Rydal Penrhos newsletter
Foreword from the Headmaster
It seems that not a day goes by when I am not seeing, reading or hearing about our pupils’ initiatives, achievements and involvement in such a wide range of curricular and co-curricular activities. Every day brings a smorgasbord of new success stories. It is, therefore, gratifying to be reminded of the highlights each month. I am, however, acutely aware this newsletter, as good as it is, only scratches the surface of life at Rydal Penrhos. Trophies, visiting sports celebrities and concerts dominate the news stories but they are no more important than the individual successes in the classroom and acts of kindness that take place each and every day. If we are not careful we can forget too the core business of academic progress and the pupils’ learning which, whilst less headline grabbing, remains our number one and even more so at this time of year.
In addition to enjoying the pupils’ successes my highlight, this month, was attending the Boarding Schools Association Heads’ Conference in York. The very full, two-day programme, including speakers such as the Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Clinical Psychologist Professor Tanya Byron, actor Tom Chambers and England Football Manager Gareth Southgate along with leading educationalists, provided a forum for us to discuss the challenges facing young people of today but also how we are incredibly well-placed and ideally suited to meet those challenges. We can, and do, offer a genuinely transformative experience for the young men and women in our care. I returned, I don’t mind admitting slightly fretful for our pupils and the pressures they face, but also confident in the professionalism of my staff, the strengths of our core values and the incredible ambition resilience of the student body.
The stories in this month’s newsletter are all testament to our pupils’ ability to juggle several demands, continue to succeed academically and perhaps most importantly remain remarkably upbeat. Of course many of these opportunities would not be possible were it not for similar stamina levels in my Staff. I am extremely grateful to those Staff who either organise events of their own volition or willingly implement the mad ideas of a Headmaster with nothing better to do than dream up endless interesting and exciting projects. I can take very little credit for what follows, in this newsletter, but I can certainly be appreciative and hope you enjoy, as I do, in following, supporting and celebrating our pupils’ endeavours and triumphs.
Leadership course announced
Headmaster Mr Smith is aiming to inspire the next generation of leaders’ as part of a curriculum initiative.
The school have announced that the ‘RPL’ Course will be implemented from September and is a tangible part of Rydal Penrhos’ new Five Ls philosophy of Learning, Living, Leading, Listening and Location.
The course, which will be taught one period per week to all Year 7 pupils, will cover a variety of topics designed to help develop the pupils’ EQ and prepare them for the challenges of school, university and future working life.
It will have two distinct units. The first helping pupils’ develop their resilience and support their well-being by covering topics such as mindfulness, mental First-Aid, self-efficacy, developing a growth mindset, community mindedness and how to sustain positive relationships with each other.
The second strand, taught by the Headmaster, will explore all aspects of leadership in a variety of contexts including business, politics, sport, communities and the workplace. It will involve the study of past and present leaders whilst looking at case studies to help the pupils understand what it means to lead effectively.
This is the latest in a number of exciting academic changes at Rydal Penrhos, with the school also, for example, introducing Spanish and Psychology from September 2017.
Mr Smith, said: “I am particularly excited by this new and innovative development of delivering a course that is detached from any form of examination and assessment criteria.
“Instead the lessons will be stimulating, enjoyable, challenging and comforting in equal measure.
“This is a key part of building up a pupil body who can deal confidently and calmly with the challenges of the 21st Century.”
New scheme aids learning
Academic Scholars turned out in force to support a new learning scheme at the school.
As part of a new initiative, a large number of pupils took part in the first of four sessions on Monday, May 1, which have been designed to stimulate discussion and development beyond the main curriculum, and to allow those whose academic potential has been recognised to expand it further.
The session was language driven and based on the theme of 'curiosity', with the group discussing why the subject is essential for learning in order to discover new skills and gain information.
Under the guidance of Head of Modern Foreign Languages Susan Livingstone, the main task was to translate a text in a language previously unknown to them.
Each group had 20 billion dollar notes which they could trade for a translated word to aid them with their quest.
The winner of this challenge had to be the person who had translated the most but had spent the least amount of dollars, with Luiza Gratton, Niamh Cook and Sydney Johnson coming out on top.
