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The Owl Belfast Royal Academy Christmas 2012

The Owl Team 2012

Cover design by Jenna Todd L6 Ceramic panel by Form 1 2010 Magazine published by Limavady Printing Company Limited

The Owl 2012

BELFAST ROYAL ACADEMY The Belfast Royal Academy was founded in 1785 and is the oldest school in the city. Originally situated near St Anne’s Cathedral, in what is now Academy Street it was transferred to Cliftonville Road in 1880, when the present building was erected. For more than a century the school was named Belfast Academy. In 1888 Queen Victoria granted permission for the school to style itself Belfast Royal Academy. It is a voluntary grammar school and its management is vested in a Board of Governors on which parents and teachers are represented, along with Governors elected by members of the Academy and nominees of the Minister of Education. Any past pupil who was at B.R.A. for at least three years and who is twenty-one or over may, subject to the Governors, become a member of the Academy upon payment of a registration fee of £1. Applications should be made to the Bursar at the school. Past pupils are encouraged to join the Old Boys’ and Old Girls’ Associations. The cost of membership and contact details are as follows:

OLD GIRLS’ ASSOCIATION School Liaison Officer: Catherine Scully Hon. Treasurer:

Ms P. Burns, 1 Glebe Gardens, Newtownabbey, BT36 6ED

Life Membership................................................................................................................................................................................ £15.00 Life Membership (School Leaver)..................................................................................................................................... £10.00

OLD BOYS’ ASSOCIATION President: Mr G. Simon Hon. Secretary:

Dr L. Campbell, Belfast Royal Academy, Cliftonville Road, Belfast BT14 6JL

Hon. Treasurer:

Mr N. Simon, 210 Belfast Road, Dunadry, Co. Antrim, BT41 2EY

Life Membership................................................................................................................................................................................ £20.00 Membership (School Leaver)........................................................................................... First year after leaving is free


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BOARD OF GOVERNORS Mr. S.B. Orr, LL.B. (Warden) Mr. N. W. Beggs (Senior Vice-Warden/Hon. Treasurer) Mr. T.M.A. Baldwin, B.Sc., M.I.Biol., C.Biol. Dr. K.M. Bill, M.B., Ch.B., F.F.A.R.C.S.I. Mrs. K. Burns, B.A. 2

Ms. A. Chada, B.A., M.Sc. Mrs. A. Clements, B.A. Mr. R. Connolly, B.Sc. Ms. C. Dillon, B.A. Ms. W.E. Graham, B.A., M.A., P.Q.H. (N.I.) Dr. J.A.Hill, F.R.Eng., B.Sc. Hon, D.Sc., C. Eng., F.I.C.E., F.I.StructE. Prof. D. S. Jones, D.Sc., C. Eng., C. Chem. Mr. K.A. Knox, M.Sc. Mr. J.W. Martin, F.R.I.C.S. Mr. P.S. McBride, B.Sc., M.Inst.P. Mr. B.W. McCormack, B.Sc. (Econ), F.C.A. Mr. N. Reid, LL.B., F.C.A. Mrs. C. Scoffield, Cert.Ed., Dip.Ed. Mr. P.S. Sefton, LL.B. Mrs. H. Siberry-Hay, B.A., M.Sc. Mr. G.R. Simon, F.R.I.C.S. Mr. D. Walsh, B.Sc., M.B.A., C.Eng., M.I.M.E. Mr. I. Warke, B.Sc. Mr. S.J.S.Warke, A.C.I.I., Dip P.F.S., T.E.P. Mrs. J. Weir, B.Sc., C.Math., M.I.M.A. (Hon. Secretary) Mr. A.J. Wilkinson, F.C.A. Mr. M.T. Wilson, B.Sc. Mr. J.M.G. Dickson, M.A. (Headmaster - Non-voting member) Miss E. Hull, B.Sc., Dip (Acc), F.C.A. (Bursar - Acts as Clerk to the Board of Governors)

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J. M. G. Dickson, M.A.

Deputy Principal

Ms. C. N. Scully, B.Sc., Ph.D., A.L.C.M., P.Q.H. (N.I.)

Vice Principals

G.J.N. Brown, B.A., Ph.D. A. R. Creighton, B.Ed., P.Q.H. (N.I.)

Senior Teachers

T.M.A. Baldwin, B.Sc., C.Biol., M.S.B. Ms. W. E. Graham, B.A., M.A., P.Q.H. (N.I.) M. C. W. Harte, B.A. M. T. Wilson, B.Sc.

Deputy Senior Teacher

R. J. Jamison, B.Sc. M. R. Shields, M.A.


Mrs. P. Kerr, B.A., A.T.D., M.Ed. Mrs. G. McQuiston, B.Ed. A. A. W. Bell, B.Sc., B.Agr.Sc., PhD. Ms. J. R. Adams, B.Ed. B. T. McMurray, B.Sc., Ph.D. J. D. L. Reilly, M.B.E., B.A. P. Cupples, B.Sc. W. J. W. Spence, B.Ed., M.A. C. A. Stewart, B.Sc. J. A. McCombe, B.A., Ph.D. S. W. Graham, M.A. P. C. Porter, B.A., B.D. (Comm.) Ms. M. McMullan, M.A., Mus.B., L.T.C.L., A.L.C.M. W. I. McGonigle, B.Ed. R. Budden, M.Sc. P. Dorman, B.Th. N. E. Moore, B.Sc.


J. M. Patterson, B.Sc.(Econ.), M.S.Sc., D.C.G. D. R. S. Nash, B.Sc., M.Ed. Miss R. McCay, M.A. Mrs. R. Morrison, B.A. Mrs. N. S. Nicholl, B.A. Mrs. J. Robb, B.Sc. Mrs. S. S. Roberts, B.A. Ms. D. Keenan, M.Sc.


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Mrs. K. McIntyre, B.Sc. J. F. Buchan, B.E.M., M.A.


Mrs. C. J. Adair, B.A., Ph.D. M. R. Shields, M.A.


Mrs. A. M. Reynolds, B.Sc. S. C. Springer, M.Sci., Ph.D.


Mrs. J. Robb, B.Sc. T. Hughes, M.Sc.


R. Morrison, B.A. C. R. McCarey, B.Sc.


Miss S. R. Ardis, B.Sc. M. J. Neill, M.Sc.


Mrs. G. C. Morris, B.Ed. K. Lunn, B.Ed.

CAREERS ADVISERS Ms. J. Adams, B.Ed. A. K. Moles, B.Sc.

S. B. Murphy, B.Ed. J. M. Patterson, B.Sc.(Econ.), M.S.Sc., D.C.G.

GRAMMAR SCHOOL Mrs. E. Burch, B.Mus.Ed., B.A., ABRSM, ATCL Mrs. J. C. Bell, B.Sc. Mrs. K. A. Black, B.A. P. W. Briggs, B.Mus., Dip.L.C.M. Ms. C. Burns, B.Sc., Ph.D., M.R.S.C. J. Carolan, M.A. Miss V. Carson, M.A., A.L.C.M. Mrs. J. M. Cleland, B.Sc. Miss L. Craig, B.A. D. Creighton, B.Sc. Mrs. C. E. Currie, B.A. Miss. D. Currie, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. A. Forrest, B.A. Mrs. F. A. Gilmore, B.Sc. Mrs. M. L. Gray, B.A., M.Ed. Mrs. S. Graydon, B.Ed. Mrs. N. Henry, B.Sc. Miss J. Herron, M.A. N. Irwin, B.Ed. C. P. Little, B.A. P. J. Martin, B.Ed. Ms T. McBeth, M.A. Mrs. G. McCadden, Dip. A.D., A.T.D.

Mrs. B. McCaughran, Dip. P.E. Mrs. S.B. McCoy, B.A. Mrs S.A. McGonigle, M.A. Mrs. J. McGowan, M.A. Ms. S. M. McIlhatton, B.Eng. Miss A. McMillen, M.Sci. Mrs. H. Miller, B.A. D. D. Morrison, M.Sc. Mrs. D. M. Nicholl, B.A. Mrs. L. I. Nicholl, B.Sc. Mrs. R. L. O’Donnell, B.A., Dip. A.D., A.T.D. Mrs. L. Patterson, B.A. Mrs. J. Shaw, B.Sc. Mrs. M. C. Sheeran, B.A. Mrs. J. Smyth, B.A. P. T. Stretton, B.Ed. Mrs. H. Tate, B.A. Mrs. A. P. Terek, B.Sc. Mrs. M. E. M. Thompson, B.A. Miss S. Tinman, B.A. Miss S. V. Wightman, B.Sc., M.Phil Mrs. M. N. Wilson, B.A.

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P. J. Ingram, B.Ed., M.Sc. Mrs. P. Lennon, B.Ed. Mrs. B. Marshall, Cert. Ed. S. Patterson, B.Ed.

Mrs. V. M. McCaig, B.Ed. W. T. Wilson, B.Ed., L.T.C.L. Mrs. S. Sherrard, Cert. Ed. Mrs. E. Wilson, B.Ed. Mrs. R. Wilson, B.A., B.Ed., L.T.C.L.


Mrs. C. Sempey Mrs. J. Smeaton, B.Sc. 5

CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS Preparatory School Main School

Miss H. E. Crossen, B.A. Mrs. E. L. Philpott Mrs. L. Todd, B.A. Miss S. Buchan, B.Sc. Miss B. Burtenshaw, B.A., Dip.Ed. D. R. J. Calvert Mrs. L. Kelly, B.Sc., P.G.C.E. Mrs. A. Rea, B.A. Mrs. J. Reid Miss S. Stewart Mrs. K. Tepe Mrs. N. Watson

GENERAL ASSISTANTS Preparatory School Main School

Miss I. Campbell Miss A. Reid A. Kelly

ADMINISTRATION Bursar Finance Supervisor Headmaster’s Secretary Bursar’s Secretary/P.A. Part-time Office Administrator Part-time Finance Administrator Librarian Part-time Librarian I.C.T. Manager Alumni Officer Fundraising Officer General Office Supervisor Telephonist / Receptionist General Office Administrator Secretary (Ben Madigan) Part-time Administrator

Miss E. Hull, B.Sc., Dip.(Acc.), F.C.A. Mrs. H. McClean, B.A., F.C.A. Mrs. P. McClintock Miss G. Boyd, B.A. Mrs. J. Boyd Mrs. L. Hogg, B.A. Part-time Librarian Mrs. T. Corcoran, B.A. Miss E. McAtamney, B.A. J. R. Cleland, B.Sc. E.G.A. McCamley, M.A. O. Crane, B.A. Ms. P. Ferguson Mrs. A. Foy Mrs. L. Oliver Mrs. F. Gouk, M.A. Miss J. Nesbitt, A.C.I.I.

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Laboratory Assistants

Mrs. J. Carroll Miss A. Caroux Ms. C. McCaig, B.Sc., Ph.D.

Technology & Design Technician

M. McCreight

Art & Crafts Technician

Mrs. L. Atkins

School Matron

Mrs. N. Loughran, R.S.C.N.

Study Supervisor

Mrs. C. Clyde

Estates Manager

W. Thompson

Grounds Maintenance Supervisor

M. A. Gaw, B.Tech.

Swimming Pool Manager/Instructor

Mrs. E. Alexander, B.A.

Part-time Games Coach

Miss K. Brady, B.Sc., P.G.C.E.

Maintenance Staff

F. Workman I. Mawhinney

Bus Driver

W. Dunn

Bus Driver/Assistant Janitor

A. Hermon


K. Hogg D. McKee

Janitor (Ben Madigan)

A. Moorhead

Supervisory Assistant

Mrs. A. Thompson

Supervisory Assistant (Ben Madigan)

Mrs. C. Forsythe

Kitchen Supervisor (Ben Madigan)

Mrs. O. Shields

Kitchen Assistant (Ben Madigan)

Mrs. M. McEwan

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Contents 7

School Notes Diary of the School Year

8 33

Valete 52 Obituaries 55 Literary Contributions


Distribution of Prizes


School Societies


Music in School


Drama in School


Miscellany 112 School Games


Ben Madigan Preparatory School


Former Pupils’ News


Degrees and Diplomas


Births, Marriages and Deaths


School Notes

School Notes


A PLINTH DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF LOUIS LORD The Christmas Reception was held in the Library. A plinth dedicated to the memory of Mr Louis Lord was unveiled beforehand at a ceremony in the Entrance Hall of the Crombie Building, at which Mr Sillery spoke about his predecessor as Headmaster: Warden, Headmaster, Mr Young, Ladies and Gentlemen, Somewhere in the fiction of Evelyn Waugh there is a conversation between the Chaplain and the Master of an Oxford College. There is soon to be the unveiling of a memorial plaque in the college chapel and they have no one to perform the task. “Don’t worry Master,” says the Chaplain, “leave it in my hands. I shall exhume some decrepit old buffer from the Northern parishes. There is a reasonable chance he may say something sensible - in his lucid intervals.” Now I am not suggesting that any such conversation ever took place between one Headmaster and the Warden, merely that when the Headmaster invited me to today’s ceremony that fictional conversation came suddenly to mind. Louis Lord’s obituaries have been written and widely noticed in both the local and national press. There was a memorial service in Bryansford Parish Church which was packed to the doors for the occasion. The congregation dispersed against the grandeur of the Mournes under snow. Some of you, perhaps many of you, will have heard the tributes spoken on that day, or had the opportunity to read them in ‘The Owl’. So, this morning, rather than rehearse the landmarks of that luminous career, I shall try very briefly to pick at some random threads in a professional relationship and a friendship that lasted most of 50 years.

This may give some small sense of the spirit of the man and the beginnings of an understanding as to why the Board of Governors should place this memorial so centrally in this historic school. However, I shall begin if I may with an unusual perspective of Louis offered by a pupil, Salters Sterling, whom he taught in the Academy when he arrived to be Senior History Master in the late 1940s. I quote: “The 29 year old cut a stunning dash. With easy access to the cosmopolitan tailoring of Dublin and unencumbered by the clothing coupon restrictions of Northern Ireland, Louis dressed with an elegance which complemented his athletic frame and patrician bearing. Dark suiting in winter, grey flannel in summer tanned from hill walking, aquiline of profile with a piercing gaze he had a presence of commanding authority.” It is difficult for some of us not to hear Louis’ distinctive voice on occasions such as this. He was a very accomplished public speaker and could be counted upon to say something pointedly appropriate, or witty, or memorable, but most often all three. His portrait, a striking piece of work by Basil Blackshaw, hangs not far from where we are standing. Louis did not like it much - to begin with anyway. He enjoyed recalling how an artist friend at its unveiling told him, “Just to the right of your head there is a very beautiful space.” Time has confirmed, as it will, the quality of the painting and he was increasingly willing, as the years passed, to acknowledge its strength. He believed deeply that there was something in the ethos of the Academy that enhanced, not just the lives of its pupils, but the capacity and potential of the adults who came to teach or work under its roof. He believed it because he experienced it in himself. In later years he tried to find analogies in history that might help to illuminate the phenomenon. He would not speak without visible emotion about the seminal

The Owl 2012 judgment in English Law given by Lord Mansfield in 1772 in the case of the black slave Somersett. Mansfield ruled in the face of every authority, received opinion and vested interest of the day that once the foot of the slave Somersett touched the soil of England he became a free man. So it was not entirely fanciful to feel that the spirit of a school might free up, or empower a child, who hitherto had experienced limitations, difficulties or disadvantages. Or that members of staff who came to work there might be inspired to exceed a potential they barely realised they had. Louis’ colleague headmasters looked on enviously as one after another of his staff ducklings grew into educational swans. When pressed to explain he would quote Dr Johnson “Much may be made of a Scotchman - if he be caught young.” He was more self-denying than self-indulgent. Though his own tastes and lifestyle were modest, he was generous and open-handed. He had a gift for friendship. He loved company, conversation, gossip and high spirits. He told his pupils, “I have as much sense of humour as it is safe for a schoolmaster to possess.” In fact, he had much more. Despite his social skills he had to live alone. That he never married was a mystery to many and, I suspect, a severe disappointment to several. Louis Lord’s story is in essence a story of leadership, leadership that did not flinch in dark days and demanding circumstances. To use two epithets that he would have dismissed as modern illiteracies he was a high definition, stand-out leader. He had vision, presence, style and moral courage. Deeply loyal himself, he inspired loyalty in others. The Governors of the Academy are today saluting and perpetuating the memory of a most remarkable man who was a headmaster Sui Generis. Now if you slept through your Latin lesson Louis Lord would have had some sympathy for you. SVI GENERIS means; in a class of his own. W. M. Sillery

John McGimpsey Prize Awarded On 15 June 2012, at a ceremony in the School of Dentistry, Belfast, the Faculty of Dentistry of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) awarded the inaugural John McGimpsey Prize to Caoimhe McVeigh, a final year dental student at Queen’s University. The late Professor John McGimpsey, a member of the Board of Governors of Belfast Royal Academy and Warden 1990-91, was Consultant in Oral Surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital, and Director of Teaching and Learning at Queen’s University, Belfast. He was also

Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, RCSI from 1998-2001. The John McGimpsey Prize is awarded to an outstanding student who communicates with patients and their relatives with empathy and understanding, and who has also achieved excellence in all aspects of the Dental Curriculum throughout his or her training at the School of Dentistry, Belfast. P. McGimpsey ****

COMMONER AND PENSIONER PLACES University of Cambridge Ridwan A Farouki (Corpus Christi) Mathematics University of Oxford Alexsy M Gaj (St Benet’s Hall) John-William J Carey (St Benet’s Hall)

PPE History


THE VILLIERS PARK TRUST An Educational Trust based in Cambridge which aims to inspire gifted and talented pupils. Selected by the Trustees of Villiers Park for participation in the Annual Series of Reading Parties at Foxton, Cambridge:

Grace E Kenny Anna E McShane Julia C Diamond Tom M J Marsh Duncan M Taylor Jordan R J McClurkin Adam T Purvis Ridwan A Farouki Andrew B McClements Katy McLarnon Zoe C O’Reilly Callum Browne Scott R B McCambridge Gareth J G Gilfillan Luke K Taylor Tom J Hanna Bethany A Queripel Adam P Brice

English Literature French Geography Geography The World in Crisis? The World in Crisis? Neuroscience Mathematics PPE Drama and Theatre Studies Creative Writing History Psychology Engineering Philology Mathematics English Literature Law


School Notes

Art and Design The following work was requested by CCEA for possible inclusion in the 2013 True Colours exhibition: GCSE Level • Jenna Todd - her Core Portfolio unit of work based on the theme ‘Amazon Rain Forest’ has a hat design outcome. • Jade Anderson Flaherty - her Core Portfolio unit of work based on the theme ‘The Ugly side of Beautiful’ has a mixed media sculpture outcome. Jenna Todd (Form V) gained full marks in the CCEA GCSE level examination 2012.



British Science Association Gold Crest Awards Matthew T Bowers James G Duffy Pearse E McAteer ****

STAFFING We said farewell to six members of staff at the end of the academic year: Dr Lomas (Senior Teacher, Sociology/Politics), Mrs Heaslip (Head of Religious Education), Mrs Leyden (Modern Languages), Mrs Connolly (Religious Education), Mrs Lyttle (Business Studies/OCR), Mr Carroll (Technology). In September, Mr Evans left to take up the post of Vice Principal at Coleraine Academical Institution. Appointments Full-time permanent Mr David Creighton Miss Suzanne Graydon Mrs Emily Burch

P.E. Technology Music

Cover for Maternity Leave Miss Victoria Wightman Mr Peter Briggs Mrs Shirley McGonigle Dr Christine Callachand Mr Denver Wright

Biology, Chemistry Music French, German Mathematics History

Full-time Temporary (1 year) Miss Leanne Craig Miss Ashley McMillen

English/Drama Mathematics

Part-time Temporary Miss Jennifer Herron

English/Drama/History ****

Ben O’Donnell (Form LVI) gained full marks in the CCEA AS level examination 2012. Mr. Roy Donaldson from Donaldson and Weir Graphics Ltd. presented two Art and Design M6 A2 level pupils with a Student Art Pack Award. Pete Holland (grade A) has gained a place at the University of Ulster at Belfast to study Art & Design and Naomi Cahill (grade A) has gained a place at Northumbria University to study Fashion Marketing. All Art & Design GCSE, AS and A2 level pupils attended the 2012 True Colours exhibition at Ulster

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Museum to view the best examples of N. Ireland’s CCEA Art and Design coursework and externally set assignments. They also toured the Ulster Museum exhibitions and collections. Ben O’Donnell’s work was displayed at the 2012 True Colours Exhibition. He received a CCEA Certificate of Excellence for gaining full marks at GCSE level. Aakarsha Khosla’s (Form IV) art work based on the theme ‘Ireland Through My Eyes’ was selected as a local finalist of the All-Island Credit Union Art Competition 2011- 2012 which attracted 30,000 entries across Ireland. The North Belfast entries were judged by representatives of the New Lodge Arts Council and were announced at an awards ceremony in Newington Credit Union. The MVI and LVI Art and Design pupils visited the 2012 Royal Ulster Academy Annual Art Exhibition at the Ulster Museum. The department is used every week for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Art & Design projects and CCEA GCSE and A level units of work. A dedicated team of pupils enjoyed constructing, painting and decorating the set for the Senior School Production of ‘The Tempest’. The June 2012 Annual Art Exhibition included an excellent variety of work from all Forms. The Art Exhibition’s coffee morning raised £135 for The Save the Children Fund. The Art and Design Department received approval from CCEA for the KS3 ICT Accreditation Task. Year eight (Form I) Art and Design pupils are the first cohort to be involved in the mandatory scheme. To support this scheme the department took part in a very beneficial virtual learning environment pilot called MAPS. MAPS is an easily accessible, secure on-line system that can help teachers manage Key Stage 3 ICT assessment portfolios. This award-winning resource has a proven track record over many years and has been designed with input from teachers, academics and awarding bodies. The Department continues to provide pupils with an insight into Art and Design career routes. This was supported by guest speakers: • Dr. McPhillips from the University of Ulster (Building Environment) • Director of McCadden Designs, Mr. Stewart and Graphic Designer Lesley Millar, (both are past BRA pupils)


School Notes • A Foundation Year Art and Design representative from Belfast Institute for Further and Higher Education All year nine (Form II) pupils took part in a case study, funded by the RIBA Research Trust Award, of the disused Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church Belfast. Research by Graham et al (2009) identified that virtually no earlier research has been conducted on the views of young people towards their environment; highlighting the need for further engagement with the age group 1114. Form II work was displayed in a public exhibition in the gallery called ‘The Place’ in Belfast city centre and then transferred to St Patrick’s Church, Donegall Road for the 2012 Heritage weekend.


Dr Diane Currie, a member of staff in the Department, received the prestigious and highly contested Queen’s University, Annual Celebration Of Excellence Award for her PhD research project at the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. Business Studies Business Studies continues to develop throughout the school. We offer a range of teaching and learning strategies to engage and develop our pupils. Visiting speakers, personal presentations, mini company and young enterprise days still feature heavily within the department. We continued our industry visit to Tayto and also incorporated Coca Cola for the first time. Middle VI also enjoyed team building and motivation exercises with an overnight visit to The Jungle. Chemistry The Chemistry Department had a 99% pass rate at GCSE. Two pupils achieved an A* at A2 level. A team of three MVI pupils came second in the Northern Ireland Schools’ Analyst Competition held in Stranmillis College.

Biology Biology at the Academy remained very popular with our students particularly at GCSE and A-level. It continued to be one of the largest A-Level Biology centres in Northern Ireland. Successful ecological fieldtrips were held at Portaferry (LVI) and in the Castle Grounds (F4). A new relationship was forged with Greenmount Agricultural College (CAFRE) who developed a programme for our 93 AS Level pupils, addressing key environmental areas of the specification. Rachel Elmore attended a Biology reading party at Villiers Park.

Classics We are delighted that Jazmin Campbell and Jordan Thorburn achieved an A in Classical Civilisation at A-Level and that Parisa Shirazi achieved an A in AS Latin. 34 pupils from Forms I and II and four members of staff thoroughly enjoyed the four day Classics trip to Hadrian’s Wall in June. A small and enthusiastic group of pupils from Forms V and Lower VI attended Classical Greek classes twice a week at lunchtime with Mrs. McGowan and Mrs. Thompson.

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opportunity to attend seminars on their set A level texts hosted by Queen’s University and the University of Ulster. Two hundred Form V pupils, along with their teachers, attended matinee performances of J.B. Priestley’s ‘An Inspector Calls’ at The Grand Opera House, Belfast. A collaborative venture between the University of Ulster and BRA used the virtual learning environment, LearningNI, to create an online space for the PGCE student teachers and Sixth Form pupils to ‘virtually’ meet to discuss aspects of the AS English Literature course. Juanita O’Kane (Form III) won first prize in the Junior category of “Tell the Future” competition.


Drama The Junior Drama Club is very successful and attracts over forty pupils on a Tuesday afternoon. There were 16 pupils at GCSE and 17 pupils at AS/A2 studying Drama. Theatre trips during the year were organised with Form LVI attending a performance of Gogol’s ‘The Government Inspector’ in Dublin. Results were very impressive with a 100% A* - C pass rate at both GCSE and A Level. Economics At GCSE level all but one pupil achieved higher than a grade C. At AS, 70% of pupils gained A-C grades, while at A2 this figure was 78%. Aleksy Gaj has been accepted to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford. Several other students were accepted to study Economics at Russell Group universities, including two who have just begun courses at Edinburgh University. English 78 pupils studied English Literature at Advanced Level, while a further 65 opted for A Level English Language. Sixth





B.R.A. pupils once again finished in the top positions of the West Belfast Festival Short Story Competition. 11 - 13 years old category: 2nd - Aimee Cochrane; 3rd - Jack Duffy. 14 - 16 years old category: 3rd - Mimi Joffrey. Kevin Morrison and Vincent Parker from Feile Belfast visited School to present the prizes. Form I pupils, Conor Ferguson, Jonathan Evans, Douglas Adams, Adam McTeggart, Jillian Lynn and Masha Holmes won awards for reaching the top 10 in the Amnesty International UK Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year Competition. Alice Kelly of Amnesty wrote, “We would like to congratulate you on the unprecedented achievement of having six pupils reach the top ten of the Junior category in the competition, which had over 3,000 participants. The diversity, originality and quality of each of the 6 articles was inspirational.”

School Notes

To celebrate World Book Day, a poetry reading was held at lunchtime in the Library, where Scott Jamison and Stephen Connolly, former pupils and members of a new generation of Ulster poets emerging from Queen’s University, read to an audience of pupils and staff. At a reception and poetry reading in Belfast City Hall to honour Padraic Fiacc, a noted local poet, Sarah Martin M6 read “Luck”, a poem published recently in a collection of his poems, “Sea, Sixty Years of Poetry.”


Geography M6 geographers had the opportunity in September to study the effects of coastal erosion at Dundrum Bay in Co Down. They also surveyed members of the public in Newcastle on their views of tourism in the local area. In November three pupils in Form IV (Rebecca McKinstry, Ellie White and Ruth McConnell) competed in the Northern Ireland final of the World Wise Quiz at Queen’s University, Belfast. Representatives from Belfast City Council gave an interactive lesson to Form I Geography classes during March on the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” programme to encourage sustainable living in Belfast. Some of our A Level students attended lectures given by the Geographical Association at Queen’s University, Belfast. These are linked to the course options studied in L6 and M6. In the summer term, Form III geographers learnt about the work of Christian Aid in those areas hit by the Boxing Day Tsunami - Dave Thomas spoke to the year group on the help given to local people. Each Key Stage had experience of fieldwork outside the classroom. This involved collecting information and producing a finished report. Government and Politics Lower VI pupils attended Stormont and had the opportunity to watch the Assembly in session. Middle VI attended a Conference on Politics in the Republic of Ireland History History continues to be a very popular and successful subject in the Academy. Last year 122 Form IV pupils chose to study History for GCSE. In 2011-2012 the History Department maintained its strong tradition of facilitating pupils’ academic success: At GCSE level, 95% of our pupils achieved grades A*-C (a 10% increase on the 2010-2011 figure);

At AS level, 87% of our pupils gained grades A-C (a 15% increase on the 2010-2011 figure); At A2 level, 84% of our pupils gained grades A*-C (a 4% increase on the 2010-2011 figure). The academic success of the History Department was also illustrated by the success of one of our top A2 History candidates, John-William Carey. John-William won a place to read History at St. Benet’s Hall, University of Oxford. He is an exceptional historian (he was one of four Academy pupils to be awarded an A* grade in History at A2) who availed of the support provided by the school for pupils applying to Oxbridge colleges. He participated in the general ‘Applying to Oxbridge’ course led by Vice-Principal, Dr. G. Brown and in the subject-specific ‘Applying to study History at Oxbridge’ programme led by the Head of History, Dr. J. McCombe. In 2011-2012 the History Department continued to participate in Sixth Form conferences with neighbouring schools. In March, BRA pupils joined fellow A-Level students from the Dominican College and St. Malachy’s College for a lecture given by Dr. Feargal McGarry of Queen’s University, Belfast. Dr. McGarry spoke on the Easter Rising – a key event in the pupils’ A2 module: Ireland 1900-1925. As part of Belfast’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic, 120 Form 3 History pupils visited an exhibition on the famous ship facilitated by Belfast City Council. As well as viewing the exhibits, the pupils had the opportunity to engage in Titanic-related research and a number of interactive challenges.

The Owl 2012

At the school Open Evenings in January, the Estates Manager, Mr. W. Thompson displayed an impressive array of First World War memorabilia in the History Department. Mr. Thompson facilitated a competition for the Primary 7 pupils who visited the Department. This competition was won by Dylan McGrotty of Mossgrove Primary School. Dylan’s prize was a copy of ‘The Salient’, a book about the fighting on the Western Front, 1914-1918.

68 pupils completed A2 Mathematics. 65% of the MVI cohort achieved an A*/A at A2 level. 90% achieved A*-B. 99% achieved A*-C. Fifteen students (out of 129 in Northern Ireland) studied Further Mathematics achieving 9 A*, 4A, 1B and 1C grades. This was the largest cohort of pupils in Northern Ireland. Ridwan Farouki was accepted to read Mathematics at Corpus Christi, Cambridge University starting in September 2012 after being prepared for the STEP Examinations by the Department. We entered three team competitions against other schools in Northern Ireland.

ICT In September, all pupils in Form I took part in the Interactive presentation on Keeping Safe Online entitled “ThinkUKnow” The Computer Programming Club, open to pupils in Forms 1 and 2, had its first full year and was extremely well attended. The main focus was on Learning to program with “Scratch”. In the Spring term we had a talk from two professional programmers working in the computer industry in Northern Ireland. They gave a fascinating talk about their work writing games software for mobile phones. The pupils were encouraged to continue to develop their programming skills as the software industry was one of the few areas of the economy to continue to grow despite the recession. In February, a group of pupils from Form 3 attended the “Bring IT On” STEM event at the Waterfront Hall. There was a keynote presentation from Jonny Ball, the TV personality, interactive workshops and a careers display involving many of the leading ICT companies working in Belfast. Members of the ICT Department were able to attend INSET courses in “Intermediate Photoshop”, “Games Design with Gamemaker” (which will be used as part of the controlled assessment in GCSE) , “Programming with Greenfoot” and “Making Movies with Mobile Technology” during the course of the year. Mathematics 67% of Form V achieved an A*/A in AQA GCSE Mathematics. 92% achieved A*-B.

