Rydal Penrhos newsletter
Foreword from the acting head
Welcome to June’s Rydal Penrhos Newsletter.
A publication that reflects accurately the coming towards the end of the academic year, the enormous number of splendid achievements made by such a large number of pupils and the excellent standard of these achievements.
Speech Day at the end of last half term saw the school gather together to congratulate all of our pupils, to ponder on matters past, present and to come, and to celebrate the rich diversity of all that goes on at Rydal Penrhos.
The Head Boy and Head Girl gave a marvellous speech likening this variety to the wealth of flavours on offer at an Indian takeaway.
Whether you are Korma or Madras, I am sure you will agree that there is so very much on offer for all and it is all very ‘satisfying’.
I am grateful, once again, to Dean and the Marketing Office for putting together this wonderful newsletter which allows us all to share this splendour.
Latest goings on at the school
We are delighted to announce our Head Boy, Head Girl, in addition to their deputies and prefects, and they will begin their new roles next September.
Adam Sabri has been appointed as Head Boy, with Charlotte Owen replacing Hannah Cashell as Head girl for 2016/17.
Adam recently received plaudits as part of the RGC squad at the Conwy International Festival, and was also presented with the Morphy Cup at Rydal Penrhos’ annual Sports Awards.
Talented singer Charlotte recently caught the eye with her performance at the Summer Concert, and she will also be looking to continue her fantastic work as part of the Charity Committee when she takes up her position.
Serving under them will be Adele Parry and Grace Patrick as Deputy Head Girls, while Will Marston and Jack Sissons have been appointed Deputy Head Boys for the year.
A host of prefects have also been announced, with Jessie Cheng, Isabel Demel, Euan Humphreys, Ed Lunt, Katie Marston, Amelia Perring, Elishia Phillips, Josh Schulz, Alice Waltham and Louisa Weber all given the honour.
Robin Fletcher, chief executive and national director of the Boarding Schools’ Association, visited us on Wednesday, May 25, where he planted a Mulberry tree as part of their Boarding Orchard scheme.
The Boarding Orchard was launched by the BSA in 2014 with the aim of being the largest orchard, by distance, in the UK and involves boarding schools planting fruit trees in their grounds.
Since its launch, trees have been planted in schools across the UK, in addition to sites in the United States, Australia and Switzerland.
Mr Fletcher, said: “I am delighted to add Rydal Penrhos to our Boarding Orchard initiative. They are the 88th school that has joined so far.
“The school is situated in a fantastic setting and I would like to thank Acting Head, Roger McDuff and pupils for making me feel so welcome during my visit.”
Following the tree planting, Mr Fletcher was given a tour of the school and its boarding houses, before enjoying lunch with a number of staff members.
A group of our pupils got to find out more about the school’s exciting new eco-friendly waste food management partnership recently.
We have agreed to work with ReFood, where wasted food at both the Prep and Senior sites will be recycled to provide green energy in the form of pet feed and natural fertilizers.
The Widnes-based bioenergy company have been providing information on our energy conversion rate on a weekly basis, and information packs have been distributed to both schools which can be used for eco teaching.
Year 9 pupils were visited by ReFood’s Sales and Logistics Executive Stephen Old on Wednesday, May 25, where he spoke with the group about the benefits of the system and answered a number of questions following the talk.
Domestic Bursar, Julie Chmara, said: “For the school this is a very worthy and proactive project. We already have a very active Eco Committee, and this is showing once again our commitment to a greener world.
“We are reducing land fill space, lowering our energy consumption and stopping waste food going into the drainage systems around the school and its location.
“The first few weeks have been very beneficial for us and we hope that this partnership continues long into the future.”
Details of this year’s Open Morning have been revealed.
The school will welcome prospective pupils and their families on Saturday, October 8 and will run from 9am-1pm.
This will give visitors the chance to view the impressive facilities throughout the school, and a number of current pupils will be on hand to give guided tours of the grounds.
After the tours staff will be happy to answer any questions regarding the array of departments at the school.
The event comes after a series of successful Open Doors events, which gave prospective pupils the chance to see what happened at the school on a normal working day.
Mr McDuff, said: “The Open Morning is one of the biggest occasions of the year and it gives us the perfect opportunity to show just what Rydal Penrhos School has to offer prospective pupils.
“We want people to realise just what we have here and that this is an accessible place to come. We hope that they will like what the school has to offer and come back for an individual visit to see the school on a ‘normal’ day soon afterwards.”
The school will look to continue its sterling work in Uganda when we visit again in July 2017, with pupils and staff now in the early stages of planning ahead of the trip.
This will be the fifth time that we will undergo charity work in the country, with our most recent visit last year drawing widespread praise from a number of African-based charities.
There will be a maximum of 15 pupils as part of the team, with a number of staff also declaring their interest.
Ugandan princess Jacklet Atuhaire visited the school last month to talk with Rev’d Nick Sissons and others about our ongoing charity work, and extended an invitation to the group to visit her palatial home which belongs to one of the traditional royal families in Uganda.
Rev’d Sissons, said: “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 we have agreed to draft that document as soon as possible.”
We regret to announce that Philippa Humphreys, who attended the school from 1994-2001, became the third cross-country competitor to lose their life from a fall in as many months during a race in the United States.
The 33 year-old was thrown from her horse at a time trial at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event in Allentown, New Jersey, on Saturday.
“Everyone at the school was saddened to learn of Philippa’s passing, and we would like to offer our sincere condolences to her family.
“She was a much-loved pupil during her time here, and she has gone on to achieve a great deal throughout her career, something that our pupils have looked to as a sense of inspiration.
“Philippa was an immensely talented individual and so kind, caring and attentive, traits that ensure she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”
A fundraising page for Millie in honour of her mother has also been set up and has raised more than $80,000 to date.