Three more scholar sessions are scheduled for this half term, with more expected to be planned for the remainder of the academic year.
Mr Cashell, said: “It was great to see so many of our talented scholars turn out for the session, which are yet another great way for our pupils to enhance their learning while also having some fun in the process.”
Quartet honoured by Mr Smith
Four hard working pupils were given a special Headmaster’s Award during Easter’s Prize Giving Assembly, which acknowledges their outstanding achievements throughout what was a very busy term.
Mr Smith announced that Cerys Cuddihy, Sydney Johnson, Kevin Farrell and Jasper Richardson were all given the honour, which adds to a host of recent successes for the pupils.
Cerys, Kevin and Sydney emerged victorious from the Rotary International’s Youth Speaks competition regional heat, which was held in Darwen, Lancashire last month.
Competing against schools from across the North West, the trio delivered an outstanding performance and received numerous complimentary comments from the panel of highly skilled and acclaimed judges.
They were awarded first place for their wonderful efforts, and they gained further honours with second place in the National Finals in what was another rousing display.
Jasper has also given a great deal to the Rydal Penrhos community during his time at the school.
Bread bake off
Year 9 take part in challenge
Year 9 pupils channelled their inner baker in the pursuit of competition glory.
The group competed against each other during a Food and Nutrition lesson on Thursday, May 4, which was a special technical challenge where they were tasked with designing and making a selection of homemade rolls.
They were given just 90 minutes to fully complete the task of making the dough, shaping it, proving it and baking it before presenting the final results to be judged.
The task of running the rule over the creations fell to Rydal Penrhos’ very own Paul Hollywood, Head of Business Studies and ICT Mike Farnell.
After a thorough judging process, Sam Bixby came away with the overall crown, with Harri Jones and Niamh Cook finishing in second and third respectively.
Each of the selections received a cookery book as a result of their fine efforts.
Mrs Williams, said: “The overall standard was incredibly high but every pupil in the group managed to produce six 'well-shaped' bread rolls which is very commendable given the time constraints."
Textiles and Photography exam praise
Photography and Textiles pupils at produced some stunning pieces as part of their mock exam recently.
The A-level group took part in the two-day mock assessment on Thursday, April 27 and Friday 28, where they worked hard on trying out ideas and techniques ahead of their actual exam later this year.
Sanjita Kumar spent the process finger knitting, weaving and burning fabric in order to make some translucent jelly fish in fabric.
She finished the exam with a small mock-up of a hanging piece where she intends to have the fabric jelly fish hanging below a woven sea with lights attached.
Lily Walsh made a huge electric pylon out of bamboo and straws which she will attach photographs to for her photography exam. Her intention is to take this out in to the landscape and photograph it next to real pylons to create something strange and confusing.
Louis Delve has been setting photographs in resin and is not sure yet if these will be exhibited in a light box or perhaps just hanging in a window. He has also been putting images together using acetate and combining images of ink in water with resin.
Two teams compete at regional event
The school sent two teams to the Regional Finals of the Race for the Line showcase, which was held in Manchester on Wednesday, May 3.
The teams qualified from the North Wales regional round of the Race for the Line Model Rocket Car competition, which is being inspired by the Bloodhound SSC project, which is a British supersonic land vehicle currently in development with a goal to reaching 1,000 miles per hour.
Overall fastest qualifiers Josh Peevor and Ben Purcell took their place in the line-up, while Aidan Skinner and Juan Rajagopal also made it through in the hope of making it to the next stage.
More than 25,000 rocket car kits were given out at the start of the competition, where the teams had just 90 minutes to build their car without external help before racing it along a 50 metre track.
Team Chinese Burn and Team Shatterproof managed to secure a respectable eighth place for their efforts in the Secondary School category, while the daughter of Mr Sutton claimed first place in the Primary School event, and will now head to the national finals.
They will now compete in the National Finals at Santa Pod on June 29 for the chance to win a £1,000 and a trip to South Africa to spend a week with the BLOODHOUND SSC car testing in preparation for the 1,000 MPH attempt.
The project was part of A STEM initiative for local schools organised by Rydal Penrhos and the Royal Academy of Engineering.
