Senior School newsletter: January 2020
The digital monthly newsletter from Rydal Penrhos Senior School.
Rydal Penrhos newsletter
Foreword from the Head
"'A statement of hard work and commitment'"
December was a very busy month here at Rydal Penrhos, leading up to the eagerly anticipated Christmas break.
There were a wealth of different school and community events that would not have been such a success had it not been for the dedication of pupils, teaching and support staff, and of course family members of which we offer our sincerest thanks.
Whether it was the Christmas Fun Day in aid of Ty Gobaith, the Festive Concert, the community singing initiative or the Carol Service in aid of the RNLI, the last few weeks really showcased the family atmosphere that is felt around the school.
With 2020 comes new challenges for some of our pupils, in the form of mock examinations as they look to extend our excellent A Level and GCSE results this Summer, and I am sure they will have put their time over the holidays to good use in order to achieve their respective goals.
The impending opening of our Swimming Pool after extensive renovations will be a big boost, not only for our swimmers but also the Outdoor Activities groups who will be able to practice their pool canoeing.
There is also a landmark Honduras expedition which has been recently announced with Operation Wallacea and our Science and Geography Deaprtments.
Our CCF programme continues to grow and flourish and the Sports Department is enjoying plentiful fixtures.
It is a statement of the hard work and commitment being shown on a daily basis by all involved here at Rydal Penrhos.
A big thank you for your continued support and this comes with my very best wishes for the New Year.
Mrs S A Harding
Senior School Head
The school’s estates team, led by Richard Smith have put in a significant amount of work during the summer months and the autumn term on the £150,000 swimming pool renovations, and the impressive facility is now in its final stages before being made available during the early portion of the spring term.
This process took a substantial time and involved half an inch per hour, and staff will now bring the water to temperature before installing new chemical pumps.
They will treat the water so it is compliant with health and safety standards before being available to use for the school community.
The renovations include a design from Prep School pupil Charlotte Knight, which won a competition instigated by Principal John Waszek.
All pupils from Reception through to Year 9 will receive a weekly swimming lesson as part of exciting curriculum changes.
The swimming pool originally opened more than 50 years ago and in addition to swimming lessons for pupils, there will also be competitive and recreational swimming available at the facility.
Group receive prestigious honour
The school has become the first CCF in the United Kingdom to proudly wear the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards badge on their uniforms after the “Welsh Cavalry” agreed to be the group’s sponsor regiment going forward.
This coincided with a special visit by the regiment to Rydal Penrhos, where they held a workshop for CCF members.
During the event, they spoke about their role within the British Armed Forces and also brought along some formidable weapons used in the field for a demonstration with those in attendance.
Mrs Harding, said: “This is a significant honour for our CCF group, which has generated considerable support since launching earlier this year and has been another incredible addition to our enrichment provision.
“Each member is rightfully proud to wear the 1st Queen’s Dragoon Guards badge on their uniforms and they got an enormous amount out of the presentation and weapons demonstration during their visit to Rydal Penrhos.”
The 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards (QDG) is a cavalry regiment of the British Army. Nicknamed The Welsh Cavalry, the regiment recruits from Wales and the bordering English counties of Cheshire, Herefordshire, and Shropshire, and is the senior cavalry regiment.
The regiment is part of the Royal Armoured Corps and is paired with the Royal Yeomanry.
Successful Open Evening held
A large number of families descended on the Ferguson Centre for the school’s Sixth Form Open Evening, and Executive Principal John Waszek opened proceedings with a welcome address that centred on the importance of decision-making during the next stage of education.
Head Boy Ioan Peake-Jones and Head Girl Millie Collins spoke glowingly about their academic and extra-curricular experiences at Rydal Penrhos to those in attendance, and Head of Sixth Form Leah Crimes addressed everyone passionately about one of the cornerstones of the school’s success in recent years.
Assistant Head Rhian Williams showcased the vast AS, A level and Cambridge Technical options available to Sixth Form pupils at Rydal Penrhos, and various departments were on hand to discuss more in-depth about the course structure and the benefits they provide.
