Rydal Penrhos newsletter
Foreword from Mr Smith
It is quite extraordinary that we are almost at the end of February and I hope that the pupils and staff are currently enjoying a well-earned rest with some time made for reading and reflection.
As I reflect upon the stories contained in this newsletter and all the other less headline grabbing moments in the last four weeks of Rydal Penrhos life I am heartened by the diversity of the pupils' engagement and achievement.
I think everyone of our 5 Ls philosophy is in evidence here. If I were to pick one highlight it would have to be the packing of shopping bags in Morrisons to raise funds for the RNLI. As I have said on numerous occasions I want Colwyn Bay and other neighbouring towns and villages to be immensely proud to be associated with this school.
I was certainly proud of the way that our pupils confidently and politely offered their packing services to complete strangers throughout the day. A number of shoppers and Morrisons staff commented on how impressive the pupils were; my bag packing, however, was less impressive as my wife could testify. More importantly we raised over £800 for the RNLI. This is a charity very close to my heart.
My father worked at sea from the age of 16 and for much of his 45 years in work. My wife spent her teenage years living on the coast of the Isle of Man and her family still regularly cross over to the mainland. Whilst neither, fortunately, ever required the services of the RNLI many others are grateful for the skill and bravery of their crews. They cover over 19,000 miles of coastline and on average launch a boat 23 times per day.
I dread to think what many of their crews were having to do yesterday as Storm Doris swept across the UK. Our fundraising will go towards the new Lifeboat House at Llandudno to open in the Spring of 2017 and house its new Shannon Class boat. For a school so close to the sea and with a thriving sailing club I believe it's a charity we should, and will continue to, support very closely.
Much of what you will see in these pages are about service and commitment to a cause it's what makes this a special school and I hope you can by reading this month's newsletter both enjoy and appreciate our pupils' very worthy efforts.
Pupils and staff bag pack for RNLI
Mollie Smithfield & Samiya Garrod
Generous pupils and staff took part in a special fundraising initiative in aid of a national maritime charity.
A large number of volunteers from the school participated in their annual bag packing fundraising drive at Morrisons, Colwyn Bay on Saturday, January 28, with all proceeds going towards the RNLI.
They took separate shifts during the day-long event, where they aided customers with their groceries in exchange for a small donation.
There was even an appearance from Headmaster Mr Smith, who helped with the afternoon session of the event.
Thanks to the hard work of both pupils and staff, a total of £859.16 was raised in total for their efforts.
Mr Cashell, said: “We are very proud of our association with the RNLI, who provide a superb and critical service along our coastlines.
“Our pupils and staff gave up their own time to help a very worthy cause, and we even had our new Headmaster at the bag packing, who continues to lead by example in the few short weeks he has been with us.
“I would like to thank all those who donated to our fundraising drive, which was one again a huge success and something those involved can be very proud of.”
Our Ugandan team with the boxes
A group of pupils have continued the school’s ongoing charity work in Uganda ahead of their visit this summer.
The 14 pupils, together with Reverend Sissons, have been busy collecting books to be sent to the African country for use in schools, and a large number of boxes were sent on their way on Friday, February 17.
Ruby James, Will Sissons, Samantha Randall Sammy Sherrington, Becky Lawton, Gowri Pradeep, Amelia Cole-King, Carmia Kendall, Olivia Rogerson, Fraser Williams, Joshua Meyerratken, Nia Seenan, Isabelle Williams and Alice Waltham will be heading to the country in July, which will be the fifth time that we will undergo charity work in Uganda
Their most recent visit last year drew widespread praise from a number of African-based charities.
Ugandan princess Jacklet Atuhaire visited the school last year to talk with Rev’d Sissons and others about the school’s 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.
Throughout the year the school had been raising funds for a new primary school building in the small Batwa community of Rwamahano, Uganda, which was devastated by severe storms and flooding.
Tour to Japan confirmed
Talented rugby stars will head to the Far East for a trip of a lifetime later this year.
Our senior side will be visiting Japan in December, where they will be taking on some of the best young sides anywhere in the region.
This will include an acid test against Gyosei High School in Osaka, who were recently crowned national champions, and they will also take on teams from high-profile cities such as Tokyo and Kyoto.
