weekend at Old Trafford Cricket Ground.
The 12 year-old was one of seven players from North Wales competing at the event, and played a big part in their win over Scotland; taking a wicket and bowling two maidens in the success.
Wales would take the title after winning their final game in thrilling fashion to take bragging rights from the nearby nations.
Mr Leach, said: “This is great news and congratulations go to Aaron and the Welsh side for their outstanding effort.
“For Aaron to contribute to the success of the Welsh side shows tremendous composure to perform under pressure, and everyone is very proud of his performance.”
Success of former pupils
Congratulations to Rhodri Mayor and Lewis Barker, who were part of the Macclesfield side that clinched the National League 2 North title with three games to spare, meaning the pair will now be playing in League 1 next season.
This is the latest in a long line of successes for the Blues, who achieved cup success earlier on in the campaign.
Head coach Giles Heagerty, said: “We were just thrilled. The team were quite rightly over the moon, and as you would expect, they celebrated in style.
“After all the trials and tribulations we went through last season, reaching this point has been doubly satisfying. So yes, the best word to describe the feeling is thrilling.”
There could be even more trophies to celebrate before the season is over for Rhodri and Lewis, with Macclesfield in the latter stages of the Cheshire Cup.
Mr Boyd, said: “It is great to see two of our former pupils achieving such tremendous success, and congratulations to Rhodri and Lewis for gaining promotion to National League 1.
“It has been a memorable season for the Blues and to win League 2 so comfortably shows what a wonderful side and team spirit they have there, and I know Rhys and Lewis have contributed significantly to their success this season."
Yvie Johnson, Rydal Penrhos alumna and mother of Year 8 pupil Sydney, is trying to be the first person to run from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back over a six week period, which would be a Guinness World Record.
She has now made it to Lancashire after making impressive progress throughout the week as she continues her climb towards the halfway point of her record-breaking efforts.
Yvie said: “I consider myself Welsh, but I'm very much a part of this territory that I how now reached.
“Genealogy has been a significant part of who I am since I recall creating family trees at the age of seven. Hereditary links being an interest I have.
“So when I'm running through towns that are the birthplaces of several of my relatives, I couldn't help but feel a tingle down my spine seeing the familiar names.
“Even though today's weather left me cold, soaked through, and hunkered down into the wind moaning to myself about the lack of sunshine, I still felt good.
“From working class roots, to world record attempts. I place my stubbornness to push through despite the uphill strains, firmly in my ancestral blood.”
The mother of three has set a target of £50,000 for mental health charities Bipolar UK, Mind, Scottish Association for Mental Health, Young Minds and Place2Be.
Former pupil Rob Hall’s Catfish and the Bottlemen have been confirmed to play this year’s BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend.
The Llandudno rockers, who will release their highly anticipated second album later this month, will play on the final day of the mini-festival, which takes place at Powderham Castle in Exeter on May 28 and 29.
The four-piece indie band, led by Van McCann, posted a message on their social media sites outlining details of second album, The Ride, which is predicted to surpass the success of debut smash-hit, The Balcony.
The group said: “We started recording this album at any chance we could get, in between shows over the summer. And, after the final night on 'The Balcony' tour finished we were set to have some time off but couldn't wait and didn't think you should have to either after the run you gave us.
“Alongside you selling shows out for us, this album is by far the proudest I’ve ever been about anything I've written and us four have ever done together.”
The message went on to thank fans, adding: “You’ve properly changed four lads’ lives here y’know, selling out Bowls in Castlefield 8,000 people strong in five minutes and winning us Brits and all that stuff.
“It's just mad and we'll be grafting all year to ensure things keep growing and these new gigs and new albums keep coming rapidly and in their droves.”
Former Rydal and Penrhos pupils got the chance to reminisce with old classmates at a special reunion event.
Around 90 ex-pupils from the 1940s and 1950s met up at the school on Sunday, April 17, which was in-keeping with the Forties Festival going on throughout Colwyn Bay.
The guests were treated to a three course meal in the dining hall, before being split into groups and led on tours of our grounds, which were given by current Sixth Form pupils.
Those interested were also able to view the extensive archives exhibition in the Richards Room.
Sarah Ritchie, Alumni & Development Director, said: “The event was a great opportunity for people to return to the school and see what has changed, and what hasn’t.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere throughout the event, and it was great to see so many old pupils having a fantastic time together catching up.”