Chair of Governors
Julian Barnes takes up role
Julian Barnes, who has held the role of Chairman of the Marketing Committee for a number of years, officially took over from Ian Morris as Chairman of Governors on Wednesday, May 3.
Mr Morris, who has been on the Governing Body at Rydal Penrhos for 45 years, was two-years into his second term as Chairman before relinquishing the post due to ill health.
A former pupil at the school, Mr Barnes has been a board member for the last four years and has been involved in numerous successful strategic projects across various areas of Rydal Penrhos life.
He said: “As an Old Rydalian, I greatly value all that our school stands for and will always put the pupils’ wellbeing and fulfilment at the centre of what we do.
“I see the results of the professionalism of our staff in the way our pupils behave and the results they achieve. The happy faces and polite manner are a huge credit to their work and I look forward to the joy of prize giving and greeting the proud parents.
“Although there will be an opportunity to thank Mr Morris more appropriately, I would just like to give my written thanks to him on behalf of the Governors, Pupils, Parents and Staff for his time served."
Leading ladies take centre stage
Lower Sixth form pupil and Mathematics sensation Emily Li:
It has been a memorable few months for Emily since she arrived at Rydal Penrhos in September, with the 16-year-old emerging as one of the brightest minds currently learning at the school.
She wasted no time in making a significant impact academically, and achieved a certificate of distinction from the UKMT Maths Olympiad, where she gained no fewer than three perfect solutions to the opening three questions of the test.
For her efforts she will also receive a book prize, in addition to three honourable mentions.
This ensured that Emily qualified for the British Olympiad, and thanks to another superb performance she earned a place at the British Mathematical Olympiad training camp in Budapest, Hungary over the festive period.
The Sixth Former, who is aiming for a big International Baccalaureate score next summer, is set for even more Maths success in the future in what has been a glittering beginning to her life at Rydal Penrhos.
Mr Cashell, said: “Emily has already established herself as a prominent and valued member of the school community, and she has an enormous amount of potential which will see her go very far in whatever she decides to do.
“Her mathematical achievements speak for themselves and thanks to the hard work of department head Pete Richmond and his staff, Emi8ly has flourished so far during her time at Rydal Penrhos and long may that continue.”
Chess sensation Imogen Camp:
It has been another year of fantastic achievement for Year 11 pupil Imogen, who continues to show why she is regarded as one of the most gifted young Chess players in the country.
The 16-year-old was competing in the senior category for the first time and turned in a fabulous performance to secure a three-way tie for the crown.
This is the latest in a long line of chess success for the pupil, who has a number of regional and national junior titles to her name in what has been a glittering young career to date.
She has also been a part of the Welsh squad and competed at high profile events including the World Youth Championships.
In addition this success, the pupil also produced a stunning effort in the Intermediate Maths Challenge, achieving a Gold certificate and a place at the Pink Kangaroo.
The GCSE pupil, who expected to attain high marks this summer, is also a standout Netballer and has turned in a number of impressive performances for Rydal Penrhos’ first VII, who enjoyed a highly successful campaign under the captaincy of Soumini Peeka.
Music superstar Shannon Yang:
There are not many more gifted musicians at Rydal Penrhos than Shannon, who has made a last impression on the school’s department since she joined in 2015.
The boarder and Chinese native is an exceptionally talented violin player, something that has seen her claim a number of high-profile distinctions in-and-out of school.
An Upper Sixth pupil, Shannon came away with the overall honour for Osborn House during Rydal Penrhos’ recent Senior Inter-House Music competition, where she beat off a host of other talented rivals to gain valuable points.
She has also caught the eye during various concerts put on throughout the year at the school, with her standout efforts in the Christmas Concert and last year’s Summer Concert living long in the memory.
The 18-year-old has also achieved notable success in prestigious regional competitions, which included a sensational first place in the strings category at the Chester Music Festival.
Mr Williams, said: “Shannon’s talent is there for all to see and there is no ceiling on what she can achieve with a violin in her hand.
“She is an exceptional pupil who has shown not only a great willingness to learn, but also has an enormous amount of natural ability and confidence performing in-front of large crowds, something that has been a key component to her success here at Rydal Penrhos.