Mr Boyd confirmed that we will once again be working with MSG Tours, and said: “The importance of using a reputable agent, one with extensive experience and one with a robust support system in place cannot be underestimated when undertaking a tour like this, and we are delighted to be working with MSG again following the success of our recent tour of Portugal.
“This will be a tour that will live long in the memory, and the excitement is already at fever pitch for the 22 players that have declared their interest.”
In addition to tour reps from the ATOL protected company, there will also be a dual linguist tour representative while in Japan.
Mark Gardner of MSG Tours, added: “The boys head to The Land of the Rising Sun to taken on Japan’s finest schools, featuring a match against the current national champions. The players will travel to the ancient capital, Kyoto, after opening their touring encounter in arguably the world’s finest city, Tokyo.
“Rydal Penrhos will also be piloting our new travel app that documents the tours from start to finish, allowing seamless integration with parents, supporters and staff/students alike during the journey."
A prominent figure in Welsh rugby has been confirmed as the special guest for a prestigious Sevens tournament at the school.
We will be hosting the second annual showcase on Saturday, March 4, which will feature 20 teams from across the country.
Teams for the newly named SOCS Rydal Penrhos U16 Sevens tournament were put into four groups, and following the opening games teams will be divided into Cup, Plate, Bowl, Trophy and Shield depending on their placings in each pool.
Welsh Rugby Union president Dennis Gethin will also be in attendance to view the action and dish out the trophies at the end of the competition.
Mr Boyd, said: “We are honoured that Dennis will be attending the tournament, which promises to be another fantastic showcase of rugby.
“We have a large number of teams coming from long distances to compete, so some of the best young talent anywhere in the country will be on show.
“Events like this are a fantastic way for young players to sample a big game atmosphere, while also improving their teamwork in the hope of gaining some silverware.”
Nick Dundee on the attack
Rugby Sevens stars geared up for their upcoming fixtures by hosting a pre-season tournament.
The school’s U18 side hosted the six-team competition on Wednesday, February 8, which was held at Burnage Rugby Club’s 3G surface.
This was the first official competition for the senior side, before the kick-off what promises to be an extremely busy and exciting campaign.
Also competing at the tournament were Giggleswick School, Birkenhead School, Newcastle-under-Lyme School, Oswestry School and Manchester Grammar School.
We began the tournament with defeats to Manchester Grammar and eventual winners Giggleswick, with a serious injury to Llywelyn Cowell having a significant impact on their performance.
The pupil was transferred to hospital where he underwent surgery on a broken fibula.
Despite also missing RGC academy stars Dan Owen, Adam Sabri and Henry Davies, the side responded well and won back-to-back contests against Oswestry and Newcastle under Lyme by scores of 38 - 12 and 26 - 17 respectively.
A last gasp loss to Birkenhead in their final fixture gave them an encouraging third placed finish for their efforts.
Mr Boyd, said: “The exercise was a valuable one in not only getting to grips with the physical and tactical demands of a tournament, to finish third will hopefully serve the squad well as they progress through the remainder of the season.
“We wish Llywelyn Cowell well as he recovers from an injury sustained during the first game of the competition.”
Pupils enhance learning on visits
Religious Studies pupils enhanced their learning at a high-profile conference.
A-level pupils Becky Lawton, Emily Cashell and Bethany Klazinga, together with department head Mrs Richardson, travelled to Manchester on Tuesday, February 7 for a Philosophy of Religion and Ethics conference with British academics, philosophers, theologians and authors Dr Peter Vardy and Dr David Webster.
During the event pupils got to develop their knowledge and understanding on a variety of subjects, and also got to listen to university-style lectures on topics including ‘The Problem of Evil and Suffering’, ‘Arguments for the Existence of God’ and ‘Natural Law’.
Following the lectures, the pupils took part in an ethical debate on the controversial subject of Euthanasia.
Emily, aged 16, said: “The university style lectures gave us the opportunity to advance our understanding of the RS A-level material and challenged us beyond.”
Becky added: “Getting involved in the debates on Euthanasia and Natural Law was an intense and eye-opening experience.”
Information Computer Technology pupils at learnt more about the origins of the internet on a recent trip.
The GCSE group paid a visit to the National Museum of Media, Film and Television in Bradford on Monday, February 13, which was set-up to enhance their learning ahead of exam season.
