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The Academy Newsletter Belfast Royal Academy June 2013

Headmaster’s Notes To describe our Inspection as one of the highlights of the year may require the suspension of disbelief on the part of some members of staff, but it was, nonetheless, a very positive experience. One of the things which the inspectors remarked upon was the diversity of our school: we are a community of pupils from all social backgrounds, from many religious faiths, and none, and with a significant range of academic abilities. We value, and are ambitious for, them all.

other talented pupils from across the United Kingdom: Antonia Campbell English Language, Andrew Curtis - Computer Science, Kieran McGahan Environment and Society, Jonathan Rainey - PPE, Kelly-Anne Rainey French, Paul Rodgers - Mathematics, Elizabeth Sinclair - Biology: Ecology and Evolution, Matthew Smith - Biology, Sarah Sproule - Geography, Jenna Todd - Art and Design: Mapping the Visual, Christopher Turnbull - Mathematics: Chaos or Clear Cut?

The inspectors also noted our sustained improvement in academic performance. This progress was maintained last year, when at both GCSE and Advanced Level our pupils surpassed the achievements of the previous year. At GCSE, 90% of pupils achieved A* - C in 7 or more subjects, including English and Mathematics, while 96% achieved A* - C in 5 or more subjects. Elizabeth Sinclair gained 11 passes at A*, and 48 pupils achieved 9 or more passes at A* or A. At Advanced Level, 74% of pupils achieved a minimum of 3 Cs, indeed 86% of the 596 subject entries were passed at grades A* - C. 10% of subject entries were awarded A*, for which a score of 90% at A2 is required. In 22 subjects there was a 100% pass rate – out of 596 subject entries only 9 were failed. Ridwan Farouki achieved 4A* and 1 A passes, Julia Diamond and Daniel Stark gained 4 A* passes, and 19 pupils achieved 4 passes at A* or A. Daniel Stark was placed 3rd in CEA Further Mathematics.

The CBI, in ‘First steps – a new approach for our schools’, a report published in November 2012, proposes a model of education to which we should aspire if our society is to succeed economically in the future. It considers international examples of educational excellence and highlights the need to, “emphasise culture and ethos in schools.” It notes that Singapore’s “world class education system” produces “a confident person who has a strong sense of right and wrong, is adaptable and resilient … thinks independently and critically and communicates effectively … has a strong civic consciousness and takes an active role in bettering the lives of others around him.” Underpinning such a system, and the economic growth which it generates, is “… a set of behaviours and attitudes, a kind of social literacy that we must foster…… These personal behaviours and attributes – sometimes termed character – play a critical role in determining effectiveness in [the pupils’] future lives… Everything that happens in a school should embed the key behaviours and attitudes.”

Three pupils from last year’s MVI took up places at the ancient universities in September: Ridwan Farouki is reading Mathematics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, John William Carey is reading History and Politics at St. Benet’s Hall, Oxford, and Alexsy Gaj is reading Politics, Philosophy and Economics, also at St. Benet’s Hall. In all, our pupils went to 33 universities, including the UCL Institute in Paris, to study in 41 different degree disciplines. It was appropriate that Professor Janice Carruthers, Head of Modern Languages at Queen’s University, was the Guest of Honour at Prize Day, our celebration of pupils’ academic achievement. Professor Carruthers is a former pupil, no stranger to Prize Day in her time, and her parents were both teachers of Mathematics in the Academy. It was a pleasure to attend a Prize-giving of her own, in the University, in July, when Kathryn Fusco and Jazmin Campbell received prizes – Kathryn won the First Prize in the Santander Spanish Essay Competition and Third Prize in the French Essay Competition; Jazmin received the Third Prize in the Spanish Essay Competition. Jazmin returned to school, along with Michael Stewart and Sasha English, in the autumn to talk with our Modern Language Sixth Formers about their experience of studying languages at Advanced and at Undergraduate Level, giving advice on study skills and revision techniques and sharing information about various courses at Queen’s. In the course of the year, eleven pupils attended residential academic reading parties at Villiers Park, where they had the opportunity to study with