“Anyone that has ever seen her perform a solo piece knows just how special her talent is, and her presence at the school has given us all a great sense of pride.”
Art scholar Elysia Gilman:
Not only is Elysia one of the most talented artists at Rydal Penrhos, but she has also served as a fantastic role model to her fellow pupils during her time at the school.
The 17-year-old, who began her journey at Rydal Penrhos in 2007 when she began Year 3, has already made a significant contribution to school life in a number of different ways.
Such is the standard of her work, she was asked by the Year 10 group to give them some helpful tips on skin tones and painting flesh after seeing her fabulous work on display throughout the Art department.
Prior to the special workshop, Elysia prepared colour charts and palettes all with the colours she felt were necessary, before demonstrating how she approached the problem of flesh tones by first mixing up a coloured ground and then adding secondary and prime colours.
In addition to her artistic prowess, Elysia is also a Peer Mentor and recently lent her support to a Year 5 Familiarisation afternoon, where she helped with an activity to welcome the Prep School pupils, which featured none other than her younger brother James.
Sporting and drama standout Samantha Randall:
Since joining us in 2011 as a Year 7 pupil, Sam has established herself as an extremely well-rounded pupil with a number of talents.
Currently in the Lower Sixth, the 17-year-old is very strong academically, which was demonstrated with her superb GCSE results last summer where she gained no fewer than three A* grades, five A’s and a B for her efforts.
In addition she also gained an A grade in Mathematics after sitting the exam a year early.
Sam has also become a huge part of Rydal Penrhos’ Charity Committee during her first few months in the Sixth Form, and has been a key contributor to a number of events including the Christmas Market and Cake Sales.
Along with fellow Lower Sixth pupils Mollie Smithfield and Samiya Garrod, Sam helped the Eryri Squad achieve Team Gold at the Welsh Schools Cross-Country Championships, which were held at the Brecon Beacons in March.
Adding to her success, Sam also led the Rydal Penrhos team to the overall title at the Conwy Athletics Championships last week.
The gifted pupil and Peer Mentor has also played a huge part in a number of Dramatic Society productions in recent years, with her performances in To Kill a Mockingbird and Annie the Musical drawing widespread acclaim.
Academic success Olivia Williams:
Since arriving at Rydal Penrhos as a Year 7 pupil in 2011, Olivia has shown in various areas just how immensely gifted she is.
The Lower Sixth pupil is a strong academic, which was highlighted by the exceptional GCSE results she obtained as a reward for all her hard work last summer.
The 17-year-old achieved no fewer than six A* grades, while also securing four A’s and a Distinction in further Mathematics.
In addition to this, the Edwards House boarder has also made a number of impressive performances as part of the Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society, with her efforts in both To Kill a Mockingbird and Annie the Musical drawing widespread praise.
She was also part of the school team that competed at the ICAEW BASE National Business and Accounting competition recently.
They engaged in a business challenge that enabled them to develop key employability skills and understand what it’s like to be an ICAEW Chartered Accountant, with the team performing exceptionally well throughout the event.
Trio finish second in national final
Three pupils achieved a podium finish in the national finals of a prestigious public speaking competition.
Cerys Cuddihy, Kevin Farrell and Sydney Johnson, all Year 9 pupils at the school, competed against seven other groups from across the UK and Ireland in the Rotary International Youth Speaks National Finals, which were held in Telford.
Mr Smith, said: “There are few things more important in life than the ability to speak confidently, convincingly and clearly in public. Kevin, Cerys and Sydney have performed superbly in every stage of the competition but perhaps more importantly they are just as eloquent in and around the school on a daily basis.
“They really are role models to both our younger and older pupils on the importance and power of rhetoric. I thank, too, their supportive parents and the tremendous work of the staff who have coached them to such heights.”
The threesome, who qualified for the event after winning their local, regional and district heats in fine style, once again produced a phenomenal display on their chosen topic ‘Guilt – is it good or bad?’, to come away with second place for their efforts.
In addition, 14-year-old Cerys was selected as the Best Chairperson of any team in the competition.
Deputy Head Tim Cashell, added: “As expected, the standard was incredibly high with speeches addressing a diverse range of topics.