The principal purpose was to visit the special exhibition on the Internet, which traced its development, looked at different technologies surrounding the global phenomenon and examined the impact on business and social life.
This trip will serve as a huge benefit as half of their examination paper next month will be based around “Internet technologies and their impact”.
During the visit pupils also got to visit the exhibition on the development and history of television, which please department head Mr Farnell, who said: “I particularly enjoyed seeing my childhood memories in one place where Zippy and George sat alongside original Thunderbirds puppets.”
The museum itself was built to explore the science and culture of light and sound technologies and their impact on our lives, in addition to inspiring the scientists and engineers of the future.
Our A-level and GCSE group travelled to the Whitworth Art Gallery at the University of Manchester, where work from Andy Warhol is on display.
The trip was set up to enhance the group’s learning ahead of their summer submission entries.
Mr Sherrington, said: “The pupils were confronted by his famous screen prints of the electric chair and his large guns. It is always important to see real art in the flesh and they responded well to work that is obviously political and relevant today.
“The week before the sixth form pupils had all tried a real screen print themselves based on their work during a terrific workshop run by Mrs Morris. This really helped them gain a full and deep understanding of exactly what they were looking at while in the gallery.
“Each pupil concentrated on two pieces of work , either form the Warhol exhibition or from the other work in the gallery, writing notes and drawing while sitting in front of the piece.
“As GCSE’s and A levels are revised this aspect of the course has become more important. It is something that has been highlighted as a strength of Art in our moderator’s most recent report.
“It was a great day and one that will help enhance every submission in the summer."
The Warhol exhibition focusses on themes of death, politics and identity and it presents audiences with the artist’s reading of the American Dream at a time when the country will be under scrutiny just days after the 2016 US Presidential election.
In 1968 Andy Warhol was pronounced dead; shot by feminist author, activist and member of his entourage, Valerie Solanas.
Young Performers' praised
No fewer than 15 pupils entertained an audience at St John’s Church for the first Young Performers’ Concert of the year, which took place on Tuesday, February 8.
Kicking off the show was Alicia Zhou with Midnight Reflection, before talented vocalists Arthur Hind and Zahra Shamsi delivered superb renditions of Fear no More and Water is Wide respectively.
The strong performances kept coming in the form of Eleanor Osbourne and Sara Owen and Naina Babbar, while gifted pianists Naimh Cook thrilled the crowd with her version of Rondo Alla Turca.
RGC U16 squad member Sean Hughes proved there is more than one string to his bow with hits Don’t Let Me Down and Photograph, and Harry Grocott, Carol Chen, Emma Hourihane and Ethan Bytheway also caught the eye with their respective pieces.
The concert concluded with a jazz feel thanks to the superb saxophone play of Samuel Jones and Miles Poller, who brought the show to a close with In a Sentimental Mood and Ain’t No Sunshine.
Mr Williams, said: “It was a fantastic concert and I am so proud of all our wonderful pupils here at Rydal Penrhos that performed so well.
“It was another great experience for them and it was a superb evening for the memory bank.”
A gifted musician is celebrating after achieving a notable exam grading success.
Niamh Cook, a Year 9 pupil, recently sat her Grade 8 piano exam administered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, and the 14-year-old scored an incredible 130 for her efforts.
This score ensured that Niamh achieved a distinction, which represents a significant achievement for someone so young.
Father James Cook, said: “We are extremely proud of Niamh’s achievement and it was a sense of relief to finally get results after a couple of weeks of not knowing.”
Mr Williams, added: “This is a truly remarkable achievement from Niamh, who is one of the most talented musicians we have here at Rydal Penrhos.
“To gain a distinction in such a high grade represents this, but also demonstrates her incredible work ethic and desire to be the best she can be, and Niamh should be immensely proud of her efforts as we all are here at the school.”
– Mr Williams
Annie cast delight Mrs Crimes
Excitement is building ahead of this year’s Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society production.
This year’s extravaganza, one of the most prominent dates on the calendar, will take place over three nights from Tuesday, March 28 to Friday 31, and the society will be performing Annie the Musical.
A host of pupils will be performing as part of the showcase, which is being directed by Mrs Crimes.