Judging ourselves against such an ambitious model is challenging indeed, and yet I believe that we must do so. The report highlights the necessity of capability in ‘core’ and ‘enabling’ subjects, and stresses the importance of ‘non-curricular activities’ in developing the qualities, values and attitudes upon which the future success, not only of the individual but of our society, will be founded. This report offers a passionate and closely argued validation of the ambitious vision of education which characterises a school such as the Academy. A synopsis such as this cannot hope to be comprehensive – a fuller picture of school life will appear in ‘The Owl’. However, it may be possible to convey some sense of the range of the activities which surround the core concern of learning and teaching at the Academy, through which “key behaviours and attitudes” are embedded. One of the busiest areas of “non-curricular activity” in school is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which, with more than 400 members, is among the largest in the United Kingdom. Mr Reilly inspires both loyalty and confidence in his ability to organise a very wide range of challenging activities. In doing so he depends upon the support and assistance of a team of former pupils, parents and others which he has developed over the years. It was very gratifying to see the contribution of one member of that team celebrated this year. In recognition of his outstanding commitment and years of service to our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, Mr Frank Workman received a “Long Service Recognition” certificate from H.R.H. Prince Edward at Hillsborough Castle in February.


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The Academy Newsletter 2013

One of this year’s most interesting new projects has been the ‘Shared Experience’ Seminar series, in which former pupils have been invited to come in to school to reflect upon their career experience with groups of senior pupils. The sessions, involving Noel Lamb (Finance), Basil McCrea (Politics), Claire McCollum (Media) and Judith Gillespie (PSNI) have been fascinating, and we look forward to developing this project next year. Well-established activities continue to prosper also. Members of the Junior Book club attended the event at which the winner of N.I. Book Awards was announced in March. In November they had been present at the unveiling of the shortlist and met author Joe Craig. The much-travelled Juniors also thoroughly enjoyed a talk and book-signing by Robert Muchamore, whose sense of humour was described by one club member as “amazing.” Form I pupils also had an opportunity to meet children’s author Katherine Roberts, who visited school in November to read from her latest Arthurian adventures. While their knowledge of the Status Quo oeuvre may have been limited, Form II pupils thoroughly enjoyed the drum workshop given by Quo drummer Jeff Rich in the Assembly Hall in November. He explored the history of the drum and other types of percussion and gave every pupil the chance to play a percussion instrument. Someone described it as “a cacophony of fun.” The LVI Music class attended a composition workshop with the distinguished Scottish composer, James McMillan, in which he discussed developments in 20th century music as well as talking about his own compositions. The Senior Traditional Group played at a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ceremony held at the University of Ulster in October. Two members of the group, Conor Brogan and Dan McKenna, had to make a quick transition from being Silver Award recipients to performers in the group. Also in that month, the group played at the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) Gala Dinner, held in the Titanic Building. The visiting Heads thoroughly enjoyed the lively selection of Irish and Scottish pieces. A month later, the Chamber Choir, Big Band and Traditional Group travelled to Gonzaga College, Dublin, to perform in a concert for Habitat for Humanity. Almost 200 pupils took to the stage of the Ulster Hall for the Spring Concert in March. The varied and ambitious programme included Karl Jenkins’ ‘Requiem’ and featured performances by the School’s Junior, Senior, Chamber and Boys’ Choirs, Junior and Senior Strings, Wind, Big and Brass Bands, Junior and Senior Traditional groups and the Orchestra. It was a marvellous occasion. The Senior Dramatic Society’s production of Mr Jamison’s musical play ‘Snared’ played to full and appreciative houses in November. It was the turn of the Junior Dramatic Society in May – their production of ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ was great fun. A team of 50 pupils returned to the Ulster Hall, after a last-minute postponement due to the wintry weather, to compete in Rock Challenge 2013. Our dancers put on a spectacular show and received awards for Choreography, Performance Skill and Soundtrack. The team also received the Student Leadership Award for the leadership role taken by the pupils themselves. The team came 2nd overall in a competitive field. Our performers displayed exceptional creativity and skill. Pupils with a particular interest in Science have had a rewarding year also. The Senior Science Society invited guest speakers in to school and heard talks on subjects such as ‘Trends in Global Biodiversity’ (Dr Jack Lennon, QUB), ‘Exercise and Spinal Injury’ (Ms Victoria Wightman), ‘Bird Navigation : from quantum physics to global migration’ (Dr Richard Holland, QUB), ‘Invasive Species’ (Dr Jaimie Dick, QUB), and ‘The glue that holds us together – how external factors influence cancer cell behaviour’ (Dr C. McCaig). A group from the INIS Hydro-Project (Scotland) visited school in January to highlight the findings of recent hydrographical sea bed mapping surveys. The Young Einstein Club undertook a programme of lunchtime experiments including Raft Design (a competition to build the raft that would carry the greatest load from a sheet of A4 paper), Invisible Ink, Optical Illusions (Thaumatropes and Flicker Books) and Perching Parrots. MVI pupils who intend to pursue a career in Medicine or Dentistry attended a ‘Stem Cell Debate’ in W5 at the Odyssey, at which guest speakers spoke about Stem Cell research and the ethics debate surrounding such work. This group of pupils also took part in a seminar in school with Dr Melissa McCullough (QUB) on medical ethics related to issues such as stem cell technology and abortion. Sixth Formers also attended a presentation by Martin McGinn and Mike McQueen (University of Ulster) on 3D design and the built environment, while our senior Biologists visited Greenmount Agricultural Campus to investigate the challenges facing the agri-food sectors in Northern Ireland. Congratulations to Dr Currie, who was awarded the Queen’s University Annual