“The team kept their cool and once again delivered another exceptional speech, and we are extremely proud that they were recognised for all their hard work with second place."
Global Action visit school
A member of a global charity visited Rydal Penrhos for a special fundraising workshop for the group heading to India next year.
Michael Combellack from Global Action met with staff and pupils on Tuesday, May 9, where he encouraged the team to think of why fundraising was an important part of preparing for the trip and who would benefit from it.
The group were set tasks to come up with both Individual and Group fundraising ideas and with the help of Head of Lower School Gabriella Murphy and the Reverend Nick Sissons, some of these will be put into action over the course of the next 12 months.
The Chaplain, said: “It's great to get the team together at last and Mr Combellack was impressed by their evident enthusiasm for the task ahead.
“Hopefully not just families but the whole school community will get behind the pupils as they seek to raise the money required to get them out to the sub-continent.”
The expedition starts by visiting Amritsar’s Golden Temple, and will later visit the spectacular Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Based in the foothills of the beautiful Indian Himalayas, the group also plan to have a special audience with The Dalai Lama to learn about respect for all religions.
In addition pupils and staff will also take part in unique workshops with experts at international development agencies, to learn about: Sustainable Development, Fair Trade, and Environmental Protection throughout the Himalayas.
The team will then work on a well-planned poverty-reduction project with a UK charity, where we will assist in the building of a new children’s hostel, so mountain children can attend school for the first time in their lives.
They are set to finish the expedition by visiting Buddhist monasteries, to learn from renowned lamas how to practice positive mindfulness in our lives.
Mental Health Week
School support highlighted
A number of initiatives have been highlighted at Rydal Penrhos as the school lent its support to Mental Health Awareness Week.
A significant number of Sixth Formers have been trained as Peer Mentors, who have been given the responsibility of supporting those who are situated in the Lower School bracket at Rydal Penrhos.
The peer mentors train for eight weeks learning basic counselling skills to help them communicate with younger pupils and some of the issues they might have.
They also organise and run fun activities once every half term for Lower school pupils, and they each take responsibility for a small group of peer mentees throughout the academic year.
The subject of mental health has also become a very important part of the PHSE curriculum, with teacher Mary Richardson stating her belief that “it plays a vital role in keeping our pupils safe”.
A huge variety of mental health issues are discussed during the sessions, such as stress, illness, body image, cyber issues and coping strategies.
Mindfulness and Meditation have been introduced Chapel on several occasions, and both are part of Rydal Penrhos’ extensive co-curricular programme, which also includes Yoga and Pilates.
For anyone with any problems, the school employs a part-time counsellor that is available to both pupils and staff.
Mr Smith, said: “The young people of today face pressures and challenges from a range of people, technologies and society.
“I genuinely feel our pupils are in the best place to be supported in facing those challenges but Mental Health Awareness Week reminds us we must not be complacent. We, as a community, need to help each other in being open, honest and supportive.
“That help can be through our wonderful pro-active programmes and rigorous procedures but it can also be through those simple acts of kindness and caring which I see on a daily basis.”
Initiative brings out best in school
A video of a special lunchtime sing-along at Rydal Penrhos has gone viral.
As part of the school’s Music Week initiative, department director Pete Williams and other staff performed an impromptu version of the James Bay smash hit Hold Back the River, which saw pupils also stand up and join in.
The ‘Flash Mob’ video has gathered a staggering amount of interest on social media, with more than 11,000 viewing the scene in less than 24 hours on Rydal Penrhos’ Facebook page, while it was also provoked an extremely positive response on Twitter.
It was the latest in an extremely busy day for music lovers at the school, with saxophone star Sam Jones performing a series of solo hits in the Memorial Quad during morning break.
The evening saw a plethora of pupils take the stage for the annual Summer Concert, which was held in-front of a packed out audience at the Ferguson Centre.
Mr Williams, said: “Both staff and pupils have really embraced Music Week, and I would like to thank them all for their wonderful contributions.
“It is a busy time of year for everyone at Rydal Penrhos as we begin exam season, but they have all selflessly given up their time to contribute, and it has been a roaring success once again.”