Those wishing to donate can do so by visiting https://www.youcaring.com/millie-elizabeth-humphreys-570323
Xmas Market cheque donated
A pupil-run Charity Committee handed over thousands to a Conwy hospice from a Christmas charity event.
The school’s inaugural Christmas Market took place on Friday December 11. The event was organised by Sixth Form pupils in aid of Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice.
A total of £2,260 was raised from the event, which was handed over to the Ty Gobaith Major Gifts Manager Sarah Kearsley-Wooller by Head Boy, Shaswath Ganapathi and Head Girl, Hannah Cashell.
Shaswath said: "The Christmas Market would not have been possible without the help of the fantastic committee members: Scarlet Salisbury, Emily Harrison, Anjalina Mitra, Connie McMahon, Molly Jones, Will Marston, Charlotte Owens, Adele Parry, Sanjita Kumar, Jack Sissons, Adam Sabri, Alice Walker, Elishia Philips and Katie Marston.
“We would also like to thank FORPs, Sarah Ritchie and Sarah James who have also helped us.
“The new Heads of the Charity Committee are Will Marston and Charlotte Owen, and they hope to continue this Christmas Market tradition so please come and support them next year."
Hannah, added: “It was a tremendous amount of hard work but when you see the total we raised then it was definitely worth it. Ty Gobaith do amazing things and we were happy to support their cause."
A staff member joined the fight against Cancer by taking part in a nationwide fundraising initiative.
Leah Crimes, head of Drama and English at the school, participated in the Race for Life in Rhyl on Wednesday, June 12.
She was raising funds for Cancer Research UK, and has set a target of £150 to contribute to the hundreds of thousands expected to be raised at similar events across the country.
Mrs Crimes, said: “I ran in memory of my Dad who died of cancer when I was 17.
“It really affected me and my family; I want to help to make sure no-one has to feel that again.”
The much-loved teacher oversaw the successful production of the Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society performance of To Kill a Mockingbird earlier this year, while A and AS Level performance also received widespread praise.
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/leahcrimes2
Exam season brings best from pupils
Art pupils have produced some stunning pieces as part of their A-level examinations.
The group took part in the two-day exam and worked on a variety of themes and processes during the examination process.
Jessica Mai has created an installation based on the ideas of surveillance and control in history and today.
Maddy Wright made a piece based on violence and gun crime with particular reference to America.
Vanessa Lau has produced two paintings based on perspective from the title “Passageway” and Laura Gataveckaite took photographs in the swimming pool to create a large painting.
The final pupil taking part, Victor Gerasimov, spent the exam on his computer working on a series of graphic pieces based around Rock music.
Year 7 pupils have been taking inspiration from a leading contemporary artist.
The group have been studying the work of Kurt Jackson, a British painter whose large canvases reflect a concern with natural history, ecology and environmental issues.
Using real fish in the classroom, the pupils have been painting in the same method as the talented artists, using newspaper cuttings as a background to blend into the pieces.
Mrs Morris, said: “The pupils have really taken to the project, where they can draw from life objects while also finding out more about one of the country’s most respected painters.
“The majority of Jackson's work reflects his commitment to the environment and the natural world within Cornwall, although he also works elsewhere in Britain and mainland Europe, so it is great that our pupils can see that art can raise issues in addition to bringing something to life.”
Members of the trust looking to save Colwyn Bay’s derelict pier visited us to view a mural painting based on the landmark.
The Year 9 group spent a number of weeks during the winter on the project, which centred round the work by Eric Ravilious in the pier’s old pavilion.
To construct the mural, pupils looked at original photos that covered the wall of the tea room to draw inspiration for their own design.
There is no surviving colour photograph of the mural so the pupils had to work from old black and white images and a watercolour sketch he produced.
Trust chairman, Mark Roberts and director, Pat Owen visited the art department on Friday May 13, where they viewed the finish piece and spoke with pupils.
Mr Sherrington, said: “We wanted to make our version more relevant to the local area so took our ruins from the mansion Llys Euryn from Bryn Euryn and collected real seaweed from the beach around Rhos to draw and paint in the studio.
“I am really pleased with how pupils came up with their own composition and collaborated so well generally. They worked on each panel in pairs and then we fitted it together at the end."
The art department hosted its annual A-level, AS Level and GCSE exhibition, which took place at the centre on Friday, June 24.
There were a host of varied portraits throughout the exhibition, which ranged from life drawings, photography and sculptures.
Parents, pupils and staff all spent time at the exhibition, where they were given further insight into each individual piece from Mr Sherrington and teacher Mrs Morris.
Mr Sherrington, said: “I am really pleased that all the pupils have felt confident and brave enough to do their own thing and not be constrained by convention or a safe option.
“The exhibition this year had plenty of variety and include some challenging work.
“It is heartening to see all the pupils reaching their potential and working from their own concerns and interests.”
Mr McDuff, who also attended the event, added: “The work on show was truly extraordinary and all pupils are to be congratulated for their efforts.
“You could see just how much hard work had been throughout the year on each piece, which shows just how much artistic talent we have here, something that is incredibly well nurtured.”
Prizegiving to mark achievements
A host of pupils were recognised for their fine efforts throughout the year at the school’s annual Speech Day event.
A large crowd descended on the Memorial Hall on Saturday, May 28, where Year 11 to Upper Sixth pupils were awarded numerous prizes to acknowledge their commitment to excellence throughout the year.
The special guest was Lord Roberts of Llandudno, a former president of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and member of Aberconwy Borough Council.
The awards ranged from sport to music, with all academic departments also nominating a standout pupil for an award.
Some of the big winners included Head Boy, Shaswath Ganapathi and Head Girl, Hannah Cashell, while the gifted pair of Anjalina Mitra and Lloyd Parry-Williams also picked up numerous prizes.