We were placed 4th in the UKMT Junior Team Challenge-the team was: Richard Ware (FII), Andrew Milligan (FII), Mimi Joffroy (FIII) and Hollie McCalmont (FIII). We finished a close 2nd in the UKMT Senior Team Challenge. The team comprised: Tom Hanna (LVI), Chris Turnbull (FV), Ridwan Farouki (MVI) and John McBride (MVI). We won the QUB Annual Maths Competition (first of 28 teams from across Northern Ireland). The team comprised: Tom Hanna (LVI), Jordan Shaw (LVI), Chris Turnbull (FV) and Ben Campbell (FV). We had continued success in Maths Challenges including qualifications for the next rounds at Junior, Intermediate and Senior levels for Daniel Quigley (F1), Ruari Hurson (FIV) and Tom Hanna (LVI) respectively. Pupils achieved the following awards: Junior: 11 Gold, 6 Silver and 20 Bronze; Intermediate: 3 Gold, 14 Silver and 19 Bronze; Senior: 2 Gold, 7 Silver and 15 Bronze. Modern Languages Jazmin Campbell gained grade A* in both French and Spanish at Advanced Level. Judith Bingham and Neil Fulton gained grade A* at Advanced Level in French. Patricia Martin gained full marks in GCSE French. In GCSE German the pass rate was 100%. Neil Fulton and Anna McShane secured places at the University of London in Paris.

66 students were entered for CCEA Additional Mathematics with 97% achieving A*-C.

In the Santander Essay Competitions in association with QUB, Kathyrn Fusco was awarded first prize in Spanish and third prize in French. Jazmin Campbell was awarded third prize in Spanish.

At AS level 85 pupils were entered for Mathematics with 72% achieving A-B.

Ben McConnell and Kelly-Anne Rainey from the Spanish AS class went to Salamanca University in


School Notes

Spain where they attended a two week intensive course in Spanish for foreign students. OLA (Online Learning Assessment) with Form IV proved to be very successful with all students achieving Entry Level 2 and 93% achieving Entry Level 3. The examiner’s report from CCEA was positive and one examiner congratulated some of the students on the level of their presentations.


At GCSE Level 93 % of pupils attained A* - C. Physical Education The PE Department achieved a 100% pass rate at Advanced level in 2011/2012. We are looking forward to GCSE PE being introduced in 2012/13. Robert Moffett and Hannah Allen were Sports Ambassadors for the Olympics .

New Language Assistants for French and German were welcomed into the department and the lunchtime Zone Francophone was created for Senior pupils as a means of enhancing French oral language skills.

We were the only secondary-level school represented at the World Sports Day and the Tesco Mile run with special guest Colin Jackson. We also participated in a cross-community Olympic event in North Belfast where the pupils met the Olympic mascot.

Highlights of the year included the Form II Paris Trips, the Spanish Exchange and the European Day of Languages.

Sports days were run for primary schools in December and June and we staged primary school tag rugby and mini hockey tournaments at Roughfort.

Music • GCSE - 100% A-C; 67% A*-A • AS - 100% A-C • A2 - 100% A-B • The Senior Carol service in St. Peter’s, Antrim Road, the Spring Concert and Summer Serenade were all very successful. We had excellent attendance at all events. Over 300 pupils participate in music making each week in BRA. • Ulster Youth Choir - Michael Bell and Sarah Minford. • Ulster Youth Training Choir - Faye Kidd • Ulster Youth Orchestra - Michael Bell and Stephen Doyle. • National Youth Orchestra of Ireland - Michael Bell (principal horn) • Michael Bell took part in the Charles Wood Summer School over the summer. He also received the Stephen Parker Memorial Award 2012 (£400) for his involvement in the CBYO and his pursuit of musical excellence.

Religious Studies The Religious Studies Department hosted an Ethics conference in April. It was chaired by William Crawley and included guests from the Tear Fund, The NI Humanist Society and a business leader. Our Lady and St Patrick’s College, Knock and St Patrick’s Beernahgeha were also in attendance.

Physics All of the MVI cohort passed Advanced Level Physics, with 95% attaining grade A* - C. Rachael Abbott, Ridwan Farouki and Daniel Stark were awarded an A*.

Sociology This year’s results showed a pleasing improvement and reflected the increased attention to revision courses run by the Department. Numbers continue to be good.

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Technology and Design Our Form III Technology pupils had the opportunity to spend a day on board the STEM Module in the school playground at the end of the summer term. This £1.2M mobile facility travels across the North of Ireland to provide state-of-the-art facilities for schools to help promote STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) and encourage young people to get involved in STEM at an early age. During the last week of the summer term, over eighty Form 2 Technology pupils participated in The Sentinus STEM Robotics Roadshow. The aim was to use a netbook computer to program a Mars Rover vehicle to navigate a route on the Martian surface. Two Lower Sixth pupils participated in the STEM Academy summer project run jointly by Queen’s University and F G Wilson.

SPORT BOYS’ ATHLETICS: Ulster Schools’ Championships (May 12) Minor 4 x 100 m relay 3rd (Shane Martin, Joshua Heggarty, Aaron Campbell, Conor Ferguson) Junior Stephen McCorry - 3rd Hammer 4 x100m relay 5th (Jack Gill, Christopher McLaughlin, Sean Rice and Roy Chia) Sean Rice - 6th Long Jump and 7th Triple Jump Gareth McAdams - 6th Discus and 4th Javelin Intermediate Stewart Martin - 1st Discus Alan Curtis - 1st 400m hurdles and 2nd Long jump Ruairi Brogan - 3rd 100m Hurdles Scott McMurtry - 2nd Hammer Inter 4x 100m - 5th (Ruairi Brogan, Alan Curtis, Scott McMurtry and David Campbell) Senior Robert Moffett - 1st Hammer Andrew Curtis - 2nd 200M Nathan Lyons - 2nd High Jump and 5th Triple Jump Irish Schools’ Championships (June 12) Senior Robert Moffett - 3rd Hammer Nathan Lyons - 5th High Jump Andrew Curtis - 8th 200m


School Notes

Intermediate Stewart Martin - 2nd Discus Alan Curtis - 3rd 400m Hurdles and 4th Long Jump Scott McMurtry - 6th Hammer (PB)

Intermediate Emma Kelso - 1st Pole Vault 2.91m (*New Irish Record*) Melissa Moffett - 8th Hammer

Junior Stephen McCorry - 7th Hammer (PB)

Senior Lucy Dugan - 1st Pole Vault 2.90m Hannah Allen - 7th Hammer 34.79m Lauren McKay - 8th Hammer 32.95m (PB)

June 12-Ruari Brogan, Alan Curtis, Scott McMurtry and Stewart Martin were selected to represent Ulster in the U16 Interprovincial Championships at Santry. GIRLS’ ATHLETICS: Ulster Schools’ Championships


Minor Trinity Geddis - 6th Long Jump Charlotte Anderson - 7th High Jump

Congratulations to the following girls who were selected for The Athletics Northern Ireland Talent Identification Programme: Lucy Stewart, Laura Fleck, Trinity Geddis, Ellen Dalzell and Alice Reid. On Monday 24th September the girls took part in a pre-selection programme in our school Sports Hall. A number of specific tests in running, jumping and throwing were used to help identify suitable athletes for the programme. ****

Junior Victoria Beattie - 2nd Pole Vault Q Naomi Martin - 2nd Discus Q Megan Geddis - 5th 75mH Intermediate Emma Kelso - 1st Pole Vault New PB Q Melissa Moffett - 2nd Hammer Q Rachel Millar - 3rd 300mH Mykila Donaldson - 5th Hammer Anna Hutchinson - 7th Triple Jump Clara Montgomery - 8th Long Jump & 6th Triple Jump Natalie Duff - 6th Javelin

Five of our athletes were part of the Northern Ireland Schools’ team which competed in the London Olympic stadium in the UK Games in May. Our 5 athletes Emma Kelso; Pole Vault, Melissa Moffett; Hammer, Rory Brogan; 100m Hurdles, Alan Curtis; Long Jump and Stewart Martin; Discus were part of a 40 strong team selected to represent Northern Ireland to compete against the full Scotland and Wales teams and 5 regional England teams. All of our athletes set new personal bests and Melissa set a new BRA school record in the Hammer.

Senior Hannah Allen - 1st Hammer Q Lucy Dugan - 1st Pole Vault Q & 5th 400mH Lauren McKay - 2nd Hammer Q Hilary Ferris - 4th 400mH Charlene McAdams - 5th Discus Emily Reid - 6th Triple Jump Megan Reilly - 7th Long Jump RELAY 5th

As a result of their performances in the Irish and the Inter Pros, Emma Kelso in the Pole Vault and Alan Curtis in the 400m Hurdles were selected for and competed with the Irish Schools’ team against England, Scotland and Wales in the Home Countries SIAB international in Ashford, Kent during the summer. Ruairi Brogan in 100m Hurdles and Stewart Martin in the Discus were also selected but were not available for competition.

Irish Schools’ Championships Junior Victoria Beattie - 4th Pole Vault 2.20m Naomi Martin - 9th Discus 18.95m

Badminton The Badminton Club continued to meet weekly. Teams competed in the Senior Girls’ League and Senior Boys’ Cup and, for the first time, in the Junior Girls’ League.

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Cricket The 1st XI of the Cricket Club have announced that they are to travel to Sri Lanka in Easter of 2013. Jordan McClurkin, Daniel McFadden, Jordan Carlisle and Mr Shields toured Durham with the Ulster Schools XI. Andrew Forbes was selected for the Northern Cricket Union Under 15 team. Jack Burton was selected for the Northern Cricket Union Under 13 team.

Hockey (Boys) The 1st XI team enjoyed success in the Prior Shield, qualifying for the semi-finals for the first time in recent years. The team played some excellent hockey throughout the campaign, showing great progress, but were eventually defeated by a strong Wallace side. This was followed by a defeat to Antrim Grammar in the Burney Cup. Fifteen boys and two members of staff went on a three-day tour to Dublin to support Ireland in the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers and play against local schools. The tour was very successful and the boys defeated Wesley College, but were narrowly beaten by St. Andrews and Sutton College.

The school reached the McCullough Cup Semi-Final. The Colts had a very impressive season, winning 12 of their 14 games. Cross Country Running The 2011-12 season was one of the least successful in recent history. No runners were to qualify for the Irish Schools’ Championships. Greatest success was to be achieved by the girls, with Ellen Dalzell (Form I) finishing 4th in the District Championships and 6th at Ulster level in the Mini Girls’ category. Emily Reid (Form MVI) competed at Senior level, finishing 10th at the District Championships. Unfortunately, injury prevented her from running in the Ulsters. Matt Donnelly (Form LVI) was the standard bearer for the boys. He finished a fine 5th in the Districts, qualifying for the Ulster Championships in which he completed the Senior race in 23rd place. Football The Football XI competed in the Belfast League, Belfast Cup and Northern Ireland Cup. Golf Pupils in Forms I - IV again took part in the Darren Clarke Golf League last year and the Senior team qualified from the group stages of the Winter League. Judithe Allen and Amy O’Donnell took part in the ILGU competition at Royal County Down.

The Colts team enjoyed similar success in the Taylor Cup where they progressed through to the semi-finals, but were beaten by eventual winners Portadown College. The Under 14 Boys continued to show improvement and had several high points throughout the season with hard fought wins against renowned hockey playing schools. Disappointingly, however, they did not fare well in the Cup Competitions. Hockey (Girls) 8 teams played block fixtures every Saturday and some of these fixtures were as part of the South Antrim league which involves 6 schools. Our 1st XI finished 2nd to Ballyclare High School in their individual league and BRA also finished second to Ballyclare in the overall placings. The 1st XI reached the quarter-final of the Senior Schools’ Cup. Representative honours: Erin Getty & Abbie Brown Faye Kidd Anna Hutchinson Emily Reid Holly Reid Lucy Miller

Ulster U15 Ulster & Ireland U16 Ulster U18 B Ulster U21 Belfast U17 Belfast U15.


School Notes

Judo James Reid - Ulster Schools’ Championship representing BRA - Gold medal; All-Ireland Schools’ Championship representing BRA - Gold medal; Irish Open (14-17 age group) - Bronze medal; Irish Open (17-20 age group) - Bronze medal. Lifesaving Shannon Alexander and Eorann O’Neill are Senior Girls’ Ulster Champions. Ruairi Hurson and Alan Curtis were 2nd in the Senior Boys’ section and Tom Donnelly and Robert Bowman picked up Silver in the Junior Boys’ section.


At the British Championships we won 20 medals.The Senior Girls are British Champions in one event and runners-up in another. Eorann O’Neill and Mark Wylie set British National Records. At the British Surf Lifesaving Championships, Shannon and Eorann won Silver and Bronze medals. Shannon and Mark represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Durban, South Africa. Netball This year we had eight teams playing competitive games. The Senior team and the Junior A team worked hard all year in training and were undefeated within the Belfast League, making it through to their respective finals. Unfortunately, both teams lost narrowly and came runners-up. The Senior team’s captain, Lucy Dugan represented Northern Ireland U21’s and captained the team on a number of matches. Naomh McGuiggan was selected for the Podium Squad. Rugby David Patterson represented Ulster U19, Daniel Dass represented Ulster Schools’ U18. The 1st XV reached the final of the Schools’ Bowl Competition. The Senior rugby squad toured South Africa between 12-27th July. 35 boys toured in total. The tour was a great success and, in terms of rugby, the squad developed greatly. Fixtures were played in Cape Town, Paarl, Stellenbosch and Pretoria. On the 30th March 2012, 840 children, led by the Academy, set a new world record for the largest ever rugby scrum. They did so at Ravenhill and most remained to watch Ulster vs Aironi in the Rabo Direct League.

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As part of the preparations His Excellency Jeremiah Ndou, the South African Ambassador to Ireland, visited the school on the 24th February to meet the rugby tourists and those involved in the World Record Scrum. Jack Kyle was also a guest on this occasion. The Under 13A XV had an impressive season, winning 12 out of 19 games and jointly winning the Former Pupils’ Cup. The Under 14A team toured Cambridge with Mr Hughes, Mr Stretton and Mr Shields. The Under 14 XV won the Shield competition at the annual tournament at RBAI, their only defeat coming against the eventual champions, Campbell College. At the end of the year the side toured Ipswich and Cambridge, playing fixtures against The Perse School and a three-way invitational tournament against the Leys School and Mill Hill. The Medallion XV improved immensely over the course of the season. They faced a tough draw in the Shield, losing to a strong Coleraine side 17 points to 10. Coleraine went on to contest one of the semi finals, losing to the eventual winners. As an end-of-season Rugby Trip, 31 Form III boys and 3 members of staff attended an activity day at Ballykinler Army Training Centre on Wednesday 16th May. Activities on the day included: an obstacle course, clay-pigeon shooting and numerous teambuilding activities. Show Jumping The Open Show Jumping Team were crowned as M.E.C Champions 2012. They also finished 3rd in the Ulster Schools’ Show Jumping Championships 2012. The Open team consisted of Anne Sheridan, Sarah Sproule, Ana Desmond, Jessica Johnston, Amy Wilson and Beth Moss. The Novice Team finished second at The Balmoral Championships in September 2011. They went on to be crowned runners-up in the Ulster Schools’ Show Jumping Championships and the M.E.C Championships 2012. They won Portmore Equestrian Centre Schools’ competition in March 2012. The team consisted of Victoria Beattie, Mimi Joffroy, Jessica Johnston, Victoria Minford and Amber Vick. Jessica Johnston in Form III qualified in the individual competition for the International RDS Dublin Horse Show in August 2012. In the qualifier Jessica finished in 3rd place out of 200 competitors. At the Dublin Horse Show she qualified for the final which was held in the main arena where she finished in 2nd place.


School Notes

Swimming We had a great swimming year - we won 132 medals in competition and are the top swimming school in Ulster. The Junior boys, girls and Intermediate girls relay teams are Irish Champions. Individually, Conor Ferguson, Eorann O’Neill and Mark Wylie are Irish Champions, with Conor picking up Silver and Bronze at the British Championships. Tennis Boys’ Tennis continued to meet weekly during the summer term. Numbers remained high for Girls’ Tennis clubs throughout the week and on a Saturday morning at Cavehill Tennis Club. 22

Teams were entered at all age groups, although it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a Senior team as pupils have their exam commitments to consider early in the summer term. Mrs. Nicholl coached the Form I and II players, while the professional coach at Cavehill continued to work this year with the team players from Forms III and IV . The Intermediate team were the only team who qualified from their section. Waterpolo Eorann O’Neill and Lori Turkington were selected for Irish U 16 team, Shannon Alexander and Caroline Montgomery for the Irish U19s. The Girls’ team Competed in the Irish U19 and finished 3rd. Later in the year they reached the final of the Irish U16s and placed 2nd. The Girls’ team competed in the Irish Senior Ladies’ Waterpolo League and won Division 2 The Senior boys finished 3rd in the Canada Trophy (Ulster Schools’ Competition). In the U16s we finished 4th. The U14 team won the Ulster Schools’ Cup.

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and took part in various book related activities.

Amnesty International Amnesty International Club met every Wednesday to discuss various Human Rights issues. Students wrote letters to political prisoners, designed posters and contributed to lively debates.

The Book Club developed their love of reading by taking part in the 2011/12 Northern Ireland Book Award. Wednesday 16th November saw the launch of the third Northern Ireland Book Award at RBAI. BRA Book Club joined with 18 other schools to discover the 8 titles that had made the short list from the 60 plus nominations. The pupils also had the opportunity to meet guest author Oisin McGann and were able to get their books signed by him.

ATC Cadet numbers in the squadron dropped slightly in 2011-2012, ending the year with 23 cadets on strength. Recruiting for 2012 -13 has started and there has been a good deal of interest. During the year, cadets attended gliding at Newtownards, flying at RAF Woodvale, the Wing Open Day and a range day at JHCFS Aldergrove. They also took part in Wing Athletics Swimming and Hockey events, with Rachael Kirker and Chloe Armstrong being chosen to represent the Wing at Regional Level in hockey. Two Senior Cadets attended a Methods of Instruction Course, necessary for the Master Cadet Qualification. The normal target shooting programme was completed. Adam Purvis and James Duffy were on the ATC team in the Inter Service Small-bore Match against the other cadet services at National Level. A team again qualified for the Inter-Service Cadet Rifle Meeting at Bisley in July, and were coached by Jonathan Cummings. The weather was the worst in living memory as it rained every day and some of the rifles proved to have more issues with the wet than did others. FS Adam Purvis got into the Cadet Hundred, with Cdt Jake Magill narrowly missing a place coming 101 at his first attempt. Adam Purvis was in the Inter-Service Team against the other Cadet Services. He also stayed on at Bisley for the Imperial Meeting. In August, he was a member of the GB Cadet National Team (the Athelings) which spent four weeks in Canada, doing some cultural touring and shooting in the Canadian National Matches. The Junior Book Club The Junior Book Club met every Monday at lunch-time in the Library. Pupils from Forms I and II came along

Throughout the year pupils read from the shortlisted titles and nominated their favourite book. Their nomination, alongside the nominations of the other 26 participating schools, helped ensure ‘Gangsta Granny’ by David Walliams won the 2012 award. The Grand Finale was held on 28th March 2012 at Stranmillis College. Colourful performance Poet Craig Bradley entertained the pupils throughout the day and explored rhyme, rhythm and repetition with exuberance. The Book Club also took part in lunch time quizzes, a book hunt and literary projects throughout the year. Chess Chess teams competed in the Junior and Senior Ulster Leagues (with only one defeat). Boys’ Choir The Boys’ Choir continues to go from strength to strength. The first performance of the year was at the Community Service Christmas party, when some members of Drumross Special School were the guests. The choir also sang at Junior Assembly and at the Belfast Royal Academy Spring Concert in Spires, where the audience on each occasion was treated to renditions of The Turtles’ Happy Together and Westlife’s Mandy. Miss Carson was particularly impressed by the performances of soloists Ben Devlin, Matthew Donnelly and Samuel Uche. Bridge The Bridge Club had another very successful year, with the School winning the Ulster Schools’ Teams, Irish Schools’ Pairs and the Under 20 Interprovincials. We were 2nd in the Irish Schools’ Teams. Our Senior team represented Northern Ireland in the Home Internationals (The Peggy Bayer). The middle ranking teams and Novices also won several of their tournaments, giving the Club a sound basis for future development. Civitas In addition to welcoming speakers pupils representing the school attended two Conferences and one research launch.


School Notes

Classics Society The Society continues to meet monthly and helps to promote a wider interest in the ancient world among our pupils. Creative Writing The Creative Writing Club met every Thursday in order to explore a range of genres and styles, with students submitting final pieces for local and national competitions and The Owl. Senior Debating Society This was an exciting and successful year for the society, with good levels of participation, especially from the Sixth Form.


The year began with the usual fortnightly lunchtime debates, which drew a healthy attendance and lively contributions from the floor. Serious topics predominated and included: the suitability of Martin McGuinness for the post of President of Ireland, the national identity of residents of Northern Ireland, the issue of capital punishment and the difficulty of A levels. Towards the end of the first term the focus shifted towards intensive preparation for the Northern Ireland Schools’ Debating Competition. Despite their relative inexperience, our debating team, consisting of Ciarán Marica and Matthew Magill, defeated Belfast High School in a debate entitled, “This House believes that opposition to Private Sector involvement in the NHS is wholly outdated,” to win a place in the quarter final. Unfortunately, our team was defeated by Bangor Grammar School on a motion on the topic of immigration. During the second term potential Oxford and Cambridge candidates were offered the opportunity to participate in lunchtime debates and these proved very successful with speakers who, despite being novice debators, had prepared their speeches well. Dramatic Society In November the Senior Dramatic Society performed a 1960’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. An enthusiastic cast and crew helped ensure a very successful and enjoyable production. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award The Academy has the largest school-based Award Centre in Northern Ireland, and possibly the United Kingdom, with a membership of 414 pupils from Forms III to MVI. During 2011-2012 40 Bronze Awards, 15 Silver Awards and 14 Gold Awards were gained. The total Awards gained from 1984 to date are Bronze 1,127, Silver - 611 and Gold - 413.

In the Expedition section, 268 pupils were involved throughout the year in theory classes, training weekends as well as practice and qualifying expeditions. Expeditions took place in the Mountains of Mourne, North Antrim Hills, River Bann and Upper and Lower Lough Erne. The 22nd Annual Mournes’ Clean-up and Environment Day was held on Saturday, 10th December, 2011. Taking part were 109 pupils, all Duke of Edinburgh’s Award members from Forms III to Middle VI, as well as 34 adult helpers, including former pupils who are Gold Award holders, parents and teachers. In excess of six tonnes of rubbish were collected from eleven different sites in the Mournes’ area. The pleasing sum of £2,567.27 was donated to our funds. Kevin Cheung and Martin Scott, recent past pupils, are currently working for the Mountain Leadership Certificate (Summer). Another recent past pupil, Keith Laverty, is currently working for the U.K.C.C. / B.C.U. Levels 1 and 2 Paddlesport Coach qualification. On Tuesday, 31st January, 2012 Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, opened the new Northern Ireland Regional Office of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Newtownbreda. Six participants and a Leader from the Academy’s DofE Award Centre were honoured to be invited to take part in the event. After the Opening Ceremony, Mr. Jonathan Cummings, Maebh King (LVI), Adam Purvis (MVI), Melissa Antonio (V), Steven Bailie (LVI), Ling Chung (IV) and Oliver Vick (IV) talked with Prince Edward about the Academy DofE Centre’s work helping to clean up the Mountains of Mourne over the last twenty-two years. Engineering Education Scheme In April, three BRA pupils were awarded British Science Association Gold Crest Awards: Matthew Bowers, James Duffy and Pearse McAteer. These awards were in recognition of their work for the Engineering Education Scheme involving the inspection systems on the generators at AES Ballylumford.

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Le Club Français The French Club for senior and junior pupils met at lunchtime on Fridays in J11. Senior students used this time primarily for Grammar and Reading/ Comprehension practice. The French Club for junior pupils also took place on Friday with the emphasis being on consolidation of new material with the help of varied and fun IT/Web-based learning packages. On Mondays the “Zone Francophone” took place during lunchtime. Pupils, assistants and staff were invited to come to J11 for lunch and conversation in the target language. Those who came had to speak only in the target language for the duration of the lunch. This was a great success and gave those who participated increased confidence as they prepared for the speaking examination. Habitat for Humanity N.I. BRA LVI pupils linked up with boys from De La Salle College to take part in the Habitat for Humanity N.I. Schools Programme. The project consists of two days of workshops fostering cross-community co-operation and examining the global issue of poverty. A further day is spent carrying out volunteer work on a Belfast building site. Throughout the year pupils also fund-raised £1,250 for the Habitat for Humanity Building Project. Pet Club Once again the Pet Club proved to be very popular this year. Such was the interest that the visitation times had to be limited, although research shows that petted animals live longer as do their owners! The highlight of the season was a spectacular visit by Stephanie Strong (LVI) and dozens of animals from her private collection. She talked knowledgeably about her menagerie and allowed the pupils to handle the animals under supervision. Mini Company 16 Lower Sixth pupils took part in this year’s mini company. They produced and sold products at the school play, open nights, trade fairs and St George’s market . They had many opportunities to sell and gain real-life business experience. They made a net profit of £1625.80. Model United Nations The school entered a team of 12 for the MUN Conference in George Watson’s College, Edinburgh

and received 3 awards. Teams were also entered for the Wesley College Dublin MUN and the joint MCB/ Wallace Conference. In all of them our Juniors and Seniors acquitted themselves well, winning several commendations and one certificate. Public Speaking This year a number of pupils from Belfast Royal Academy took part in several Public Speaking as well as Speech and Drama competitions. Daniel Davison participated in the Environmental Youth Speak Competition, run by Belfast City Council. Daniel took part in the Senior section and competed against two speakers from St. Malachy’s College. He spoke on the impact of waste electronic and electrical equipment and what we can do to prevent this. 25

Sarah Minford and Emma Quinn took part in the Soroptomist Public Speaking competition. They spoke on women’s rights and the issue of rising tuition fees and were placed 2nd and 4th respectively. Jessica McVeigh and Claire Hughes entered the BBC ‘Off By Heart’ Shakespeare competition, for which they learned a famous Shakespearean monologue and performed it in front of three judges. The girls were commended for their performance and although they did not proceed to the next stage of the competition, they had the opportunity to participate in professional acting workshops which focused on Shakespeare’s work. Reading Group The Reading Group (Staff and Sixth Form pupils) met in the Louis Lord Building on Tuesday afternoons for lively discussions about the members’ latest reads. Rock Challenge On Thursday 19th April, 35 girls competed in the Rock Challenge competition at the Waterfront Hall, against Hazelwood Integrated College, Little Flower and Ballee Community High School. Ashfield Girls’ School also show-cased at the event. The team put on a spectacular show and received three awards: Drama Skills, Hair Design and Concept Interpretation, and was placed third overall. After the national finals, Jenna Todd’s photograph of Jenny Coates in full costume was placed 5th in the Rock Challenge Photography Competition.

School Notes

year we studied the book of Esther, the Fruit of the Spirit and investigated the topic of identity. The pupils also attended the S.U. Christmas Party, Scripture Union Weekend, Pizza Evening and the first Annual Junior S.U. Outing.

Save the Children Fund The Save the Children Fund Committee raised £5,000 in 2011/12 from events including BRA’s Got Talent, a Non-Uniform Day, the BBQ at the Sponsored Walk and the Belfast Marathon. 26

Senior Science Society Throughout the year the Senior Science Society invited guest speakers into School to talk on a wide range of extra-curricular topics. We are very grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our guest speakers and for the tremendous effort they made to engage pupils at a level which stimulated their intellectual curiosity. The talks included: Dr D Currie (BRA) ‘Genetic studies and Renal disease’. Dr P Dunlop (UUJ) ‘Nanotechnology for Water Purification’. Prof. J Greenwood (QUB) ‘Applications of Physics in Medicine’. Dr F Liu (QUB) ‘How plants know when to flower’. Prof I Montgomery (QUB) ‘Putting a value on the environment?’ Prof S Smartt (QUB)”Supernovae: hunting for exploding stars”. Senior Scripture Union Pupils met on a weekly basis for fun, fellowship, prayer and Bible study. We looked at the topic of “Ultimate Questions” which allowed our senior pupils to think about a number of thought-provoking topics. The annual weekend to Castlewellan Castle, organised in conjunction with Junior Scripture Union, and the Pizza Evening were well supported and very well received by both pupils and staff. Given the success of the newly introduced senior weekend last year, we took senior pupils to Seaview House, Kilkeel for a second time, before they went on study leave.

Special Olympics Ireland Collection Day The Special Olympics Ireland Collection Day, on 27th April 2012, was strongly supported by a number of pupils across Forms V - MVI. The pupils collected at the Tesco store on the Antrim Road. The day raised a total of €500,000, €70,000 in Ulster. All pupils thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the event and can take great pride in the effort they invested and the return they helped to deliver. Traditional Music Traditional music saw a rise in interest in school this year and this was reflected both by the establishment of a Junior Traditional Group and record numbers in the senior group. The senior group met every Tuesday lunch time and developed its repertoire to include ‘modern traditional’ music, which has a more syncopated style than is usual. The junior group made steady progress through their Friday practices and by the time of the Spring Concert in March they performed to a very high standard. Warhammer The “gamers” in school continued to meet in BB2 throughout the year. A small but loyal group brought its figures and played Warhammer, whilst an increasingly enthusiastic group chose to play Play Station games. An inter-school Warhammer league is being investigated for the 2012-13 season. Young Einstein Club In 2011-2012 the Young Einstein Club Membership was steady with approximately 40 pupils from Form 1 attending on a fortnightly basis. A number of L6 pupils also assisted the junior pupils to complete the experiments. Our programme was as follows: DATE




WED 28 SEPT BP5 EXP: Jelly Bean Taste Tests WED 12th OCT


EXP: Windmill Fun

WED 26th OCT BC2 EXP: Chemical Cocktails WED 16th NOV


EXP: Optical Illusions



EXP: Hovercrafts



WED 25 JAN Junior Scripture Union Junior Scripture Union was held weekly during Wednesday lunchtime. Throughout the course of the



WED 22



Paper Tower Competition EXP: Grass-heads

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On the third day, we went to Arbeia (the Marbeia of the North East) - the store-house for the wall, as the Romans were only too aware that an army marches on its stomach! We then spent the afternoon in a reenacted mining community - Beamish. Everyone loved travelling on trams and eating boiled sweets. In the evening, the entertainment was bowling. Good fun was had by all.

Young Engineers Club The Young Engineers Club in school continued to meet at lunchtimes. In December, the club travelled to W5 for a session on the Lego Mindstorm Mission to Mars KS3 Workshop and some fun with the W5 exhibits.

TRIPS Hadrian’s Wall We began our trip at the Roman Army Museum to give the pupils an overview of the purpose of the wall and then briefly visited Vindolanda and Corbridge Roman Settlement on the way to our hotel, the Novotel, Newcastle Upon Tyne. The next morning was spent at Segedunum - a Roman fort at the end of the wall, discovered under the site of the Tyne and Wear Shipyard. Segedunum boasts a fine working bath-house (unfortunately it has never been working when we have been there for health and safety reasons) and an interactive museum. For the adults, the day became rather hot and steamy after that, with lunch at Macdonald’s, followed by an afternoon in Wet’n’Wild, dinner in the hotel and lastly the pursuit of Roman culture for a couple of hours in the Metro Centre, the largest emporium in the Western World.