She said: “Rehearsals have been very full-on for our pupils; with some of them dancing solidly for 90 minutes during some sessions.
“This is a very demanding show for our performers, and the rehearsals have really stretched them - and brought out their best. We will be rehearsing every Sunday after half term, to put everything together on stage.
Bella and Eliza will share the role of Annie
“Our pupils are as determined to succeed as we are, so they are extremely receptive and willing to learn and improve. I am astounded at some of the dancing talent in our school that I didn’t know we had- I’m hoping to keep that going after the show is over.
“The community spirit of this show is delightful; the pupils have all really bonded together and just had a great time- especially during some of the choreography.”
“I can’t wait to see the pupils on stage, in costume, lights shining on them, receiving the applause that they deserve."
GCSE Mock exam success
The GCSE Art group spent the day on Thursday, February 16 going through the exact exam process they will participate in at the end of term, giving them some vital experience in things such as time management and preparation methods.
The pupils worked hard on making pieces outside of their sketchbooks based on their responses to the exam paper which they received after Christmas.
The morning was spent drawing on canvas and preparing before the painting and other activities began.
Mr Sherrington, said: “By going through this mock process the pupils get a genuine sense of what the real exam will be like at the end of term.
“It also enables their project to move on and give them chance to “review and refine” their work which is part of the marking criteria.
“All the pupils produced work that was sustained and considerably better than work up to this point and it gives us chance to really push the ideas and techniques prior to the end of term.”
Success from former pupils
Rob Hall on stage
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Rob Hall, who left the school in 2011, will be the main attraction at the Community Festival in Finsbury Park, London.
The event, which is set to take place on Saturday, July 1, will also feature bands such as The Wombats, Slaves and Nothing But Thieves.
It promises to be another busy summer for the drummer as part of the Llandudno four-piece, who are currently riding on the crest of a wave following the success of their second album The Ride.
They have already been confirmed to play the eagerly anticipated Isle of Wight Festival, in addition to TRNSMT in Glasgow and the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.
Mr Williams, said: “Catfish and the Bottlemen have quickly established themselves as one of the best live acts in the country, which is a testament to their passion and dedication towards putting on the best show possible.
“It is great to see Rob flourishing as part of the group, and everyone is very proud of everything he continues to achieve.
“We wish them the very best of lucky in what is sure to be an exciting summer.”
Nathan Jones with Prince Harry
Flt Lt Nathan Jones told a court martial hearing in Bulford, Wiltshire, what happened when his Voyager aircraft experienced difficulties while in the control of his co-pilot Flt Lt Andrew Townshend.
The aircraft nosedived 4,400ft in 29 seconds and the 34-year-old, who won a bronze medal at the Invictus Games last year, managed to get back to the cockpit and regain control of the plane despite fracturing his back and suffering a number of other injuries that forced him to be medically downgraded.
The camera of Flt Lt Townshend jammed the controls of the military plane, sparking the emergency on the flight from the UK to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
He said: “It felt like a rumble, a bit of turbulence, and then suddenly I hit the roof.
"There had been turbulence throughout the flight, so you would initially think that but when you're pinned to the roof you know it's not turbulence.
"I then crawled along the ceiling, and as you have seen the doorway into the cockpit is lower than the ceiling.
"There were a lot of flashing lights in the cockpit, everything was stuck to the ceiling and Flt Lt Townshend was shouting 'get back into your seat, I can't get the auto pilot out'."
Annabell Large, who left the school in 2013, will be taking on the London Marathon on Sunday, April 23, and will be running in aid of CLIC Sargent.
The Llanasa resident has chosen a charity that is close to her heart, as her best friend India Radford was diagnosed with a rare soft cell sarcoma two years ago.
She has been training for a number of weeks in the lead-up to the 26.2 mile challenge, and the 21-year-old has set a fundraising target of £2,000.
A post on her JustGiving page, said: “I have always wanted to take part in the London Marathon and this year seems like the right time.
“As much as I am taking part in this physical challenge for myself, I equally hope to raise as much awareness and support as possible for my chosen charity: CLIC Sargent, the UK’s leading cancer charity for children, young people and their families.
“When cancer strikes young lives CLIC Sargent helps families limit the damage it causes beyond their health. From diagnosis, it provides clinical, practical and emotional support to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life.