In addition to Lord Roberts, there were also speeches from Acting Head, Roger McDuff, Chair of Governors, Ian Morris.
Mr McDuff, said: “Speech Day is the highlight of the school year for many, and it is just reward for the pupils’ that have worked so hard to achieve their goals.
“It has been another exceptional year in terms of success here at Rydal Penrhos, with a wide range of achievements spanning across all departments.
“I would like to congratulate all pupils and staff for their wonderful efforts this year and to Lord Roberts for attending Speech Day.”
Did you enjoy this year's Speech Day?
A full list of winners can be found be found below:
Art and Design – Elysia Gilman
Biology, Music, Religious Studies – Sara Owen
Business Studies, French – Elinor Davies
Chemistry, Home Economics, German – Mili Jayadeep
Design Technology – Sam Sherrington
Drama – Olivia Williams
English – Ben Gibson
English as Foreign Language – Lena Maassen
History – Carmia Kendall
ICT – Tomos Cuddihy
Maths, Physics – Matthew Trumper
Physical Education – Sam Randall
The Rick Maple design technology project prize – Geoffrey Fu
Prize for progress in English as a Foreign Language – Jessica Yang
Business Studies – Sergey Tyukavkin
English First Language, History – Amelia Berthold
English Second Language – Zlata Marakova
Maths, Science – Max Otte
Upper Sixth International Baccalaureate:
Biology, Chemistry, Spanish – Hope Leadbitter
Kerfoot prize for Chemistry – Nicolas Feick
Economics, French, Maths, Physics, Extended Essay – Anjalina Mitra
Prize for progress in English as a Foreign Language, Visual Art – Tobias Broering
English A Language and Literature, German B, Music – Sebastian Schmidt
English B, German A Literature, History – Leonie List
Michael S James cup for Geography – Karl Holthaus
Upper Sixth A-Level:
Edwards Prize for Art and Design – Laura Gataveckaite
Dr Margaret Sutton Prize for Biology – Shaswath Ganapathi
Business Studies – Alexa Rowlands
Warrington York Prize for Chemistry – Alex Bytheway
Bradley Prize Design and Technology – Angus Smith
Drama and Theatre Studies – Lydia Dickson
Economics, Margaret Holden Prize for English Literature – Lloyd Parry-Williams
English as a Foreign Language – Valentyna Sydorenko
Nicholls Prize for French – Egle Budreviciute
Richards Prize for Geography – Hannah Cashell
Battersby Prize for History – Sam Merrick
Osborn Prize for Maths, Britton Prize for Physics – James Sanders
Physical Education – Daniel Evans
Fischer Mayer Cup for Acting – Edward Lunt
Jennifer Jones Cup for Drama – Miles Poller
Pugh Thomas Cup for Drama – Luca Leggieri
Robson Cup for Best Acting Performance in a Supporting Role – Adele Parry
Fister Cup for Musical Endeavour – Sara Owen
Kay Music Cup for contribution to the Senior Choir – Philipp Rapp
Redgrave Rydal Penrhos Prize for Music – Chino Iwobi
Roberts Smith Prize for Best Solo Performance – Shannon Yang
Rydal Focus Prize for Music – Vincent Kohm
The Ronald Grime Sailing Achievement Cup – Daisy Lee-Browne
Director of Sport Award and Derbyshire Shield for Girls’ Sport – Hannah Cashell
Headmaster’s Sports Award – Efan Jones
Morphy Cup for Boys’ Sport – Adam Sabri
Award for Charity Work – Hannah Cashell and Shaswath Ganapathi
Jane Crosland Good Samaritan Cup – Molly Jones
Elwyn Jones Prize for Personal Development – Emily Harrison
Rankilor Prize for General Progress – Harry Dean
Contribution to the International Dimension of the School – Darrell Martin-Lawson
Contribution to the Boarding Life at the School – Karl Holthaus
Contribution to the competitive house spirit – Abigail Klazinga, Lydia Dickson, Alex Sharples and Sam Merrick
Contribution to the Extra-curricular programme – Alex Bytheway
Rosa Harvey Memorial Scholarship – Lloyd Parry-Williams
Michael S James IB Scholarship Cup – Anjalina Mitra
FORPS Prizes for the Heads of School – Hannah Cashell and Shaswath Ganapathi
Headmaster’s Award – Constance McMahon
Yeung Bowl House Cup – Scarlett Salisbury and Theo Smout
Talented pupils showcase skills
Sporting stars competed for bragging rights at this year’s Sports Day.
Pupils descended on New Field for the annual showcase, which took place on Friday, May 27.
There were a host of events throughout the day in both track and field, with school houses fighting it out for the overall crown.
After a gruelling afternoon under the sunshine, Osborn house were crowned winners of the event, with Chino Iwobi and Alex Sharples picking up the trophy from Mr Boyd.
He said: “It was a fantastic occasion and it was wonderful to see so many people coming along to enjoy the action.
“We have enjoyed a wealth of sporting success so far this year across all platforms at Rydal Penrhos, and when you saw some of the performances here today it is not hard to see why.
“Our Sports Day is one of the most eagerly awaited events on the calendar and once again it did not disappoint.”
There was also a special guest at the event, with former pupil and record holder Roger Harrison-Jones starting this year’s Mile race.
Mr Harrison-Jones set the record when a pupil of Rydal back in the late 1950’s and his achievement still stands to this day.
Design & Technology
Latest department news
Talented designers have put the finishing touches to their impressive A-level project submissions.
The group spent a number of months fine tuning their projects, which involved research, design and finally putting the pieces together.
The projects were varied, ranging from a wooden laptop to a 3D light, and they were officially moderated last week.
Mr Sutton, said: “They have all worked tremendously hard on their final projects, and all of them can be very pleased with their finished product.