On our way back West, we visited two of the most beautiful sites on the Wall - Housesteads and Chesters. Miraculously, we just managed to avoid all downpours of rain. Again the pupils were great company and appeared to enjoy themselves thoroughly. Stena Line complimented us on their behaviour on the boat. Malawi In June 46 pupils, 10 staff and 2 support medical staff travelled to Mulanje Mission Station, Malawi as part of our ongoing Global Opportunities programme. It was another highly successful year which presented our pupils with work experience challenges mainly within medicine and teaching, but also in health care and development-related vocations. Refurbishment service projects this year focused on the construction of new latrines at our partner primary school and surface improvements to the classrooms at the Apatsa Aids Orphanage and School. Paris For the first time, and in an effort to accommodate all who wished to travel, two Form 2 trips were organised to Paris this year - one at Easter and one at the end of the summer term. 44 pupils accompanied by 5 staff took part in each trip. The trips were a great success and included visits to many of the popular tourist attractions: the Eiffel Tour, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Montmartre, les Invalides and Disneyland. The pupils were fine ambassadors: indeed at Easter their behaviour was favourably commented on by the staff in our hotel. Romania - Habitat for Humanity Seven of our LVI pupils travelled to Romania for a 13 day period, from 27th June - 9th July 2012, as part of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Build. Educational and cultural elements were also built into the experience. We observed classes and made presentations to students at Colegiul Technic “Victor Ungureanu” visited the Turda Gorge and local salt mine, and met children from a local orphanage. Five pupils and a teacher from Victoria College also joined us for part of our time there.


School Notes

Rome Senior pupils studying Religious Studies travelled to Rome in October for the annual A-Level Church History trip. 27 students enjoyed the opportunity to see their course come to life as they visited attractions such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Pantheon. South Africa - Rugby Tour 35 Senior Boys toured South Africa in July with Mr McCarey, Mr Stretton, Mr McGonigle and Mr Shields. They raised £5500 for charities: Tygerberg Children’s Hospital and Newforge Tagger’s. Spain 4th Spanish School Exchange with Instituto Juan de Villanueva 1st Leg. 28

The Autumn of 2011 saw our 4th successful exchange with Pola de Siero, Asturias. The first leg in September involved the Spanish students along with two teachers, Dioni and Caridad, coming over to Belfast for a week to experience our culture first-hand. A memorable visit to Stormont included a reception by Sammy Wilson, Minister of Finance for Northern Ireland. The group also visited Belfast City Hall where they were warmly welcomed by the Lord Mayor of Belfast. They enjoyed seeing the Belfast murals, visiting Giant’s Causeway and spending a day in Dublin. The inclement weather fortunately did not seem to spoil their enjoyment of their visit to Ireland. 4th Spanish School Exchange with Instituto Juan de Villanueva 2nd Leg. On 4th October the BRA group flew to Asturias in North West Spain, where after a very long, tiring day of travel we were greeted by a shining sun and the friendly familiar faces of the Spanish partners. Although nervous at first, the pupils soon found that this beautiful welcoming area of Spain has everything a Modern Language student could want: great weather, culture, history, shopping, nightlife and food, all whilst being immersed in the Spanish language! The Spanish Exchange to Asturias was an invaluable experience which heightened the understanding of the language as well as providing awareness of another culture, building confidence, providing the opportunity to make new friends and be involved in unforgettable, rewarding experiences. Sweden We had a most successful exchange visit to Sweden in February, with 14 students enjoying the experience of living with a Swedish family and attending classes in an Upper Secondary school in Uppsala.

The Owl 2012

Our pupils attended many Open Days including QUB, UUJ, UUC, Stranmillis, St Mary’s, Belfast Metropolitan and Northern Regional College. A number of pupils also attended the Methodist College Careers Convention. A number of presentations were given to MVI and LVI pupils from representatives of QUB, UU and many of the Scottish Universities. Senior Prefects participated in a ‘Leadership and Team Building’ event organised by the Royal Marines. Aspiring medical, dentistry and veterinary students participated in an ‘Interview Skills’ event organised by Mr Christopher Johnston JP BSc MBBS MRCS. 20 of our MVI pupils took the Motivational Appraisal Personal Potential assessment tests organised by our DEL Adviser. Eye4Education ran a programme called ‘Aim Higher’ with 15 of our Form V pupils. Dr Lomas was one of three guest speakers at an International Conference in Uppsala University in May 2012; while there, Dr Lomas visited two Upper Secondary schools in Stockholm who wish to join the current school exchange. Maria Allström and 12 Swedish teachers visited Belfast Royal Academy for a school day as part of their Masters course at Uppsala University. They were hosted by several departments and had presentations on NI, school and the Education system delivered by senior pupils who also then took the visitors on a tour of the school.


30 pupils attended the ‘Army Careers Exhibition’ at Palace Barracks. Form V pupils had an introductory session about the role of the Careers Service NI and each pupil was interviewed by the DEL Careers Adviser. 5 Form V girls participated in a ‘Gender Diversity’ event at Schlumberger Engineering Plant in Monkstown. Seanna Harley-Moyes was selected to participate in the Institute of Directors’ work-shadowing programme following an application and interview process. 2 pupils attended a presentation from the Head of the European Union Civil Service about career opportunities in the EU.

Belvedere College The annual exchange between Belvedere College, Dublin, and Belfast Royal Academy took place on two days in November 2011, with trips to Belfast and Dublin. 14 pupils from each school were involved in this interesting Cultural and Historical interchange.

James Donaghy of LVI represented the school in the Rotary Youth Leadership competition.

Careers Michelle Fulton from the BELB spoke to all staff about the importance of Careers across the Curriculum.

198 LVI pupils secured a week of work experience in February. Pupils experienced a range of work opportunities including Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Journalism and Marine Biology. A group of pupils and staff went to Malawi.

MVI pupils received help, advice and guidance with UCAS and CAO applications. 30 pupils attended the ‘Meet the Marines’ event at Palace Barracks, Holywood.

6 LVI pupils attended a ‘DNA Day’ at the Police Training Academy. The focus was on the importance of scientific evidence in investigations.

5 LVI pupils also took advantage of the Army work experience training at Ballykinler Training Centre and 3 pupils took part in the PSNI work experience programme.


School Notes

Representatives from Student Finance NI explained the process of university funding to MVI pupils. Mr Anthony McGrath spoke to all Form III pupils about the benefits of going to University and distributed an information booklet called ‘Find Your Future’. A number of pupils and their parents attended an Engineering Parents’ Evening and a Humanities Parents’ Evening at the Whitla Hall in QUB. 30 pupils attended a Royal Navy STEM event in the Assembly Hall. 30 Form IV pupils attended an event at the Odyssey called ‘Your Career in Aerospace’.


Numerous MVI pupils availed of the mock interview scheme. Interviews were held for pupils applying to Medicine, Dentistry, Teaching, Nursing, Social work etc. All Form V pupils attended anEye4Education event called ‘Labour Market Information’. This was an interactive event designed to up date pupils knowledge of the labour market and where jobs will be in the future. All Form III pupils participated in a STEM workshop and subject mapping workshop organised by Eye4Education. All Form II pupils took part in a subject mapping workshop linking Modern Languages and Business Studies to various careers. Belfast Metropolitan College and Northern Regional College held information sessions on alternative courses of study. Some Form V and MVI pupils attended. A number of pupils attended the ‘Young Innovators’ event held at the Odyssey Arena. This event was designed to encourage pupils to consider STEM subjects. Mr Ian Rainey, Managing Director, MSL Search and Selection Ltd spoke to some Sixth Form pupils about careers in the business world and the potential opportunities for those who were willing to travel outside Northern Ireland. Mr Mark Regan, CEO of Kingsbridge Private Hospital and Mr Mark Taylor Consultant Surgeon from the Mater Hospital were in BRA to talk to pupils considering a career in Medicine or Dentistry. The pupils listened while they gave advice on how to apply for a university place, their personal statements, tips on interview skills and what a career in Medicine and Dentistry can offer them.

LVI pupils took part in a four-stage Interview Skills programme. Stage 1 was completion of an application form. Stage 2 was undertaking a psychometric test. Stage 3 involved participating in group assessments and Stage 4 was a panel interview. 60 pupils attended a presentation from the Army Student Presentation Team on the role of the modern army. 3 LVI pupils took part in a Client Care Event at the Institute of Professional Studies. A number of pupils attended an event called ‘A Flavour of Psychology’ at the Whitla Hall. This was organised by the British Psychological Society. 3 pupils attended an event entitled, ‘Careers in Educational Psychology’ organised by the BELB. 6 pupils attended an information session on ‘speech and Language Therapy’ at Carrickfergus Health Centre. 2 pupils from MVI attended an Open Day at Queen’s University, School of Dentistry, in September 2010, and 2 LVI pupils attended in March 2011. 10 LVI pupils attended the RCN event on ‘Future of Health in NI’. 75 pupils attended the UCAS Higher Education Event at the Kings Hall. Mrs McIhatton took part in a ‘Mathematics Teacher Insight Day’ at QUB and UUJ. All Form IV pupils attended an event called ‘Experiences of Work’ organised by Sentinus. This had a STEM focus. 30 Form III pupils attended a ‘Health and Well being’ Day at the Grove Leisure Centre. 20 Form III pupils attended an ‘Amazing Brains’ event designed to encourage pupils to become more enterprising. Mr Shane Brogan from Volunteer Now spoke to Form V and LVI pupils about the Millennium Volunteer Scheme. Charities The weekly Charity collection raised over £7500 for good causes in the course of the year. Primary School Visits In May 2012 a team of staff visited 42 of our feeder primary schools to help promote interest in the Academy. They spoke to P6 pupils and showed a DVD of the school.

The Owl 2012

The School Council • The School Council met each term to consider and respond to the requests of the Pupil Council. • The School Council reported back directly to the Pupil Council on how it carried forward the issues raised. • Ms Graham chaired the meetings and was ably assisted by the Head Boy, Adam Purvis, and Head Girl, Judith Bingham. • The issues considered by the School Council this year included: - Lunchtime Arrangements - Transport - Uniform - Toilets and Water Fountains - Girls’ Lockers - Football Club - The One Way System - Library Opening Hours - Homework - Louis Lord Playground - Playground Benches - Charity Collections and Fundraising • Detailed minutes of the School Council Meetings are displayed on the School Council Noticeboard (outside J5) and are available from Ms Graham or Dr Lomas. International School Award Belfast Royal Academy has completed the first of three years having International Schools Award status. Over the next two years we will be exploring new opportunities to expand our international focus with a view to being successfully reaccredited in 2014. The School Library Pupils attended in large numbers to read, borrow, research, use computers and to socialise. Most days there were around 90 pupils using the Library at Break and Lunch. Each week a minimum of 15 periods were timetabled for Form I and II English classes. Many pupils offered their time to help out in the Library. Several of these pupils were appointed as Library Assistants and became proficient in using the Library Cataloguing System and in their understanding of the Dewey Decimal System. An impressive number of pupils were awarded Librarian badges. The Librarian attended podcast training throughout the year alongside Librarians from other Northern Ireland Schools. This training was aimed at promoting reading and information literacy in the School Library. The author Colin Bateman visited the School Library and gave talks to Junior Pupils about his book ‘Running with the Reservoir Pups’ at the start of the School year.

On Thursday 10th November 2011 a team from BRA took part in the regional Lit Quiz hosted by Wellington College. Team members performed well and won books at the quiz. The Librarian Miss McAtamney and English teacher Mr Little attended the event along with the pupils and presented the participants with a free copy of Colin Bateman’s ‘Running with the Reservoir Pups’. Two Scholastic Book Fairs were held throughout the year. The book fairs raised over £700 in free books for KS3 pupils. On Thursday 1st March 2012 World Book Day was celebrated in the School Library. Two former pupils - Scott Jamison and Stephen Connolly - visited the School and gave a reading of their poetry in the Library during lunchtime. A Book Swap was held during World Book Day in the Library as well as a Book Review Competition. The top three entrants were awarded gift vouchers to spend at the School Book Fair. First place was awarded to Zuzanna Loboda for her excellent illustrated book review on ‘Marked’ by P.C and Kristen Cast. Second place was awarded to first year Lucy Gaston for her interesting review of ‘Knife Edge’ by Malorie Blackman and third place was awarded to another first year Patrick Donnelly for his excellent review of Darren Shan’s ‘Demonta’ series. Popular children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson and Derek Landy released special books to help celebrate World Book Day 2012. A special version of ‘Where’s Wally?’ by Martin Handford and Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantabulous Fact’s’ were also released. These were all available on World Book Day from the School Library. To mark the Centenary of the Titanic disaster the School Library hosted a Titanic exhibition from the Belfast City Council. Personal artefacts and artwork from the Librarian’s family were incorporated into the exhibition. Primary Pupils from Ben Madigan Preparatory School visited the exhibition. The general consensus was that the exhibition paid a tribute of honour and respect for those who lost their lives on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. The School Librarian implemented the Accelerated Reader Scheme into the School Library. This Scheme will begin in September 2012 and aims to:• Motivate pupils of all ages and abilities to read more and better books. • Diagnose problems and direct ongoing reading practice. • Raise literacy standards amongst all pupils from Years 1 to 13. • Develop a lifelong love of reading in pupils.


School Notes

Marketing The School has now Facebook and Twitter pages to communicate information and achievements to alumni, parents, pupils and teachers. These are available at and belfastroyalac . People to People For the fifth year, the School hosted visiting groups of American High School students and their teachers, under the auspices of a programme called People to People. These visits were in late June and early July and our senior pupils gave up some of their time in the summer holidays to come into school, in uniform, to give presentations about the school and a tour of the buildings and site. 32

Primary School Experience Programme The popularity of the Primary School Experience Programme continued this year with around forty Sixth Form pupils, mainly from LVI, attending a primary school once per week for classroom experience. Schools from the local area as well as the Shankill and Shore Road areas were included. The pupils derived much benefit from their participation developing many valuable transferable skills and were excellent ambassadors for the School. Recycling 8,860 kg of cardboard and paper was recycled. Sponsored Walk The annual sponsored walk in April was a very successful day. 950 pupils participated with everyone safely completing the course. The good weather and activities at Ben Madigan ensured the whole school community had a pleasing time.

BUILDINGS, ESTATES AND EQUIPMENT CLIFTONVILLE ROAD SITE Crombie Building • Structural repair work was carried out to trusses on the upper floor of the building, with one of the trusses containing dry rot replaced. • A detailed architect’s report was commissioned, outlining further work to be carried out to the building, including the replacement of the roof and rainwater goods, window repairs and replacement and stonework repairs. This report will be submitted to the Department of Education, to ascertain if grant funding will be available to progress the next phase of this project. • New specialist flooring and safety treads were laid on the main stairwell in the Crombie building, completing the interior refurbishment project for this building.

Other buildings on this site: • A refurbishment of the Home Economics laboratory was completed, including the replacement of all fitted units and equipment, the installation of new UPVC windows, the laying of new specialist flooring and interior decoration work was carried out throughout the Mary Hyndman building. • A programme of interior decoration works continued, covering the corridors in the Jackson Building, the Bruce Building, the Pollin Building, the school kitchen and some classrooms in the Bruce and Darbyshire buildings. • Landscaping work was carried out at the playground area to the rear of the Louis Lord building and beside the disabled access ramp. • New flooring was laid in the foyer of the Louis Lord building and in the viewing gallery of the Sports hall. • The parquet floors in the ground floor classrooms of the Jackson building were cleaned and varnished. • The gymnasium and assembly hall floors were chemically treated and varnished. • New equipment was acquired for the third music classroom. • A specialist anti-bacterial flake system was applied to toilet facilities throughout the school. • New plastic guttering was installed to the rear of the Bruce building and roof repairs were carried out to this building. • A programme of carpet and blind cleaning continued. • An ongoing programme of chlorination of water tanks and replacement of water tanks continued over the summer period, to comply with health and safety requirements. • Portable appliance testing was completed. • Fixed wire testing was carried out in the Mary Hyndman building, the Jackson Building, the Bruce Building, the Swimming Pool and the Drama suite. BEN MADIGAN SITE • Specialist renovation work was carried out to the pitches at the Ben Madigan site and the rugby posts were painted. • Landscaping work was carried out at the pond area. • A central heating system was installed in the apartment and a window sill was replaced. • Portable appliance testing was completed. • A programme of carpet and blind cleaning continued. • An ongoing programme of chlorination of water tanks continued, to comply with health and safety requirements. • The cricket square at the Castle Grounds was relaid.

The Owl 2012

Diary of the School Year SEPTEMBER 2011 The Royal Marines Visibility Team was in school to carry out a series of team-building and leadership tasks with our Senior Prefects.



Girls’ hockey results were as follows: 1st XI team beat Coleraine High School 5-0. All other fixtures were against Regent House: 2B’s lost 2-0  3rd XI won 1-0  U14A’s won 3-0 U14B’s drew 0-0 U13A’s won 6-0 U13B’s drew 0-0.

Two former pupils, who are now Belfast Telegraph journalists, won awards at the Coca Cola CIPR NI Media Awards in June. Amanda Poole won the Martin O’Hagan Memorial Bursary and Newcomer of the Year Award, and Anne Madden won the “Scoop of the Year” Award. ****

Boys’ hockey results against Regent House were as follows: 1st XI lost 2-1 Colts won 1-0 U13’s won 6-0. ****

The Academy was awarded full International School status for the next 3 years. ****

Five athletes from Belfast Royal Academy competed for Northern Ireland in the UK School Games.Team Captain Robert Moffett won the Hammer, by throwing 59.83m and became UK champion. Three other athletes achieved personal bests. They were Stewart Martin, 36.55m in the Discus, Alan Curtis, 5.94m in the Long Jump, Emma Kelso who jumped 2.70m in the Pole Vault. Hannah Allen also gave a convincing performance. ****

The following pupils gained a place in the Ulster Youth Choir for the 2011 training and concert season: Michael Bell, Stephen Doyle, Faye Kidd, David Long, Maebh Mallaghan and Jessica Massey. ****

Dr Currie gave a talk on ‘Genetic Studies and Renal Disease’ to the Senior Science Society. ****

Rugby results against Ballyclare High School: 1st XV lost 14-0 2nd XV won 22-7 3rd XV won 14-0 Med A won 13-9 Med B won 33-0 U14 A won 19-14 U14 B won 35-16 U13 A lost 30-15 U 13 B won 10-7.

Diary of the School Year


More than 50 people, many of them Former Pupils, visited the Crombie Building on the European Heritage Open Day. ****

Girls’ hockey results against MCB: 1st XI won 4 - 2 2A’s lost 2 - 1 2B’s won 1 - 0 3rd XI lost 1 - 0 U14A’s lost 1 - 0 U14B’s lost 3 - 1 U13A’s lost 1- 0 U13B’s lost 3 - 0. ****

Faye Kidd was selected for the Ulster U16A hockey team. **** 34

Rugby results against Catholic University School, Dublin: 1st XV lost 16-10 2nd XV won 7-5 Medallion A XV lost 17-15 Medallion B XV lost 22-3. ****

Daniel Dass was selected to play for Ulster Schools’ U18 in the Inter-provincial Championships. ****

David Patterson was selected to play for Ulster U19 in the Inter-provincial Championships. ****

BRA pupils hosted the 4th Annual School Exchange with pupils from Asturias, Spain. ****

Lucy Dugan and Robert Moffett took part in the European U20 Club Championships final held in Portugal. Both athletes were there representing Ballymena and Antrim Athletics Club. Lucy finished 2nd in the Pole Vault with a jump of 2.80 metres. Robert finished 3rd in the Shot and 1st in the Hammer. His throw of 52.77m in the Hammer was a new school record by over 8m. ****

Girls’ hockey results against Belfast High School were as follows: 1st XI won 4-0 2A XI lost 1-0 2B XI won 3-0 3rd XI won 2-1   U14A XI lost 3-0 U14B XI drew 1-1 U13A XI won 5-0 U13B XI won 2-0. 

Ulster U18 Schools ****

157 Form III pupils signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award. ****

The Scholastic Book Fair was held in the Library. ****

The 1st XI Football team played against the Belfast Boys’ Model in the first home game on the new pitch at Roughfort. The game ended in a goalless draw. ****

The Owl 2012

Girls’ hockey results against Glenlola were as follows:

1st XI 2A XI 2B XI 3rd XI U14A XI U14B XI U13A XI U13B XI

drew 2-2 drew 1-1 drew 0-0 won 3-0 drew 0-0 drew 0-0 won 5-0 won 3-0. ****

A group of parents, staff and pupils carried out a ‘Cave Hill Clean-Up’ organised by Friends of the Academy (FOTA) and supported by the Cave Hill Conservation Campaign.

European Day of Languages celebrated in School at Assembly with prayers, poems and hymns in German, French and Spanish.

Rugby results against Sullivan Upper School were as follows: 1st XV won 14 - 12 2nd XV lost 27 - 10 3rd XV lost 27 - 17 Med A lost 27 - 10 Med B lost 19 - 0 U14 A lost 50 - 0 U14 B lost 38 - 12 U13 A won 10 - 5 U13 B lost 17 - 0.



The 2BXI played a Cup Match against Belfast High School. The team won 1 - 0. 

The largest Scripture Union weekend of the last 10 years saw over 100 pupils having fun and fellowship at Castlewellan Castle.


The Business Education & Support Team from the HM Revenue and Customs came into School to talk to all MVI pupils about finance and budgeting. ****


Girls’ hockey results against Bloomfield were as follows: 1st XI won 2-1 2A’s won 3-0 2B’s won 2-0 3rd XI won 2-0. ****

The Show-Jumping team competed at the first show of the season at the Balmoral Showgrounds. The team competed against 30 other schools and finished in second place in the tack and turn-out section. ****


The Sentinus Roadshow was held in the Assembly Hall. ****

Girls’ hockey results against Strathearn were as follows: 2B XI lost 4-1 3rd XI won 1-0 U14A XI drew 2-2 U14B XI lost 2-0 U13A XI won 1-0 U13B XI drew 0-0. ****


Diary of the School Year

Mrs Kerr and Ms Adams visited the BBC on a Teacher into Industry Day.


National Poetry Day took place. This year’s theme was ‘Games’. Dr Brown opened the event, reading a poem he had written, recounting the dramatic events of a football match. Over the course of this event staff and pupils read a range of poems focusing on such themes as sport, war, heroes, childhood and board games. ****

Ten LVI pupils attended a Habitat for Humanity Workshop, with La Salle pupils. ****

Darren Nixon from Eye4Education was in School to run a programme called ‘AIM Higher’ with fifteen of our Form V pupils. This was a specific Career mapping workshop with pupils engaging in multi-intelligence testing as well as specific profiling. ****


A debate was held on the motion: “This House believes that Martin McGuinness would make a good President.” The motion was proposed by Matthew Magill and Fergus Carlin and opposed by Ciarán Marica and Aleksy Gaj. ****

Rugby results against Larne Grammar School: 1st XV won 41-0 2nd XV won 45-7. ****

Mr Ian Rainey, Managing Director of MSL Search and Selection Ltd came into School to speak to pupils in LVI and MVI who study Business Studies and Economics. ****

Rugby results against follows: 1st XV 2nd XV 3rd XV Med A Med B U14 A U14 B U13 A U13 B

Ballymena Academy were as lost 24-14 lost 29-0 lost 31-0 won 14-10 won 31-12 lost 55-0 lost 25-0 lost 15-5 won 35-5. ****

Girls’ hockey results against Antrim Grammar School were as follows: 1st XI won 3-0 2A’s lost 2-0 2B’s drew 2-2 U14A’s won 2-1 U13A’s won 3-0.  ****

The Owl 2012 Seven pairs from BRA qualified for the Irish Schools’ Bridge Pairs Competition in Limerick. ****

157 pupils in Form III commenced Bronze expedition theory training and 75 pupils in Form IV commenced Silver expedition theory training. Also, 36 pupils in Form Lower VI completed Gold expedition theory training. ****

OCTOBER 2011 A Non-Uniform day was held with the proceeds being split between Friends of the Academy and Cancer Research UK. ****

88 LVI pupils travelled to Portaferry to carry out a course-related fieldwork study along a rocky shoreline. ****

The following Form III girls participated in the Belfast Area U15 Regional Trials: Judithe Allen, Abbie Brown, Kellie McLean, Hannah Torren, Courtney Duncan, Mimi Joffroy, Emer Gribbon and Lucy Miller.



Ben O’Donnell (LVI), who gained full marks in the CCEA GCSE Art and Design examination 2011, was also included in the True Colours exhibition. ****

The Minor A Netball team (Form II) were beaten 12-1 by Methodist College. The Intermediate A Netball team (Forms IV and V) were beaten 39-9 by Rathmore. ****

The Senior Golf team completed a successful group stage of the Winter League. The results for the three matches were: BRA 3 ½ Rainey ½ BRA 4 Friends 0 BRA 3 Wallace 1. ****

Aleksy Gaj and Matthew Magill (MVI) attended a presentation from the Minister for Europe, Rt Hon David Lidington MP, at Q.U.B. ****

Ten of our LVI pupils joined up with a team from De La Salle College to participate in the Habitat for Humanity Site Day. The build, which took place on Templemore Avenue, saw pupils busy with sawing, drilling and putting steel beams in place for the roof structure.  ****

Kieran McKenna (Form III) was selected to train with the Northern Ireland Youth Training Climbing team. ****

Rugby results against Royal School, Dungannon were: 1st XV lost 17-10 2nd XV won 43-0 3rd XV won 20-7 Med A won 15-0 U14 A won 35-7 U13A won 39-0 ****

The Form I Rugby team won a round-robin Tournament hosted by the Boys’ Model. ****

In the Young Einstein Club approximately 35 junior pupils came along to “Windmill Fun”. The pupils made two different types of Windmill and looked at the effect of the design on the speed of rotation.

Diary of the School Year


The School’s Swimming team had a fantastic weekend at the Ulster Minor Schools’ Championships in Ballymena, with the pupils bringing home 21 medals 12 Gold, 1 Silver and 8 Bronze. ****

Lauren McCullough (Form IV) and Naomh McGuigan (Form V) were selected for the Podium 4 Sport Netball Squad. ****

The first round of the Ulster Schools’ Show-Jumping Championships took place at Knockagh View Equestrian Centre, Greenisland. In the Novice team event we had 2 teams competing, Currie and Shaw. In the Open team event we also had 2 teams, Pottinger and Shaw. ****


The Senior Netball team beat Belfast Model School for Girls with a score of 27-8. ****

The Senior Netball team went to Hunterhouse for an away match and played an outstanding game, winning 35-12. The Minor A Netball team were beaten 20-10 by Victoria College. ****

James Reid (Form III) was selected to represent the Northern Ireland Judo Federation at the Commonwealth Judo Championships in Cardiff, Wales. ****

The Annual meeting of the Northern Ireland Wing of the ATC was held in the Library. ****

The Minor A Netball team (Form II girls) won their first Cup match 4-3 against Lurgan Junior High School. They are now through to the next round. ****

Seven LVI Drama students attended a performance of Brian Friel’s Faith Healer at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. ****

24 LVI Business Studies students travelled to Dunbia Ltd (Dungannon) for a marketing presentation and factory visit.

Conference, organised by the Youth Sport Trust, held in the Laganside Civic Centre. Hannah and Robert got to hold the Olympic torch before it began its journey around the country in the build-up to the Olympic Games. ****

Three pupils in Form IV (Rebecca McKinstry, Ellie White and Ruth McConnell) competed in the Northern Ireland final of the World Wise Quiz at Queen’s University, Belfast. ****


15 pupils from LVI gained positions in this year’s Mini Company. ****

The 1st XI beat Sullivan Upper 3 – 1 in the Prior Shield. The Colts won 1 – 0 and the U14’s were defeated 3 – 0. ****

Hannah Allen (LVI), Robert Moffett (LVI) and Mr McGonigle attended a Young Ambassadors’

NOVEMBER 2011 The Headmaster attended the launch of an All-Party Group on Ulster Rugby in Parliament Buildings. ****

The ATC Squadron Remembrance Parade took place. ****

The Owl 2012

Rugby results against Bangor Grammar were as follows: 1st XV won 17-5 2nd XV won 58-0 3rd XV lost 12-10. ****

The 2B XI played Strathearn at Roughfort in the 3rd XI Cup. The team won 3-0. ****

The Senior and Junior Girls’ Badminton teams played singles and doubles matches against Coleraine High School. ****

BRA competed in the annual Kids’ Lit Quiz at Wellington College. Our team consisted of Eileen Dalzell, Charlotte Anderson, Beth Murphy-Morrison and Richard Ware. ****

Girls’ hockey results against Victoria College were as follows: 1st XI lost 1-0 2A’s lost 3-0 2B’s won 4-2 3rd XI won 4-0 U14A’s won 1-0 U13A’s lost 4-2. ****

Rugby results against Foyle and Londonderry College were as follows: 1st XV lost 24-17 2nd XV won 65-3 U13 A won 37-9 U14 A won 53-5 Medallion A won 46-12. ****

Sarah Sproule (LVI), who competes in Eventing competitions throughout the year, was awarded the prize for Best Junior in Northern Ireland 2011. ****

The Senior Boys’ Waterpolo team enjoyed a close match with RBAI, winning 3-2. ****

48 Form IV pupils attended a ‘Chemistry at Work’ careers event in the Whitla Hall, Queen’s University. ****

The Minor ‘B’ Netball team (Form II girls) played Our Lady of Mercy in their second league match. The girls won 10-5. ****

Boys’ hockey results against Bangor Grammar School were as follows: 1st XI won 2-0 Colts won 3-0 U13 XI lost 2-1. ****

8 pupils from the Junior Book Club attended the NI Book Awards at RBAI. ****

The Senior Golf team advanced through the group stages with ease, beating Friends’, Wallace and Rainey. ****

The 2B XI played Sullivan Upper at Roughfort in the 3rd XI Cup. The team won 1-0. ****

The Rugby Club played a number of matches against Rainey Endowed School. The results were as follows: Med A won 57-0 U14 A won 31-10 U14 B won 51-7 U13 A won 33-0 U13 B won 14-10. ****

The Boys’ Hockey Club played matches against Friends’ School, Lisburn. The 1st XI won 4-2, the Colts lost 5-1 and the U13 XI drew 5-5. ****

Five Form V girls visited Schlumberger Limited in Newtownabbey as part of a drive encouraging girls to view engineering as a potential career path. ****

36 pupils and 6 members of D. of E. staff took part in the successful Gold Expedition Training Weekend. ****


Diary of the School Year

DECEMBER 2011 The prize winners for the Merit Scheme were:

Belfast Royal Academy Senior Dramatic Society presented ‘The Tempest’ by William Shakespeare in the Assembly Hall. ****

Form I: iPod Cinema vouchers

Ellen Dalzell (1SH2) Aaron Maguire (1CA1) Amy Walker (1SH2)

Form II: iPod Jemma McCullough (2SH2) Cinema vouchers Chloe Dawson (2PO2) Lee Hendry (2SH1) Form III: iPod Laoise McMillen (3PO2) Cinema vouchers Dean McDowell (3CA1) Antoinette Leonard (3CA2)

Girls’ hockey results against Victoria College were as follows: 1st XI lost 2-1 2A’s lost 1-0 2B’s won 3-0 U14A’s lost their Junior Cup Match against Regent House 4-3 U14B’s drew 0-0 U13A’s won 3-0 U13B’s lost 3-0. ****

Form IV: iPod Clare McGowan (4CA2) Cinema vouchers Ben Johnston (4CA1) Sarah Moore (4CU2) 40

Form V: iPod Rachel Montgomery (5CA1) Cinema vouchers Caitlin Killen (5SH2) Mark Johnston (5SH2) ****

Johann Muller, the Captain of the Ulster Rugby team, visited the School and spoke at Assembly for Middle School and Senior Rugby players. ****

Pupils from Cavehill and Cliftonville Integrated Primary Schools attended a special matinee performance of this year’s school production The Tempest. ****

Rugby results from against Regent House were as follows: 1st XV won 22-19 2nd XV won 29-7 3rd XV won 12-5 Med A won 21-12 U14 A lost 40-5 U14 B drew 17-17 U13 A drew 10-10 U13 B won 49-0. ****

A team consisting of Ridwan Farouki (MVI), John McBride (MVI), Tom Hanna (LVI) and Chris Turnbull (V) represented BRA at the UK Maths Trust team Mathematics competition. From the 15 teams present they came second.