Celebration of Excellence Award for her PhD research project at the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences. Her research will form the basis of future genetic screening to enable early diagnosis and treatment of chronic renal diseases. Our engagement with schools and educators beyond Northern Ireland, reflected in the International School Award, was much in evidence this year. In September we hosted 15 Spanish pupils and two members of staff as part of an exchange scheme and, as part of the European Day of Languages, we welcomed a group of Danish teachers to the Modern Languages Department. In October, 12 pupils travelled to Asturias in North West Spain for the ‘abroad’ component of their exchange. Four teachers from Pudong, Shanghai, spent a day in school during the autumn to observe how languages are taught here. Their visit coincided with a Chinese Food Theme Day in our canteen, which amused our visitors greatly. Two students from Germany who are studying at Stranmillis University College visited school at the end of November to observe lessons, and in December we hosted a visit by seven Chinese School Principals and Senior Administrators. We welcomed a group of pupils, teachers and Rotarians from Chicago in March, and will host a number of visiting parties of American pupils and teachers in the summer. Our work with schools from Sweden and Dublin continues to thrive. Our international projects relate directly to the aspirations outlined in the CBI document: for example, those who travel to Malawi and Romania are faced with challenges which help to develop the confidence, resilience and concern for others (the “social literacy” defined as “character”) which that document considers crucial. Last summer seven pupils travelled to Romania as part of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village Build. They observed classes and gave presentations to students at Colegiul Technic Victor Ungureanu and visited children at a local orphanage as well as participating in the building project. Throughout this year ten LVI pupils have taken part in Habitat for Humanity’s Schools’ Programme. Paired with De La Salle Boys’ School they have completed citizenship training and spent a day renovating a Simon Community shelter for the homeless in Downpatrick. The group is committed to raising £1250 for the charity, the cost of building a Habitat home in a developing country. At the end of June two teams totalling 46 LVI pupils, 10 staff and two support staff travelled to Mulanje Mission Station, Malawi, for work experience opportunities, mainly within medicine and teaching but also in health care and business. Refurbishment service projects focused on the construction of new latrines at our partner Primary School and improvements to the classrooms at the Apatsa Aids Orphanage and school. This concern for the welfare of others is much in evidence closer to home also. In October, Georgia Johnston from Save The Children came to Senior School Assembly to receive a cheque for £5000 from last year’s committee and to present the School with the Rita Rodden Cup which is awarded to the school which raises most money for the charity. Through the autumn, Holly McCoubrey raised money for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice. She recorded three songs and sold CDs in aid of the charity. Among other performances, she sang to pupils and parents at our Open Evenings and appeared on U105 Radio’s Breakfast Show. More than £5,000 was raised for charity in the weekly Registration collections. In January, Sorcha Chipperfield, Fundraising Co-ordinator for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children came in to School to receive a cheque for £3,263 which was raised by the pupils of Form I and II during ‘Read-On’, the sponsored reading event, and to speak to pupils about how their money would be used. Laura Bannon, Cara O’Kane, Aine Flynn and Lauren Bradley volunteered with Lighthouse and Opportunity Youth, and, assisted by Adam Barnes, organised an awareness-raising event in school. The School Council forged links with students from BMC’s e3 campus in an eventsplanning activity and twenty Form III pupils joined other North Belfast schools in Co-operation Ireland’s CATCH project. Lauren Bradley, Niamh Duffy, Leona Holmes, Paula Keenan and Alex Devine received the Award of Excellence from Volunteer Now in December, having completed 200 hours of volunteering in the local community with projects such as Woodlands Day Centre and the 147 Trust . Our pupils have, indeed, “a strong civic consciousness”, and are prepared to take “an active role in bettering the lives of others.” Our pupils’ experience of the world beyond Northern Ireland is not confined to Malawi, Romania, Sweden and Spain. Groups also travelled to Paris and to ski in Italy. Our Senior Rugby players toured South Africa in the summer, the U14 squad played matches in Ipswich (Continued on page 3)