Short tours were led by Rydal Penrhos’ Prefect team that visited outstanding areas such as Art, Drama, Music, Physical Education and Science, before returning to the Ferguson Centre to discuss the next step with the school’s dedicated staff.
Rydal Penrhos is offering two fully funded day places for Year 12 entry in 2020, and anyone that missed Sixth Form Open Evening and would like an individual tour should contact Admissions Officer Jenny Marsden on 01492 530155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Landmark Honduras trip announced
Dr Tim Coles OBE, project director and founder of Operation Wallacea, spoke with staff and pupils prior to the Christmas break about the expedition to Honduras, which will depart on June 24 and return on July 7.
During the visit, Dr Coles outlined the programme those taking part will be utilising and answered any questions they may had regarding what is sure to be an unforgettable experience for those involved.
In the first week, each pupil involved will be based in the cloud forests of the Cusuco National Park helping to survey one of the world’s rarest and most endangered forest types.
This data will be used to produce a report for the Honduras Forestry Department who will then be able to use this data to sell Carbon Natural Forest Credits that will help to protect the forest and irreplaceable biodiversity in it.
They will also complete jungle survival skills training, monitor forest structures and work with an international team of biodiversity scientists on projects including invertebrate sampling, using mist nets and point counting for birds, mammal tracking and spotlighting for amphibians and reptiles.
In addition to this, the group will complete a course on Neotropical Forest Ecology and have the chance to learn how to access the canopy with a half day training course from the Canopy Access Ltd team.
During the second week, the group will be based on either Roatan or Utila (islands on the Bay Island chain) and can learn to dive to PADI Open Water level.
If pupils are already dive trained or just wish to snorkel, they can complete a Caribbean reef ecology course where they will learn about the importance of the marine environment, survey techniques and basic fish, invertebrate and coral ID.
Sixteen places have been allocated for the trip, and for more information contact Ian Richardson at IRichardson@rydalpenrhos.com.
RP goes to the polls!
Budding politicians found out their fate as results of the school’s Mock General Election were announced.
After weeks of campaigning, Head of Sixth Form Leah Crimes revealed that the Conservative Party led by Edward Patrick had emerged victorious with 25 per cent of the vote, narrowly beating out Head Boy Ioan Peake-Jones and the Liberal Democrat Party who finished second on 24%.
The outstanding campaign of Labour Party mastermind Morgan Kendall earned third spot with 17%, with Harry Hackman’s Green Party securing fourth on 14%.
Rounding off the list was the Iestyn Williams-led Plaid Cymru, who finished in fifth with 12% and Ethan Davies’ Brexit Party in sixth with eight per cent of the overall vote.
Ballots were finally cast after a fierce few weeks of campaigning, which saw everything from social media accounts, posters, a live debate and candidate visits from Clwyd West contenders in the General Election.
Mrs Harding, said: “This was something that really gripped every pupil and staff member, which was down to the commitment from each party to get their message across."
Mr Edwards hosts Pheasant masterclass
Kevin Edwards, who is the father of Year 7 pupil Sophie, took a Pheasant cooking masterclass with the Year 10 GCSE Food Studies group.
Mr Edwards began by outlining the different edible parts of a Pheasant and demonstrated the best way to cut the specific areas of meat in readiness for cooking.
He then outlined the best way to cook pheasant with the group, before they conjured up a very tasty Pheasant curry with the skills they had learned with Mr Edwards prior to the practical element of the workshop.
This is the latest in a series of parent contributions across all academic departments throughout the year, which prove hugely beneficial for each pupil involved.
Mrs Harding, said: “This was a very informative workshop for our Year 10 GCSE group and on behalf of everyone at Rydal Penrhos I would like to thank Kevin for giving up his time to come along and help them in a critical stage of their learning.
“Having our parents actively involved in their child’s learning is something we actively encourage here at Rydal Penrhos, and their unrivalled enthusiasm and expertise is another reason why this is such a wonderful school to be a part of.”
National award for Chloe
Chloë Tillman-Lennon made history by becoming the first ever person to be awarded the Best Overall Junior Sea Cadet 2019, which is a UK-wide accolade chosen from more than 15,000 young volunteers.