The Boys’ Hockey 1st XI played their last Prior Shield group-stage match against Laurelhill. They won 6-0. ****

Aimee Norton (MVI) made it through to the final 16 out of thousands who applied for The Cordon Bleu Cookery School Scholarship in London. ****

The Minor ‘A’ netball team played Hunterhouse in the league. They lost 5-8. ****


The Minor ‘B’ netball team played Aquinas and drew 3-3. ****

The Headmaster attended the Duke of Edinburgh Award Ceremony held in the evening at Belfast City Hall. ****

The Junior Girls’ Badminton team consisting of Yasmin Anderson (FIV), Jenna Todd (FV), Megan Bingham (FV), Natalie Cole (FV) and Reserve Rachel Millar (FV) had a 5-1 victory over Strathearn.

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Sarah Minford (Form V) and Emma Quinn (LVI) were placed second and fourth respectively in the Soroptimist International Public Speaking competition. ****

Rugby results against Coleraine Inst were as follows:

1st XV 2nd XV 3rd XV Med A U14 A U14 B U13 A U13 B Form 1

The Girls’ Hockey 1st XI played Methody in a friendly match at Roughfort. The team drew 2-2. ****

James Reid (Form III) won Gold in the Ulster Schools’ Judo Championship, representing Belfast Royal Academy in the Under 18 category. He also won Bronze in the Senior category.

won 29-7 won 51-0 won 40-0 drew 15-15 lost 15-5 lost 46-0 won 3-0 lost 34-22 won 25-15. ****

The Headmaster attended Mossley Primary School’s Christmas Nativity. 41


Dr J Greenwood (QUB and ex-BRA) gave a talk on ‘Applications of Physics in Medicine’ to the Senior Science Society. ****

A team consisting of Tom Hanna (LVI), Jordan Shaw (LVI), Chris Turnbull (Form V) and Ben Campbell (Form V) competed in the annual Queen’s University Maths Competition for Schools against 27 other teams from across Northern Ireland. They finished in 1st place, winning £250 for the school, a camera each and a chance to visit CitiGroup for a tour. It was a highly commendable result and well deserved. ****

The Headmaster attended an event organised by Cancer Lifeline. ****

Members of the Royal Navy came into school to run a STEM event. 30 of our Form III pupils took part. 


Kieran McKenna (Form III) was placed 5th out of 33 competitors in the Junior Male category (Under 16) at the All Ireland Bouldering Championships. ****

A group of LVI Drama students, accompanied by Miss Tinman and Mr Evans, attended a matinee performance of Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector at The Abbey Theatre. ****

The Annual Carol Service was held in St Peter’s. ****

The Headmaster was a guest at the Seaview Primary School Carol Service. ****

Six LVI pupils attended a “DNA Day” at the PSNI’s Training School gaining a real life CSI experience.

**** ****

It was like a Potions Class at Hogworts at the Young Einstein Club. ****

The Ben Madigan Preps. 4 - 7 Carol Service was held in Whitehouse Presbyterian Church. ****

Diary of the School Year

Darren Nixon from Eye4Education came into school to run a workshop called ‘Labour Market Trends’ with all of our Form V pupils.

but managed to hold onto Second place in the league. In the Open team event our Pottinger team finished on zero faults after the first round and finished in Third place. Shaw team finished on four faults and finished Sixth. ****

Eye4Education was in school on Friday 16th December to run a STEM workshop with our Form III pupils. **** ****

Open Evenings for prospective new pupils were held on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th January.

The P1-P3 Nativity Play was held in Ben Madigan. The Headmaster and Mr Creighton attended. ****


The Christmas Reception was held in the Library. A plinth dedicated to the memory of Mr Louis Lord was unveiled beforehand at a ceremony in the Entrance Hall of the Crombie Building at which Mr Sillery spoke about his predecessor as Headmaster. ****

A Reunion of pupils who left school in the summer was held in the Sixth Form Centre. ****


The Junior Carol Service was held in Antrim Road Baptist Church.

Mathew Magill and Ciarán Marica (MVI) defeated a team from Belfast High School in the second round of the Inter-school Debating Competition held at Belfast High School.


The 22nd Annual Sponsored Mournes’ Clean-up and Environment Day was held. Taking part were 143 people, i.e. 109 pupils, all Duke of Edinburgh’s Award members from Forms III to Middle VI, as well as 34 adult helpers, including former pupils who are Gold Award holders, parents and teachers. About six tonnes of rubbish were cleared from 11 sites in the Mournes’ area.


Boys’ hockey results against Grosvenor Grammar School were as follows: The 1st XI drew 1-1 The Colts won 2-1 The U-13’s drew 1-1. ****


JANUARY 2012 The final round of the Ulster Schools’ Show-Jumping Championships took place at Knockagh View Equestrian Centre, Greenisland. In the Novice event our team finished on four faults in the final competition

Girls’ hockey results against Larne Grammar were as follows: 2B’s won 3-0 3rd XI won 5-0 U14A’s won 5-1 U14B’s won 4-0 U13A’s won 5-0 U13B’s lost 2-0. ****

The Swimming Club recorded another impressive set of results at the Ulster Senior Schools’ Swimming Championships held in Ballymena. The Club secured 24 medals - 7 Gold, 7 Silver and 10 Bronze.

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Eye4Education came into school to deliver a programme called ‘Subject Mapping - Business Studies and Modern Languages’ to all of our Form II pupils.  ****

James Reid (III) won Gold in the Ulster Schools’ Judo Championship representing Belfast Royal Academy in the Under 18 category. ****


Juanita O’Kane (III) won first prize in the Junior category ‘Tell the Future’ story-writing competition (part of the ‘Future of Rural Energy FREE’ initiative supported in Ireland by Calor). There were almost 1,000 entries for the Junior and Senior categories.

Junior rugby results against Grosvenor Grammar School were as follows: Medallion A won 50-5 U14 A won 22-19 U13A lost 12-10. ****

Dr F Liu (QUB) gave a talk on ‘How plants know when to flower’ to the Senior Science Society. ****

Tom Donnelly (Form IV) was selected for the Irish U14 Boys’ Waterpolo team. ****


Girls’ hockey results against Down High School were as follows: U13A XI won 7-1 U13B XI won 1-0 U12A XI won 1-0. ****

Senior rugby results against Portadown College: 1st XV won 19-16 2nd XV won 28-0 Med A won 54-7.

Tom Hanna (LVI) and Ridwan Farouki (MVI) took part in Round 1 of the British Mathematical Olympiad. ****

Kristian Irwin (LVI) won Gold at the WKA Northern Ireland Kickboxing Championship Junior Under 65kg weight class making him the NI Champion. ****

In Girls’ Hockey the U14A’s played Royal and Prior at Roughfort in the first round of the Junior Plate. The team won 4-0.



The Show-Jumping team competed at the final of the M.E.C Inter-Schools Show-Jumping Championships. The Open team won the competition and were crowned as M.E.C Inter-Schools Champions 2012. 

The Senior Scripture Union held a ‘Teachers’ Panel’ consisting of Mr Creighton, Miss Carson, Mr Forrest and Miss Park. In answering questions from the Sixth Formers of the S.U. Committee, the panellists addressed issues such as ‘Why does God allow suffering in the world?’



A Dinner-Dance was held in the Dunadry Hotel organised by Friends of the Academy.

Girls’ hockey results against Portadown College were as follows: 1st XI lost 5-0 2A’s lost 1-0 2B’s won 3-0 3rd XI drew 2-2.  



And results against Carrick Grammar School were: U14A’s won 1-0 U14B’s won 1-0 U13A’s won 5-1  U13B’s won 1-0. ****


Diary of the School Year

An Open Afternoon for Prospective Form I pupils was held. ****

For the first time in more than 20 years a BRA team reached a Netball ‘A’ League Final. ****

The Karting teams represented school at the Eddie Irvine Karting Centre in Bangor. They finished 3rd, 5th & 7th and made it through to the semi-finals, coming 8th overall. ****

After winning Gold at the Ulster Schools’ Championship, James Reid (III) qualified to fight for Belfast Royal Academy at the All-Ireland Judo Schools’ Championship. James fought in the Under 18 category and won Gold.

3rd XI U14A’s U14B’s U13A’s

drew 1-1   won 3-1  won 2-0  won 2-1. ****

Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, opened the new Northern Ireland Regional Office of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Newtownbreda. Six participants and a Leader from the Academy’s D. of E. Award Centre were honoured to be invited to take part in the event.  After the Opening Ceremony, Mr Jonathan Cummings, Maebh King, Adam Purvis, Melissa Antonio, Steven Bailie, Ling Chung and Oliver Vick talked with Prince Edward about the Academy D. of E. Centre’s work helping to clean up the Mountains of Mourne over the last twenty-two years.



In Girls’ hockey the U14A’s played Killicomaine High School in the second round of the Junior Plate. The team won 3-2. ****

Form MVI, Form LVI, Form V and Form IV Art and Design pupils visited the True Colours Exhibition at the Ulster Museum.


The annual Swedish Exchange took place from with Academy pupils visiting Uppsala. ****

The LVI Work Experience week took place from 6th10th February. **** ****

Darren Nixon from eye4education came into school to run a programme called ‘Interview and Assessment Day’. 176 of our LVI pupils took part.

The Swimming Club took part in the Irish Senior Schools’ Swimming Championships. The Club managed to win 11 medals in total – 9 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze.



Two hundred Form V pupils, along with their teachers, attended matinee performances of J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls at The Grand Opera House, Belfast.

Eorann O’Neill (Form V) travelled to Luxemburg with the Ulster Swimming Squad. She competed alongside many of the GB Olympic swimmers, such as Amy Smith and Caitlin McClatchy. Eorann achieved her Irish Squad selection time and qualified for the British Championships.


In Boys’ hockey the U15 team beat Laurelhill, 4-0, in the Richardson Cup. ****

Girls’ hockey results against Grosvenor Grammar were as follows: 1st XI won 7-0 2A’s won 3-1 2B’s won 2-0


Girls’ hockey results against Grosvenor were as follows: 1st XI won 7-0 2A XI won 3-1 2B XI won 2-0 3rd X drew 1-1

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won 3-1 won 2-0 won 2-1. ****

In Boys’ hockey the Colts defeated Ballyclare High School 8-0 in the Taylor Cup. ****

The Cross Country team took part in the Ulster Schools’ Championships, Ellen Dalzell (Form I) finished 6th out of 110 girls in the “Minis” event and Lauren O’DonnellAnderson (MVI) finished 29th in the Senior Girls’ race. ****

Stewart Martin, Ruairi Brogan, Alan Curtis, Emma Kelso and Melissa Moffett were selected for the Northern Ireland team to compete in the UK Games. ****

Professor Ian Montgomery (QUB) visited school to give a talk to the Senior Science Society entitled ‘Ecosystem services – putting a value on the environment’. ****

Form I pupils Masha Holmes, Conor Ferguson and Douglas Adams were shortlisted for the Amnesty International Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year Award. ****

MARCH 2012 Pupils and staff at Belfast Royal Academy celebrated World Book Day. During lunchtime on World Book Day, two past pupils - Scott Jamison and Stephen Connolly - came into School to read their poetry. The Poetry Reading was opened by the Headmaster who read two poems from his own collection of poetry and then the floor was given over to Scott and Stephen.

Academy, William Crawley, hosted the event. ****

The 2B XI travelled to Edinburgh on a hockey tour. ****

The 2nd XV defeated Dromore High School 9-8 in the 2nd XV Cup. ****

Lucy Dugan of MVI was selected for the Northern Ireland Under 21 Netball team to compete in the European Championships. ****

The Headmaster welcomed His Excellency, Ambassador Jeremiah Ndou, South African ambassador to Ireland, to the Academy. ****

The Spring Concert took place in Church House, Wellington Street, Belfast. ****

The Under 14 Rugby Team won the Bowl Competition in the annual Tournament at R.B.A.I. ****

Rugby results against Dalriada School were as follows: 1st XV won 22-6 U14 A won 17-7 U13 A won 26-12 U12 lost 25-7. ****

A Titanic exhibition was set up in the Library. ****

The Form I Netball team in the North Belfast ‘A’ League won their first match 8- 4, against Dominican College. ****

Sentinus came into school to run the ‘Experiences of Work’ programme with all of our Form IV pupils. ****

Three MVI pupils attended the ‘Getting Involved’ event at the BBC. ****

10 GCSE Economics students attended a Stock Market Challenge at Queen’s University Belfast. Our team won the prize for the most ethical business. ****

The R.E. Department hosted a conference for pupils studying ‘A’ level Religious Studies. Sixteen pupils from St Patrick’s, Bearnageeha and twenty-two from Our Lady & St Patrick’s College, Knock joined our own thirty-two ‘A’ level pupils for what was a very interesting morning. BBC journalist, writer and former pupil of the


Representatives from Belfast City Council spoke to Form I Geography sets on the topic of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. ****

The Under 14A Rugby team toured Cambridge. ****


Diary of the School Year

58 Form IV pupils attended an event called ‘Your Career in Aerospace’ at W5. ****

Ms Graham and Miss Tinman visited Cavehill Primary School to observe a Primary 7 class in action. ****

The 1st XV played against Sullivan Upper in the final of the Schools’ Bowl Competition at Pirrie Park. Sullivan won the Match 26-12.  ****

The Boys’ 1st XI Hockey team had an enjoyable tour to Dublin. They won 5-1 against Wesley College, lost 2-0 to St. Andrews and lost 2-0 to Sutton Park. ****

25 Form IV and V pupils attended the Armed Forces Careers Exhibition at Kinnegar Army Barracks. **** 46

Belfast Royal Academy hosted the local round of the Credit Union Schools’ Quiz. The team of Connor Foster, James Desmond, Lewis Milligan and Patrick Donnelly won and competed in the Chapter round at the Balmoral Hotel. ****

In Golf Judithe Allen and Amy O’Donnell (Form III) competed in the Irish Schools’ Championship at Royal County Down. ****

The 2nd XV was defeated 17-14 by Sullivan Upper School in the Quarter Final of the 2nd XV Cup. ****

A number of LVI pupils attended the NI HE Convention at the King’s Hall.


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Dr P Dunlop (UUJ) gave a talk on ‘Nanotechnology for Water Purification’ to the Senior Science Society. ****

The 2A XI played Carrick College in the quarter-final of the Senior Plate and won 2-0. ****

The Headmaster attended the Mini Tag Rugby Competition involving Ben Madigan and local primary schools. ****

The Ben Madigan Open Afternoon and Open Morning were held. ****

Three Girls’ teams (Forms III, IV and V) played in a tag rugby tournament at Malone Rugby Club. They played in a round-robin format against Victoria College and Grosvenor Grammar. The BRA Form V team won the tournament. ****

Pierce Clements (IV), Judithe Allen (III), Amy O’Donnell (III), Scott Macauley (III), Ryan Corry (III), Connor Boyd (III) and Owen Donnelly (I) competed in the Darren Clarke Golf League against St Mary’s C.B.S. at Dunmurry Golf Club. ****

A team of three MVI pupils took part in the R.S.C. Schools’ Analyst Competition in Stranmillis College Belfast. The team consisted of Julia Diamond, Deborah Forbes and Emily Reid.  After the three hours of experimental work, the team were placed an excellent second in the competition, winning £300 for the Chemistry Department in the process.  ****

Holly Reid and Anna Hutchinson represented Belfast U17 Hockey team. ****

A Girls’ Hockey 1st XI development team played St. Andrew’s College, Dublin. The team won 4-0.  ****

Professor Smartt (QUB) gave a talk on “Supernovae: hunting for exploding stars” to the Senior Science Society. ****

The annual Scripture Union Pizza Evening was held. ****

Faye Kidd was selected for the Ireland Under 16 Hockey squad and travelled to Holland for the DOMO International Hockey Tournament. ****

Eleven Academy students, ranging from Form I to LVI, took part in the first WHSMCB Model United Nations Conference. Our pupils acted as delegates across six


Diary of the School Year

committees: Security Council, Human Rights, Political, Environment, Disarmament and EcoSoc. ****

Daniel Davison (Form II) participated in the Environmental Youth Speak Competition. ****

The Bridge Inter-Provincial Under-20 Tournament was held. The Academy finished first, third and fourth from the eight teams that were selected from across Ireland to play in this competition. ****

A very successful ski trip to Passo del Tonale in Italy took place. ****

Thirteen MVI History pupils attended a lecture on the Easter Rising at St. Malachy’s College.

APRIL 2012



The prize winners for the Merit Scheme were: Form I iPod: Douglas Adams (1CA1) Cinema vouchers: Trinity Geddis (1CA2) Irish Alvarado (1CU2)

The BRA team at the UKMT Team Mathematics Challenge finished fourth out of 17 teams from across Northern Ireland.

Form II iPod: Daniel Bingham (2CA1) Cinema vouchers: Amy McCotter (2CU2) Cherie McDermott (2PO2)

The School’s Lifesaving Club achieved some notable successes: Shannon Alexander (MVI) and Eorann O’Neill (VI) travelled to Cardiff to participate in the British Surf Lifesaving Championships and managed to win 2 Silver and 2 Bronze medals between them. The Club also had 5 pupils pass their National Pool Lifeguarding Award. A further 2 pupils embarked on the National Beach Lifesaving Award.

Form III iPod: Cinema vouchers:

Callum Dalzell (3SH1) Amy Boyd (3PO2) Mimi Joffroy (3PO2)

Form IV iPod: James Moorehead (4CA1) Cinema vouchers: Emma McAllister (4CU2) Lauren McCullough (4PO2) Form V iPod: Cinema vouchers:


Ben Nixon (5SH2) Mark Johnston (5SH2) Caitlin Killen (5SH2)


Ravenhill Rugby Stadium was the scene of BRA’s Big Scrum Guinness World Record attempt. 840 Belfast schoolchildren broke the record for the world’s largest scrum, ahead of the PRO12 match between Ulster and Aironi, breaking the previous unofficial record of 750 set last year.


The annual Culloden Ball for members of staff and pupils in the MVI Form was held. ****

Daniel Dass and Stewart Martin were selected in the Ulster Schools’ Chairman’s XV to play Royal School, Armagh. ****

35 girls competed in the Rock Challenge competition at the Waterfront Hall. They were accompanied by a hair and make-up team and a stage crew which brought their total number to 50.

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In cricket the Junior Colts beat Ballyclare High School in a McCullough Cup and Under 14 League ‘double header’ and the Form IV XI beat Sullivan Upper School. ****

In Chess the results were as follows: BRA v Ballymena Academy (Juniors) 2-4 (loss) BRA v Ballymena Academy (Seniors) 3-3 (draw) BRA v St Malachy’s (Juniors) 2-4 (loss) BRA v St Malachy’s (Seniors) 4-2 (win). **** ****

The Athletics Club competed in a meeting with Ballyclare High School and hosts Coleraine Inst. ****

The BRA Girls’ Athletics Club hosted an Inter-School athletics match at the Antrim Forum. The girls competed against Hunter House, MCB and Strathearn.

Jordan McClurkin (MVI) was selected for the provisional Ireland squad for the Under 19 World Cup in Australia. Daniel McFadden (LVI) and Ross Bryans (V) were selected for the Northern Cricket Union Under 17 squad. Francis Collins (III) and Andrew Forbes (IV) were selected for the final squad for the Northern Cricket Union Under 15 squad. Jack Burton (II) and Morgan Lapworth (II) were chosen to be in the final squad for the Northern Cricket Union Under 13 team.


The Senior SU Weekend at Seaview House, Kilkeel was a great success.


Five Academy pupils - Emma Kelso, Melissa Moffett, Ruari Brogan, Stewart Martin and Alan Curtis - were selected to represent Northern Ireland in the UK Schools’ Games in London. The occasion was of particular significance in that the Games was the first event to be staged in the new Olympic Stadium.


MAY 2012 ****

Sarah Martin (MVI) read one of Padriac Fiacc’s poems from the collection “Luck” as part of the celebration of his poetry.

The Junior SU Trip to Dundonald Ice Bowl and McDonalds was held.




Diary of the School Year

Six pupils: Tom Hanna, Scott McCambridge, Gareth Gilfillan, Luke Taylor, Adam Brice and Bethany Queripel, currently in LVI, recently attended a week long residential course at the prestigious Villiers Park. ****

Owen Donnelly (Form I) represented Belfast Royal Academy in the Tesco Great School Run at Stormont. ****

The Sponsored Walk took place. ****

Academy pupils continued to display their ability to write entertaining and exciting short stories in the West Belfast Festival. 50


James Reid (Form III), the reigning All-Ireland Schools’ Judo Champion, and Bronze medalist at Under 18 level in the Commonwealth Judo Championships, competed for Northern Ireland in the UK Schools’ Games. James, despite being 14, competed at Under 18 level and did so with great credit, reaching the pool stage and losing only to the British and Brazilian Number 1 competitors, both of whom were aged 18. ****

31 Form III boys and 3 members of staff attended an activity day at Ballykinler Army Training Centre. ****

The Junior School performed in the annual Summer Serenade in the School Assembly Hall. ****

The Form II Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics teams took part in the Inter-District Competition, held at the Boys’ Model. The team qualified for the Ulster finals. ****

Belfast Royal Academy hosted its annual Mini-Hockey Blitz for local Primary Schools. ****

The 1st XI defeated RBAI by 7 wickets and the Colts defeated RBAI by 8 wickets. ****

In The Braid Centre, Ballymena, BRA pupils attended the Sentinus Team R+D celebration day. ****

10 Form I pupils attended an Olympic Games event at St. Patrick’s, Bearnageeha. ****

Form IV XI beat Sullivan by 101 runs. ****

JUNE 2012 The prize winners of the Merit Scheme were: Form I iPod: Chloe McCrory (1PO2) Cinema vouchers: Tori Borne (1SH2) Ellen Quinn (1SH2) Form II Notebook: Cinema vouchers:

Oliver Rhodes (2PO1) Shannagh McAllister (2SH2) Callum Wilson (2CU1)

Form III Notebook: Matthew Gihon (3CA1) Cinema vouchers: Hollie McCalmont (3PO2) Luke Weir (3SH1) Form IV Notebook: Cinema vouchers:

Chloe Magee (4SH2) Amy Hunter (4CU2) Ling Chung (4SH2)


The Irish Schools’ Athletics Championships took place at Tullamore. Fourteen Academy athletes qualified to compete in the Championships and they produced many excellent performances. The performance of the day was by Emma Kelso in the Intermediate Girls’ Pole Vault who broke her team mate Lucy Dugan’s Irish record.

Form II examined coastal defences measures along the coast at Holywood, County Down.



Two Academy pupils, Holly Hamill and Eorann O’Neill, were nominated and selected to carry the Olympic Torch. The Headmaster attended the Ben

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Madigan Prep. 3 - 7 School play on Tuesday 12th June. It was an excellent production.


Emma Kelso (V), Melissa Moffett (IV) and Victoria Beattie (III) were selected to represent Ulster in the Irish Schools’ Interprovincial at Morton Stadium, Santry. ****

200 entrants from Form I and II took part in the UKMT Junior Maths. 11 Gold certificates, 6 Silver and 20 Bronze certificates were awarded to BRA pupils.


The School Art Exhibition was held. The quality of pupils’ work was high and the event was well attended. ****

Sports Day was held at Roughfort. ****

Kathryn Fusco and Jazmin Campbell (MVI) won prizes in the Santander Spanish and French Essay Competitions organised by QUB.



This year Matthew Elliott (Form II) has won a total of 14 medals: 9 Gold and 5 Silver in Judo and Wrestling.


Valete R. Barrance


Miss Barrance, a former pupil of Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr and Oxford graduate, was appointed as a member of staff to the English and Drama Departments in September 2011 to cover Ms McBeth’s maternity leave. During her time at the Academy Miss Barrance taught English Language to Advanced Level, English Literature to GCSE and KS3 Drama. She established herself as a competent classroom teacher, who was conscientious and thorough in her preparation, and ready to help those who found difficulty with English or Drama topics and assignments. She also gave unstintingly of her time outside the classroom helping with the Drama Club and establishing the Film Club which produced a short film Broken. She is now embarking on a PhD in Education with Queen’s University, Belfast and we wish her well with her research and future career. Although she was only in the Academy for a short time, we are grateful for her contribution and will remember her as a pleasant and helpful colleague. W.G.

J. Connolly Mrs Jane Connolly was appointed to the staff of Belfast Royal Academy on 1st September 1988 as a teacher of Religious Education. She was educated at Trinity College Dublin; Jane initially taught in the Girls’ Model School before joining the Academy. Jane has been an outstanding classroom teacher and this was quickly recognised by staff and pupils alike. Her pupils have benefited from her extensive knowledge and love of her subject. At GCSE and GCE A level the

pupils in her charge always achieved their potential and as a result some were motivated to study Theology or Divinity at university. Within the Department, Jane was the Old Testament specialist and has mentored some of the current members of the Religious Studies department in this area. Her passion and incredible knowledge of the subject ensured that Jane was regarded as an ‘intellectual heavyweight’. Jane also loved Sixth Form ‘General RS’ classes due to her extensive knowledge of current issues and had a real concern for the ‘whole’ development of pupils. In addition, she was involved in the Religious Studies Rome Trip over the past number of years and often spoke of her love of Rome and her desire to return to the city. Jane was also a Careers teacher for a year as well as one of the annual August interviewers for Form Five into Lower Sixth. She also faithfully gave of her time in organising the catering for the Saturday Morning ‘A’ Level Art Exhibition and has been a keen supporter of drama and musical productions in the School since her husband Stephen produced and directed school plays. Her grasp of the English language also came in to play when she facilitated a ‘grammar course’ for the RS Department in 2011! Moreover, many pupils will know Jane for her strict adherence to the one-way system in the Bruce corridor, a feat no other teacher could match! Jane’s caring nature is there for all to see; she is a dedicated mother to her son and is a supportive wife to her husband’s career. She is a lover of the finer things in life: a love of classic literature, fine wines and wonderful food; she also loves cooking and by all accounts has a talent for it. Jane’s ‘extra curricular’ life will be hectic in her retirement; she is heavily involved in church work and the wider community of the church and she also has a passion for other community involvement and the Arts.

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A report such as this can only scratch the surface of Jane’s contribution to the Academy. I cannot begin to do justice to the positive impact Jane has had on her pupils and colleagues. Her wit, ideas and love of the subject will leave a huge void in the Department that will take a long time to fill. Jane is a woman of decency, mindful of the needs of others and possesses a well defined set of morals. She has left, in many areas, an enduring impact on the Academy. We wish Jane many years of happy and healthy retirement, and trust we will see her again soon! P.D.

R. Evans At the end of the summer term, Mr Rhys Evans was appointed to the post of Curriculum Vice-Principal in Coleraine Academical Institution. Rhys, a former pupil of Maidstone Grammar School and graduate of the University of Southampton, completed his PCGE at Homerton College, Cambridge. He began his teaching career in Borden Grammar, before joining the Academy staff in September 1997. Rhys has made an impressive contribution to school life. An accomplished English teacher, Rhys provided the Department with a valuable insight into examination procedure as he has marked GCE AS English Literature for CCEA and was a Key Stage 3 English Reviser and Senior Marker. As Senior Subject Teacher for Drama, he assumed the responsibility for introducing Drama and Theatre Studies as an Advanced Level option and the excellent results that have been achieved are a testament to his professional standards. Throughout his time at the Academy, Rhys has occupied a range of posts, including Head of Year, Senior Subject Teacher for Drama, Deputy Senior Teacher and a Senior Teacher post which incorporated the role of Examinations Officer. His exceptional organisational skills were very much in evidence in this particular role and he carried out his duties with meticulous care and enviable composure. Possessed of much energy and commitment, Rhys has given willingly of his time outside the classroom. He coached football and cricket and was the member of staff responsible for golf. In addition, he has coordinated Public Speaking and supervised both the Junior Debating Society and the Junior Drama Club. He has also directed a number of very successful Dramatic Society Productions, most recently The Crucible and The Tempest. Having given fifteen years of his career to both English and Drama within Belfast Royal Academy, I hope Rhys

will look back with fondness and contentment on his time in the English Department. We wish him well as he embarks on the next stage of his professional journey. W.G.

V. Heaslip Vera Heaslip was a former pupil and Head Girl of the Girls’ Model School. In 1982, she graduated from Queen’s University Stranmillis, with a Bachelor of Education Degree in Religious Education. She was appointed to the staff of Methodist College Belfast in September of 1982, where she very successfully taught RE and was involved in Careers and Counselling for 7 years. Mr W M Sillery appointed her to the staff of Belfast Royal Academy in 1990, initially as a part-time teacher of Religious Education. It was clear from the beginning of her career in BRA that she was a first class teacher with a real love for her subject. She had a deep care for the pupils she taught, always seeking to bring out the very best from them. Always well prepared she produced resources that were outstanding. She was ‘part time’ by title only as she frequently committed time and energy to the development of RE as a subject in the school. Vera had vision and creativity and readily shared resources and ideas. Her classroom was always stimulating. She was the pioneer of the first RE trip to Rome in 1998. Her vision was to make Church History real and relevant and bring to life this area of study. She set about leading and organising GCE A Level students to see at first hand the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, St Peter’s Basicilica, the Arch of Constantine and the Catacombs di San Sebastiano – RE coming to life. As one student commented “… we were able to see the History of Christianity up close instead of from a book in a classroom”. It was the beginning of what is now a well-established and popular school trip. Vera was also at the forefront of RE visits to St. Patrick’s Cathedrals in Armagh as well as field trips to Dublin to explore the theme of Mission for the synoptic unit of the GCE A Level course. In 2009 she was appointed Head of the Religious Education Department which she has led with distinction. In that role she was dynamic, organised, good humoured and innovative. Her input at Head of Department meetings was insightful and positive. Vera’s initiative and energy were not confined to the RE Department. For a time she had responsibility for the Work Experience Programme in Careers, which she led with characteristic dynamism. It was however the renaissance of netball in school that was one of her many accomplishments. Over the past eight years she



took netball in school to new heights. She motivated, inspired and encouraged girls and staff to get involved in netball, overseeing and organising league matches at all levels. Success followed, with the Senior team winning the Belfast Development League in 2010. It has become one of the most successful sports in the life of the school. On a personal note, her support, commitment and leadership in developing our Malawi partnership has been invaluable. She was part of the first team to visit Malawi and became a team leader over the past five years. Her organisation was meticulous as she invested so much time and energy in making the Malawi experience a memorable one for pupils. She has made a connection in Malawi that is very special.


We thank Vera for all she has done for BRA and for the 23 years of service she has given, the School is in her debt. Vera is not retiring, that is just not in her nature. She has vitality and creativity to embark upon entirely new adventures. On her last day, having typically shown generosity in providing smiling-faced cupcakes for all the staff, Vera quoted from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, a prophet she had studied and taught at GCE A Level. She shared how a particular passage would now take on new meaning for her. The prophet spoke of the plans God had for his people as being plans that were good and promised a “ future and a hope”. We will miss her very much. We wish her well for all that lies ahead and look forward to hearing of the new adventures that she will undertake in the future. A.R.C.