Nick Dundee and Alex Roberts, both Upper Sixth pupils at the school, performed a pair of hits in the canteen alongside Director of Music Pete Williams on Tuesday, May 2.
This is the latest in a series of things occurring at various sites around Rydal Penrhos during Music Week, which is designed to highlight the plethora of musical talent at the school.
The guitarists started off with I’m Not Moving by The Script, before ending their mini-set with a rendition of the Take That song Patience.
Both have made significant contributions to the Music department during their time at Rydal Penrhos, with a number of exceptional performances in concerts and competitions.
Mr Williams, said: “Their performance was very good and it definitely got the attention of those that were eating their lunch at the time.
“You could tell by the fantastic reception they received at the end of their two songs just how well thought of they are by their fellow classmates, and both Nick and Alex have represented Rydal Penrhos superbly during their time here.”
“You could tell by the fantastic reception they received at the end of their two songs just how well thought of they are by their fellow classmates, and both Nick and Alex have represented Rydal Penrhos superbly during their time here.”
The Year 5 and 6 group made the short trip down the hill to St John’s Church on Wednesday, May 3, where they put their own spin on the Rolf Løvland and Brendan Graham’s classic You Raise Me Up as part of the school’s Music Week initiative.
Conducted by Music teacher Richard Davies, the group sang beautifully and received a huge round of applause from the large contingent at Assembly.
They will also be performing the track – which has been covered by the likes of Westlife and Josh Groban – at Thursday’s Summer Concert at the Ferguson Centre.
This is the latest in a long line of performances at Rydal Penrhos as part of week-long celebration of the musical talent currently at the school.
Mr Williams, said: “It was no doubt a daunting prospect for the Prep School group to sing in-front of a large crowd of pupils and staff in a huge venue such as St John’s, but they all coped with the pressure superbly and delivered an outstanding performance.
“We have a great deal of musical talent at Rydal Penrhos, and this week has been a great way to showcase their skills in a variety of different ways.”
Tegid scoops cash prize
Tegid Goodman-Jones, a Year 9 pupil at the school, produced another stunning effort to come away with the Young Musician of the Year crown from a regional event, which was held in Caerwys recently.
The 14-year-old produced a fantastic vocal effort during what was a highly competitive event, and he received a cash prize of £200 together with a shield and cup for his efforts.
It promises to be a very memorable summer for the Music scholar, who will be competing at both the Llangollen International and Urdd National Eisteddfods, after booking his place in the high-profile events with success in qualifying competitions.
He also gave a performance that defied his years to come away with second place from the district round of the Rotary International’s Young Musician of the Year competition, despite competing against older and more experienced opposition.
Mr Williams, said: “This is yet another outstanding achievement from Tegid, who continues to grow with every performance and competition.
“His voice really does have to be heard to be believed, especially from someone so young, and if he continues his rise to prominence at his current rate then there is nothing he cannot accomplish.”
The highly anticipated Summer Concert took place on Thursday, May 4 in-front of a packed out crowd at the Ferguson Centre, which coincided with the school’s Music Week initiative.
Boarding pupil Amy Yue kicked-off the showcase with a stunning portrayal of Bian lian, a magical Chinese SiChuan drama which had the audience mesmerised.
Successful singing duo Arthur Hind and Tegid Goodman-Jones also gave amazing performances, as did the duet of Zahra Shamsi and Sean Hughes, who performed the Rihanna hit Stay.
Sixth form pupils Nick Dundee and Adam Sabri also produced memorable efforts, while Rydal Penrhos’ Community Choir and Jazz Band lent their support to the concert after playing at the community event Creative Rhos.
The Prep School also gave a significant contribution, with Year 5 and 6 performing You Raise Me Up which they rehearsed in-front of Senior School chapel the previous day.
The second half of the concert brought plenty of diversity in the form of Sammy Jones, Miles Poller, Alex Roberts, Juan Rajagopal and Richard Wolfendale, and Head Girl Charlotte Owen put her stunning voice to good use with a rendition of the Radiohead anthem Creep.
The supremely talented Niamh Cook was another performance of note, while Edwards House, the school’s Sixth Form and Senior Choirs performed various songs to close out the show.