“We are fortunate enough to have some top class equipment here which the group has utilised to create a number of highly impressive pieces which have now been moderated.
“We are confident that all their commitment to both research and construction during the project will be reflected in their final grades this summer.”
A group of Design and Technology pupils are in the final stages of production ahead of a major race.
Years 8 and 9 have been working for a number of weeks on a major project, where they are designing and building a vehicle that will compete in the F24 Greenpower race at Anglesey Circuit on Thursday, June 30.
If they are successful at the regional event, they will then go on to the International Final, which will be held at Rockingham Motor Speedway later this year.
Mr Sutton, said: “The project is coming along really well and there are just a few things to add on before we are good to go.
“This is something our pupils get involved with every year, and this group have put in a huge amount of effort into the design and production of the car, which they deserve great credit for.”
The event will involve two 90 minute races at the circuit, which allows a two hour break in-between where competitors are allowed to make changes to their cars as a result of experiences in the first race.
This will also be the time when F24 cars are judged for supplementary awards. There will be top three trophies awarded for both races at every event plus an overall winner at the International Finals.
Congratulations to Geoffrey Fu and Samantha Sherrington, both Year 11 pupils, who have been put forward for the Innovation Awards, which works in conjunction with the Welsh Government's Department of Economy Science and Transport.
They have been nominated for their GCSE projects, which have been inspired by designer, Bethan Gray. The winners will be revealed at a special showcase at Bangor University on October 3-4.
Samantha’s work involved a stunning lego figure display, while Geoffrey produced a beautiful crystal design that is sure to wow the judges during the selection process.
Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, said: “The Innovation Awards recognises the very best in creativity and design amongst the many talented students we have in Wales.
“Encouraging innovation is one of the best ways in which we can ensure a strong, sustainable economic future for Wales. I congratulate all those who have taken part in the competition. It is very encouraging to see such a high standard of entries on this year’s shortlist."
The winner of the competition receives a £250 prize, with second and third places given £150 and £100 respectively.
Pupils win annual Leavers' game
Pupils claimed bragging rights over staff in the annual Leavers’ football match.
The clash, which took place at the home of Huws Gray Alliance outfit Prestatyn Town, took place on Friday May 20 with the Rydal Penrhos Leavers’ managing to come from 3-1 down to claim a thrilling 5-4 victory.
A fiery opening to proceedings saw a number of robust challenges from both sides, with Henry Williams fortunate not to be carded for a reckless tackle on Dean Jones in the opening stages.
The first goal arrived the staff grasped the advantage against the run of play thanks to a superb finish from Rev'd Sissons following good work from Mr Nicholson.
An end-to-end contest brought chances at both ends, but the pupils got back into the game when a quick break resulted in Danny Evans steering home.
Things then went the way of staff thanks to some improved passing, and they got their noses in-front again when Sissons prodded home from close range.
The buoyant staff were now fully in the ascendancy and doubled their advantage soon after when an audacious 40-yard effort from Mr Baker found its way past keeper Max Helle.
A spell of reckless defending proved to be the crucial point in the contest, with the leavers somehow scoring three in the space of just five minutes courtesy of strikes from Wales U18 rugby international Efan Jones, Henry Williams and Evans.
They would add another to increase their lead further when Williams notched his second of the afternoon to turn the game on its head.
The prolific Sissons ensured a nervy end to proceedings with another neat finish to seal his hat-trick, and the staff were unfortunate to have a penalty appeal waved away by referee Kate McCarthy as the leavers held on for victory.
AS Level pupils praised
Talented drama pupils have been praised for their efforts during a pair of AS Level exam performances.
The Year 12 pupils performed over two nights on Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday 25, with the Unit 2 examiner running the rule over their efforts on the final night.
In order to prepare for the exam, the talented performing artists honed their skills in day-long rehearsals, which took place before both performances.
During the showcase they performed a series of monologues and duologues of popular titles including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Educating Rita, Othello, Antigone and Electra.
The group will then perform together in a special one act play of Anthony Horowitz’ 'A Handbag', a dark comedy about a group of young people that are rehearsing 'The Importance of Being Earnest' but, as they attempt to perform a play which is alien to them, it becomes apparent that their surroundings are not normal.
Gradually, as tensions mount, squabbles ensue and each young person's story starts to emerge, the location is found to be an institution.
The majority of pupils taking part all played a significant role in the success of the recent Dramatic Society performance of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
Drama pupils got the chance to learn from a field specialist at a special workshop.
Phil Cleaves visited us on Monday, May 9, where he conducted a four hour devising workshop with Year 10 GCSE and Year 12 A-level pupils.
Mr Cleaves was invited to the school by Mrs Crimes, as the pair are good friends after studying together at the University of Cambridge.
He also went on the gain distinction in his Masters degree at both RADA and Birkbeck.
The Drama and Theatre Consultant, workshop leader and author has written the brand new GCSE and A-level Drama textbooks for the new courses.
Mrs Crimes, said: “It all went really well and the pupils really did get a lot out of it.
“We were fortunate to have Phil here to lend his expertise, and it was good for the group to have some insight on the new course literature too.
“On behalf of the pupils I would like to thank him for visiting us and we hope to see him again soon.”
Tour to Greece confirmed
A group of netball stars will be joined by a special guest on their upcoming tour to Greece.
The 16 pupils will depart on Wednesday, October 19 and will be joined by Welsh netball captain and former pupil, Suzy Drane, who will be part of the coaching staff during the trip.
They will be staying at the Loutraki Sportcamp near Athens, where they will be training and playing competitive matches against various teams from the region.
Suzy said: “I'm very excited to be coming back to Rydal Penrhos, after all this is where it all began for me, only this time I will be part of the coaching team that is heading away with some talented young players.
“I'm excited for the opportunity to work with the staff and players, learning from them and hopefully passing on some of my knowledge and experiences I have gained since leaving.”