C. Leyden A former pupil of Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch, and a graduate of Queen’s University, Mrs Claire Leyden was appointed to the staff of Belfast Royal Academy as Miss Hodgson in September 1982, joining the Modern Languages Department as a teacher of French and Spanish. Happily, she was to remain with us for 30 years. Mr Sillery, who was Headmaster at the time of Claire’s appointment, later identified her as “a strikingly successful, much admired teacher” and referred to her “warm, sympathetic and attractive personality”. It was these qualities of character along with her kindness, her concern for the individual and her gentle humour which endeared her to her colleagues and her pupils alike. The Modern Languages Department was the richer for her presence. In 1997 Claire became Senior Careers Advisor and in 2001 took up the post of Senior Subject Teacher

for Spanish. She devoted herself to both tasks with characteristic enthusiasm and dedication. As Careers Advisor she participated in the organisation of Work Experience and Careers events, conducted career guidance interviews with pupils and participated in the registration process. As Senior Subject Teacher for Spanish, Claire carried out her duties with exemplary efficiency, from looking after the Spanish Assistants to organising the internal Spanish examination papers. Claire was unfailingly enthusiastic in promoting Modern Languages and Spanish in particular within school, to which her presentations on subject choice evenings attested. She also involved herself wholeheartedly in the corporate life of the School, running the Girls’ Badminton Club and taking part in school trips abroad. As a classroom practitioner, Claire was exemplary. Her mastery of her subjects, her professionalism, her patient manner and her expertise were constantly in evidence. Conscientious, thorough and well-organised, she brought the French and Spanish languages to life within her classroom. Her ability to engage her pupils and bring out the best in them was impressive. A versatile teacher, she coached pupils for Oxbridge, but was also adept at teaching the full range of ability. She gained the respect and admiration of her pupils, some of whom, inspired to follow in her footsteps, have since become successful Modern Languages teachers in their own right. It is impossible to quantify Claire’s contribution to the Modern Languages Department over the years. Loyal and supportive, Claire was absolutely central to the Department personally and professionally, bringing wit and calm, good sense to the meetings, as well as sound judgement and wise advice. Always ready with a smile and a word of encouragement for her colleagues, she became a much-loved member of the Department and indeed of the staff as a whole. Claire will be much missed in the Modern Languages Department. Always an advocate of our department, her contribution to its smooth running over the years has been invaluable. She is a wonderful, warm person, one of the kindest and most genuine people you could meet. She has been a tower of strength. We will miss the sound of her light step and her high heels in the corridor, her fabulous dresses, her hug on the first day back each term and her humour, especially in our Tuesday meetings. It has truly been a privilege to work with her. To envisage our department without her has been well nigh impossible. Claire leaves with our deepest thanks and our warmest good wishes. As our former Headmaster, Mr. Young, would say, she will always be one of ours. S.M.C.

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Obituaries J. Forbes

H. Rose

Jean Forbes, who died aged 76, was a pioneer of environmental education. Educated at Belfast Royal Academy and at Queen’s where she took an Honours degree in Geography, Jean then moved and completed a Master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin. In recognition of her career achievements J. Forbes was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. After her retirement she took up a wide variety of roles including becoming an advisor to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland.

Well known in literary circles, Hinda Rose was born in Kilkeel. She was a Classical scholar at Belfast Royal Academy studying Latin and Greek. Hinda went on to read English and French Literature at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduating, she worked in the civil service and financial sector before being appointed to the Autograph Department of MAGGS BROS. Dublin, where her particular enthusiasms were the Tudor and Stuart periods and Lord Byron and his circle.

Mrs Beryl Spratt Mrs Beryl Spratt, who died in December, gave 17 years service to Belfast Royal Academy as Physics Technician. After finishing her studies at Belfast High School, her first full-time job was in the Milk Marketing Board, whose offices were located on the Antrim Road, not far from the Academy. She gave up this post to devote herself to being a fulltime wife and mother. Beryl was always justifiably proud of the many achievements of both her children, Ian and Wendy, Ian having been one of our prominent pupils. In 1987 she was appointed Physics Technician at the Academy, a difficult task for someone with little recent laboratory experience. However, what she lacked in qualifications she more than made up for in commitment, enthusiasm and willingness. These qualities ensured the teachers of the Department either had the correct apparatus at their fingertips or knew exactly where it was; it was often said that the Department could cope

with an absent teacher but would grind to a halt without Beryl. Throughout her married life, but especially in the last twenty years or so, she was much involved with Joanmount Methodist Church where she had many friends. She was actively involved in fund raising, organising church outings and planning social functions. She also had many friends at the Academy and regularly kept in touch. She always enjoyed meeting up with her former colleagues, whether it be in the Chemistry Preparatory Room for lunch or out for dinner in Belfast. Her kindness, sense of humour and values endeared her to everyone. No doubt she continues to be sadly missed by Ian, Wendy, her grandchildren and wider family circle. R.B.


Literary Contributions

Literary Contributions




“I see you coming towards my face,” the bat said to the ball, “I apologise, I’ll have to hit you or you’re going to fall.” “It’s okay if you hit me, with you I place my trust, So go ahead and hit me, hit me if you must.” “Thank you for trusting me but before I take the hit, I really hope that after this you won’t take a fit.” “No, of course not, why would I do that? I’ve been thinking of this hit of more like a pat.” “That’s good, but just so you’re on alert, This “pat” could really, maybe hurt…” Lucy Hamilton, Form I

“I’m terribly sorry if this hurts” said the Hockey Stick to the Ball. “It’s ok!” said the Ball, “At least try not to fall!” The Stick took a swinging and the crowd started singing. “We just scored! Yay!” The Ball was dizzy while the Stick was fizzy, And they both shouted, “Hooray!” Tori-Louise Borne, Form I

EARTHLY SILENCE Forget about time, cut off the world, Stop all the noise with one great drum. Silence the world with one loud screech. Start the noise; then silence will come.

MY PERSONIFICATION POEM “I’m sorry if it’s dark in there,” Said the case to the pencils, Except that little beam of light, Shining through the tear. I am trying to protect you though, From what could possibly be out there, It could be really anything, That could be quite a scare!

She was close, yet far. Here, but there. From the sun to the earth, Not a sound can be heard.

“Oh please let us out, For we’ve been here far too long!” But the snapping jaws of the pencil case, Were really just too strong.

The stars look upon her now and smile. The moon turns blue with grief. But the sun keeps on shining, Saying life will go on.

After a while, the case fell to sleep, So the pencils slipped out through the tear, And just then a giant Pritt, Was standing right there!

She was the key note in my life. The sound that ties the song. Without her the music will fail, And earthly silence will drown the world. Adam Letman, Form V

It pounced for the pencils, So they ran away, But then got caught in the stencils… So it shouted “Hooray!” So then the Pritt took off its lid, And stuck the pencils one by one, On to that small, poor kid. Molly Brown, Form I

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Pete Holland, M6

STARS There, but gone, shining, but dead, Me but dead. Lethal but life-giving, A ball of burning gas. Like a cage, but made of dots. We are locked in a non-existing bubble Of heat and light. Tiny but overwhelming. The sun huge but tiny, With lethal rainbows of death. Tiny by comparison. A billionth of a black hole. Death in over a billion years. Swelling, engulfing; Mercury; Venus; Earth. Bursting, burning. Hyper novae, like huge beams of light, Ripping other stars apart. Supernovae, enabling planets to become invisible, By dying. Douglas Adams, Form II

THERE’S A CAT NAMED JOE There’s a cat named Joe and you wouldn’t want to know, But he thinks he’d like to be a hippopotamus, And it sounds very strange, and he really wants to change, And in that way he’s just like a lot of us. Oh, it wouldn’t be so bad if he was certified as mad, But he’s not… he holds a normal conversation. It’s just that within he’s in a different kind of skin, And it causes him a lot of botheration. Michael Woods, Form I

GOODBYE Stop saying those things, cut your lies. Preventing me from loving you is like turning of the sun, Silence my thoughts and close the skies, Bring out my fake smiles and let them believe. Stop pushing me away, pushing my emotions aside Dumping them like rubbish, how I feel no longer means anything to you. Put your dress and high heels on your model-like figure Let all them men glare, you pretend you don’t notice but you love the attention. You told me I was your best friend, told me you loved me, I was the person you relied on, trusted, come to for advice, You asked me to hold and kiss you and tell you everything would be okay,


Literary Contributions

Alex Kyle, F5


Emily Semple, F5

I thought I meant so much more but it’s obvious I was just a toy to you. The pain is larger than earth itself; I put on a fake person for others. Packed up our time together and stamped it into the ground, Snapped my heart like a twig, you erased me, I gave you my all But know as you read this you killed me. 3 words, 8 letters. Caolan Lyttle, Form V

SHE’S BROKEN Carelessly, she gave him her heart Carelessly, he tore it apart, Because carelessly, the very next day Carelessly, some other girl was his prey. Carelessly, she thought he’d give her the world, Carelessly he chucked her heart in the dirt, Carelessly, depression sunk in fast Carelessly, he placed her feelings last. Carelessly, she drew sores on her wrist Carelessly, she thought she would never be missed, Carelessly, his games with her head, Carelessly ensured she woke up dead.

Reema Waite, F5

Carelessly, he played his boy games, Oh, carelessly, in the coffin, she lay. Bobbie-Jean Agnew, Form II

THE BAT AND THE BALL One day the ball said to the bat “I’m so weak and small But you’re so strong and tall I fail in comparison to your might You give me such a mighty fright Please don’t smack me this very night Or I’ll smack you with all my might Then I’ll give you a mighty fright!” Andrew Meeke, Form I

DON’T LIKE THE CHALK! Gymnastics chalk is for the gymnast’s good, But it seems to put all of the equipment in a mood. It leaves white marks all over the bars And leaves handprints all over the floor. “Hey, hey don’t put your muck on me,” said the Vault And it makes the beam go from brown to cream. At times Mr Chalk can feel very unwanted, most of it, But it stops the gymnast from falling And stops her from looking appalling. Georgia Gaw, Form I

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MONDAY MOURNING Stop the waves from sparkling, the day is here I never thought this day would come Get the children ready its time to mourn We all each have to play our part. I never thought you would leave I was sure I would go first It shows how much that I know I thought it would never come to this. Why did it have to be so soon? Everything was going so well I don’t think I’ll ever be able to move on I never planned it this way. You were the shepherd to my sheep You were the beating of my heart It’s to me to say goodbye You’ll forever be the one. Andrew Palmer, Form V

THE CYCLIST I remember it like yesterday. I was lined up with my team on the starting zone, wearing my BH jersey with pride. I began to do my final preparations for the race. As I straightened out my jersey and clipped my red and black North Wave cycling shoes into the white painted Look pedals, I thought to myself ‘I am going to win.’ We had our tactics. My team workers would keep me ahead, then, when the time was right, I would break away from the group and sprint to the finish line. I suppose everyone’s tactics were like that. As we all started to get ourselves in a good position to start, it was announced that the race would start in one minute. As the clock ticked down to zero, I thought about my race preparation. Had I trained hard enough? Had I eaten the right foods? All those winter training sessions, miles and miles of early morning bike rides. It had now all come down to this moment. Ahead of us lay one hundred and twenty miles of hard cycling, with the finish line at the top of one of the steepest hills in Europe. It would be a difficult cycle. But I was confident I had done enough preparation and training to win. It was the fourth stage in the Tour De France, and I was lying fifth in the overall table. I had to win the Tour. I had come so close to victory last year, but I was forced to pull out due to the loss of my brother Mark after he lost his battle with cancer. The claxon sounded and the race began. It was tight at the start, all the riders were bunched together meaning

neither my team, nor I, could break away from the large group of different teams. Slowly, as teams and individual riders began to break away from the mass group, the race became more open. My team workers began to form directly in front of me. We were very close together, so close that I could see the small, transparent beads of sweat of the back of the neck of each of my team mates. As we got further into the race, the course remained quite flat, but I knew what was coming, the hardest hill in the entire Tour, the Col du Tourmalet. I had tackled that hill before, and it might seem like going up is the hard bit, trust me it’s not. When you’re going downhill on the other side you’re hitting speeds of about eighty miles per hour, trying to control your bike at those speeds is a big ask. I had broken away from my team, just as I said I would in the team tactics talk the night before. I hit the hill, along with several other riders from different teams. We were climbing the hill slowly, but at a steady pace for hill climbing. As I progressed up the hill, it got harder and harder the higher I got up, that’s why I was relieved when I got to the top. I was now leading the race, which gave me a bit of confidence at the top of the hill. But then I reached the start of the descent, then there was reason to be scared. For the next two minutes, everything seemed to run smoothly. According to my speedometer I was cycling at about seventy five miles per hour, without me even having to pedal. I was glad to give my legs a rest. I began to think about my family and if they were watching me leading the race, or if they were thinking about Mark, for today, one year ago, he had died. I began to think about Mark, if he was watching down on me, wishing me on. As I thought more and more about him, I didn’t see the sharp turn at the bottom of the hill. I hit the metal barrier at the bottom of the hill at a great speed. I was launched over the top of it, and into the dense forest land below. As I came closer and closer to the ground I tried desperately to unclip my feet from my pedals. As I did so I heard a loud crack coming from my ankle and I thought to myself, I’m dead. I hit the hard, muddy ground with a bang. I had landed on my head, making me think to myself, I’ve had it. Before I knew I was surrounded by paramedics and doctors, checking my pulse, looking for severe injuries. One of the doctors checking my neck shouted to his colleges “He’s still alive, the helmet saved him!” After the crash, I was forced to pull out of the rest of the Tour. I had been told that I’d broken both my legs, one of my arms, and cracked a minor bone in my neck.


Literary Contributions

Ben O’Donnell, L6


I was given the go ahead to cycle again, but I never did. I never knew one injury could have changed my life so much. In the last year all I had been doing was sitting in my house, eating crisps and playing video games. I was overweight and soon I was told that the main arteries to my heart were blocked due to fatty deposits forming in my heart. My life expectancy was twenty three years. I was dying. The doctors had told me that my best chance of survival was to start cycling again. So I did so. I found it hard to recover my skills at the start, but over the months I have found it easier and easier. Before long I had obtained my old job as a professional cyclist once again. I had won several smaller cycling tours such as The Tour of Swiss and The Tour Down Under. I had been recruited by a successful cycling team who had entered the Tour De France and I had been asked to be the main sprinter for them. It was the first day of the Tour De France and I was lined up with my team in the starting zone, wearing my jersey with pride. As I began to do my final preparations for the race, I straightened out my jersey and clipped my red and black North Wave cycling shoes into my white painted Look pedals. As the claxon sounded for the start of the race I thought to myself ‘I have to win. I am going to win.’ Matthew Cairns, Form III

GRISHAM MANOR I stood in the mirror, smoothing out the soft green dress my maid had laid out for me. Looking in the mirror, a small hair had jumped out of place. I sighed and pinning it back, after all, my image had to be impeccable. I heard sudden outbursts of laughter erupting from the crowd waiting for me downstairs in the main hall. My hands were shaking and my heartbeat was ringing in my ears, I couldn’t hear myself think. I was about to leave when the new housemaid, Rosa came into the room chattering away to herself. When she saw me she stopped in her tracks and performed a wobbly, unrehearsed curtsy. ‘I’m so sorry m’lady,’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s fine Rosa. Please, excuse me.’ I left the room quickly, to hide the tears forming on the rims of my eyes. I had overcome so much; a month ago I was dying of Scarlet Fever, mother was convinced I was at the end, but I proved everyone wrong. I hadn’t shed a tear during that ordeal, yet wading down into a crowd of Countesses, Dukes, Barons, Baronesses and of course, my close and distant family, was taking its toll on me. I kept walking at a steady pace towards the Grand Staircase, keeping a straight face until I got to the top. I cowered behind the marble pillar, waiting for my escort, Sir John Chillan, my grandfather. When he rounded the corner I stepped towards him smiling. Our

The Owl 2012

arms entwined and we walked down the stairs in sync. As we made our descent, the whole hall was silenced. I tried to smile as much as I could, but inside I was screaming. All I wanted to do was have a small family party with my sisters Sylvia, Elizabeth, Catherine and Maria, and my mother, grandfather and grandmother. When I got to the bottom everyone cheered and clapped. This was the route many feared they would never see me walk again, but I did it. The next few hours were a steamy blur; people giving their congratulations, talking about the illness and basically just making me retell the story of my nightmare over and over and over again. It was a while before we sat down to dinner. At the head of the table was my mother, Lady Charlotte Grisham, and then on either side were my grandparents, then my sisters and I. I sat beside my closest sister, Catherine. She nursed me in my sickness, and helped me rebuild my strength during my recovery. If I was to pick favourites, Catherine would be my favourite sister. ‘I heard that Sir Viera is returning from France, is that correct?’ mother questioned Maria. Sir Viera is Maria’s fiancé; of course mother doesn’t approve as he is the son of a distant cousin, whom father had some disagreements with in his time. ‘Indeed it is. He will be arriving on Tuesday,’ Maria replied glaring down the table at mother. She just sniffed loudly and was silent. There were several moments of silence, quite a different atmosphere to when I made the journey down the staircase; the only sounds were those from knives and forks knocking together and the tick of the grandfather clock standing in the corner. Butlers, maids and other members of our staff came in and out of the room, but nothing out of the ordinary. ‘Everyone thought you looked so well tonight, Mary,’ grandmother piped up, breaking the silence. ‘You did yourself proud.’ ‘Yes, she gave the Grisham family image a half-decent polish too,’ mother butted in. That’s what made me crack. I stood up and screamed at her, ‘And that made you happy, did it? Having everyone over to celebrate my recovery, when all you were really doing was making yourself look good! Father would have been so disappointed mother!’ With that I stormed out of the room pulling the heavy wooden door behind me. I ran up the staircase and into my bedroom. I was so angry with my mother; it would be just like her to say something of that nature.

After about an hour there was a knock on my door. Before I replied Catherine and my grandmother came through the door. They both looked tired and worn out. Mother had obviously blown up about my ‘undignified’ table manners, but instead of coming up here to take it out on me, she had blamed my poor Grammy and sisters. She wouldn’t dare shout at my grandfather. ‘Mary! What were you thinking shouting across the table like a common girl selling bread from a stall in the village? It was very unladylike,’ Grammy scolded jokingly. ‘Mother blew like a volcano!’ Catherine laughed. ‘Sir Viera didn’t help matters much either! I don’t know why mother doesn’t like him; his equestrian skills are outstanding and he’s good to Maria.’ A few hours later the butler came to my room. He wasn’t just any butler; he was Francis, my friend. Of course mother didn’t know about this friendship. She made it perfectly clear that we were to have no conversation with any of the servants except our personal maids. Francis was one of the few normal people I knew. ‘What’s wrong? I heard your mother bawling her mouth off to your sisters,’ he asked sitting down beside me. ‘She never listens to anyone; all she cares about is herself,’ I snapped. ‘What are you doing here anyway; shouldn’t you be off somewhere else doing something else?’ ‘Well I probably should be but I thought that maybe you would want to talk about it but if not I can go.’ He got up to leave.   ‘Wait, don’t go,’ I replied standing up. ‘I’m sorry.’ ‘Ha-ha, it’s okay m’lady,’ he joked. He gave a quick bow and gave me a hug. With that he left the room. I changed into my nightgown and prepared for bed. I removed my hair clips and braided my silky black curls, tied with a white ribbon. I tossed and turned that night, disgusted by my mother’s actions. I decided that night I hated her but the next morning when I saw her, I regretted it. Her face was pale white and she looked exhausted. ‘Sleep well?’ I said flatly. ‘No, actually I didn’t. I’m sorry Mary, I didn’t mean that comment maliciously, I just meant you had made the family look strong after your father... and then your illness, I promise you,’ she replied taking my hand. It was unlike my mother to speak like this; she always acted as though she had so much authority, she could do as she pleased. This was the first time I had seen her speak to me softly since father died. ‘I believe you, and forgive you,’ I smiled. After that, mother realised that she didn’t have to be strong headed all the time. It was only a matter of time until that changed...  Morgan Patton, Form II


Literary Contributions



The stars at night, Look twinkly and quiet, But behind the scenes, They’re having a riot!

Behind high walls I hide my fear, Reciting words that bring my tears

The graceful shooting star, Glides by, But we can’t see, The war in the sky!

Every first word you read contains a clue Note that it is an initial way to speak to you.

They crash, they burn, They collide and fight, But all we see is, A starry night. By Luca Johnston, Form I

Often words kill me inside, Keen to set me one deathly guide.

Life is meaningless to all around I can see how my destiny is bound. For you see scars hide deep inside of me, Eternity is the only arms in which I should be. Weeds can grow so easily and wild, But it only takes one rose to tame them. James Walker, Form II



Bright Lights Nightime prayers Cluster makers Always shining Sometimes shooting Galaxy creators Silent waiters Speedy racers Always there Naomi McGuckin, Form I

A STAR? A star is created by an explosion, opinions, comments and success collide, These stars from galaxies, so famous they are known by all. Bright, dazzling and effervescent beings, which we all look up to, So much so that some of us are like satellites, recording their every move. We chart stars, knowing where they are and what they are doing, Announcements are made when big events are coming involving them. These stars are distant and far to reach, But if you do get a chance, to really be up there, get in your rocket and go. When a star dies a black hole forms, We remember their brightest moments and the influence they made. But the earth keeps turning in, in spite of this loss, As a new star is being formed, right before our very eyes. Emily McMahon, Form III

“SONDER” “noun. the realisation that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.” I was waiting for my mother to pick me up whenever it hit me for the first time. It was early September and the day was stifling. There was sun blaring down and the dry air caught in my throat. While most people considered this perfect remarking to myself about the temperature, that I wished for a small moment I could be someone else, someone who didn’t dislike heat and the clinging aftermath of summer that plagued the first few weeks of school. Looking around I found my gaze fell on a girl from one of my classes. She’d been abroad for her summer holidays and I’d heard her remarking earlier about the spectacular weather. Dismissively I wondered what her holiday had been like, who she met and what she’d enjoyed and what memories made her smile the most. Then it struck me, like a jarring punch in the face. That time she’d been away, whenever I’d been at home surfing the internet and fooling around, our lives had never intersected. The two of us didn’t really talk so we had never crossed each other’s minds. She’d spent days in a foreign country with her family, living out her life and enjoying herself. Those days were locked firmly in her memories and were something I’d never see. They were part of her life, one almost entirely separate from mine. A life that she lived every day, a life so completely different it was hard to imagine. What was she thinking now? What was anyone thinking now? I was completely surrounded by people.

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Form 1

Form 1

Some were talking to their friends, using inside jokes I’d never understand, speaking with quirks different to my own, completely unaware that I was standing near to them and thinking these things; because while only a metre or two separated us, our lives were millions of miles apart. I began to pay more attention to the scene around me: twenty to thirty people queuing for the bus, all with different mindsets and worries; one businessman walking down the street, growling into his phone and occasionally barking orders. There was a person on the other end of that phone; potentially separate from me by oceans and continents. Someone living in another country, spending their life in a city I’d never see. Two exasperated women were pushing strollers side by side, a screeching baby sat in each. Their eyes were distant and they barely spoke, leaning heavily against the prams. Practically lifeless. The children on the other hand couldn’t have looked more alive, struggling against the straps of their moving prisons - completely unaware of their own existences. Only material needs on their minds. Those babies could grow up to do so much. Years from now they could stand in the same place I stood, in the same uniform I was wearing now. In time they’d complete exams, maybe go to university, become a scientist who’d change the world as we know

Form 1

it. An actor so talented their overflowing award cabinet couldn’t sum up their gift. A politician who’d fix all their problems. Or maybe they’d go on to live boring lives. Not that that is possible. Because even if they went to school and got a regular job that paid them an okay salary and they came home every night to wonder what happened to their dreams of travelling the world, their life still wouldn’t be boring. All they’d have to do is dig a little deeper. Look at who the person really is, not how they describe themselves on an application form. It’s the tiny details, the routines we don’t even notice ourselves doing, that set us apart. The opinions and mannerisms and preferences that we and everyone around us have been gradually shaping every day of our lives like clay. Clay that hardens just a little every day until finally the person we are is practically set in stone. Until that clay chips a little though. No matter how old and stubborn we get, that clay can still be broken or squashed or changed. All around me people are still chattering and chittering, the voices of many forming a chorus. They’re all still unaware of what I’ve been thinking. I glance over them all one last time. Maybe one day it’ll hit them too. Juanita O’Kane, Form IV


Literary Contributions

Chloe Jeffrey, F5

Ben Nixon, F5

Christine Carrigan, F5


Ben Nixon, F5

Gillian Warren, L6



The stars in the night, Light up the sky, You don’t need electricity, Just natural light.

Shut off all the streets, cut off all the cars, Switch off all the water so people can’t have showers. It’s quieter in my house because she is dead, But she will always be the thoughts inside my head.

I don’t understand, How they could be so huge, But yet so blocked out By an even brighter shine

The sympathy cards, telling me she’s dead But I just can’t get it into my head. I’ll put a suit and tie on and hideaway all my tears, But putting her to rest, I’ll conquer one of my greatest fears.

The stars in the night, Light up the sky, You burn so hot, Way up high. Not twinkling and sweet, But huge and ferocious, Burning like a fire, But one thousand times hotter. The stars in the night, Light up the sky, There are millions of you, But only one of I. Jacob Brady, Form II

She was my swing in the park and the apple of my eye By my question to her would be why, why, why? She was the green in my garden and the icing on my cake, But now she’s dead and gone, I’ll forever hate. The hugs and kisses aren’t wanted now, please just leave me alone. Because I’ll take my suit and tie off as soon as I get home. I will shed a tear that could flood the nation But she was my one and only, greatest sensation! Ben Stevenson, Form V

The Owl 2012

Lauren Spence, M6

Jenna Todd, F5

Duaa Ali, L6

Florance Mae Maglanoc, F5

GINNY’S ADVENTURES Once upon a time, there was a young girl. She was in her aunt’s house as her mother and father had to go away for a couple of weeks. She was bored as her auntie had no children and was always doing her own thing. Her auntie’s house was big and pretty old. One rainy day, Ginny decided to explore the house. At first she thought the house was very plain and ordinary, but then she came to one room that was completely out of the ordinary. It was filled with bookshelves, hundreds of books. But there was something extraordinary about that colourful and mysterious room. There were big comfy chairs, tables, lamps and everything you would need in a library. She tiptoed in, closing the door quietly behind her, as she had a feeling her aunt wouldn’t want her being nosy in all her rooms. Especially this one. She walked about and seeing the hundreds of colourful books, she decided to lift one big, dusty book from the shelf. She never really read very much. It wasn’t that she didn’t like reading; it was more because she didn’t really have any books to read, apart from the boring ones you are made to read in school. The name of the book was ‘The Mystic Land of Far Away’. Just as she was about to open the book, her aunt burst into the room. “What are you doing in here?” she shouted.

“I was just looking around,” Ginny muttered. “Well, you should have asked me first! You are not allowed into this room, understood?” exclaimed her aunt, who was carefully looking around the room making sure Ginny hadn’t touched anything. “Yes, Aunt Margaret,” Ginny replied. “Good! Dinner is ready, so hurry up.” Before Ginny left she hid the book she was about to read up her jumper so she could read it later. Dinner was pretty miserable. Not much was said between her and her aunt. Her aunt seemed on edge since she had seen Ginny in the library. After dinner, she was sent to her room, but she didn’t mind because it meant she could start reading her book. Ginny brushed her teeth, washed her face and got her pyjamas on. When she was finally in bed she got out the big book, turned to the first chapter and began reading. She only got to the second chapter when she fell fast asleep with the book wide open. Ginny woke up to the calling of a bird. Her eyes were still closed, but she was awake. She thought it strange as she had never heard the sound of a bird in the morning in London. She wriggled about in her bed, too tired to get up. Realising she wasn’t in her bed, feeling very confused, she opened her eyes. She was certainly not in her bedroom. She was in a field full of bright poppies and robins perched on a tree top. It was beautiful, as if it were summer again. It was so warm and there was not a breeze in the sky, but there


Literary Contributions

Ryan Hamill, L6


Ryan Hamill, L6

was something not right. The sun wasn’t out and it was very dull. Ginny figured the sun must just be behind the huge fluffy clouds. She walked around, still astonished as to how and why she was in this place. As she got further and further, she felt she recognised some things even though she was certain she had never been there before. Suddenly, she remembered. This was the place described in the book she had read the night before! “It must be because I left the book open last night. Maybe the place in the story came out of the book and into the real world,” thought Ginny. Her aunt was going to be worried; she had been there for a couple of hours now and should probably try to find a way to get back. Just as she turned around to walk up a different path, she bumped into a boy. He was about thirteen, the same age as her. He had brown hair and looked scared. He was the boy from the book! “Is your name Tony?” Ginny asked the boy. “Yes, how did you know?” muttered the boy. “I… er… I’ve seen you about before,” she replied. She didn’t want to explain to him how she knew him. There was no way he was going to believe her, she still couldn’t believe it herself she thought. She asked Tony if he knew how to get out of this place. He said there was a map in the centre of the town and gave me directions to it. I got to where the map was expecting there to be people surrounded in the shops and houses near it, but it was silent. She picked up the map and underneath lying open was the book!

Ryan Hamill, L6

She was so happy to see it, hoping it would somehow bring her home. Then she finally got it. If the story came out of the book when it was open, then surely if she closed it everything would disappear and she would end up in her room. Ginny quickly shut the book and closed her eyes, scared to look at what might happen, when the ground beneath her shook and she felt herself spinning around. She almost thought she might throw up when it stopped and she could hear someone calling her name. Ginny opened her eyes to find herself back in her room. “What a morning,” she thought. “Ginny, get up!” her aunt screamed. “Coming,” Ginny answered quickly, getting changed out of her pyjamas. Maybe her aunt’s house wasn’t so bad after all; imagine every book in her aunt’s library took her to a new place! “Well, I’ll just have to wait until tonight to find out…” she thought, smiling to herself. These two weeks weren’t going to be as boring as Ginny had expected. By Rebecca Beattie, Form III

MIRRORING DELIGHT There he stood in front of the cherished family heirloom, a grand marble-framed picture of a woman, dressed as Victorian royalty, staring unhappily into a gold-framed mirror. The mirror in turn showed her body, but the facial expression was the opposite, it was brimming with joy

The Owl 2012

Form 3

Form 3

and happiness. The painting was rather strange for it had been with the family for generations but no one knew where it originated. All this family knew was that it was there and had been with the family for generations and it was to be cherished. The head of the family was in fact the only remaining person left in the family. The man’s name was John Robert Lucius, a tall man at the age of twenty-five with brown-blonde hair and glimmering aqua eyes. John was a loyal man who knew where he stood, at the top of the Government and social rank. Normal laws didn’t really apply to him because he owned pretty much all of the city he lived in. Even with endless amounts of money at his fingertips, he still pitied the poor and often donated thousands of pounds to charities. He was a very enclosed person; he never went to parties or charity balls for he simply secluded himself within his elegant Victorian manor. There was a problem; he could not have children or a wife because whoever he got close to would disappear or die through unknown means. Just a year ago, he was in love with one of the new maids he hired. Suddenly she disappeared and when he asked the other maids of her whereabouts they said that such a person had never worked in the house. All he could do was forget about her.

Form 3

John never got close to anyone after the disappearance of Anna, the maid; all he did was sit in front of the painting he inherited whenever his mother died of an unknown, drinking alcohol. He never noticed that the people who worked for him were disappearing. He began to notice when Alastair, his butler, had failed to wake him up early enough for his Governor’s meeting. He then went to the home where all his hired staff lived and found that all the beds were empty; it had happened they had mysteriously disappeared like the other people he was close to. Samuel Taggart, Form III

MR LINDEN’S LIBRARY This story is based on the painting ‘Mr Linden’s Library’ by Harris Budick. He had warned me about the book. Now it was too late. The library was as quiet as usual. Mr Linden and I were the only people who ever came to this library, and I loved that. A whole forest of books just for me. My parents always thought I was strange for not liking to spend time with people, but these books Mr Linden had collected over the years gave me so much more entertainment than could be found in a drab, boring person.