The Academy Newsletter 2013 (Continued from page 2) and Cambridge in the Spring, our Equestrian team visited the Burghley Horse Trials, our Girls’ Hockey 1st XI travelled to Gibraltar and Spain for matches at the end of the season and at Easter the 1st XI Cricket squad became the first school team from Northern Ireland to tour Sri Lanka. Join a team and see the world! Great credit must go to the pupils, staff and parents who organised and supported the fundraising events and activities which made such expeditions possible. Information about a range of activities and achievements appears in other sections of this magazine. I will therefore confine myself to highlighting the achievements of only a few individuals and teams: Daniel Dass (Ulster Schools’ U18 XV and Ulster U20 squad); Stewart Martin (Ulster Schools’ U18 XV and Ulster U19 squad); Alan Curtis (1st in 400m Hurdles and the 4 x 100m Relay at the Inter-provincial Athletics Championships, Ireland U17 Team at Schools’ International); Lucy Stewart, Laura Fleck, Trinity Geddis, Ellen Dalzell, and Alice Reid (selected for Athletics Northern Ireland Talent Identification Programme); Alex Steenson, Shane Martin, Matthew Dalton, Stephen McCorry, Victoria Beattie and Mellissa Moffett selected to represent Ulster at the AVIVA Tailteann Irish Schools’ Interprovincial; Tom Donnelly, Ruairi Hurson and David Speers (selected for Ulster Schools’ Water Polo team); Katie Baird (won the Elizabeth Long Trophy for the “most promising 11 year old boy or girl” at the Ulster Age-Group Swimming Championships); Cameron McCaughey and Andrew Milligan (Intermediate Champions, Ulster Schools’ Pairs’ Bridge); Adam Barnes (Commended Delegate in the George Watson’s MUN Conference held in Edinburgh); Jessica Johnston (represented Ireland at the Fontainebleau Show Jumping event); Erin Getty (Ulster and Ireland U16 Hockey); Conor Ferguson (Silver and Bronze medals in the British Age-Group Swimming Championships); Melissa Antonio and Rebecca Rowan, Luke Taylor and Ryan Lightowler (winners, Ulster Schools’ Teams’ Bridge Championships – our teams finished in second and third place also); Odhran Catney, Tiernan Coulter, Jack Green and Tom McKee (Irish finalists, Credit Union Quiz); Chris Turnbull, Philip Rowan, Angela Cao and Eilis O’Loan (Irish Bridge Teams’ Champions); Kelly-Anne Rainey (1st in both the Intermediate Exercise Pairs and Intermediate Exercise Team events at the Northern Ireland Creative Movement and Aerobic Championships); Angelo Marica (Ulster U19 Rugby squad); Lucy Kinnear (won the gavel for the Best Junior delegate overall in the MCB/Wallace High School Model United Nations Conference and was best Junior Delegate in the George Watson’s MUN Conference held in Edinburgh): Jessica Dowey (Best Junior Delegate in the Environment Committee, MCB/Wallace Conference), Kuda Kunaka (the best Junior Delegate in Eco-Soc Committee, MCB/Wallace Conference), Alizeh Ali (Commended delegate in Middle East committee, MCB/Wallace Conference); David Campbell and Jordan Hylton (Ulster Schools’ U18 Rugby squad); Matthew Dalton (Ulster U16 Elite Rugby squad); Richard Ware, Andrew Milligan, Lui Hurson and Daniel Quigley (Northern Ireland Champions, UKMT Mathematics Challenge); Kieran McKenna (second in the All-Ireland Youth Climbing Series finals in Dublin in April, he has qualified to represent Ireland at the UK Championships); Jamie Dwyer, Aaron Cairns, Kyle Higginson and Pierce Clements (Ulster Schools’ Golf Winter League finalists); James Reid (Gold medals, both N.I. and Irish Schools’ Judo, Silver medal Irish Open); the Judo team of Matthew Elliott, Dylan Getty and James Reid won a Silver medal at the N.I. Schools’ Championships; Kiah Reid (All-Ireland age-group Judo Champion, Bronze medal in international competition, Gold medal at N.I. Schools’ Championships, Silver medal at N.I. Open); Conor Ferguson