During the tour pupils will also spend a day sightseeing around the ancient city of Athens, which will see them take a trip to Acropolis, visit the Olympic sites from the 2004 games and learn more about legacy programmes in the country.
A number of pupils have secured sponsorship for the trip, with companies such as Supertemps, Local Dragon and Vinnie Martin lending their support.
Mrs Head, said: “It should be a fantastic experience for all concerned, with so many of our experienced Year 13 players moving on to pastures new, it will be an opportunity for the girls to bond as a squad."
News from former pupils
Flt Lt Nathan Jones, who left the school in 2001, was part of the Great Britain side competing at the Invictus Games.
After suffering a dramatic final corner clash when leading the cycling event, Nathan went straight from his hospital bed to the pool, where he heroically achieved a bronze medal in the 50m backstroke for his efforts.
The Colwyn Bay resident, said: “It feels great to get a medal, 48 hours ago I was on a spinal board in hospital so I am pretty pleased.
“I was in pole position in the cycling and I felt like I had a good sprint in me, but unfortunately I took the wrong line and crashed into a barrier.
“My back is pretty sore but I always felt that the backstroke was going to be my strongest event so I am delighted to get a medal.”
The former international skier and rugby player was involved in a flying accident while serving as a Royal Force Air Force pilot at Camp Bastion, which resulted in a broken back.
After extensive rehabilitation, Flt Lt Jones has been left with nerve damage and partial paralysis of his calves.
Although he is now unable to take part in his specialised sports of rugby and skiing due to their high impact nature, the son of ex-teacher, Ken Jones, won a series of competitive skiing titles after competing for six months following the injury.
The former pilot is currently still in full time rehabilitation in the hope of returning to the front line in the future.
Old Rydalian Andrew Fenby, aged 30, a member of the London Irish squad this season, has decided to call it a day in order to “pursue a new opportunity”.
The qualified chartered accountant, said: “Can't believe this day has finally arrived. Incredibly fortunate to have played professionally for two great clubs, made many great friends and memories that will last a lifetime.
“I have really enjoyed my time with London Irish and it's with a heavy heart I've come to make this decision and pursue a new opportunity.
“Thank you all for your support.”
The winger scored two Premiership tries this term, in addition to a hat-trick against Edinburgh in the European Challenge Cup pool stage.
He began his career playing for the school sides as well as turning out for Llandudno Rugby Club.
Mr Boyd, said: “Everyone at the school followed Andrew’s career with great interest and we would like to congratulate him on a wonderful career.
“He is someone that our aspiring players have looked up to, so they can see just how far you can go if you work hard and reach your potential."
Dr Mark Baker, who left the school in 2003, has led a group of volunteers intent on fixing the historic Gwrych Castle, which overlooks Abergele and can be seen from the A55 expressway.
The Grade I listed site was left to rot for decades, but the Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust, which comprises 65 volunteers and was formed in 1997, has restored the impressive Gardener’s Tower and they lit the stove and main fireplace for the first time in 100 years at their Open Day on Saturday, May 7.
Dr Baker, who is Chairman of the Trust, said: “Basically, the tower was just four crumbling walls. It had no roof, no windows and no floors.
"We had to clear out five feet of rubble, abandoned birds nests and foliage and allow the building to 'dry out'. Then local builders and chimney sweeps helped us to rebuild and restore.
"The stove in the basement room is a kind donation by Ceri Leeder to the trust as the original was stolen.
"The fireplace that we will be lighting is in the room where the Countess of Dundonald, Winifred Bamford-Heskth, used to use as a writing room."
"The next significant development of the site was the formal garden. In the 1970s the garden was used for jousting."
Rob Hall and his band Catfish and the Bottlemen have finally released their long awaited second album.
The Llandudno rockers brought out “The Ride” – which is the follow-up to 2014’s ‘The Balcony’ – on Friday, May 27 at midnight on Island Records.
Drummer Rob, who left Rydal Penrhos in 2011, and the band have also disclosed the full 11-song tracklist, which includes recent single ‘Soundcheck’.
A post on the band’s Facebook page, said: “Alongside selling out shows, this album is by far the proudest we’ve ever been about anything us four have ever done together.
“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.”
"They have been riding on the crest of a wave over the last two years, and The Ride promises to deliver even more success for the group, which is thoroughly deserved for all the hard work they have put in to make a name for themselves."
Anyone wishing to purchase the album can do so by visiting their official site at http://www.catfishandthebottlemen.com/
Suzy Drane, aged 29, is the current Welsh captain and earned her 75th cap at the Netball Europe Open Championships in Newcastle.
The inspirational athlete has represented her country at two World Cups, two Commonwealth Games and at a number of European Championships.
She currently plays club netball for Celtic Dragons in the Vitality Superleague, and lectures in Sport Development and Performance Sport at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Suzy said: “It’s a huge milestone.
I’m pleased and ecstatic that I’ve made it this far, but I still get the exact same feeling as when I received my first cap, my 30th cap and my 74th.
“Playing for your country can’t ever be replicated, but it’s not about counting caps.”
The ex-pupil will be part of the schools coaching staff for a special tour of Greece next October, and Drane recently earned a silver medal at the Netball Europe Open Championships.
Yvie Johnson, mother of Year 8 pupil, Sydney, reached John O’Groats in her ultra-marathon attempt on Thursday, May 19 after making her way through the Scottish Highlands last week.
She has already begun her trek back down to Land’s End in her world-record quest, which the bi polar sufferer is doing to raise funds and awareness for those with mental health issues.
Yvie said: “Getting back to Land’s End is going to be a battle now that my feet are ready to disintegrate - but I will do it come hell or high water.
“I might not be a Royal or a celebrity, but neither are the majority of humanity, and they're the ones who matter and I want to raise as much as possible for them.