Literary Contributions


By far my favourite section of the library was the ‘Myths and Legends’ section. I had read nearly three quarters of the section I’m sure, and yet there were about fifty left to read! Walking along the shelves trying to find one I hadn’t read, my eyes were caught by a large, leathery book with an orange hue. Curious, I grabbed for the book - but I was stopped abruptly by a nervous Mr Linden. “Don’t EVER touch that book again, do you hear me?” he whispered furiously. Shocked, I replied, “Of course, Mr Linden, but why? Surely it should be fine if it was up on the shelves?” “I’m not going into details, but this book is VERY dangerous. If it is ever opened again, terrible things will happen to the person who opened it. I did not put that book up there, and I don’t wish to think of whom, or rather, WHAT did.” He rushed back to his desk and put the book in its top compartment. I should have been very wary after that, but in honesty, I could hardly contain my excitement. “A book, with a mind of its own?” I thought to myself. There was only one person worthy of a book such as that – me. I had to have it! Spending so much time in the library proved to be an advantage in my retrieval of the book. I knew that at eight minutes past five every afternoon Mr Linden would go into his office for about ten minutes to prepare a cup of tea. This was my chance. I slowly crawled behind the desk and grabbed the desk’s top compartment, careful not to make even the slightest squeak. I grabbed the book; it looked even better up close. The ancient book had a strange orange glow to it, and I could feel an aura from it; it felt alive! Rather that say goodnight to Mr Linden like I usually would, I instead headed straight out the door, with the book clutched tightly to my chest. I ran home as fast as my legs could take me. The neighbours were quite surprised to see me excited; being so used to my normal silent, emotionless self. When I finally got home, I headed straight up the stairs to my room. My parents didn’t mind; I didn’t usually talk to them anyway - the boring old sods. I jumped on to my bed, and put aside a moment to just appreciate the book. ‘Magnus’ Journal’ was written along the top, with a pattern of a leaf embedded underneath into the smooth, leather cover. There was no name that suggested an author, and no blurb at the back. “A real journal?!” The thought rushed through my mind. The day just couldn’t get any better! I turned the first page with eagerness. It was hand-written. It read, “To the reader of this journal. My name is Magnus and I am a wizard. Before you read of my life, I must warn you that terrible things may happen to the reader of this journal. If you are foolish enough to turn these pages, then be my guest.”

And I was foolish. I couldn’t stop myself from turning page and page again. Magnus was a dark wizard from the times of King Arthur. Banished from the Kingdom for practicing dark magic, he established himself as a hermit in the woods. I then came to a page that had a small leaf stuck in between the pages. I touched the leaf, and suddenly many vines came sprouting from the folds. They latched onto me, and I felt myself being drawn into the book. A blinding flash of light filled my field of vision, until I opened my eyes and found myself in some dark woods. I stood up and looked behind me to see a small shack. A wooden signpost was stuck into the ground outside with the wizard’s name etched into it. At odds at what to do, I warily knocked the shack door. The door flung open, but no one was there. I entered the shack just as the door shut violently behind me. I was alone. The shack was filled with many strange coloured potions – the bubbling concoctions whirled angrily as if they were alive. I started to hear a horrible screeching as the light coming from the cracks in the wooden structure began to dim and finally go out. A loud and eerie voice beamed, “Foolish child, now you will experience the horrors of my life. You will stay here with me forever, and no one will miss you. You should have taken my warning – I have no remorse for you, you foolish, foolish child.” As all this happened, I could only think, “He had warned me about the book. Now it was too late.” Matthew Wilson, Form IV

SUPERSAM Sam was sick of it; another job, another mistake and inevitably another interview. As he sat on his tattered sofa eating the stodgy meal that counted for his dinner, thinking about a long day out in the cold selling the Belfast Telegraph; or, as it was known; the ‘Belly Telly’. Sam contemplated about getting a new job but in the end he decided to give it another day to see if things worked out. He was watching the news about the Duke of York’s mysterious arrival in Belfast and wondered; would he ever be famous? He’d finally found a customer waiting at the lights in his four-by-four who was willing to buy a paper. But as the lights changed the car drove away and Sam was left standing there, hand out waiting to receive his nonexistent cash. He was fed up and, above all, starving. As he walked to the office to hand in his resignation letter he saw an apple lying on the ground. “An apple, I haven’t had one of them in years,” he said to himself as he picked it up. He placed it into his mouth and chewed until it was a mushy mess and swallowed. An hour later he was getting stomach cramps so he

The Owl 2012

Grace Prenter, M6

Alex Deaney, M6

went to the hospital. When he was going in he saw some shady looking people trying to open an ambulance, to put a familiar-looking face inside. He thought nothing of it. As he went into Accident and Emergency, the lady told him he would be in for a wait because the Duke of York was in the hospital and all the spare staff were looking after him. Sam finally put two and two together and realised the Duke was being kidnapped. He rushed out of the hospital and began sprinting towards the ambulance. As he was spotted all the criminals loaded their guns and prepared to fire. Sam had predicted this situation and dived for cover as hundreds of rounds of ammunition came his way. Sam chased the ambulance to a T-junction at which the ambulance pulled out and was hit by a passing car. All the crew were stunned but it wouldn’t take long before they were alert once more. Sam quickly grabbed the Duke and carried him to a tree at the side of the road and awaited the police to come. As Sam sat in his Ferrari pulling out of his mansion he wondered what will tomorrow bring? By Sam Millar, Form III

THE PLAGUE Beep! The obnoxious sound of the alarm clock wakes me up from my pleasant slumber. It’s Tuesday, time for me to go to school. I walk over to the window and pull the curtains to look outside; it’s raining. Just my luck.

Mum calls me from her bedroom, “David, get up, you have to go to school.” I don’t reply. I hear dad coughing downstairs. He’s been sick for weeks. I’m woken up almost every night by his incessant coughing. A lot of people are sick at the minute and mum says it must be some bug going around. I hop into the shower, put on my school uniform, then go downstairs and eat my breakfast. As I’m about to leave for school, I remember to feed Bob our Jack Russell. I kiss mum goodbye, give dad an acknowledging nod; mum says I shouldn’t get too close to him; and leave out the front door. As I’m walking down the straight road that leads to my school, I can’t help but notice the lack of cars and pedestrians out today. Usually the road is filled with buses and cars, but today there is just an eerie silence. Most of the houses I pass have the curtains drawn and I can hear loud coughing from inside. But I don’t seem too worried about it and continue on my way to school. I walk in through the school gates and am met by a nearly empty playground. It’s nearly nine o’clock and I can only see around twenty pupils. The bell rings and our small group shuffles its way towards the assembly hall. Nobody from my class is here, I only recognise and know around five of the pupils, but they are either in lower or higher years. Three coughing teachers, headmaster included, greet us into the assembly hall. He tells us that school is going to have to be cancelled for today and will remain shut for the rest of the week. Some of the younger pupils let out cheers of glee and I think to myself, maybe rainy Tuesday mornings aren’t


Literary Contributions

Carrie Whitcroft, F5


Oliver Woodhouse, F5

half bad. How wrong I was. I get back to the house, open the door and shout in, “School was cancelled, dad, because of too many people off.” He doesn’t reply. I search the house for him. Maybe he went out to buy some medicine. Mum’s already gone off to work at the hospital so I know she isn’t here. I walk into the living room when I see dad. He’s squatted down in a pool of blood over the still, lifeless body of Bobby. “Dad?” I ask nervously. He turns around and looks at me. His face is covered in blood and I can see bits of Bobby stuck between his teeth. “What have y-” He pounces on me and pins me on the floor. Then his eyes lock on to my pounding jugular. I interpret his next move and force his mouth away as he tries to bite my neck. I throw him off me and get back up onto my feet. “What’s wrong with you, dad?” I ask him as he too gets back onto his feet. He just looks at me and screams. Then he charges at me. I dodge out of the way as he pounces. He misses me and soars through the air, landing on a set of fire pokers, impaling himself on them. Then silence. “Dad, are you OK?” I ask his still, lifeless body… I walk over to him and look at him. Suddenly his eyes open and he comes back to life. He spits blood out of his mouth at me. Some lands in my eye, temporarily blinding me. I rub it out and when I gaze at my dad again, he is dead for good. I sit down and try to figure out what just happened. As I remember the past five minutes, I feel my muscles starting to cramp and I get a burning headache. I start to taste blood in the back of my mouth and no sooner than later am I coughing up

Jayne Dunlop, L6

blood. I lose all control of my muscles and fall to the floor. It feels like something’s inside me. A red blanket starts coming down over my eyes. I can feel my brain shutting down and within seconds, I’m in a deep sleep. When I wake up I feel only one thing… HUNGER. Harry Brewster, Form IV

PAWS AND TAILS This was it, what I’d been waiting on for months. I looked at the other contestants; we had all made it through the first few heats of the dog show but I knew they were the favourites to win. There was a boxer; a small, fat bulldog with a squished and intimidating face and definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer. His owner, Buster, wasn’t much different and to say that a dog looked like his owner would definitely fit for them. Then there was a chihuahua called Princess; probably the most pampered pooch in the world. I watched as she and her owner Polly sat side-by-side getting their nails painted and hair blow-dried, looking in amazement as she treated her like an actual person. Then I saw my last rival, Henry the shih tzu. His owner, Herbert, was one of the wealthiest people in the country, so he lived the ‘high-life’, and he made sure you knew it. Then there was me; the underdog of the competition. I was a cocker spaniel called Toby, and my owner was Tom. He was my best friend and we did everything together, he took me for walks and fed me and played with me for hours every day. He’s been training me for this too, when he

The Owl 2012

read about it in the paper a few months ago; even making me obstacles to practise on so I knew what I was doing. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15th annual Dog Show competition. The winners from the first four heats are back and are here to battle it out for the winner’s trophy. Now, please welcome back the contestants; we have Boxer accompanied by his owner Buster, Princess and her owner Polly, Henry and his handler Herbert, and last but by no means least, we have Toby with his owner Tom.” As he called out each of our names, we walked up to our platforms to the sounds of huge cheers from the audience, and I noticed my cheer was considerably less than the others, but that didn’t bother me. They’d be cheering when I’d won and proved everyone who doubted me wrong. “Can Boxer please make his way to the starting position.” Boxer then walked over, at let’s say a leisurely pace to the other starting position and after a short countdown he was off. He made it over the A-frame and Dogwalk, but just as he was approaching the Teeter-Totter he saw it; the hot dog stand. He went charging towards it faster than I’ve ever seen him run before; he knocked it over as he jumped through the air towards it. There were now sausages all over the floor around him; his face almost produced a smile as he started to eat everything. Buster then ran over, but instead of shouting at him, he sat down beside him and started to join in. “OK, well, looks like Buster is a bit preoccupied at the minute, so we’ll move on to our next contestant; can Princess please go over to the starting point.” And a minute later she was off, charging up the A-frame, down the Dogwalk, over the Teeter-Totters, through the tunnel, but just as she approached the mud pit she ground to an abrupt halt. She took one sniff of the mud and immediately turned her nose up and started to walk away; obviously it was too dirty for her to go through. “OK, well, we’ll move right along then; can Toby please make his way to the starting line. Ready and three, two, one, and he’s off.” I ran as fast as my legs would carry me. I made it through the first few obstacles without any trouble; through the mud pit, over the three consecutive hurdles and ran up the plank of wood to the final jump at the finish line. I had done it; all those weeks of preparation were worth it as I ran through the poles that marked the finishing post. All I could do now was wait for Henry to complete his run and hope that my time was faster than his; it was quite a big wish since he was trained by the best dog trainer in the country and had been performing for years before me. Tom came over and gave me a treat, rubbing my head and congratulating me as I ate. Then it was the time to find out who would win; Henry waited at the starting line for the whistle. In a flash, he was off; over the first couple of obstacles and, if I’m honest, faster than me. He jumped over the hurdles and went sprinting towards the final leap. But then he did something no one expected. He stopped right before he was about to jump. Everyone stared at him in amazement, waiting to see what would

happen. Henry then walked back down the plank, refusing to do the jump. “Well, it seems that Henry has forfeited the competition; our winner is therefore Toby.” Everyone turned their heads to glance at me and then after a moment of silence there were huge cheers and applause from everyone. They handed the trophy to Tom, who gave the biggest smile I’d ever seen. They didn’t clap for me earlier, but they’re definitely clapping for me now, and what a feeling it was! Matthew Harrison, Form III

AXE MAN The man stood there holding the bloodied axe, standing over my father’s mutilated body. And why? Because my father was the chief of police and had put half the man’s family in prison. But my story begins five hours earlier, in my house in Belfast. I was sitting in the living room with my father watching the television, when his police radio blared into life. “Armed robbery at Ulster Bank! We have identified three robbers and have the bank surrounded, but they have hostages!” My father sprung from the chair and ran to the radio. “This is Andrew Davidson,” said my father, “I’m on my way, hold your position until I arrive.” And with that he ran out of the room, without so much as a goodbye. Two hours passed and I had not heard a thing about what was happening and the lady on the news channel seemed to know no more than me. A further hour passed and I still had heard nothing other than that the police were coming up with a strategy to bypass the situation. But then in the background of the news channel I saw two men being led out of the bank handcuffed and surrounded by police. The news reader excitedly announced, “The men have been apprehended and are in police custody, and no hostages have been harmed. It was reported that the robbery was a family ordeal with the Moore family being involved. But despite the police’s best efforts it is reported that a Mark Moore escaped and the police are starting up a full-scale man hunt to find him. I was thrilled at the news and couldn’t wait until my father came home. Ten minutes later the doorbell rang. I raced to the door expecting to see my father there, but instead I found a large man dripping with sweat. “Are you John Davidson?” He asked. “Yes,” I replied, “Is something wrong?” “You could say that.” said the man, and with this he drew a large fire axe from underneath his coat. “Your father managed to put half my family in prison, and has launched a man hunt for me. Now don’t struggle, and get in that cupboard.” he said. I thought about trying to escape but I realised it was useless, and terrified, I clambered into the closet as the man had instructed. The man stood in my house for what seemed like an hour pacing up and down and seemingly waiting for my father to arrive home. Ten minutes later he got his wish


Literary Contributions

as the door opened and my father bustled in looking frustrated, which is probably why he didn’t notice as the man snuck up behind my father and clobbered him with the blunt end of the axe. My father fell, sprawled face down on the floor. “Don’t move!” The man said, “If you struggle you’ll be sorry.” Despite this warning my father turned over and tried to kick the man, but all this earned him was a large gash in the stomach. I could see my father lying groaning on the floor and I was terrified. I saw the phone on the other side of the room and decided to try to sneak over to it, as I knew that if I did nothing my father would be dead very shortly. So ever so slowly I crawled out of the cupboard and made my way towards the phone and despite my fear I made it! I dialled nine, nine, nine and in the quietest voice I could, I explained the situation. Then came the worst part; watching my father being hurt more and more and knowing that all I could do was wait. Time seemed to slow to a halt as I sat there wondering where the police could be, until I heard a loud bang, and the man standing over my father slumped to the ground, blood seeping from his head. Policemen rushed into the house and the ambulance crew rushed my father away. Well, that’s my story, and I can honestly say I never, ever want to go through something like that again. Luke Auterson, Form IV


MYSTERY OF THE FERRET HUTCH It was an average day in Ferret-Topia. Jessica Ferret was strolling through the park on her way home from work at the hat shop, when she noticed two ferrets lying dead by the water dish. What was that strange green chemical in the water? What should she do? There’s only one ferret who can solve this mystery…Ferlock Jones! When Ferlock arrived at the scene minutes later, the two dead ferrets were being taken away by ambulances, called the by the dead ferrets’ weeping families. Ferlock took a water sample, but he was pretty sure he knew what the poison was. He was right; it was the deadly Approdox Poison, which kills anyone who drinks it. “Those poor ferrets didn’t stand a chance,” muttered Ferlock as he examined a corpse. “There seems to be no sign of injuries on this ferret.” said Ferlock. “It was just a chance that these ferrets drank the contaminated water.” Ferlock decided to look for witnesses, when a woman, Mrs McCreedy-Ferret admitted that she had seen a ferret in a dark cloak looking suspicious near the water dish earlier that morning. Ferlock told Mrs McCreedyFerret to come to the station next morning to identify the murderer out of a crown of ferrets in cloaks, which he would find by checking bank statements of every ferret in Ferret-Topia.

The next morning, Ferlock went to pick up Mrs McCreedy-Ferret to find her door knocked down, and that she was lying dead in her armchair. She had a cup of tea in her hand, which was tainted with the deadly Approdox Poison. Ferlock was just about to give up when he found a crucial piece of evidence…there was a muddy paw print on the door. He took a picture, and sent it to his friend in the crime lab. The paw print registered to be a Matthew-Ferret, and just by chance, he was downstairs waiting to be identified by the dead Mrs McCreedy-Ferret. Ferlock checked Matthews’s police profile, finding that he had recently filed a report against a robbery in his home, which wasn’t solved. Ferlock put two and two together, and realised that all of this was for revenge!! He ran downstairs to search for Matthew, but somehow he wasn’t there. Ferlock was about to go mad, when he noticed a small hole in his wall, big enough for a ferret to crawl through. Ferlock glared through the hole, noticing Matthew was only a few metres away. Ferlock jumped through the hole and called for backup. The chase was on! After a twenty minute chase that seemed to last forever Ferlock’s luck changed. Matthew Ferret tripped over the memorial statue of the ferrets he murdered, and after a loud shout, came crashing to the ground. Ferlock handcuffed him and threw him in jail. Everyday you can hear Matthew Ferret shout, “I will get my revenge, Ferlock Jones!” Ben Hoey, Form III

TRENCH LIFE 1st March 1917 Dear Lotty, How are you and how is little George? You said in your last letter that everything was all right back home; well I only wish I could say the same about here. It’s bloody awful! You should see the conditions we have to live in. We live in trenches. We live in such tight spaces and the smell is putrid. There is barbed wire to try and stop the Germans from getting into our trenches. However, they don’t usually even get that far as we usually shoot them dead with our machine guns before they get a foothold. I have recently moved from the support trench to the front line. Behind the support trenches are the reserve trenches. Linking all the lines together are a series of communication trenches. We use these as ‘Blind Alleys’ to confuse the enemy in case of a successful attack. The whole system is in a zigzag form so once again we can try and bluff the enemy and prevent them from firing down the trenches should they be captured. Most of us usually rotate around the different trenches every fortnight or so but this is my first time here. The front line is two metres deep and almost as wide. We have to walk on wooden duck-boards to avoid all the

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Form 2

Form 2

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mud but there is completely no point as the mud just comes through. I was very fortunate when I was stationed in a very quiet area of the support trenches but now that I’m at the front line everything is different. It’s always so chaotic and everyone lives in fear of going ‘over the top’. My day used to consist of the main routines of sentry duty, trench maintenance and weapon cleaning. The reason I have been posted at the front is because when I was cleaning my weapon I accidentally shot myself in the foot! The General didn’t believe that it was an accident and so he sent me to the front line. The officers thought I was ‘copping a Blighty’ just to get home. The trench is always cold, muddy and a horrible place to be. So many of us have lice. I am very lucky not to be one of them! The lads try cracking them with their thumb nails but it only leaves them with huge boils and blisters. There is a de-lousing station and that’s where we get the nickname ‘chats’ for the lice, as when we are waiting to be de-loused we sit and chat to each other. The thing that I hate most about the trenches has got to be the rats. The rats have fully infested the place. They are attracted by the flesh of dead soldiers as well as the leftover food scraps. Flies are another problem. There are always thousands and thousands of them about. They get attracted by the horse manure and trench rats. Sometimes the sound of the swarming flies actually drowns out the sound of shell attacks!

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We have different weapons. We use the artillery guns to destroy the enemy trenches and to allow an easy crossing of ‘no man’s land’ but what the generals don’t understand is that they do no more than churn up the ground and make it harder for us to cross it. The artillery guns vary from small field-pieces to giant howitzers which can fire shells into enemy lines from up to 13 kilometres. Between you and me I think General Haig is a fool! First of all he thinks that the artillery guns are effective and he also thinks that the machine guns are not the best weapons to use. However the machine guns are the most effective weapons we have. They can kill more soldiers than any other weapon. It’s a pity we have so few of them. The Germans had them first before us and when General Haig saw how effective they were, that’s when he agreed that we should use them too! Gas is the most horrible way to die. There is nothing you can do to stop yourself from inhaling it and it must be terrible knowing that death is certain. When the chlorine gas got into our trench we all had to pee in our hankies and breathe into them to stop inhaling the chlorine gas. It was disgusting but I’ll tell you this, I would rather do it than be suffocated by the gas. It has an unusual smell of pepper and pineapple. By far the worst gas is Mustard Gas. It eats away at your lungs and leaves big, grown men crying out in agony as they die slowly. It also gives you huge blisters and this burning sensation down your throat. Remember


Literary Contributions

Robyn Gilmore, M6

Meabh King, L6


Grace Rea, F5

I told you I had made a good friend? Well sadly I lost him to mustard gas. He had been moved to the front line trench before me. They told him he would be back within a fortnight or so. His trench was struck by mustard gas but as it is colourless, odourless and tasteless he didn’t realise he had been affected. He was brought back to my trench where I watched him slowly die. There was nothing I could do. He was called Peter but I called him Pete. We both enlisted on the same day and I’d been with him every day until he was sent to the front. I miss him a lot. I’ve got other friends in the platoon, Robert and Edward, but Pete was my best friend and I will miss him forever. Now we have got gas masks! They are so uncomfortable but they save lives. ‘No-man’s land’ is the area of land between the two front lines. Both sides try to get to the other’s front line and it isn’t easy what with the craters that the artillery guns make. They fill up with water and really thick sludgy mud. It becomes very easy to fall into them and if you do it is nearly impossible to try and get back out. So many people drown and die in those craters and the fact that this could be prevented is just terrible. Before we go into battle in the middle of the night, someone has to go out and cut the barbed wire so we can get through. They have to put a different colour tape on the openings of the wire to show us where to go. This isn’t very good as it shows the enemy that we are planning for battle. Once again General Haig has not thought his tactics through! If

Claire Burns, M6

the soldiers are extremely lucky enough to get across no-man’s land they have to start cutting through all the barbed wire that the enemy have put up. This is obviously very difficult and dangerous as the Germans who would be even closer to you by now, would be firing their very powerful machine guns. It is almost certain death! Speaking about certain death, Lotty, tomorrow I’m ‘going over the top’. We are planning a huge battle and I have been chosen to be one of the many soldiers going over. I have never been so scared in my entire life. I just don’t know what to do; well I guess there isn’t anything I can do. But, I don’t want to die. I’ve made it this far in this war; survived all the gas attacks, the artillery gun attacks, everything. I guess I sort of knew this time would come eventually. But I just kept trying to keep it out of my mind. I am so nervous and terrified. How far across will I make it? Will I get shot? Will I drown in a crater? I just don’t know. Whatever will be, will be? I hope that somehow this letter finds its way to you. Tell little George that I will always love him forever and ever. And Lotty, I will love you always. William Mollie Haddock, Form IV

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Jade Anderson-Flaherty, F5

Philip Simon, F5

Rose Crossan, L6

Sophie Gaston, F5

Megan Reilly, L6

Ali Shaath, F5

Kathleen Maguire, L6

Naomi Cahill, M6 Stephanie Stronge, L6

Caitlin Killen, F5

Niamh Conlon, M6

Oriana Firgau, L6


Literary Contributions

Form 3


Jack Kane, M6

Megan Bingham, F5

Charis Hanna, L6

Form 3

Form 3

Ashleigh Boal, F5

Rebecca Rowan, F5

Briana Laverty, F5

Form 3

Alex Kyle, F5

Steven Baillie, L6

Emily Semple, F5

Matt Holland, F5

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Distribution of Prizes The Annual Distribution of Prizes took place this year on Friday, 26th October at the University of Ulster. The Warden, Mr S.B. Orr, LL.B. welcomed the Guest of Honour, Professor Janice Carruthers MA, MPhil, PhD. Professor Carruthers is a very distinguished former pupil of the Academy.

Drawing on statistical evidence, Professor Carruthers emphasised the lack of females in top positions such as the High Court, Professorships and the FTSE 100 - after all it was two women, Queen Elizabeth II and President Mary McAleese, who broke down the postpartition boundaries.

In her speech Professor Carruthers congratulated the prize winners. Professor Carruthers reminisced about her family connection with the Academy and recalled Mr Snowball as the inspiration for her future career. Professor Carruthers acknowledged the students’ achievements as a combination of talent and graft. However, she posed the idea that the challenge was how to use these achievements for a career.

Professor Carruthers closed by reminding us all to enjoy success and quoted Steve Jobs, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Quoting Simone Weil, “I can therefore I am”, Professor Carruthers reminded the students they were extremely fortunate to have had access to such a varied educational experience and challenged the prize winners to think about what they could do to shape the future. Professor Carruthers, referencing Nelson Mandela, stressed that education is a “powerful weapon” which can be used to “change the world”: learning about Shakespeare, Physics and RE is more than the A* grade; it is about power and jealousy, questioning narrow-mindedness, and being able to consider conflicting points of view.

The Senior Orchestra gave a powerful rendition of the Macrhe Slave by Tchaikovsky while the Chamber Choir gave a moving performance of Bruckner’s Locus Iste. We are grateful to the Rev. Prof. J. P. Taylor M.B.E. for opening the prize-giving ceremony with prayers. Mr Dickson included a DVD produced for the occasion as part of his report to the prize winners and their families. ****

The Headmaster’s Address

Everything employers want is already being taught through the subjects in the curriculum. She urged the students to learn to choose, to be guided by their passions, to take advice, but ultimately to make their own decisions.

Warden, Ladies and Gentlemen, Pupils of the Academy

Professor Carruthers asked the prize winners to push boundaries and advised the best way of doing so is to experience the “Other” through travel; respect for other cultures begins with understanding them. As an illustration, she felt no single school within our society reflected fully the entire culture of the island.

I remember her as a highly accomplished Sixth Former: at the heart of our musical life, playing the piano nervelessly in Assembly, full of intellectual vitality and potential. A very able pupil in a talented Form, she gained a place at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, to study Law, but she soon listened to the call of her

It is a pleasure to welcome our Guest of Honour, Professor Janice Carruthers, to our Ceremony today.


Distribution of Prizes vocation and switched to Modern Languages. Her first degree was followed by an MPhil in Linguistics and then a PhD in French Linguistics. An academic of the first order, she is now Head of the School of Modern Languages at Queen’s University. I remember Janice also as part of a Carruthers dynasty. Her parents were central figures in the Staff Room when I joined the Academy in 1980. Her father, David, was for many years our leading coach in Rugby and Athletics; as Head of Careers he established the central role of that Department and he was a popular teacher of Mathematics; her mother, Catherine, was considered the model of an effective Form Mistress and was a Mathematics teacher who had the knack both of stretching the most able and building the confidence of the mathematically insecure. The dynasty extended to Professor Carruthers’s brothers, David and Mark, and indeed extends in time to the present day, as Mark is married to our Deputy Principal, Dr Scully. Professor Carruthers - it feels as though you were destined to return to the Academy community as our Guest of Honour today: welcome back.


I would like to thank the Warden for his support throughout the year. A former pupil, brother of a former pupil and father of Johnny and Caroline, former pupils of a more recent vintage, his commitment to the school is profound - both emotional and professional. He has led the Board of Governors with characteristic efficiency and good-humour at a time of significant challenge and change. His interest in school life is genuine and unforced, and his support for school activities has been a source of encouragement for many. I am grateful to him and to the Board of Governors for their expertise and for their tireless efforts on behalf of the School. I thank, too, Professor Taylor, whose Academy associations are extensive, for taking part in our ceremony today. ****

I am pleased to report that our academic standards continue to rise: our pupils last year improved upon their predecessors’ results at GCSE, AS and A Level. At GCSE, Elizabeth Sinclair achieved 11 A*s, 90% of pupils achieved grades A* - C in 7 academic subjects, including English and Mathematics. Indeed, one third of the Form achieved grade A* or A in 7 subjects. Jenna Todd scored full marks in Art and Design.

At Advanced Level also, our pupils improved upon the performance of last year’s MVI, which had been our best, this despite the reduction in top grades awarded by CEA and the English examination Boards. 86% of examinations sat were passed at grades A* - C. In 22 of the 26 subjects offered, the pass rate was 100%. Indeed, out of 596 subjects entered, only 9 were failed. Ridwan Farouki achieved 4 A* grades (for which you must score at least 90% in the A2 papers) and 1 A grade, Julia Diamond and Daniel Stark each achieved 4 A* grades. At Advanced Level, Further Mathematics is thought to be the most challenging subject. Last year, more pupils took the subject in the Academy than in any other school in Northern Ireland, and of the 15 who did so, 9 achieved an A*, 4 an A, 1 a B and 1 a C grade. Daniel Stark was placed 3rd in the subject in Northern Ireland. Mathematics is very strong in school. At GCSE, 67% of pupils achieved an A* or A grade in the subject. In the Queen’s University Schools’ Mathematics Competition, Tom Hanna, Jordan Shaw, Chris Turnbull and Ben Campbell came 1st, defeating teams from 27 other schools. ****

Ridwan Farouki has taken up a place at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, to read Mathematics and John William Carey and Aleksy Gaj have secured places at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford, to read History and Philosophy, Politics and Economics, respectively. ****

On a day when we welcome Professor Carruthers as our Guest of Honour, it is pleasing to note the achievements of our Modern Languages students. Following interviews in Paris, Anna McShane and Neil Fulton won conditional offers to study French at the prestigious University of London Institute in Paris, following in the footsteps of Rebecca Anderson who has completed her first year at the Institute. Kathryn Fusco won 1st place in the Santander Spanish Essay Competition organised by Queen’s University and was placed 3rd in the French Essay competition. Jazmin Campbell was placed equal 3rd in the Spanish Essay competition. The tradition of excellence in Modern Languages continues - Patricia Martin achieved Full Marks in this year’s GCSE French examination. ****

At AS Level, 98% of pupils achieved at least 3 passes and 79% of all subject entries were passed at grades A C. Ben O’Donnell gained full marks in Art and Design and Matthew Smith scored full marks in English Literature. Stephen Doyle achieved 5 grade A passes.