This represents a phenomenal achievement for the pupil, who was lauded for her commitment to various community initiatives put on by the Sea Cadets throughout the region.
The TS Aberconwy representative has secured a wealth of individual experiences and achievements during her time with the group, and Chloë was also presented with the first Leading Junior Cadet Award within her unit earlier this year.
Outside of school hours, Chloë represents the unit at public events such as parades, competes on their behalf in sporting competitions, takes part in fundraising and helping in the local community.
Chloë and sister Amelia, who is a Reception class pupil, spent part of their Christmas Day last year handing out sleeping bags to the homeless of Colwyn Bay at a luncheon held in Paradox Gym.
This year they prepared care packages for those less fortunate.
Mrs Harding, said: “This is a remarkable achievement from Chloë and was she is richly deserving of given her truly exceptional commitment to the Sea Cadet programme.
“She cares so much about those less fortunate and has done so much tremendous work to aid them in a time of need, so hopefully her latest charitable efforts over the Christmas period will be equally as successful.”
Incredible grading success for Amy
Amy Yue recently took part in her Grade 8 singing examination administered by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in the hope of adding to the wealth of accolades she has achieved since joining Rydal Penrhos.
The Chinese boarder produced another immensely accomplished performance in front of adjudicators to score an incredible 140 out of a possible 150 marks.
This enabled the Sixth Former to come away with a high Distinction as a result of her outstanding performance, which is a testament to the hard work Amy has put in with Director of Music Pete Williams and teacher Alan McGuinness.
Amy has enjoyed a wealth of success from a Performing Arts perspective during the year, which included a national television performance as part of the Chinese New Year celebrations in her homeland and a starring role in the Rydal Penrhos Dramatic Society production of Les Miserables.
Mr Williams, said: “For Amy to score so highly in such a testing level of difficulty is an absolutely staggering achievement and one that she can be enormously proud of.
“Her passion, desire and ability to perform in a pressurised environment makes Amy a pleasure to work with, and I am confident she is going to great things in the future.”
Xmas Concert and Community singing
The annual Senior Christmas Concert on Tuesday, December 10, which featured a wealth of impressive individual and group performances during a hugely entertaining evening.
The Schola Cantorum and Rydal Penrhos Community Choir kicked-off proceedings with a rendition of Joy to the World, before the school’s Chamber Orchestra showcased their skills with ‘Pastorale’ and ‘Minuet’.
Gwyn Davies’ exceptional musical talent was demonstrated with cello and piano solos that were played with aplomb, and Darcie Harker-Weston’s superb version of ‘When Christmas Cones to Town’ from Polar Express was another notable highlight.
The vocal talent of Bella Rutherford and Shruthi Ganapathi brought life to the concert with their respective songs ‘Last Christmas’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ that drew widespread applause from those in attendance, and decorated Year 12 pupil Tegid Goodman-Jones’ version of Georgia on my Mind also went down extremely well with the audience.
Ethan Bytheway and Samuel Jones’ contributions on the trumpet and saxophone were very accomplished, and the first half closed out with the Year 11 singers, the incredible Amy Yue and the RPS Dance group consisting of Gabriel Speakman, Gracie Tavernor, Sophie Edwards and Pippa Roberts.
Rydal Penrhos’ Jazz Band began after the break with two pieces, before Zahra Shamsi delivered her customary vocal effort with O Holy Night with aplomb.
The brother-sister duet of Ollie and Megan Gibson performed ‘Christmas Lights’ by Coldplay on guitar and piano, with Richard Wolfendale’s superb progression on the guitar was further evident with his rendition of ‘Minor Swing’.
Megan and Hannah Davies sang ‘Memory’ from the musical Cats brilliantly, and the trio of Tegid, Richard and Harry Grocott treated everyone to a tremendous performance of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.
Tegid, Ollie, Kevin Farrell, Head Boy Ioan Peake-Jones and Eddie Farrell formed The Keytones, who performed a beautiful version of ‘Silent Night’, and the concert concluded with contributions from the Senior Choir, Schola Cantorum and Community Choir.
Talented singers spread Christmas cheer across a number of sites across the region.