“Running in this challenge, I am dealing with plans not just going awry, but positively developing in a way I never expected.
“My anxiety levels peak on the road when dealing with traffic, the stress so great I almost burst with rage.
“With every step, I am showing that not knowing how, or why, or when, can be just as acceptable and rewarding as knowing every detail, and following every plan to the letter.”
Anyone wishing to donate can do so by visiting http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=FierceMind.
Next Gen 7s to return in Summer
Next Generation Sevens have once again been confirmed at the school for a two-day summer rugby camp, which will take place on Tuesday 16 to Wednesday 17 August.
Both days will be available for under 12 and 15 players, and it will give budding sevens players the chance to develop their skills under top international coaches.
The school held a similar three-day camp in February, which featured former Wales and British Lions star Andy Powell as a coach, in addition to ex-Sale Shark Nick Wakley and Samurai Sevens international Jonathan Hooper.
Mr Boyd, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Next Generation Sevens back this summer, and it promises to be another tremendous opportunity for young players to learn from some of the very best coaches in the business.
“Our camp over February half term proved to be very successful, with players from as far away as Scotland attending, and we hope that this camp will prove just as beneficial for those looking to improve their game.
“There have been no confirmed coaches as yet but Next Gen are guaranteed to be sending some top class individuals at the top of their profession, and we are looking forward to revealing more in due course.
“Gaining experience in sevens is a huge asset to have in a player’s development at a young age, and since it was awarded Olympic status the profile of the game has raised considerably.”
Details on how to book onto the coaching camp will be revealed in the near future.
Congratulations to our academy partners RGC side, who achieved promotion to the Principality Premiership.
In what was just their 100th competitive game, the Gogs secured a place in the top flight with a hard fought 19-7 victory at Glynneath, ensuring they finished fourth in the Swalec Championship.
It has been a memorable season for the Colwyn Bay-based side, who will now represent North Wales in the top division, and will be given time to adjust to the new-look league with the anticipated four year cut-off.
Ex-pupils Danny Cross and Sean Lonsdale contributed significantly to the triumph, with Joe Simpson coming off the bench to aid the cause in what was a landmark day for RGC and North Wales rugby.
Player-coach Josh Leach has led his team superbly throughout, with current pupil and Wales U18 international Efan Jones also featuring on numerous occasions – scoring his first senior try against Newcastle Emlyn earlier in the campaign.
Mr Boyd, said: “Everyone at Rydal Penrhos would like to congratulate RGC on their historic promotion to the Principality Premiership, an achievement that will do an untold amount of good for rugby in the region.
“They have fought right to the very end and are fully deserving of their promotion, and it was great to see our pupils past and present contribute to their success throughout the season.”
Duo make Buckingham Palace trip
Course co-ordinator, Jim Lewis, and Deputy Head, Tim Cashell, attended the once in a lifetime Gold Award Presentation to celebrate the Duke of Edinburgh Award's diamond anniversary on Monday, May 16.
At the event the pair were presented with a special plaque from the DofE Charity acknowledging Rydal Penrhos’ commitment to running the scheme.
The DofE is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary throughout 2016, having supported millions of young people in the UK and across the globe to achieve awards since it was founded in 1956.
The presentation was one of many memorable events taking place to celebrate 60 years of the Charity.
Among the many dignitaries that attended included HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex.
In addition, former pupil Sravya Bathula, who left us three years ago, picked up her prestigious Gold Award at the ceremony after completing it with the school a few months after she departed.
Mr Lewis, said: “Rydal Penrhos has held a licence to deliver the DofE for many years and I feel honoured to have been invited to Buckingham Palace to receive a commemorative plaque to acknowledge and say thank you for our work with the Charity during its Diamond Anniversary year.
“Our young people are encouraged to push themselves outside of their comfort zones when doing their DofE and the skills that they develop can be life-changing, so for us to be involved is something very special.”
Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of the DofE Charity, added: “Through the DofE, Rydal Penrhos is inspiring the success of its young people; equipping them with the attributes and skills to get a job and build strong relationships whilst opening up their worlds and introducing them to a broad range of interests.”
Ieuan Franssens, Katie Marston, Will Marston, Soumini Peeka, Anna Popyuk, Nikita Shershavikov, Jack Sissons and Alice Waltham all took part in the physically demanding challenge over three days in a practice expedition ahead of their Gold Award assessment.
Mr Lewis, said: “In the best of conditions, this can be a serious and physically-demanding challenge.
“However, the cold forecast for the weekend combined with the snow falls of the previous week placed an added level of importance on the need for proper preparation.”
After a training and acclimatisation day on Friday, in which the teams were put through their paces with navigation exercises off the beaten track in the Carneddau, they then descended to Rowen in the Conwy valley from which to launch their actual expedition.
During the next three days, the two groups of four pupils successfully navigated their way across 45km of arduous terrain, involving over 2000m of vertical ascent with full expedition rucksacks, facing fierce hail storms, battering headwinds and persistent rain.
Over the next few weeks, preparations will begin for the assessed expedition, due to take place in September in the Rhinog Mountains of southern Snowdonia.
Pupils give account of trips
Areebah Maqsood gives his account on the recent Year 7 trip to Central Gurdwara in Manchester:
On Wednesday 18th May, Year 7 went on a trip to the Central Gurdwara in Manchester. We had been studying Sikhism and, after learning a bit about their beliefs, Mrs Murphy (our RS teacher) thought it would be a good idea to visit their holy place of worship, like previous years had done before us. We left the school at 8:30am, and arrived back at school at roughly 4pm.