Mr Williams, said: “It was another fantastic concert and full credit goes to the pupils who gave up their time to both rehearse and perform.
“This is the latest in a series of concerts we put on throughout the year, which give us a great platform to build the confidence of our pupils and showcase the immense talent we have here.”
Chester Music Festival
School claims treble triumph
No fewer than five pupils came away with something to show for their efforts from the Chester Music Festival, which was held on Saturday, May 6.
Among those to achieve first place was Year 8 pupil Bella Rutherford, who emerged victorious in the Grade Two and Under Cello class after a stunning display.
There was further success in the form of Alicia Zhou, who took the 20 or 21st Century Open Piano Class in fine style, which meant the 13-year-old was the recipient of the Chester Piano Cup.
The school secured a winning treble courtesy of gifted Year 7 pupil Ethan Bytheway, who produced a fantastic piece to win the 12 and Under Solo Brass Class.
Vocalist Arthur Hind narrowly missed out on the 17 and Under Vocal Duet Category with Prep pupil Caitriona Searl, who will be joining the Senior School next year on a Music and Academic Scholarship.
The pair finished just one point off top spot despite competing against older and more experienced opposition.
Sammy Jones also competed admirably in a very tough woodwind class, making it another successful haul by the school at the event.
MCC visit for 93rd straight year
The first XI took on Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) on Wednesday, May 3, in a fixture that dates back more than nine decades between the two teams.
After the visitors decided to bat first and they set a target of 198-4 from their allotted overs, with skipper and Colwyn Bay squad member Jack Sissons ending an impressive spell with figures of 2-41 from 10 overs.
He was aided by the bowling of Jack Jones, who took the remaining two wickets for the loss of 57 runs.
Rydal Penrhos’ run chase was stifled despite a good knock from Sissons, and the home side were struggling on 66-5 with nobody at the other end to aid the captain.
Head Boy Adam Sabri emerged from the pavilion with a sense of purpose and smashed his way to a quick-fire 66 and a 105 partnership with Sissons before he was eventually skittled.
This proved to be the turning point as the home side fell just 11 runs short of reaching their required total.
Links between Rydal Penrhos and the club have strengthened further this year, with the school chosen as the North Wales hub for the prestigious MCC Foundation, which is being run by Director of Sport Allen Boyd and Menai Bridge captain Dion Holden.
With special guest Mike Phillips
Mike Phillips, who surpassed the record set by Dwayne Peel as the most capped scrum-half Wales’ history, was on hand to give out the prizes on Friday, May 5, just a few short hours before he played his final professional contest in Sale Sharks’ dramatic 27-24 success over Bath.
The 34-year-old, who earned a staggering 94 caps for his country, also took part in a special question and answer session with Mr Boyd following the presentations, where he spoke about his school days, and offered advice to the aspiring athletes.
It has been another hugely successful year of sporting achievement, which was highlighted with the large number of pupils receiving the Headmaster’s Award given for international recognition.
Dan Owen headed the list after earning four Wales U18 rugby caps, while Martyna Ruszkowska (Swimming), Zac Blomeley and Ewan Luke (Sailing) and Josh Thomas and Jacob Heaton-Rue (Hockey) all received the honour after impressing on the national stage.
Head Boy and RGC U18 star Adam Sabri took home both the Morphy Cup and Director of Sport Award for his outstanding overall contribution, while the Derbyshire Cup went to Elinor Davies.
Mr Boyd, said: “It was great to have such a well-known and respected special guest at our Sports Awards, and I would like to thank Mike and Sale Sharks on behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos for attending the event."
U16 side retain national title
Our U16 side retained the National Schools’ Championship in fine style thanks to a 4-2 success over Monmouth Comprehensive School.
Despite the eventual result it was the South Wales side who drew first blood after a positive start led to the opening goal of the game on ten minutes.
This provoked a strong response from the Rydal Penrhos outfit, who levelled soon after when Fin Hare found the net following a period of sustained pressure.
Monmouth regained the advantage following a quick-break in what was proving to be an end-to-end contest, but Welsh international Jacob Heaton-Rue ensured they went into the break all square after he finished well following a sensational individual run.