“You will never expect it to be someone you love and care about - I certainly didn’t. By helping me reach my target, we can really make a difference to peoples’ lives.”
Annabel has already raised more than £1,100 of her target and anyone wishing to donate can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/A-Large
Wales netball captain Suzy Drane was full of praise for her side after their historic second test with New Zealand.
The Welsh side turned in a much-improved performance before eventually falling to a 72-39 loss, but the effort gave the skipper plenty to be encouraged about as preparations ahead of the next Commonwealth Games.
Speaking to BBC Wales, Drane said: "It was a good margin to come back to from yesterday's game.
"We will be pleased but we won't be settling for that scoreline.
"We have 14 months until the Commonwealth Games and we will look forward to that.
"Our team have had one weekend together and we then come up against the second best team in the world.
"Who knows what we can do with 14 months together? It's about the journey and sticking together."
New Zealand thrashed Wales 92-27 in Tuesday's first Test but led 15-12 after a tight first quarter but despite a valiant Welsh effort, the visitors ran out were comfortable winners.
The former pupil was a special guest coach on Rydal Penrhos’ recent tour of Greece, where she was hand to lend her expert advice during both training and competitive fixtures.
Mr Boyd, added: “Suzy and the Welsh netball team acquitted themselves well against one of the world’s best sides, and our former pupil demonstrated phenomenal leadership qualities both in the lead-up to and during both tests.”
Tom Williams during his school days
Tom Williams, who left the school in 2014, was part of the national squad that produced a number of eye-catching performances in leg four of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which took place in Sydney, Australia last weekend.
Wales Sevens bounced back from the disappointment of Wellington last week to emerge winners of a highly competitive Pool B on Day One of the tournament.
First up, Gareth Williams' men edged France 14-12, thanks to tries from co-captain Sam Cross and Ethan Davies (who added the conversions).
Then came one of Wales' most memorable performances in recent years: a 28-15 victory against Olympic champions Fiji, thanks to a hat-trick from Morgan Wiliams, plus a try from Owen Jenkins.
The result meant Wales had broken a 14-match losing streak against the Fijians, stretching back to 2013.
A 7-7 draw against Samoa - with a lovely chip-and-chase score from the returning Luke Treharne, and in which Samoa made a miracle tackle to hold newcomer Owen Lane up over the line at the death to prevent a winning score - saw Wales Sevens through to the Cup quarter-final on Day Two, where they succumbed 26-0 to the resurgent Australians.
Scholar claims British title
Josh Lynch, a Year 8 pupil at the school, turned in another record-breaking gold medal performance at the British Age Grade Weightlifting Championships, which were held in Castleford on Saturday, February 4.
The gifted 13-year-old, who has broken no fewer than nine Welsh records in his short time competing, was a convincing winner of the under 55kg category, lifting 65kg snatch and 75kg clean and jerk to take his overall competition effort to 140kg in total.
In addition to his gold medal, Josh’s latest personal bests also set a new Welsh record, and the young star has been tipped for future Olympic honours by coach and Commonwealth Games hopeful Harry Mysagni.
Mr Boyd, said: “What Josh has been able to accomplish in such a short space of time is truly remarkable, and to add a British title to his collection is a testament to how hard he has worked in the lead-up to the event.
“He is a very dedicated athlete with a huge amount of scope to develop further, and both his coaches and everyone at Rydal Penrhos work hard with him every day to ensure his goals are constantly met.
“We are all immensely proud of Josh’s efforts and I am confident that this is going to be the just the start of his success.”
Primary Schools make rockets
A pair of Conwy primary schools have been taking part in a special project inspired by an upcoming world land speed record attempt.
Both Ysgol Pen y Bryn and Ysgol Craig y Don visited Rydal Penrhos’ Design and Technology department to take part in rocket car making workshops, are propelled by a solid fuel rocket and can reach over 50 miles per hour.
Under the guidance of D&T staff at the school, pupils carefully built their rocket cars throughout two separate sessions, before testing them during an afternoon launch phase ahead of the regional round of the Bloodhound Project competition.
The department will be hosting the local finals in March and will feature seven schools from the area, with the top two qualifying for the national finals and a chance to win £1,000 and a VIP trip to South Africa for the team to see Bloodhound SSC attempt to reach 1,000mph to break the record.