After the journey in the coach, we finally arrived in Manchester. After a few twists and turns, we saw the orange flag with the symbol of Sikhism. Everyone was so excited! Bobby (our Sikh teacher) led us upstairs once we had washed our hands, taken off our shoes and covered our hair. We learnt about Sikh beliefs and their history. She also told us about the Golden temple in Amritsar, which was fascinating since we hadn’t learnt about it in school. We found out many things about it, including that it is visited by so many people that the volunteers feed 100, 000 people every day!
We also found out other interesting facts. One of them was that the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh holy book) is read in the same way as Western people read books (left to right), despite the origin of Sikhism being in India. Half way through the session, we met the high priest of the Gurdwara.
He was wearing the five K’s, another thing Bobby told us about. However instead of a steel wristband (Kara) like Bobby’s, the high priest had an iron wristband. He also wore a turban which was another thing we learned about; 15 feet of material skilfully wrapped around a person’s head in 5 minutes flat!
I learned that different turbans could be wrapped in different ways to suit individual Sikhs, which was something I didn’t know before. I also learned that 99% of people wearing turbans are Sikhs while the other 1% are people in the Middle East to show they are important or at an important event.
I would recommend this trip to everyone. It was not only a very enjoyable experience but it was also extremely educational, even for grown-ups!
Personally, I enjoyed the entire trip, especially the game we played to test what we had learnt and the Langar (free vegetarian curry – delicious!) I also enjoyed it when the high priest played the instruments. I have to admit the journey there felt longer because I was so eager to get to the Gurdwara, but I still recommend it to everyone and I’m sure it would be an unforgettable experience for those who decide to visit.
Year 8 pupil Sydney Johnson gives her account of a recent trip to the Jewish Museum in Manchester:
On Wednesday 18th May year 8 took a 2-hour drive into Manchester to see not only where Jews come together to pray and discover what they might wear and items might use, but also to learn about what it means to be a Jew and find out its traditions, history and past.
We started off at the Manchester Cathedral in which Christians–or anyone who was interested- may come together to celebrate special days, hold services and pray.
We were split into two groups and away we went. My group were shown a place where a bomb had destroyed many of the windows.
We were shown where the choir would sing and I myself was fortunate enough to be chosen to dress up as a minister!
Then we were told about the different clothes worn by the minister at different times of the church year. Many of us even got the opportunity to try on the different coloured vestments.
Following lunch at the cathedral, we then headed off to our final destination, the Jewish Museum.
The Jewish Museum had originally been built as a synagogue in the 1800’s but after over 100 years in existence it was made into a museum about 30 years ago.
We played several games to test our knowledge of Judaism and also add to what we already knew. These games involved being able to move around the building including both the bottom and top floors.
After many questions were answered, it was time to set off homewards (not before we raided the gift shop of course).
On our return to school, it struck me just how lucky we were to be in a position where we were able to go on wonderful trips and experience different cultures and beliefs all in one day.
Sarah Nuzam, a co-ordinator at World Action in Methodist Schools, visited us on Wednesday, May 4, where she spent time at both senior and prep schools.
After speaking at a whole school chapel service, the ambassador visited the prep school, where they took part in a formal debate about whether children should chose to go to secondary school or not.
The class were split into groups to find out about the type of education available in different countries, which included thinking about Syrian refugees living in Jordan.
As a warm up activity they were also able to share their opinions about the EU Referendum; making the morning a hugely topical and relevant learning experience.
Mrs Nuzam then held a special workshop with Year 8 pupils alongside Rev'd Sissons, where the group took part in a series of activities designed to highlight the various problems and discrimination taking place throughout the world.
News from the crease
Zaid Raheman, a Year 8 pupil, was part of the Eryri squad King’s School Chester recently, and performed well in the hope of future squad selections in the future.
The 13 year-old's talent does not end with cricket, as he was also selected for the North Wales hockey squad which competed Nottingham Hockey Festival last month.
This is the latest in a long line of cricketing success at the school, with players now benefitting from the expertise of two former professionals in Will Owen and Shrikant Mundhe.
Former IPL star Mundhe has arrived in the country to play for Liverpool and District Premier Division side Colwyn Bay as their overseas player for the season.
He will also be coaching pupils as part of his deal with the Welsh Cup winners.
Mr Leach, said: “Zaid has performed brilliantly so far this season and was extremely deserving of his call-up into the Eryri squad.
“To have two former professionals coaching our pupils on a regular basis is a tremendous asset to have, and it is already reaping rewards in terms of performance and regional recognition.”
Our first XI took to New Field for the first time on Wednesday, May 4, where they competed against MCC in a fixture that dates back to the 1920’s.
After the visitors set a target of 192-1 off 40 overs, Welsh international Will Sissons produced a stunning half century, for which he was awarded the Spirit of Cricket award at the end of the contest.
Despite the positive start we would fall just 46 runs short of their total against a vastly more experienced, but there was better news for the U15s who recorded an impressive 54-run victory over King’s School Chester the following day.
Once again it was Sissons who was the star of the show with both bat and ball, hitting an unbeaten 120 while also finishing with sublime figures of 5-17.
The Bunbury Festival hopeful has now notched over 200 runs for the school in the space of a week.
Other performances of note came from Ewan Luke and Mason Clark, who both batted well, while Sean Hughes and captain Jack Jones performed well in the field.
In addition the U14s also recorded a superb victory over Ysgol Eirias on the same day.
Mr Leach, said: “The game against MCC is always a tremendous occasion, and it further added to the great tradition between the two sides over the years.
“We all know the immense talent Will has, which has been further demonstrated this week with a series of fantastic performances."
Will Sissons, a Year 10 pupil, co-captained the Wales U15 side against Wellington School on Sunday, May 15, and the talented all-rounder continued his fine start to the campaign with another impressive performance.
Batting at number six at the Mumbles, Swansea, Sissons looked assured as he produced a sublime knock of 72 which was filled with a number of eye catching strokes.