After the break saw the defending champions take control thanks to the workrate of both Heaton-Rue and skipper Will Sissons, while national U156 goalkeeper Josh Thomas was on hand to repel any attacks throughout the second period.
Rydal Penrhos took the lead for the first time 15 minutes into the half when Jack Jones drilled the ball home following good work from Jai Deuster, and things got even better soon after when Sissons doubled their advantage to seal the triumph for the second season in succession.
Head of Hockey Phil Mather, said: “It is worth noting that this was truly a team performance and all those on the pitch deserve enormous credit.
“I would like to thank all the boys concerned for their consistency throughout the year. I hope they can see the results of their efforts in the hockey that they have produced, but I would like to challenge them to move into the Sixth Form and see if they can take the U18 title in 2018.
“Similarly to the current U15 and U14 pupils, can you make it three on the trot next year?”
Host of successes from stars
Josh Lynch, a Year 8 pupil at the school, will be part of the Wales squad that will compete at the Junior Battle Championships, which will be held in Austria in June.
The 13-year-old booked his place with the squad following a number of standout efforts so far this season, which have seen him claim a British Age Grade Championships and smash nine Welsh records in what has been an extremely promising young career to date.
The young star, who has been tipped for future Olympic honours by coach and Commonwealth Games hopeful Harry Mysagni, is also a member of the Sale Sharks Rugby Academy and helped Rydal Penrhos’ U14 Hockey side reach the National Schools’ Final.
Mr Boyd, said: “Josh is thoroughly deserving of his Welsh selection given the amount he has achieved throughout the year.
“Although he is still developing, the amount of potential he has bodes significantly well for the future, and this will be another fantastic experience for him as Josh looks to add to his already impressive list of accolades.
“This is something that I am confident he has can do and everyone at Rydal Penrhos wishes Josh well with the national squad at the championships.”
Martyna Ruszkowska and Zach Speakman, Year 11 and 9 pupils at the school, came away with a haul of medals from the Welsh National Championships, which were held in Swansea recently.
Swim Wales international Martyna, aged 16, was severely hampered by injury but still managed to claim gold in the 50m butterfly and bronze in the 100m backstroke, almost breaking her own Welsh short course record in the process.
She then moved on the British Nationals in Sheffield, but injury meant the pupil was not at full fitness and narrowly missed out on qualification for the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Martyna said: “Missing out on the Commonwealth is devastating for me but now I just need to focus on recovering and getting back into that pool stronger.”
There was further success in the form of Zach, who boosted his chances of his first Welsh squad selection with gold in the 100m backstroke in a time of one minute and three seconds.
The 14-year-old also claimed three silver medals in the 200m backstroke, 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m Individual Medley relay, and he made it an impressive six medals from the event with bronze in the 400m IM and 4x200m Freestyle relay.
A very enjoyable and hard fought afternoon saw the houses battle it out for Individual and Team success.
My thanks to Mrs Cashell and Mr Joyce who assisted in running the competition and to those that came along and supported.
The first activity, the gym tests saw a great rivalry between Jack Jones from Beecholme and Leo Ludwig from Netherton who completed the three tasks equal first.
Sydney Johnson, from Edwards, won both the standing Long Jump and 50m sprint whilst Noah Wiedenmann of Beecholme coolly won the Basketball lay-ups.
Leo Ludwig won the Agility test and Jack Jones won the target golf, shooting to within 4.15m of the pin to Leo’s 4.80, much to Noah’s frustration.
Sydney outshone the boys in target football, the only person to score three goals which meant that the Pwllycrochan run saw four competitors in the title hunt and three houses all within touching distance of the house prize.
In the event, second from Jack and fifth from Noah was enough to see Beecholme top the table, two points from Edwards who were a further two points from Netherton. Congratulations to Noah, Jack and Esteban.
Noah finished fourth overall as Jack and Leo fittingly shared second place after their intense rivalry all afternoon.
The competition, held since 2011, has seen Mario Weyers, Nick von Detten, Ronnie Mueller (twice), Danny Evans and Lukas Foerster as its individual champion.
After six years of male dominance, having won four of her six events and finishing second and fourth in the other two, the 2017 Superstars champion and first time female winner is Sydney Johnson.