Mr Sutton, said: “The Bloodhound Project is a global Engineering Adventure, using a 1,000mph world land speed record attempt to inspire the next generation to enjoy, explore and get involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“During the trip, the groups got to grips with things such as aerodynamics friction and Newton’s Laws in an action packed fun filled STEM activity, and we were delighted to welcome them to Rydal Penrhos.”
Pupils learn from renowned chef
Budding chefs were given an insight into the profession at one of North Wales’ leading establishments.
The Year 10 food and nutrition pupils took a trip to Bodnant Welsh Food Centre on Tuesday, January 24, where they were given a masterclass in cooking innovation by executive chef Andy Sheridan.
The Michelin trained chef, who runs The Hayloft restaurant at the site, invited the pupils to watch him prepare and cook a selection of dishes from his award-winning taster menu.
Among the tasty dishes he prepared included a lime-cured salmon with citrus gel and sweet and sour celeriac, while his three-way pork dish with chick pea hummus and pork quavers was also a huge hit with the pupils.
Mr Sheridan took time to explain each part of the cooking process, which covered everything from curing the meat to writing and designing the dish in a notebook.
Following the demonstrations, the eager pupils took part in a special question and answer session with the chef, who has worked under industry leaders such as Gordon Ramsey and will be taking his talents to a restaurant in Paris in the coming months.
Mrs Williams, said: “I would like to thank Andrew and Graham Jones for helping to organise such a thoroughly enjoyable and informative event for our pupils.
“We are looking forward to a return visit in the near future to use the facilities in the cookery school and create some dishes of our own.
Foursome thrive at comp
The team comprised of Gowri Pradeep, Arend Franssens, Richard Wolfendale and Alicia Zhou finished runners-up in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 'Top of the Bench' regional heat, which was held at Bangor University on Wednesday, January 25.
During the competition the four pupils had to answer a series of questions together as a team, before being split up to answer additional chemistry puzzles.
After a highly competitive day of action the foursome finished in second place, just three points away from top spot.
This is the latest in a long line of success for Rydal Penrhos in the event, with Mili Jayadeep, Imogen Camp, Eddie Farrell and Ioan Peake-Jones reaching the national final last year.
Pender, said: “All four pupils performed very well and did an excellent job of representing the school.”
Are competitions like this worthwhile for pupils?
Amazing efforts from stars
Reuben Bather will be part of the Wales U16 side that will compete at the Quadrangular event, which will be held at Prestatyn Golf Club from April 11-13.
The 13-year-old booked his place in the squad with a strong showing at a recent selection weekend at Newport Golf Club, and he look to make a significant contribution to the Welsh team that will take on Holland, Scotland and Ireland during the event.
After a day of practice on April 10, the tournament will consist of three mornings of foursome play, with the Rydal Penrhos Golf Academy star looking to pick up valuable points each afternoon during singles clashes.
Mr Richardson, said: “This is a fantastic achievement from Reuben and one made even more remarkable given that he is just 13-years-of-age.
“He is an extremely gifted golfer who has made great strides with his game thanks to the hard work he is putting in with our dedicated strength and conditioning team here, which has added significant distance to his drives.
“Representing Wales again will be another fantastic experience for him and we wish Reuben and the squad well in what is sure to be a fantastic competition.”
Ewan Luke and Zac Blomeley performed well at the Harken Winter Championships, which were held at Draycote Water Sailing Club.
Despite their relative inexperience in the 29er category, the duo finished the competition in tenth place overall, ensuring they came second in the junior section of the event.
After five months of competing at this level, they are now ranked 18th in the UK rankings after a number of eye-catching performances in their new discipline.
Things began well for the pair on the first day action and found themselves in third place after a rousing effort.
They will now begin their training with the Welsh National Squad prior to competing in the first 29er Sprints Championships Finals at Grafham Water, and the UK GP Pwllheli next month.
The pupils will then look for make an impact at the RYA Youth National Championships at Hayling Island in April.
Mr Boyd, said: “What Ewan and Zac have been able to do in short a short space of time in the 29er class is phenomenal, and everyone is thrilled with their progress.
“They are incredibly hard working and have made the transition over to the 29er seamlessly, and we are confident that this is just the start of things to come in terms of their success.”