The choir, which consisted of both prep and senior pupils, took part in two special carol-singing sessions on Monday, December 16.
Shoppers at the Victoria Centre in Llandudno were greeted with a variety of festive carols on the tour’s first stop, where the group were also raising money for charity via collection boxes.
This was followed by a visit to nearby Merton Place Care Home in Colwyn Bay, Merton Place Residential Home in Colwyn Bay, which saw the choir in fine voice throughout their hour-long mini-concert for residents of the facility.
Their performances were extremely well received at both venues during the annual initiative, which was one again a tremendous success and is the latest in a series of community-related schemes run by Rydal Penrhos throughout the academic year.
Mr Williams, said: “This is something we have done for a number of years now and it was another fantastic way to bring some Christmas cheer to the community.
“I would like to thank each member of the choir for their attitude, dedication and commitment to what was a tiring day for them, but they handled themselves impeccably and hopefully got a lot out of the experience themselves.”
Christmas Jumper Day
Save the Children fundraiser
The school held a Christmas Jumper Day on Friday, December 13, which saw the Rydal Penrhos senior community wear their most festive attire in the hope of raising as much as possible for Save the Children.
The event was hugely supported once again by all year groups, enabling the school to contribute £272.73 towards the overall total nationwide.
Christmas Jumper Day is an annual fundraising event by Save the Children, which aims to help create a brighter future for children.
The charity have so far managed to raise £12million since launch before the 2019 event.
On the day, people across the country went to work, school or wherever they go, dressed in a Christmas jumper.
Mrs Harding, said: “This was a cause that were very happy to support and I would like to thank the entire Rydal Penrhos community for getting involved and raising a considerable sum."
Hundreds raised for RNLI
The school hosted their annual RNLI Carol Service at St John’s Church, which featured a number of performances from pupils and staff members, in addition to the Rydal Penrhos’ Community Choir.
There were also a series of solo contributions in front of a large congregation, with a retiring collection managing to raise a total of £418 for the RNLI, which is up on last year’s total.
An RNLI spokesman, said: “I would like to pass on our thanks to all involved at the school.
“As usual, they delivered us a very enjoyable and lively service. I also thought the School choir were excellent.
“I hope they have a Happy Christmas and New Year and a well-earned break.”
This is the latest in a series of fundraising drives organised by Rydal Penrhos in aid of the RNLI, which continues the association between the school and the charity that has lasted for more than two decades.
Rev’d Sissons, added: “We are very proud of our association with the RNLI and it was heart-warming to see so many people in attendance for the Christmas Carol Concert.
“Thanks as always go to our selfless pupils and staff for giving up their time, to the RNLI representatives and everyone that came along.”
Xmas Fun Day
Over £800 raised for Ty Gobaith
The school’s Sixth Form Charity Committee worked exceptionally hard to plan a Christmas Fun Day, which was held in aid of Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice in Conwy.
This year’s extravaganza took place on Wednesday, December 18, and there were plenty of activities to get involved with including face painting, a lucky dip and other fun-filled games for those in attendance to enjoy.
There was also a charity raffle with plenty of impressive prizes on offer, and Father Christmas set up a special Grotto within the Forest School area to dish out some early festive gifts.
The Friends of Rydal Penrhos Committee played a significant part in proceedings once again, with the Secrets Room proving to be most popular during a busy two-hour period for the volunteer elves.
Thanks to the hard work of pupils, staff, parents and members of Rydal Penrhos’ governing body, £807.12 was raised for Ty Gobaith, who provide care and support to life-limited children, young people and their families from Shropshire, Cheshire, North and Mid Wales.
Owen selected for Wales XI
Owen Reilly has been named in the Wales XI that will take on Marylebone Cricket Club in April next year, with the game set to take place at Lords.
The first XI captain will be looking to enhance his growing reputation as one of the bets young prospects anywhere in the country, and he earned his place in the select side thanks to a series of exceptional displays for Bangor during the summer on their way to clinching the North Wales Cricket League Premier Division title.
The all-rounder opened the batting and bowling for the title-winners and performed superbly throughout, scoring 422 runs at an average of 35.17 and scooping 19 wickets at the average expense of 22.58 and an economy rate of 3.52.