Members of last year’s Middle Sixth Form have embarked upon Degree courses in 33 universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Our local universities are the choice of the majority of pupils, but 60 have taken up places farther afield, from Galway to Newcastle and

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Plymouth to Aberdeen, which will mean something to the Geographers present. ****

I thank Mrs McCaig and her staff for the excellent work which they do at Ben Madigan. I try to spend some time with them every week, and I am impressed not only by the academic standards which they achieve, but also by their ability to develop within young children self-discipline and good manners, and, as they grow older and are given responsibilities, self-confidence and composure which will stand by them in the years to come. ****

This year we say farewell to six members of our teaching staff whose professionalism, commitment and care for their pupils have been exemplary. In the Academy Newsletter I wrote of Dr Lomas, Mrs Heaslip, Mrs Leyden, Mrs Connolly, Mrs Lyttle and Mr Carroll that, “their careers have been shining threads in the fabric of this school’s life - their encouragement, and the opportunities which they have created, have given impetus and direction to many.” In the final days of the summer term we learned that another name would be added to those to whom we must say farewell, when Mr Evans was appointed to the position of Vice Principal at Coleraine Academical Institution, creating another bond with that historic school of which our Guest of Honour’s brother, Dr David Carruthers, is Principal. I congratulate Mr Evans and wish him well in his new role. We will also say farewell, after Half-Term, to Mr Ivan Mawhinney, who has done the school great service as a member of our ancillary staff. I would like again to express my gratitude to Mr Young and his team at A.Q.E. The quality of that assessment and the attention to detail with which it is administered are exemplary. We continue to be one of the most over-subscribed schools. This does not breed complacency; rather, it prompts us to consider why the school is popular, and challenges us to maintain and, indeed, strengthen the qualities which make the school what it is. We were reminded of those qualities on the morning of our Christmas Reception in December, when Mr Sillery spoke about his predecessor with charactertic wit and grace at the unveiling of an illuminated plinth in the Crombie entrance Hall in memory of Mr Louis Lord, Headmaster of the Academy in the 1970s, whose influence upon the School was both profound and enduring. ****

By some alchemy, the time and energy pupils invest in the extra-curricular life of the school support rather than detract from academic success. Sport and music teach

the lesson which underpins success in the examinations - that without thorough preparation, without hard work, you will not succeed. Our extra-curricular life, before and after school, at lunchtime, at the weekends and in the holidays continues to thrive, thanks to the dedication of teachers whose vision of education, and whose awareness of the contribution which they can make to the development of young people, reach well beyond the classroom. This short film, created by Mr Jamison, will highlight some of the year’s individual achievements, and some of the personalities and moments which will linger in the memory of this generation of pupils.* ****

I am grateful to Mr Jamison once again, for putting together such an enjoyable record of the year. I pay tribute to every pupil featured in the film. I have been privileged in many cases to see the efforts which they have made, often over a considerable period of time, to reach the exceptional standards which they have achieved. I will not recite again the individual achievements which we have seen celebrated in film. However, I hope that you will permit me to recall one Saturday in June which exemplified much that characterises this school. We were among the schools with most competitors at the Irish Schools’ Athletics Championships in Tullamore. I was proud of that, and proud also of the number of our teachers who were present to support and to officiate, and of the good humour of our pupils and their support for team-mates - they seem able to find the right way either to congratulate or commiserate. But one moment in particular stands out, when Emma Kelso broke the Irish Schools’ record in the Intermediate Girls’ Pole vault, to win Gold. The record had been held by her team-mate, Lucy Dugan, who was the first to congratulate her (they were vaulting on the same runway) before going on to win her own Gold in the Senior event. Dedication to excellence, a competitive spirit, confidence, civility and good humour. The moment and the day encapsulated qualities which are shared by the pupils in this hall and which characterise our school. They were evident also in two new events this year, one of which may become a familiar feature in our calendar. We participated for the first time in the Rock Challenge dance competition, and performed, to considerable acclaim, in the Waterfront Hall. I am grateful to Miss Craig for leading this initiative and look forward to seeing this year’s production.


Distribution of Prizes

The other notable addition to the list of school events, and one which will surely not be soon repeated, was the record-breaking Big Scrum, which took place at Ravenhill before the Ulster - Aironi match in March. More than half of our pupils were involved, along with guests from schools across North Belfast - 840 in all. The project was launched when Dr Jack Kyle, Darren Cave and the South African Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency, Jeremiah Ndou visited school in February. The money raised by the event was donated to Tygersburg Children’s Hospital when our Senior rugby players toured South Africa in the summer. The scrum itself was a memorable occasion. A film of it can be found on You Tube: it is well worth seeing, if you haven’t watched it yet, I commend it to you. The Scrum was a model of effective planning and logistics - I am grateful to Mr McCarey and Mr Shields for their initiative and attention to detail. I look forward to our appearance in the Guinness Book of World Records. The Rugby Tour was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved. It was one of a number of projects in June and July which saw more than 100 Senior pupils travel abroad with the school. 55 pupils, in two teams, led by Mrs Heaslip and Dr Bell, travelled to Malawi for work experience; for the first time a Sixth Form team, led by Ms Keenan and Mr Nash, travelled to Romania to work on a Habitat for Humanity project and 35 boys travelled to South Africa. 80

In addition, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions carried on through August. More than 400 pupils are currently involved in the scheme, led with such energy and care by Mr Reilly. I do not know if there is any truth in the rumour that Mr Reilly and the Duke are on Christian-name terms, so often have they met at Awards’ ceremonies in St. James’s Palace, but if it is not so, it should be. ****

While it was fun to watch the Olympic torch relay go past the front of school, it was particularly gratifying that two pupils who have made an outstanding contribution to their sports had the opportunity to carry the torch Eorann O’Neill carried it through Antrim and on the waters of Lough Neagh, and Holly Hamill had one of the relay legs in Belfast - it was an experience which they will surely never forget. Nor, I think, will the pupils who had the opportunity to represent Northern Ireland at the U.K. School Games, held this year in the Olympic Stadium itself, shortly before the London Games. ****

As an English teacher, my brief review of the year must include Mr Evans’ assured production of The Tempest,

which I greatly enjoyed. He drew fine performances from our pupils, who spoke the language of Shakespeare with confidence. It is a valedictory play and it proved to be a fitting farewell to Mr Evans, who did so much for the development of Drama in our school. Our Spring Concert returned to the refurbished Spires Centre and once again proved to be one of the highlights of the year. Fourteen different groups performed. The standard - the consequence both of innate talent and of many hours of rehearsal - was excellent. I thank Ms McMullan and her colleagues in the Music Department for all their efforts. It is testimony to their ability to engage and inspire that more than 250 pupils performed in the concert, while many others performed in the Assembly Hall at the Summer Serenade. I commend the work of the 12 pupils who attended the 174 Trust on one or two evenings every week, where they worked with 30 children with Special Needs; and the 40 LVI pupils who attended Primary schools in North and West Belfast throughout the year as classroom helpers; the eighty Sixth Formers who volunteered to mentor pupils in our Junior Forms; the pupils and staff who took part in the Mournes Clean Up and the second ‘clean-up’ of Cave Hill organised by our parents’ group, Friends of the Academy; the Community Service Group which worked with the elderly and the disabled. And I congratulate all those involved with the Save the Children charity in school. We raised £5000 for this cause last year, and won the Rita Roden Cup, which is presented to the school which raises most money for Save the Children in Northern Ireland. In all, our pupils raised more than £20,000 for charitable causes. These activities are close to the heart of what we are as a school. Our pupils have represented Ulster in a range of sports from Rugby and Hockey, to Netball, Cricket and Athletics. We are provincial or Irish Champions in Swimming, Rifle-shooting, Lifesaving, Athletics, Show-jumping and Bridge - and, indeed, we have Champions in events such as Judo, Gymnastics, KickBoxing and Irish Dancing in which our pupils excel outside school. It is an eclectic mix, because our community of talents is diverse. I congratulate them all, just as I congratulate those who will receive prizes for academic excellence today. They share a determination to fulfil their potential and to strive for excellence. I was in the audience recently when Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, recalled an elderly judge who was heard to remark, “…reform, reform: aren’t things bad enough already?” Curriculum review, Area planning, the Entitlement Framework, the new ESA with its

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attendant changes to school management, and budget cuts…in this time of turbulence we must be constant, true to our ethos and values. The German poet Goethe wrote, at the end of the 18th Century, “Treat a man as he is, [and] he will remain so. Treat a man the way he can be, and ought to be, and he will become [what] he can be and should be.” We seek to develop within our pupils an awareness of their own potential, and to provide them with the challenges and opportunities which will allow them to fulfil that potential and gain the skills required for life beyond school. This, I think, is education. As the pupils present will know, the word comes from the Latin - Educere “to lead out”, and our motto tells us where we lead: “per vias sapientiae” - along paths of wisdom. The achievements which we celebrate today are milestones on that journey, but they are not the end of the journey. In our ceremony today we welcome back members of last year’s MVI who have begun their university careers and sooner than they can imagine, they will be going on into employment.They will take with them the imprint of an Academy education - high standards, selfconfidence and respect for others. I am fortunate indeed to work with teachers who give more than any employer has a right to expect in order to realise this vision of education: the high standards and achievements which we celebrate today are testimony to their dedication. As I conclude, it is no conventional gesture to express my sense of indebtedness to my colleagues, and especially those who work most closely with the Headmaster; to my Deputy, Dr Scully, who handles pastoral issues with great care and enviable good sense and assurance; and who, despite the scale of her administrative responsibilities, still manages to inspire and lead what must surely be the most accomplished school Traditional Music Group in Ireland; the Vice Principals, Mr Creighton whose values and commitment underpin thehigh standards of discipline which prevail in school, and whose Malawi project has become a signature activity, a true expression of our ethos; and Dr Brown, who has masterminded the most significant change in the daily life of the Academy for more than 25 years - our new timetable and middle school curriculum have won the approval of staff and pupils and have attracted the interest of other schools. For some years I have occasionally found myself asking ‘What day is this?’ - I now have to ask, ‘What week is this?’ as well...

I am grateful also for the financial expertise of our Bursar, Miss Hull, whose excellent budgetary management has piloted the school through the most precarious financial waters. Their contribution to the success of our school is beyond calculation. *At this point a DVD was shown to illustrate some of the highlights from the school year; including the following:

SPORT Athletics • 1st in District Championships. • Ruari Brogan, Alan Curtis, Scott McMurtry and Stewart Martin were selected to represent Ulster in the U16 Inter-provincial Championships at Santry. • Alan Curtis in the 400m Hurdles was selected for and competed with the Irish Schools’ team against England, Scotland and Wales in the Home Countries SIAB international in Ashford, Kent during the summer. • 52 medals at District Championships. • 21 medals at Ulster Schools’ Championships. • 5 medals at the Irish Schools’ Championships. • 5 athletes: Emma Kelso, Pole Vault; Melissa Moffett, Hammer; Rory Brogan, 100m Hurdles; Alan Curtis Long Jump and Stewart Martin, Discus, were part of a 40 strong team selected to represent Northern Ireland to compete against the full Scotland and Wales teams and 5 regional England teams. Swimming • 132 medals in competition and the top swimming school in Ulster. • The Junior Boys’, Girls’ and Intermediate Girls’ Relay teams are Irish Champions. • Individually, Conor Ferguson, Eorann O’Neill and Mark Wylie are Irish Champions, with Conor picking up Silver and Bronze medals at the British Championships. Lifesaving • The Senior girls are British Champions. • Shannon Alexander and Eorann O’Neill are Senior Girls’ Ulster Champions. • Ruairi Hurson and Alan Curtis were 2nd in the Senior Boys’ and Tom Donnelly and Robert Bowman picked up Silver in the Junior Boys’ section.


Distribution of Prizes • At the British Surf Lifesaving Championships, Shannon and Eorann O’Neill won Silver and Bronze medals. • Shannon and Mark represented Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Durban, South Africa. Waterpolo • Eorann O’Neill and Lori Turkington were selected for Irish U16 team and Shannon Alexander and Caroline Montgomery for the Irish U19s. • The Girls’ team competed in the Irish U19 and finished 3rd. Later in the year they reached the final of the Irish U16 and were placed 2nd. • The Girls’ team competed in the Irish Senior Ladies’ Waterpolo League and won Division 2. • The U14 team won the Ulster Schools’ Cup. Rugby • Daniel Dass and Stewart Martin represented Ulster Schools’ U18. • David Patterson represented Ulster U19. • The Senior rugby squad toured South Africa between 12-27th July. 35 boys toured in total. Show-Jumping 82

• The Novice and Open Teams won Portmore Equestrian Centre Schools’ competition in March 2012. • Novice team runners-up. • The Open Show-Jumping Team was crowned as M.E.C Champions 2012. • Jessica Johnston in Form III, at the Dublin Horse Show, qualified for the final which was held in the main arena, where she finished in 2nd place. • Sarah Sproule is top Junior Eventer in Northern Ireland.

Netball • The Senior team and the Junior A teams were undefeated within the Belfast League. • The Senior team’s captain, Lucy Dugan represented Northern Ireland U21’s and captained the team on a number of matches. • Naomh McGuigan and Lauren McCullough were selected for the Podium Squad. Cricket • The school reached the McCullough Cup SemiFinal. • Jordan McClurkin, Daniel McFadden and Jordan Carlisle toured Durham with the Ulster Schools’ XI. • Andrew Forbes was selected for the Northern Cricket Union Under 15 team. • Jack Burton was selected for the Northern Cricket Union Under 13 team. • Ross Bryans was selected for the Northern Cricket Union Under 17 team. Hockey (Boys) • The 1st XI team enjoyed success in the Prior Shield, qualifying for the semi- finals for the first time in recent years. • The Colts team enjoyed similar success in the Taylor Cup where they progressed through to the semi-finals. Shooting • Adam Purvis got into the Cadet Hundred. In August, he was a member of the GB Cadet National Team (the Athelings) which spent four weeks in Canada. Kick Boxing • Kristian Irwin is NI champion. Canoeing

Hockey (Girls) • The 1st XI reached the quarter-final of the Senior Schools’ Cup.

• Sea Cadet National Regatta. Amy Kingston and Nikita McCoubrey won Gold in doubles and relay. • Courtney Dougan Junior Gold.

• Representative honours: • Erin Getty & Abbie Brown Ulster U15 • Faye Kidd

Ulster & Ireland U16

• Anna Hutchinson

Ulster U18 B

• Emily Reid

Ulster U21

• Holly Reid

Belfast U17

• Lucy Miller

Belfast U15.

Judo • James Reid - Ulster Schools’ Championship representing BRA - Gold medal; All-Ireland Schools’ Championship representing BRA - Gold medal; Irish Open (14-17 age group) - Bronze medal; Irish Open (17-20 age group) - Bronze medal.

The Owl 2012

Bridge • Winners of the Ulster Schools’ Teams, Irish Schools’ Pairs and the Under 20 Inter-provincials. Our Senior team represented Northern Ireland in the Home Internationals. Golf • Judithe Allen and Amy O’Donnell took part in the ILGU competition at Royal County Down.

EXTRA CURRICULAR Dramatic Society • In November the Senior Dramatic Society performed a 1960’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Rock Challenge • On Thursday 19th April, 35 girls competed in the Rock Challenge competition at the Waterfront Hall. Music • Spire’s Concert. • Ulster Youth Choir - Michael Bell and Sarah Minford. • Ulster Youth Training Choir - Faye Kidd. • Ulster Youth Orchestra - Michael Bell and Stephen Doyle. • National Youth Orchestra of Ireland - Michael Bell (principal horn). • Michael Bell received the Stephen Parker Memorial Award 2012. • Summer Serenade. • The Senior Carol service in St. Peter’s, Antrim Road. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. • 40 Bronze Awards, 15 Silver Awards and 14 Gold Awards were gained. • 414 pupils enrolled. • On Tuesday, 31st January, 2012 Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, opened the new Northern Ireland Regional Office of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Newtownbreda. • The 22nd Annual Mournes’ Clean-up and Environment Day was held on Saturday, 10th December, 2011 raising £2570.

TRIPS • Burghley Horse Trials. • Skiing in Passo Tonale. • Rome: 27 Senior pupils studying Religious Studies travelled to Rome in October for the annual A-Level Church-History trip. • Paris: for the first time, and in an effort to accommodate all who wished to travel, two Form II trips were organised to Paris this year – one at Easter and one at the end of the summer term. 44 pupils accompanied by 5 staff took part in each trip. • Hadrian’s Wall. • Hockey tour to Edinburgh. • Scripture Union weekend in Castlewellan Castle. • Malawi: in June 46 pupils, 10 staff and 2 support medical staff travelled to Mulanje Mission Station, Malawi. • Romania Habitat for Humanity: seven of our LVI pupils travelled to Romania for a 13 day period, from 27th June - 9th July 2012, as part of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Build. • Sweden: we had a most successful exchange visit to Sweden in February, with 14 students enjoying the experience of living with a Swedish family. • 4th Spanish School Exchange with Instituto Juan de Villanueva 1st Leg. The autumn of 2011 saw our 4th successful exchange with Pola de Siero, Asturias. • The Under 14A rugby team toured Cambridge.

EVENTS • Pet Club Special. • Annual Art Display. • School Crest Dedication to Mr Lord. • World Book Day. • National Poetry Day. • Sponsored Walk. • Charities. • The weekly Charity collection raised over £7500 for good causes in the course of the year. • Sponsored Walk raising £9300. • Save The Children £5000. • Modern Languages - Cuba Day. • Olympic Torch Bearers: Eorann O’Neill and Holly Hamill.


Distribution of Prizes • Johann Muller Visit. • His Excellency Jeremiah Ndou, the South African Ambassador to Ireland, visited the school on the 24th February to meet the rugby tourists and those involved in the World Record Scrum. Jack Kyle was also a guest at this occasion. • On the 30th March 2012, 840 children, led by the Academy, set a new world record for the largest ever rugby scrum. They did so at Ravenhill and the majority remained to watch Ulster vs Aironi in the Rabo Direct League.

VALETE • We said farewell to six members of staff at the end of the academic year: Mrs Heaslip, Mrs Leyden, Mrs Connolly, Mrs Lyttle and Mr Carroll.

ACADEMIC • In the Santander Essay Competitions in association with QUB, Kathyrn Fusco was awarded first prize in Spanish and third prize in French. Jazmin Campbell was awarded third prize in Spanish.


• Juanita O’Kane won first prize in the “Tell the Future” competition, Junior category. • 2nd in the UKMT Senior Team Challenge. The team was: Tom Hanna (LVI), Chris Turnbull (FV), Ridwan Farouki (MVI) and John McBride (MVI). • UKMT Junior Team Challenge. The team was: Richard Ware (FII), Andrew Milligan (FII), Mimi Joffroy (FIII) and Hollie McCalmont (FIII). • We won the QUB Annual Maths Competition (first of 28 teams from across Northern Ireland) - the team was Tom Hanna (LVI), Jordan Shaw (LVI), Chris Turnbull (FV) and Ben Campbell (FV). • The Villiers Park Trust. 18 pupils selected by the Trustees of Villiers Park for participation in the Annual Series of Reading Parties at Foxton, Cambridge. • Patricia Martin full marks in GCSE French. • Matthew Smith full marks in AS English. • Ben O’Donnell and Jenna Todd full marks in AS Art and Design. • Elizabeth Sinclair gained 11 passes at A*. • 22 pupils gained 11 passes at A* or A.

• BRA pupils once again finished in the top positions of the West Belfast Festival Short Story Competition. 11 - 13 years old category: 2nd Aimee Cochrane; 3rd - Jack Duffy. 14 - 16 years old category: 3rd - Mimi Joffroy. Kevin Morrison and Vincent Parker from Feile Belfast visited School to present the prizes.

• Stephen Doyle gained 5 grade A passes.

• Daniel Davison - Environmental Youth Speak.

• 60 pupils took up university positions outside Northern Ireland including Neil Fulton and Anna McShane secured places at the University of London in Paris.

• Form I pupils, Conor Ferguson, Jonathan Evans, Douglas Adams, Adam McTeggart, Jillian Lynn and Masha Holmes won awards for reaching the top 10 in the Amnesty International UK Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year Competition.

• 16 pupils gained 4 grade A passes. • Ridwan Farouki gained 4A* passes and 1A pass. • Julia Diamond and Daniel Stark gained 4A* passes. • 4 pupils gained 5 passes at A* or A.

• Ridwan Farouki, Corpus Christi, Cambridge University, Daniel Gaj and John-William Carey, St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford University.

The Owl 2012

PRIZE LIST Baillie, Rachel E Brown, Molly E Carroll, Euan D Carson, Megan C Dalzell, Ellen K Ferguson, Adam J Foster, Conor M Gaston, Lucy C Geddis, Trinity E Gilleece, Grainne M Hamilton, Lauren R Hoey, Caitlin A Lawlor, Callum G A Maguire, Aaron E

Form I Marshall, Katie R Martin, Shane M McAlister, Thomas G McIlwaine, Rebecca L Moore, Craig D Moore, Peter T G Patterson, Barra Quigley, Daniel G Reid, Alice Ritchie, Katie L Ross, Jasmine L Vick, Amber L Wallace, Leah

HONOURABLE MENTION Adams, Douglas W Loudon, Daniel B A Bukowski, Szymon McBride, Conor W L Carse, Rebecca E McVeigh, Curtis J Cavan, Tara Meeke, Andrew Clements, Lucy A Orr, Natasha Gourley, Sinead M Proctor, Eve I J Hughes, Meaghan A G Purdy, Finn Hurson, Lui R Snoddy, Ethan M Loboda, Laura D Spence, Kate Bryan, Lucy A E Cochrane, Aimee C Convery, Hannah E Cousins, Mary O Crawford, Amy H Davidson, Lewis Dawson, Chloe A Dougan, Courtney N Edgar, Hannah E M Getty, Erin M P E Kelly, Natasha Loboda, Zuzanna A McCarthy, Nathan J McDowell, Katie J

Form II McMahon, Emily A Millard, Jack E Miller, Kirsty A Murray, Jamie E J Newton, Naomi J Patton, Morgan L Reid, Kiah R T Roe, Jason F Stewart, Casey J Stewart, Victoria Waite, Megan A Wallace, Abby M Ware, Richard J L

HONOURABLE MENTION Beavis, Bethany A E McCartney, Cameron L Bond, Molly R McConnell, Christopher R Burton, Jack P McGookin, Holly L Carey, Thomas P J McVeigh, Jessica L Firgau Marcano, Carlos L Milligan, Andrew W G Hamill, Emily C North, Jessica E Henderson, Hannah E Tandon, J Yasmine Ireland, Mathew T Waters, Philip J Lockhart, Neave S Young, Jamie F Martin, Alan D

DEPARTMENTAL PRIZES Form III Anderson, Chloe M Technology and Design Auterson, Luke S Biology Boreland, Andrew J General Excellence Brewster, Harry J German, Biology, Latin, Geography Chisim, Cameron E G General Excellence Corry, Ryan D Physics, History Dalzell, Callum T Mathematics, Business Studies Gergett, Cameron B Chemistry, Latin Gribbon, Emer C General Excellence Gutermann, Cianan C German, French Harper, Courtney Y English Hipolito, Micah D Chemistry, Latin, Music, Spanish, Technology and Design, Religious Studies, Art and Design Hoey, Ben German, French Joffroy, Mimi A Chemistry, English, Physics, Mathematics, Spanish, French, Biology, Geography, History Macaulay, Scott Drama Martin, Niamh K Home Economics, Religious Studies McCalmont, Hollie T Physics, Mathematics, Music, Religious Studies McGovern, Erica R Drama McKenna, Kieran P Music McLarnon, David M Geography, History O’Donnell, Rachael M Technology and Design, Art and Design, Business Studies O’Kane, Juanita C Art and Design Reid, James M T Business Studies Stevenson, Benjamin English Watt, Bethan R Technology and Design HONOURABLE MENTION Form III Atkinson, Rachel E Religious Studies Auterson, Luke S Physics, Technology and Design Beattie, Rebecca Y Spanish Black, Cameron A Notable Progress Boreland, Andrew J Physics, Technology and Design, Business Studies Brewster, Harry J French Brown, Abbie R Business Studies Carroll, Niamh H R Latin Chia, Roy L T Notable Progress Chisim, Cameron E G English, Physics, Latin, Geography, Spanish


Distribution of Prizes


Dalzell, Callum T Davison, Aidan M Duffy, Orlaith Ewart, Katie V Fleming, Jason S Gergett, Cameron B Gray, Niall O H Gribbon, Emer C Harbinson, Rebecca E Hipolito, Micah D Hoey, Ben Kane, Megan Magill, Abigail H Martin, Niamh K Majury, Amy R McCalmont, Hollie T McClenaghan, Taylor L McCombe, Taylor A McDonald, Kelly A McDowell, Dean A R McLarnon, David M McLean, Kellie Morrisey, Cathryn M O’Donnell, Rachael M O’Kane, Juanita C Park, Jordanna Rowan, Phillip N K Turkington, Lauren H R

Brogan, Ruairi Burke, Sorcha M Burns, Jessica I Campbell, Victoria R Cao, Angela Y Coates, Jenny E Diamond, Helen R Elmore, Bronagh C Farrington, Laura S Francey, Nathan Hunter, Amy M Lyons, Aaron Macaulay, Eric L MacCandless, Sam Mateer, Abigail R Madden, Rowan E McComb, Jordan

Technology and Design Home Economics Notable Progress Drama, Religious Studies English Music, German Chemistry, Geography Latin, Spanish, Biology Mathematics, Religious Studies Mathematics Biology Notable Progress History Chemistry, History Biology Chemistry, German, Art and Design Home Economics French, History Music Notable Progress Chemistry Notable Progress Art and Design Geography, Music English Art and Design Mathematics German

Form IV English Language, Physics English Language Music Physics, German, Music Chemistry, Geography, Biology, Art and Design Drama Economics, Geography, Religious Studies Business Studies History Chemistry Chemistry Economics Double Award Science, Latin, Technology and Design Spanish Art and Design Double Award Science, Latin Religious Studies

McConnell, Ruth E McGowan, Ruari B S McKinney, Rachel G McKinstry, Rebecca J McMahon, Sarah A Millar, Rachel A Miller, Rachel N Mohammad, Shahrukh Moorehead, James O Nelson, Catherine D Noble, Victoria C O’Loan, Eilis C Orr, Jamie W Orr, Sophie D Speers, David C Spring, Olivia J Vick, Oliver R Whittley, Sarah A

English Literature, English Language, Spanish, French Music, Biology Home Economics Chemistry, Mathematics, Geography, German, French, Biology English Literature, History, Art and Design English Literature, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Spanish, French Business Studies Physics Latin Art and Design Double Award Science General Excellence Technology and Design Religious Studies Mathematics, German Drama Technology and Design, Business Studies History

HONOURABLE MENTION Form IV Brogan, Ruairi Mathematics, Art and Design Burke, Sorcha M Mathematics, Biology Burns, Rebecca R V Music Campbell, Alan T Latin Campbell, Victoria R Chemistry, French, Biology Cao, Angela Y French Colvin, Meghan D B Latin Diamond, Helen R Biology Dunwoody, Shannon L Spanish Farrington, Laura S Religious Studies Gilleece, Peter E Technology and Design Haddock, Victoria Music Heatley, Carla S Art and Design Henderson, Aaron D History Hurson, Ruairi J Technology and Design Johnston, Ben M Spanish Maguire, Florence J Music McComb, Jordan History McConnell, Ruth E Physics, Mathematics McDonald, Nathan C German McGowan, Ruari B S English Language, Geography, Religious Studies

The Owl 2012

McGuckin, Sarah G McKinstry, Rebecca J McMahon, Sarah A Millar, Rachel A Miller, Rachel N Mills, Emma L Mohammad, Shahrukh Moorehead, James O Noble, Victoria C O’Loan, Eilis C Orr, Jamie W Orr, Sophie D Rhodes, Celia E Speers, David C Tarr, Curtis Thabeth, Sara D Thompson, Rebecca Y Tirupati, Suraj Vick, Oliver R White, Ellie A Whittley, Sarah A

Chemistry, Economics English Language, Physics English Language, Biology Religious Studies English Literature, French Home Economics Chemistry, Geography Drama History, German English Literature, Spanish, Geography Chemistry Business Studies Art and Design Double Award Science Technology and Design Drama Business Studies Double Award Science English Literature, Physics German Double Award Science, Economics

Form V Anderson-Flaherty, Jade A Art and Design Antonio, Melissa C General Excellence Auterson, Kyle D Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Music, Biology, Technology and Design Baillie, Leah R English Language, Physics, Geography, English Literature, History, Religious Studies Beattie, Ciara A C English Language Bingham, Sarah N General Excellence Blythe, Rachel A German Brice, Kathryn V General Excellence Browne, Calvin A General Excellence Corry, Clodagh Chemistry Curtis, Alan M T General Excellence Curtis, Rebecca J F General Excellence Daniels, Sophie Biology Dunlop, Dara E General Excellence Foy, Ashleigh P Business Studies Foster, Sophie A Home Economics Gaffikin, Ryan S Religious Studies Gaston, Sophie C General Excellence Gray, Emma H English Literature, English Language

Hughes, Claire M S Hutchinson, Anna B Jeffrey, Chloe R Johnston, Jack C Joyce, Lorna M Kavanagh, Alice M Kelso, Emma A E Kidd, Faye G Linden, Katy MacDougall, Beth A Martin, Patricia S McAtamney, Aoife L McCullough, Erin D J McDaid, Fionnuala C McGovern, Alex C McKenna, Daniel T H McLoughlin, Shannan Meighan, Jordan D M Minford, Sarah A Moss, Beth A Noble, Charlotte L Ogilby, Alastair P O’Neill, Eorann Peters, Rachel Poh, Olivia M F Reid, Holly D Robinson, Hannah J Robinson, Harry B Rowan, Rebecca A Semple, Emily R Shaw, Robbie D F Sinclair, Elizabeth D Todd, Jenna Turnbull, Christopher G Walker, Chloe R Wallace, Ryan P Ware, Rosalind V Whitcroft, Carrie Wilson, Amy C Young, Laura M

Mathematics General Excellence English Language Technology and Design General Excellence Physics, Geography, Biology, Business Studies Spanish Drama, English Literature General Excellence Drama, Double Award Science Physics, German, French English Literature Music General Excellence French History, Double Award Science, Music General Excellence Economics General Excellence Biology Spanish, Religious Studies Spanish General Excellence Economics General Excellence General Excellence Geography German Technology and Design Art and Design General Excellence Geography, Spanish Art and Design Chemistry, Mathematics Business Studies French General Excellence Latin Double Award Science History

  HONOURABLE MENTION Form V Bingham, Sarah N English Language Blythe, Rachel A French Brice, Kathryn V French, Biology Clements, Holly D History Cole, Natalie H Technology and Design Corry, Clodagh Drama, Religious Studies Crooks, Bethany A German Daniels, Sophie Physics, Music, Art and Design


Distribution of Prizes


Foster, Sophie A Gaffikin, Ryan S Gilfillan, Gavin I R Gaston, Sophie C Gray, Emma H Hughes, Claire M S Jeffrey, Chloe R Johnston, Jack C Joyce, Lorna M Kidd, Faye G Martin, Patricia S McCullough, Erin D J McDaid, Fionnuala C McKenna, Daniel T H Minford, Sarah A Nixon, Ben C W Noble, Charlotte L O’Neill, Eorann Ogilby, Alastair P Reid, Holly D Robinson, Hannah J Shaw, Robbie D F Sinclair, Elizabeth D Stewart, Maeve B Todd, Jenna Turnbull, Christopher G Whitcroft, Carrie Wilson, Amy C Young, Laura M

Allen, Rachael B Anderson, George J Barnes, Adam S Beggs, Lauren Bell, Michael A Benson, Niamh Bradley, Lauren Brogan, Connor J Brown, Bethany Browne, Callum

English Literature English Language, History, Art and Design Technology and Design English Literature, English Language, Art and Design Physics, Spanish, French, Biology, Geography Chemistry, French English Literature Mathematics German History, Double Award Science, Music, Religious Studies Chemistry, Mathematics Drama Biology German Music, Spanish, French Technology and Design French Geography Double Award Science, Latin Spanish Religious Studies Physics Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics Latin Business Studies English Literature, Geography Double Award Science Home Economics, Business Studies Business Studies

Form LVI Biology, Business Studies Classical Civilisation, German Drama Business Studies Music Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, Geography Sociology History General Excellence History, Government and Politics