No fewer than three athletes from the school booked their place in the Welsh Schools Cross Country Final after achieving high finishes in the Eryri race on Wednesday, February 15.
The school’s highest finisher was lower sixth pupil Mollie Smithfield, who produced a fine effort to cross the line in fourth position.
Close behind was fellow pupil Samantha Randall in fifth, while Samiya Garrod was the third and final person to qualify for the national showcase in sixth place.
They now move on to the Welsh final, which will take place in Brecon.
There was almost further cause for celebration in the form of Rydal Penrhos pupil Sydney Johnson, who finished 12th after an impressive run but narrowly missed out on reaching the next stage.
Mrs Head, said: “All the girls performed really well and we are delighted that they have made it through to the national finals.
“They all worked very hard in the lead-up to the Eryri Championships, which was reflected in their strong finishing positions, so we are confident of further success in Brecon next month.”
Martyna Ruszkowska is now the national record holder in the 50 metre backstroke after achieving the feat at a regional event at Llandudno Swimming Pool last weekend.
The Swim Wales star took the title and record with a time of 29.07 seconds, which was previously held by current Olympian Georgia Davies (29.37 in 2006).
The 15-year-old, said: “I was very pleased and rather surprised when I found out I had broken the record because I don’t train a lot of backstroke and really wasn’t expecting it at all.”
This is the latest in a long line of successes for the Commonwealth Games hopeful, who won the 50m butterfly event at the Sheffield Burns meet last month, recording the fastest time of any category at the event.
It promises to be a busy few months for Martyna, who will be part of the Welsh squad for their Golden Tour of Marseilles, France in March, before she looks for further national success at the Welsh and British Championships, which are being held in Swansea and Edinburgh respectively.
Mr Ruszkowski, said: “What Martyna has been able to accomplish so far has been fantastic and she is in great form heading into a series of huge events.
“To break the record in an event she does not practice often just shows how much natural talent she has, and everyone is thrilled with her efforts.”
Jacob Heaton-Rue has been rewarded for a series of standout performances with an invitation to join the Hockey Wales U16 NAGS group, where he will travel to Cardiff over the half term break to be part of the three-day assessment camp.
The 15-year-old sports scholar will be looking to make a further impact in the hope of earning a late bid for the first international of the season against Switzerland over Easter.
He will be joined at the camp by fellow pupil Josh Thomas, who recently made his national debut at the Cardiff Met Invitational Pre-season Tournament.
This is the latest in a long line of regional and national selections from Hockey pupils at the school, with the likes of Tegid Goodman-Jones and Sammy Sherrington making their presence felt as part of the North Wales set-up in recent weeks.
Mr Mather, said: “This is fantastic news and it will be great to have two pupils in the reckoning for a national squad call-up.
“Jacob has thrived since he started at the school last September, and our hockey programme has played a part in that too with the extra skills and pitch time he has received.
“We wish both Jacob and Josh all the best at the camp and hope that they can progress to be part of the Wales U16 squad.”
The Year 7 and 8 group consisting of 32 pupils crossed the Irish Sea for a tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland, where they played a number of fixtures with teams from the area.
In addition to their netball and hockey fixtures, the group also got the chance to sample the local culture and try their hand at Gaelic Football.
They also visited the iconic 82,000 seater stadium Croke Park to take in a high-profile fixture.
The first set of fixtures saw them take on the oldest school in Ireland, The Royal School, Armagh, which saw narrow defeats despite a fine individual performance from Josh Lynch.
Netballers braved the snow and bitterly cold conditions to come away with positive efforts, with Bella Rutherford, Emily Thomas, Emily Madden and Beau Holden winning player of the match awards.
The following day saw the young hockey stars take part in an eight-team tournament in Llanrug upon their return to home soil, and they recorded impressive wins over Caernarfon and Bangor before falling to a narrow defeat to Colwyn Bay.
"Overall it was a very enjoyable tour with plenty of pleasing elements to it, and I would like to thank Year 7 and 8 for all their efforts. A special mention must also go to the staff members that came along to ensure the trip went according to plan.”
– Mr Cashell
Zach Speakman is now ranked in the top 10 in the UK in no fewer than six categories as he looks to make the Wales Youth Squad this season.