This outstanding level of consistency also earned the Sixth Former a place in the Wales U18 squad during the summer, where they tested their skills against English county sides in the T20 format.
Mrs Head, said: “This is another excellent achievement from Owen and an experience that is going to be unforgettable.
“To play at the home of cricket with a Wales XI select side will be a real confidence boost for Owen and one that is a direct result of his incredible ability to perform well both regionally and on the national stage against high-quality opposition.”
Trio reach northern matchplay final
Adrian Lewis, Charley Simpson and Reuben Bather formed the school side that took on Bolton Grammar School in the Independent Schools’ Golf Association Match-Play Northern semi-final, as they looked to build on their impressive victory over King’s School Chester in the previous round.
Wales U18 international Reuben demonstrated his outstanding talent to come away with the win by a score of 3 and 2 to further enhance his reputation as one of the brightest young prospects anywhere in the country.
This was followed by a dominant display from Golf Wales Aspire squad member and national U14 champion Charley, who showed nerves of steel throughout his round to come away with a comfortable 7 and 6 triumph over his opponent.
A clean sweep from a Rydal Penrhos perspective was confirmed thanks to a sterling performance from Adrian, who has vastly improved his skills in recent months and remained composed in the latter stages of the round to secure a 2 and 1 victory.
The defending northern champions will now look to reach the national championships for the second consecutive year.
Vikings Reunion Dinner
Jon Davies confirmed as special guest
Jonathan Davies, who has amassed 81 caps for his country to date, will be the speaker at the Rugby Reunion Dinner on Saturday, January 25, which is being held to honour Mike Leach and Phil Mather.
The 31-year-old won caps for Wales at U18 and U20 levels and was in the Welsh team that finished fourth on home soil at the inaugural World Rugby Under 20 Championships.
He played in six successive Tests for the Lions on the 2013 and 2017 tours, when they beat Australia and drew the series in New Zealand.
Davies was voted player of the series for his part in the 2017 tour and also secured the prestigious BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year.
Having made his Scarlets debut in 2006, he graduated into the senior Wales set-up for the 2009 summer tour to North America. His full Wales debut came against Canada in Toronto and he went on to score twice in the 48-15 victory over the USA.
His Six Nations debut came in a home defeat to England in 2011, and the following year he was the midfield anchor in Wales’ sensational Grand Slam triumph.
Davies also played in all five games in the 2019 Grand Slam campaign, captaining Wales for the first time in the win over Italy in Rome, and has started a record 48 tests at centre for his country.
In November, 2013, he swapped Parc y Scarlets for Stade Marcel Michelin as he joined TOP14 outfit Clermont Auvergne on a two-year deal.
A knee injury ruled him out of the 2015 World Cup, but he returned to Wales and Scarlets colours after signing a National Dual Contract later that year.
Tickets for the event are priced at £60 per person and tables of ten are also available at a cost of £600.
Limited places remain, and anyone wishing to reserve their place can do so by emailing email@example.com.
Jacob helps Bowdon to national finals
Jacob Heaton-Rue signed for National League side Bowdon Hockey Club during pre-season to test his skills in a higher quality setting, and he has already made a significant impact for the club during the first half of the campaign.
The Wales U18 international has been part of the Bowdon 2nds side that will take a 100 per cent record into the New Year after winning all their North Division One games to surge them to the top of the standings.
The sports scholar turned out for Bowdon in his first indoor hockey tournament last weekend at the U18 Northern England Championships, which saw them compete against sides from Lancashire and Yorkshire in a bid for a national finals berth.
Jacob was one of the standout performers during the tournament, netting in each of Bowdon’s six contests to ensure they finished as tournament winners.
They will now move on to the national championships on January 18-19, and 2020 promises to be an extremely busy one for Jacob within a hockey environment.
He will begin by leading the North Wales U18 hockey side into the Indoor UK Championships at the Copper Box in London’s Olympic Park, and Jacob will also look to enhance his growing reputation with the regional squad at the U18 England Indoor Finals.
The Sixth Former has also set his sights on making his first team debut at National League level for Bowdon during the remainder of the season.