Clements, Shannon J Currie, Suzanne Curtis, Andrew D D Davies, Neena J Dass, Daniel R Devine, Alex E Doyle, Stephen Duffy, Niamh Elmore, Rachael L Firgau Marcano, Oriana Gilfillan, Gareth J G Hamill, Ryan P Hanna, Tom J Ireland, Rachel L Irwin, Kristian S King, Maebh J Leyden, Anna J Manzoor, Sheerien McCambridge, Scott R B McConnell, Ben S McGahan, Kieran C McKerracher, Kirsty R McKinstry, Hannah E McLarnon, Katy Mellor, Amy R Miller, Kate E Mooney, Ellen O’Donnell, Ben J O’Reilly, Zoe C Queripel, Bethany A Rainey, Jonathan A Rainey, Kelly-Anne Rodgers, Paul W Shaw, Jordan W A Shiels, Tessa R Shirazi, Parisa C Smith, Matthew S Taggart, Emily J Taylor, Luke K Tucker, Stefan K

Religious Studies History Physics Business Studies Physics, Mathematics, Economics Sociology Chemistry, French, Biology, Music Sociology General Excellence Spanish, Art and Design Technology and Design General Excellence Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry English Language General Excellence General Excellence General Excellence ICT General Excellence Spanish, French Economics, Geography Art and Design Physics, Biology Drama, English Literature General Excellence General Excellence Chemistry, Biology Technology and Design, Art and Design Religious Studies Religious Studies, Government and Politics Economics Spanish General Excellence General Excellence English Literature English Literature, Latin English Literature Geography German, French General Excellence

HONOURABLE MENTION Form LVI Allen, Hannah V Physical Education Bannon, Laura D Business Studies Barnes, Adam S Government and Politics Barnes, Daniel ICT Beggs, Lauren History Bell, Michael A French Bradley, Lauren English Literature

The Owl 2012

Brice, Adam P Brown, Bethany Browne, Callum Browne, Oliver Carlisle, Jordan S Carlisle, Yelannah C M Chism, Matthew S Coyle, Lauren Crossan, Rose Q Dadulla, Gillene Davies, Neena J Devine, Alex E Doyle, Stephen Elmore, Rachael L English, Sophie C O Faulkner, Sarah Flynn, Aine B Forgie, Catriona S Hamill, Ryan P Ireland, Rachel L Keenan, Paula M King, Maebh J Leckey, Caitlyn D R Leyden, Anna J McCreary, Rebecca A Mellor, Amy R Miller, Kate E Moody, Nicole Moore, Jamie K Queripel, Bethany A Rainey, Jonathan A Rodgers, Paul W Rooney, Rebecca N L Shiels, Niall J Shirazi, Parisa C Smith, Matthew S Tucker, Stefan K Wallace, Lawren R Wylie, Mark J

Physics Religious Studies English Literature History History English Language Sociology ICT Art and Design Geography Classical Civilisation Geography Mathematics Chemistry, Business Studies Economics Religious Studies ICT Sociology Art and Design Classical Civilisation Drama English Language, Art and Design Drama French Drama Geography Physics, Mathematics Spanish Economics English Literature Geography Physics Religious Studies Government and Politics Spanish Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology Chemistry, French Sociology Business Studies

Form MVI Abbott, Rachael Physics Alexander, Shannon R Physical Education Allen, Sophie R Business Studies Armstrong, Maeve C General Excellence Auterson, Joel R W General Excellence Bingham, Judith E French Black, Ashleigh M Business Studies Boswell, Bernadette C ICT Bryce, Katie L Drama Cahill, Naomi J Art and Design Campbell, Jazmin M J Spanish, French, Classical Civilisation

Carey, John-William J Cheung, Matthew M Diamond, Julia C Dugan, Lucy Farouki, A Ridwan Forbes, Deborah L Fulton, Neil R Fusco, Kathryn J Gaj, Aleksy M Holland, Pete A Jackson, Niki M Kenny, Grace E Laverty, Katie S Magill, Matthew E Marica, Ciaran G Martin, Sarah R Massey, Jessica A McBride, Genevieve A McClements, Andrew B McClurkin, Jordan R J McCusker, Caoimhe M G McIlroy, Niall D McShane, Anna E Mitchell, Gemma M Nash, Shannon A O’Neill, Breandan E O’Neill, Katie R Patterson, David A Prenter, Grace L Purvis, T Adam Rea, Leah R Rooney, Joshua J G Sefton, Victoria J I Shaw, Andrea J F Stark, Daniel J P Stewart, Michael J Taylor, A Duncan M Thompson, Alex L Thompson, Jordan J Thorburn, Jordan T Tohill, Lauren Watson, William J Wilson, Olivia L Wong, Yvonne

History, Religious Studies Mathematics, Technology and Design Chemistry, Geography, Biology Spanish, French Physics, Mathematics, Technology and Design Biology French Spanish Economics Art and Design Physics English Literature, Sociology, English Language English Language, Religious Studies Religious Studies Economics General Excellence English Literature, English Language Business Studies Economics Geography, Government and Politics General Excellence Music General Excellence English Literature General Excellence Geography General Excellence General Excellence Art and Design Biology History General Excellence Drama General Excellence Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics History Government and Politics Chemistry General Excellence Classical Civilisation Sociology General Excellence General Excellence English Literature


Distribution of Prizes


HONOURABLE MENTION Form MVI Abbott, Rachael Chemistry, Mathematics Armstrong, Maeve C Chemistry, History Bannon, Rachel K Religious Studies Campbell, Jazmin M J History Carey, John-William J Economics Cheung, Matthew M Physics Deaney, Alex J P Art and Design Faloona, Niamh L Government and Politics Ferris, Adam N Spanish Forbes, Deborah L Chemistry Fulton, Neil R German Gaj, Aleksy M Sociology Guiney, Jennifer English Language Jackson, Niki M Technology and Design Keenan, Orla C Sociology Kenny, Grace E History Magill, Matthew E Government and Politics Marsh, Tom M J Geography Martin, Sarah R English Literature, English Language McAdams, Charlene J Business Studies McClements, Andrew B Physics, Mathematics McComiskey, Dale M B English Language McEwan, Naomi J Art and Design McKay, Lauren A Spanish McLeod, Kerry B Geography, Physical Education McShane, Anna E French, Biology McVeigh, Christopher D ICT Moore, Angus J M Biology Norton, Aimee ICT O’Connor, Hannah R Religious Studies O’Donnell-Anderson, Lauren F Spanish O’Neill, Katie R Geography Patterson, David A Physics, Technology and Design Phillips, Amy Art and Design Sefton, Victoria J I English Literature Shaw, Andrea J F Mathematics, Biology Smyth, Aimee I Business Studies Stewart, Michael J French Thompson, Jordan J English Language, Religious Studies Thorburn, Jordan T English Literature Tohill, Lauren Business Studies Wilson, Olivia L Latin, French, Classical Civilisation

SPECIAL PRIZES SIR SAMUEL FERGUSON PRIZE (English Literature) Grace E Kenny FREDERICK WHITE MEMORIAL PRIZE (G.C.S.E.) Elizabeth D Sinclair HAROLD RAINEY MEMORIAL PRIZE (English) Leah R Baillie J. J. KANE MEMORIAL PRIZE (For contributions to ‘The Owl’) Emily A McMahon T. R. COLLIER PRIZE (Mathematics)

Andrea J F Shaw

THE J. W. & EVELYN DARBYSHIRE AWARD (Geography) Julia C Diamond J. C. PICKEN MEMORIAL PRIZE (Art and Design) Ben J O’Donnell ANTHONY TAYLOR MEMORIAL PRIZE (History) Leah R Rea J. N. SHEARMAN MEMORIAL PRIZE (Classics) Jazmin M J Campbell R.H. HARTE MEMORIAL PRIZE (Greek) Jazmin M J Campbell G. B. TAYLOR MEMORIAL PRIZE (Mathematics) Daniel J P Stark TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN AWARD (Sponsored by Millar & Matchett Ltd. for the top marks in GCSE Technology and Design) Kyle D Auterson R. J. BRYCE MEMORIAL PRIZE (Irish Studies) Niall D McIlroy THE W. L. CLEMENTS MEMORIAL PRIZE (Music) Niall D McIlroy R. M. FANNIN MEMORIAL PRIZE (Music) Lauren F O’Donnell-Anderson McCORMICK PRIZE (English) ALLISON HERON PRIZE (Biology)

Mimi A Joffroy

Deborah L Forbes

AMY DICKSON TROPHY & PRIZE (Art and Design) Grace L Prenter

The Owl 2012


Lauren E J Jenkins

TROPHY FOR EXCELLENCE Stephen Doyle IN THE PERFORMING ARTS (Presented by the Old Girls’ Association) McCAUGHEY PRIZE (Science)

T Adam Purvis


Julia C Diamond

R. S. J. H. MAGOWAN PRIZE (GCSE Geography) WALTER TATE PRIZES Economics Government and Politics Physics

Leah R Baillie

Andrew B McClements Jordan R J McClurkin Daniel J P Stark

Chemistry Religious Studies Sociology

Daniel J P Stark John-William J Carey Grace E Kenny

Form II Form III Form IV Form V

Zuzanna A Loboda Mimi A Joffroy Rebecca J McKinstry Elizabeth D Sinclair


Andrea J F Shaw Ashleigh M Black Jordan R J McClurkin Matthew E Magill Rachael Abbott Toyah M C Warnock


Sophie A Foster


Sarah R Martin


Ben S McConnell

Katie R O’Neill


Luke K Taylor

Charlotte L Noble


Deborah L Forbes


LEO FORTE PRIZE (Music) CLYDE PRIZE (GCSE Religious Studies) McCLAY PRIZE (Business Studies) JACKSON PRIZE (GCSE Science)

Stephen Doyle


KNOX PRIZE Shannon R Alexander (Advanced Level Physical Education) HAROLD HUTCHINSON PRIZE (Religious Studies) Bethany A Queripel OWL TROPHY Dale M B McComiskey (Presented by W. H. & J. Gray) Cara Thompson THE CHRISTOPHER BOWES AWARD Matthew S J Ringland SIR DONALD CURRIE SCHOLARSHIPS Form I Rachel E Baillie


Niamh Benson

Christabel V J Murray


Judith E Bingham


Naomi J Cahill


T Adam Purvis


Joel R W Auterson Philip Rodgers Jordan S Carlisle


Emily F Reid


Cairns House


School Societies

School Societies




Cadet numbers in the squadron dropped slightly in 2011-2012, ending the year with 23 cadets on strength. Recruiting for 2012 -13 has started and there has been a good deal of interest, with seven probationers having handed in consent forms.

The squadron again shared range days at Aldergrove with 814 (Portadown College) Squadron. Training and shooting took place with the No 8 .22 rifle and the Cadet GP Rifle. We were again assisted by SMI Colin Robinson of Royal School Armagh CCF.

We had our usual flying slots at RAF Woodvale, near Liverpool, where the cadets get an opportunity to experience powered flight; with the weather being kinder than last year, flying was possible. Cadets also attended our gliding slots at 664 VGS at Newtownards and two cadets are applying for Gliding Scholarships. Several cadets attended the Wing Annual Parade at Aldergrove. Two cadets did the Methods of Instruction Course and Basic Course, which are necessary for the over-18 Cadets to become Instructor Cadets. Cadets also took part in Swimming, Soccer and Athletics; Rachael Kirker and Chloe Armstrong were part of the NI Wing team at the Regional Swimming in Scotland and James Johnston was part of the soccer team. The ATC learning programme and exams are going over to a web-based system. Cadets can now access their learning material on a web site and the next exams will be done and assessed by computer. The Act of Remembrance in November was again led by the ATC and very ably organised by Mr Billy Thompson. A piper played during the Inspection and the bugler sounded ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’. Cadets read out the list of those past pupils who fell in both Wars. A number of cadets also took part in the Open Nights and the Information Session for P6 pupils. H.R.M.

2390 Squadron are still the only one in N. Ireland Wing to take part in Target Rifle Shooting in sessions separate from normal squadron training. For .22 target rifle we use the ACF range at Carryduff. Teams and Individuals were entered for competitions at Local, Regional and National level. Two cadets, FS Adam Purvis and Cpl James Duffy, were part of the ATC team in the Inter Service small-bore match, against the ACF and the SCC. Adam Purvis and James Duffy were selected for the N. Ireland Junior Small-bore Team in the National League. Full-bore practice was still difficult, but better than the previous year. The ACF decided to try a short Shooting Camp during the Easter holidays, which we were invited to attend. This turned out to be very useful. In the Main Spring Competition, FS Purvis won the Champion Cadet and the team came third overall. This also qualified us to attend the Inter-Service Cadet Rifle Meeting at Bisley. Unfortunately, it was the worst weather at Bisley in living memory, as it rained all day, every day! Adam Purvis got into the Cadet Hundred and fired in the InterService Team against the other Cadet Services. Jake Magill came 101 in the Cadet Hundred, but it was his first Bisley so it was a good result. Adam Purvis stayed on at Bisley to take part in the National Rifle Association Annual Championships which take place after the cadet meetings. In August, he went to Canada with the Athelings team, who do some cultural touring and then fire in the Canadian National Championships. He declared it to be one of the best trips he had ever done. Adam Purvis also participated in the Northern Ireland Cadet Rifle Meeting (NICRM) in April. He was placed third and then first in the Individual matches winning the “Champion Cadet at Arms” trophy. H.R.M.

The Owl 2012

BRIDGE CLUB The Bridge Club had a very successful year in 2011/2012. The Senior team of Adam Purvis, John-William Carey, Ridwan Farouki and Alan Warnock finished a long-standing association as a team with notable successes in the Ulster Schools’ Teams and the Irish Under 20 Inter-provincials. Having led most of the weekend at the Irish Schools’ Teams in Galway, they were really unlucky to have lost, by the narrowest of margins, on the last hand of the competition. They took 1st and 3rd place in the Ulster Schools’ Pairs and 1st and 2nd place in the Irish Schools’ Pairs in Limerick. All four players were selected to play for Northern Ireland in the Home Internationals at Under 20 level, where they finished a very creditable 3rd. They were also selected to play for the Irish Under 20 team in the European Championships but, due to school and family commitments, were unable to play. What makes the strength of the Club, however, is not just one team. Behind the Senior boys came a succession of achievements for many of our pupils at different levels. Luke Taylor and Niall McIlroy were placed 5th and Scott Boyd and Daniel Hickland 6th out of the top 12 in the Irish Schools’ Pairs competition. Jason Roe (II) and Lucy Kinnear (III) finished 1st in the Consolation Final of the remaining 40 Pairs, a considerable achievement given their age. In the Intermediate section of the Ulster Schools’ Pairs in November 2011, Chris Turnbull and Shahrukh Mohammed finished 1st with an amazing 71% of top scores; Ryan Lightowler and Owen Kinnear finished 2nd, with Victoria Frame and Pooja Sridhar just behind in 3rd. We also took 4th, 6th and 9th places out of 15 pairs. In the Novice section, BRA took the top 5 places out of 12, all players being placed. Matthew Borne and Thomas Carey were 1st, with Brandon Binnie and Luke McGarvey 2nd, Megan Lightowler and Leah Wallace 3rd, Conor McBride and Zac Mills were 4th and Conor Gallagher and Daniel Loudon were just behind in 5th. In the Ulster Schools’ teams we had a mixed set of results, taking 2nd, 4th and 6th in the Senior section, winning the Intermediate section (Chris Turnbull, Shahrukh Mohammad, Pooja Sridhar and Victoria Frame) and also securing 2nd and 5th in that section. The Novice section was also won by BRA: Angela Cao, Eilis O’Loan, Emma Mills and Antonia Campbell taking first place after only a few weeks of being in the Club. We also secured 2nd and 6th places in the Novice Section.

In Galway, for the Irish Schools’ Teams event, the Senior boys led the entire weekend, but lost by .4 of a point in the final round; we took 2nd, 4th 5th and 6th places out of the top 12 teams and the other BRA teams finished 1st, 3rd and 5th in the Consolation Final of the remaining 20 teams. A great deal of credit must go to the players. It was a very successful competition for the whole club, but a devastating blow to the Senior boys who had played so well over the weekend and yet lost so narrowly in the end. However, they more than made up for their defeat by emphatically winning the Irish Under 20 Inter-provincial Championships. (The top 12 teams in Ireland at under 20 compete for the Rosenberg trophy, and BRA has now won it 5 times in the last 12 years.) The Senior boys were also selected to represent Northern Ireland at the Under 20 Home Internationals, called the Peggy Bayer Trophy. They played well over the weekend losing to Scotland and England, but defeating Wales and Republic of Ireland. They were also selected to play for Ireland in the Under 20 European Championships, but were unavailable for the dates of the event and sadly had to turn down their places. They also played as a school team in the NIBU Adult league, entering the Intermediate ‘B’ and being promoted to the Senior League. The jump in standard was just too much, and although they acquitted themselves well, they were not able to secure the kind of victories they had done in the Inter ‘B’ league the year before. The Senior boys have all gone off to pastures new: Oxford, St Andrews, QUB. We wish them well in their future careers and hope they come back to visit us, and do some coaching when they have time. As ever the Club thanks Dr Lomas and Mr Graham for their time and patience and for coaching all levels of players from Seniors right down to Beginners. We would also like to thank Mr Harte, Dr Campbell and Mr Evans who have, in the past, so kindly accompanied us on our competitions away. Luke Taylor (Club Captain)


School Societies



The Chess Club continued to meet twice a week in M4 with students from beginner level up to members of the School team all trying to improve their game and enjoying playing matches against one another. There has been a pleasing increase in numbers across all forms. As well as competitions between Club members within school, BRA participated in the Ulster Schools’ Leagues at Junior and Senior level with great success. Although they narrowly missed out in both leagues, some excellent victories were achieved along the way and the strength of the relatively young Junior team bodes well for next year. S.C.S.

Junior Scripture Union met every Wednesday lunch time at 1.15pm in LL11. This year we had an exceptionally good crowd of first to third years, who all thoroughly enjoyed our varied programme. From September to December we focused on the theme of ‘Identity’ and looked at various Bible passages and verses which encourage us to be ourselves. Then during the Spring term we looked at the fruits of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Selfcontrol and the book of Esther, a strong, inspirational female from the Old Testament. Our programme ranged from DVDs, worship, dramas and quizzes to thoughtprovoking discussion groups. We also invited a guest speaker to speak on related issues. The Christmas and Easter parties gave us, the committee, the chance to examine more closely the real meaning of these special occasions and the opportunity to share with the Juniors, why we celebrate them. During the year Junior SU joined with Senior SU for various events, including the joint Scripture Union Weekend in October, held in Castlewellan Castle where John Mullan was our guest speaker. Both Scripture Unions also joined together in May for a very successful ‘Pizza and Praise’ evening where we were able to share in fellowship and food and received a final message from the Middle Sixth committee members.


This year also saw our first Junior SU outing to Dundonald Ice-Bowl, where many first to third years were able to choose either ice-skating or ten-pin bowling, followed by a well-deserved McDonald’s meal. This allowed both committee and members to get to know each other even better and finished the academic year on a high! At the end of the year we were sad to say goodbye to three Middle Sixth committee members, Anna Johnston, Bill Hunter and John-William Carey. We will miss their enthusiasm and pray that they will continue to grow in their faith. We hope that many Junior pupils will continue to be involved in Scripture Union in school and we’re excited about what next year has in store for us! Hannah McKinstry (MVI)

The Owl 2012

Senior S.U. meets every Friday lunch time in BG4 with sessions planned by the Senior S.U. Committee. The members of this committee show great dedication and every year we are pleased to get more volunteers after we lose our precious MVI to University and other areas of life! We are in debt to them for all they have done and pray that God will be with them in their endeavours. Sarah McGrath (MVI)

CIVITAS SENIOR SCRIPTURE UNION Last year Senior S.U. met as usual for fellowship, praise and Bible study. Our theme this year was “Ultimate Questions” that you would ask God. We related these questions to issues that teenagers face today. Throughout S.U. we do a great amount of praise and worship which is undertaken with the help of our Praise Band. They mainly play on the Senior and Junior weekends, but in the previous year we decided that we should bring more worship to our lunch time sessions and so we had some of the members play then. Also in the previous year the praise band was asked to play in Senior and Junior School Assembly, which went down a treat. There are three main events which the S.U. hold, two of which I have already mentioned, the joint Senior and Junior weekend which is held every year in Castlewellan Castle, the more recently added Senior weekend which is held in Seaview House, Kilkeel and the S.U Pizza night which is for both Junior and Senior S.U. Each year, guest speakers are invited to speak at our weekends, they get better every year and no one leaves disappointed. We always try to have an atmosphere of fun and laughter at S.U. and we make anyone and everyone feel welcome. There is never a dull moment; whether it’s playing games, singing or just having a chat, we’re praising God in every way possible.

Civitas is a Senior school pupil-led committee, supervised by Dr Lomas. It facilitates speakers coming into school to talk about their organisation or cause, with a view to allowing interested Senior pupils to become involved in the organisation or if they wish take up places on courses in their own time. Through Civitas many past pupils have taken part in Spirit of Enniskillen bursaries, or cross-cultural Conferences hosted by organisations such as the Youth in Government project. 2011/2012 saw the election of a committee, composed mainly of Lower VI pupils and some Form V pupils. However, the Form V quickly took over. With a new committee, led by the Form V pupils, contacts were made with a number of organisations and speakers were set up for meetings. However, due to the late start of the new committee and study leave it was not possible to get the speakers into school before the end of the school year. The Form V committee have now become Lower VI and have already made contact with these speakers, some of whom will be in school under the new Assembly arrangements, on a Tuesday period 2, to talk to the Senior school. We already have other speakers lined-up to follow and we are looking forward to a productive year. Fionnuala McDaid, Lorna Joyce, Nadia Rawe, Hannah McBride and Yazmin Rawe (LVI)


School Societies

CLASSICS SOCIETY During the year, the Classics Society met at lunchtime in J13, usually on the third Thursday each month. A relatively small but committed group of enthusiastic pupils attended the meetings. Among their favourite topics were the adventures of four children, as featured in The Roman Mysteries series. Some pupils showed a keen interest in The Golden Sponge Stick Competition, a Roman short story/mystery writing contest, launched by The Burgess Hill School for Girls. Everyone is welcome to come along to the meetings of the society - it is not necessary for you to be studying Classics to attend. If you have visited some ancient remains, such as Hadrian’s Wall or Pompeii, we would love you to come and share your experience with us. E.M.T. /J.M.G.

HADRIAN’S WALL TRIP 2012 Another very enjoyable trip safely over! We were lucky to get the same coach driver, Dirk, who as well as being excellent at his job, was always kind to the pupils and extremely indulgent to anyone forgetful. Day 1 We stopped first at the Roman Army Museum to get an overview of The Wall. We then stopped (too briefly) at Vindolanda and went on to Corbridge Roman Settlement before arriving at the hotel for dinner at 7:00pm. After dinner, there was a brief game of pilum in a nearby locus amoenus.


Day 2 Luckily our only rainy day was on the day with mostly indoor activities. The morning was spent at Segedunum - a Roman fort at the end of the wall, discovered under the site of the Tyne and Wear Shipyard. Segedunum boasts a fine working bathhouse (unfortunately it has never been working when we have been there for health and safety reasons) and an interactive museum. For the adults, the day became rather hot and steamy after that, with lunch at MacDonald’s, followed by an afternoon in Wet’n’Wild, dinner in the hotel and lastly the pursuit of Roman culture for a couple of hours in the Metro Centre, the largest emporium of the Western World. Day 3 We started the day at Arbeia (the Marbeia of the North East) - the store-house for the wall, as the Romans were only too aware that an army marches on its stomach. We then spent the afternoon in a re-enacted mining community - Beamish. Everyone loved travelling on trams and eating boiled sweets. In the evening, the entertainment was bowling. Good fun was had by all. Day 4 On the way West, we visited two of the most beautiful sites on the Wall - Housesteads and Chesters. Miraculously, we just managed to avoid all showers and got safely past Gretna Green and back to the boat. Again the pupils were great company and appeared to enjoy themselves thoroughly. J.M.G. / E.M.T.

The Owl 2012

JUNIOR DEBATING SOCIETY The Junior Debating Society had a very good year with a solid group of enthusiastic speakers emerging from Forms I and II. Later in the year, when the fame of the club had spread, we attracted numbers of Form III pupils anxious to join in the debates. Many of the debates focused on subjects specifically appropriate for teenagers. For example, cost of school dinners, and the influence of television on the young. However, one of our most lively and well-attended debates was on the motion, ‘This house believes that the Niqab should be banned in places of work and education.’

interest in science. We met every fortnight to further that interest, in a new and enjoyable experiment. From the very popular Jellybean Taste Test, to the Soap Boat Races, this year’s events were thoroughly enjoyed by all our members, as well as the teachers and Lower Sixth Committee.

We have some very enthusiastic debaters in the society and it was often difficult to apportion roles as the competition was intense. A new school year beckons with new debates to be held and new speakers to emerge from the wealth of talent within the Junior school. J.S.

Although attendance varied from meeting to meeting, we had our regular members who enjoyed every event we planned. We tried to provide many interesting experiments and I feel we succeeded, as the atmosphere of the Club was very good. I wish the incoming committee the best of luck in running the Club for this school year, and I’m sure the Young Einstein Club will continue to prove to be a great and valuable club within the school community. It will continue to provide the junior members with an entertaining glimpse further into the world of science and (we hope!) fuel their interest in the subject. Ryan Hamill (MVI)



This was an exciting and successful year for the Society with good levels of participation, especially from the Sixth Form.

The Model United Nations Club is largely a student-led organisation, supervised by Dr Lomas at Senior level and Dr Adair at Junior level. The Secretary General for 2011/2012 was Callum Browne.

The year began with the usual fortnightly lunchtime debates, which drew a healthy attendance and lively contributions from the floor. Serious topics predominated including: the suitability of Martin McGuinness for the post of President of Ireland, the national identity of residents of Northern Ireland, the issue of capital punishment and the difficulty of ‘A’ levels. Towards the end of the first term the focus shifted towards intensive preparation for the Northern Ireland Schools’ Debating Competition. Despite their relative inexperience, our debating team, consisting of Ciarán Marica and Matthew Magill defeated Belfast High School in a debate entitled, “This House believes that opposition to Private Sector involvement in the NHS is wholly outdated,” to win a place in the quarterfinal. Unfortunately, our team was defeated by Bangor Grammar School on a motion on the topic of immigration. During the second term potential Oxford and Cambridge candidates were offered the oppportunity to participate in lunchtime debates and these proved very successful with speakers who, despite being novice debaters, had prepared their speeches well. We look forward to further participation from this group in 2012-13. M.P. / H.T.

YOUNG EINSTEIN CLUB The past year was another successful one for the Young Einstein Junior Science Club. The Club was set up to provide for Form One and Two pupils with an

Model United Nations Conferences are a mixture of debating and role play; ‘teams’ are really countries and ‘debaters’ are delegates from that country. The ‘debates’ are resolutions written by the delegates, in the style of UN resolutions, from the point of view of their designated country and all debating is done in the same spirit. Delegates must NOT express personal opinions, but always argue from the point of view of their country. The ‘issues’ are all real political, economic or social issues that the UN faces, and need to be researched by the delegates so that they understand the various points and then further researched so the delegates know what their country’s stance is on the issue. It requires patience and research and then the cut and thrust of debate to participate in any MUN Conference, but there is great fun and friendship to be had as well. The Junior MUN met in Dr Adair’s room throughout the year and learned a great deal of the basics of debating (MUN style) holding several debates. Dr Adair was assisted by the Senior pupils during the year, notably Adam Barnes, Antonia Campbell, Callum Browne and Laurie-Ann Bartsch. The Senior MUN met in the Social Science room and worked on resolution writing and planning for the Conferences. We attended three Conferences during the school year; the first was in Edinburgh, run by George Watson’s College, and by far our favourite Conference. We fielded a whole team of 12 delegates representing Cuba. We had two first year girls with us, Megan Lightowler and Leah Wallace and new delegates in Form Two,


School Societies

Domnhall Garland, Thomas Carey and Matthew Borne as well as Lower Sixth, Laurie-Ann Bartsch and the ‘old hands’ of Adam Barnes, Callum Browne, Antonia Campbell, Jessica Dowey, Kuda Kunaka and Lucy Kinnear. The delegates did themselves proud, with Adam winning a Highly Commended delegate. All of our delegates spoke in debate, which is really important in a big Conference of over 300 delegates. The ‘craic’ was good and the ceilidh and disco on the Saturday night remain a firm favourite as is the ice-cream from Luca’s en route home! At the Wesley College, Dublin MUN we had two delegations, Turkey and Belgium. We worked hard for the Conference and enjoyed the whole day spent in Dublin, debating resolutions and enjoying the hospitality of WCD. We participated in the joint Wallace High School / MCB Conference held in Wallace. This was mostly attended by our Junior MUN pupils because Study Leave had started allowing a number of new delegates to participate: Rachel Caughey, Kate Spence and Rachel Chapman. Lucy Kinnear won Best Delegate and Kuda Kunaka won Highly Commended, so we were very pleased with the performance of our Junior pupils and hope they enjoyed their day.


The Junior MUN Conference was held in school in June with eight countries participating representing Israel, Australia, USA, UK, Brazil, Burkino Faso, Ukraine and Japan. Over 25 Junior pupils attended with the entire day chaired by our pupils, some of whom had come back from study leave for the day. The standard of debate was very good, and a number of new MUNners have shown interest in the 2012/2013 season already. It remains to thank Dr Adair and Dr Lomas for their continuing interest and support of MUN in school and to welcome any pupil to MUN who would like to join us. Adam Barnes (Sec. MVI)

SENIOR SCIENCE SOCIETY One of the aims of the Senior Science Society is to expand the experience of Senior pupils beyond the curriculum and at the same time broaden their understanding of scientific research. This year we were again fortunate that talented speakers were willing to accept our invitation and enthusiastically delivered a diverse range of talks throughout the year. The talks were very well attended by Senior pupils and were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Many of the talks posed questions that will occupy the minds of our future generations of young scientists. In September Dr D Currie (BRA) gave a talk on her research entitled ‘Genetic studies and Renal disease’. This talk was based on her award-winning thesis gained at Queen’s University, Belfast. Prof. J Greenwood (QUB and Old Boy) spoke on ‘Applications of Physics in Medicine’ and gave examples of how the latest technology functions in the study and diagnosis of disease. Dr F Liu (QUB) explained a range of complex biological mechanisms in his talk on ‘How plants know when to flower’. His conclusions gave an insight into the problems of climate change and the research required to ensure that our native crop species continue to flourish. Prof. I Montgomery (QUB) in his talk ‘Putting a value on the environment?’ explained the intrinsic value of the environment and what it does for us. His analysis gave pupils an appreciation of the value of the environment. In our final talk of the year Prof. S Smartt (QUB) explained the phenomenon of supernovae in his talk “Supernovae: hunting for exploding stars”. This was a truly stellar performance from a very talented and award-winning past pupil. The members of the Society would like to thank all the speakers for their time given freely and for raising the profile of their areas of expertise in an enthusiastic and informative way. T.B.

PET CLUB Once again the Pet Club proved to be very popular this year. Such was the interest that the visitation times had to be limited although research shows that petted animals live longer as do their owners! Even so three hamsters and a lizard died towards the end of the year. The high-light of the season was a spectacular visit by Stephanie Strong (LVI) and dozens of animals from her private collection. She talked knowledgeably about her menagerie and under supervision allowed the pupils to handle the animals. R.J.

WARHAMMER AND FANTASY CARD CLUB The “gamers” in school continued to meet in BB2 throughout the year. A small but loyal group brought its figures and played Warhammer whilst an increasingly enthusiastic group chose to play Play Station games. An inter-school Warhammer league is being investigated for the 2012-13 season. R.J.

The Owl 2012 Part 1  

Belfast Royal Academy - The Owl Magazine - Christmas 2012 - Part 1

The Owl 2012 Part 1  

Belfast Royal Academy - The Owl Magazine - Christmas 2012 - Part 1