In the regional meet at Llandudno Leisure Centre the 14-year-old produced a phenomenal effort to take home six gold medals, in addition to four silvers and two bronze despite competing in the 15/16 age category.
This was preceded by a strong showing at the Burns Meet in Sheffield, where the pupil gained a number of personal best times to put him in the top 10 in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke, 100m butterfly, in addition to the 15,000, 200 and 100m freestyle events.
In order to qualify for the Welsh squad, Zach must reach the top 16 in Britain overall and needs to be ranked in the top 25 to compete at the British Championships this summer.
Mr Ruszkowski, said: “I have been very impressed with Zach’s work ethic so far this season, which has brought with it a number of positive results.
“He is a very driven individual who is progressing at a rapid rate, and to be ranked so high in so many events is a testament to the potential he has."
Football stars kicked off their season with an impressive 2-1 win at Ellesmere College.
Mr Farnell’s side from an early setback to claim an opening fixture win, with a number of fine individual performances that are sure to give the team plenty of hope for the future.
Despite the eventual result it was the hosts who began brighter and their direct approach paid dividends early on with the opening goal of the game.
This provoked a strong response from the visitors, who missed a host of chances to level proceedings soon after, with Anton Holthaus coming closest after his fierce drive went narrowly over.
They finally got their reward for their efforts courtesy of the pacey Tawanda Harris, who prodded home from close range following a period of sustained pressure.
Things got even better soon after for the away side courtesy of midfield playmaker Matthew Trumper, who capped off a notable display with a neat finish to give Rydal Penrhos a deserved triumph.
Other performances of note came from the goalkeeping combination of Kieron Brogan and Lukas Foerster, while Jack Jones and Phil Nowak also caught the eye.
Mr Farnell, said: “It was a performance with great team spirit, attractive football and a never say die attitude, which was very pleasing.”
Keira and Chay Bonnington both achieved success at the Welsh Alpine Ski Championships, which were held in Champery, Switzerland.
Former national champion Chay competed in the U12 category produced a notable performance to finish in second and third in both slalom races, ensuring he ended the competition in fourth position in what was one of the most competitive categories at the event.
There was further success for 14-year-old Keira, who led all girls’ in the U16 section by a significant margin after a stunning first run.
Unfortunately for the young hopeful she suffered a heavy fall close to the end of the second run in steep, icy conditions to deny her a memorable victory.
Father Craig Bonnington, said: “Both their skiing has improved significantly this week with the intense training and high quality races.”
Mr Boyd, added: “This was a very good performance from both Keira and Chay, and with a little more luck they could have achieved even higher finishes which tells you all you need to know about the talent they have."
Our swim squad at the Gala
The school hosted an IAPS Gala on Monday, February 6, which saw teams descend on the pool for what was a highly competitive afternoon of action.
After all the results were issued, the hosts emerged as comfortable winners with 352 points, with Terra Nova finishing in second with 238.
Third place went to Kingsmead School on 134 points, and Altrincham Prep School rounded off the placings with 66.
The U10 Boys’ team consisting of Ethan Akroyd, James Gilman, Liam Farrell and Cieran Milligan got the ball rolling with a victory, with Grace Tavernor, Pippa Roberts and Isabella Peevor also emerging victorious in the Girls’ section.
Not to be outdone, the U11 Boys’ team of Zac Roberts, Laurence Richardson and Matthew Stubbins triumphed in fine style, as did the girls’ team of Ruby Merrick, Ella James and Arianna Milligan.
There was further cause for celebration in the form of both the U12 Boys’ and Girls’ squads, which saw Osca Clark, John Williams, Emily Thomas, Henry Battersby, Alys Peake-Jones and Emily Stubbings successful in their respective categories.
Rounding off a superb gala were the U13 Boys’ and girls’, who made it a clean sweep thanks to outstanding performances from Tom Hughes. Josh Peevor, Emily Madden, Lydia Gilman, Benjamin Purcell and Bella Rutherford.
Mr Ruszkowski, said: “It was a very pleasing performance from all members of squad, which was highlighted by the wide margin of victory achieved on the day.
“We were delighted to host the IAPS Gala here at Rydal Penrhos, and I would like to thank the schools who came down for what was a fantastic event.”