The 15 year-old also hit an unbeaten 82 as our first XI recorded an impressive nine run win over Oswestry School.
Sissons, who is hoping to play at the Bunbury Cricket Festival, was nominated for the Cricket World performance of the week after a knock of 120 and a bowling effort of 5-17 against King’s School Chester.
Mr Leach, said: “It was another brilliant weekend for Will, who continues to shine for both school and country.
“He is an immensely talented cricketer who has demonstrated a tremendous work ethic, something that is clearly paying dividends when you see the performances he is putting in with both bat and ball.
“To captain your country is an exceptional honour and one that everyone is extremely proud of.”
Pupils sing with celebrity
A group of our pupils got the chance to sing with a national celebrity at a recent event.
Three pupils were part of the choir at St Asaph Cathedral for the visit of renowned signer Aled Jones on Friday, May 13.
Upper sixth pupil, James Sanders, sang with the Lay Clerks, while Arthur Hind and Prep pupil, Caitriona Searl, were members of the choir that performed with Aled, who shot to stardom with the hit Walking In The Air.
The concert was held as part of the singer and TV presenter’s tour of Cathedrals across the UK, which will see him visit four in Wales and 22 in total.
Alan McGuinness, the Cathedral’s Director of Music, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for our choristers and lay clerks to sing alongside such an established performer as Aled.
”The concert was very well attended and with such superb acoustics in the Cathedral we hope to attract other artists in the future."
Mr Wright added: “It was great that pupils from both sites got the chance to perform with such a prestigious singer, and I’m sure it was a wonderful experience for all of them.
“Extra-curricular activities like this are something we strongly encourage here at Rydal Penrhos, and to perform in-front of such a large crowd with one of the best singers this country has produced is a huge honour.”
Latest news from young stars
A group of talented sailors were part of history making national success last weekend.
Ewan Luke and Zac Blomeley, together with brothers Eddie and Kevin Farrell, were part of the Welsh side that won the prestigious 2016 RYA Eric Twiname Championship held at Rutland Sailing Club.
The quartet, who are part of Llandudno Sailing Club, played a significant role in the success by securing second and third places respectively in their class events - the boys RS Feva XL.
The Eric Twiname Championship, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, is one of the largest events in the sailing calendar and includes racing for Optimists, Toppers, RS Feva XL and several wind surfing classes.
By competing hard in all of these classes, sailors from across Wales managed to bring both the Dinghy and overall Championship Trophy home to Wales.
Mr Boyd, said: “This is fantastic news and congratulations go to the four pupils for achieving such phenomenal success.
“They have all begun the season in terrific form, and the sky is the limit in terms of how much they can achieve if they continue their remarkable development.
“We are very lucky to have a great deal of talent here, which is a testament to how hard both our pupils and staff work on improving their skills.”
Martyna Ruszkowska, aged 15, was part of the Welsh squad at the Irish Open Swimming Championships, which took place in Dublin.
Despite competing against vastly more experienced opposition, Martyna reached seven semi-finals and five finals, achieving a runner-up medal in the 400m individual medley.
Thanks to her superb effort, she is now ranked number five in Great Britain in the 50m butterfly and sixth in the 400m individual medley as she looks to gain further national honours in the future.
Martyna said: “The competition was high as the age groups were open so it was possible that you'd be racing against 25 year-olds. There were competitors from all over the world from as far as Canada and Pakistan.
“Overall I'm very pleased with the results. Having achieved personal best times in almost all events I'm hoping to qualify for the British National Championships in the summer.”
This is the latest in a long list of accolades for the pupil, who swam at the British Swimming Championships and the Sainsbury’s 2015 Schools Games in Manchester last year.
Mr Ruszkowski, added: “Martyna has worked tremendously hard leading up to the Irish Open, and we are delighted with her results."
Dawn Jones, a sports coach at the school, achieved a hole-in-one at a competition held at Rhos on Sea Golf Club on Wednesday, April 27.
The seven handicapper shot the ace on the par three 18th hole, to ensure she finished her round on three-under-par.
This is the latest in a long line of success for the coach, who picked up no fewer than nine trophies from the Rhos on Sea Golf Club presentation night last season.
She won the club’s Order of Merit, club knockouts, GUW Medals and monthly medal and stableford competitions.
Dawn was also selected to the Denbighshire and Flintshire team for the first time, while also receiving a call-up to the North Wales squad following her exceptional performances.
In addition to her success on the course, Ms Jones has also recently completed her Level one golf coaching qualification in the hope of inspiring the next generation of players in the region.
The talented golfer is no stranger to sporting achievement, having earned a national hockey squad selection for Wales in her younger years.
Year 10 pupil Imogen Camp produced another stunning performance to claim the U15 girls’ section at the UK Chess Challenge’s Cheshire and North Wales Mega-Final.
The Wales international, who finished 14th out of 60,000 competitors at last year’s event, went unbeaten in her six games throughout the day and the 15 year-old will now move on to one of two national semi-finals later this year.
This was not the only school success on the day, with a host of Prep School pupils reaching the next stages after impressing considerably at the showcase.
Year 2 pupil Fleur Roberts won the U7 Girls category after playing some superb chess, while Harry Buttle won the U9 boys’ event thanks to a stunning final game triumph.
Mr Camp, said: “A total of nine qualifiers out of 14 players represents our biggest success in a mega-final.
“Several of these pupils received compulsory chess lessons in Year 2 and this is now clearly paying dividends.
“We hope for more in the future as children in our school now all receive compulsory chess lessons in both Year one and two.”
It has been another standout year on the chess board for Imogen, who has competed at the World Youth Championships in Greece and has also been chosen to represent the Wales women’s squad at the upcoming World Olympiad.
The UK Chess Challenge is the biggest chess tournament of its kind in the world. This year, over 50,000 children from all over the UK entered.