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(Ulster Junior Swimming record – 100m Backcrawl); Charlie George, Katie Baird, Finn Purdy and Zoe Parkes (individual Gold medal winners, Ulster Schools’ Minor Swimming Championships); Kuda Kunaka (Best Junior Delegate in the Africa Committee in the Wesley College, Dublin, MUN conference); Abby Brown and Faye Kidd (Ulster U17 Hockey team: Faye was captain of the team which defeated England); Carly McCullough (starred as the lead role, Maria, in the Belfast Youth in the Arts production of ‘West Side Story’); Chloe Lynas and Ciera McCotter (had supporting roles in the same production, which ran for five nights at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast in April); Nikita McCoubrey, a member of the Northern Ireland Sea Cadet Corps, selected to represent the City of Belfast in the position of Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for 2013; Emily Taggart (has won a rowing and academic scholarship to Michigan State University, USA: she trains at Belfast Boat Club with the Rowing Ireland Development Academy); Luke Taylor, Ryan Lightowler, Melissa Antonio and Rebecca Rowan (N.I. Bridge team for the Under 20 Home Internationals - Ryan and Melissa also in the European Under 20 Championships); Cathryn Morrissey and Rebecca Marno (Taekwondo – won 4 Gold and 2 Bronze medals while representing Northern Ireland at the British National Poomsae Championships); Ross Bryans and Andrew Forbes (Ireland U17 Cricket squad); Daniel McFadden and Jordan Carlisle (Ulster Schools’ Cricket squad); Judithe Allen and Amy O’Donnell (Ulster Junior Girls’ Golf champions and Irish Schools’ Junior Cup winners Judithe also won the trophy for best gross score at Junior level); Jack Agnew selected for the Great Britain Under 18 Wheelchair Basketball squad for the Paralympic Youth Festival in Utrecht, Netherlands. Congratulations also to the Open Show Jumping team, MEC Champions (the third year in a row that we have won this League competition); The Intermediate B Netball team, Belfast Area League champions; the 1st XI Girls’ Hockey team which enjoyed a thrilling Cup run to reach the Semi-final at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club, where they lost to the eventual winners, Lurgan College; the Girls’ Swimming Team, Ulster Champions for the 5th consecutive year; the Bridge Club, whose teams finished in 1st, 2nd, 5th and 6th in the Irish Championships; and the 1st XV, which reached the final of the Subsidiary Shield, losing narrowly to Campbell College at Ravenhill. Surrounding these individual and team achievements are the daily activities, the clubs and societies which give pupils opportunities to make friends and develop skills and confidence, whatever their particular interests. Pupils enjoyed the annual Scripture Union weekend at Castlewellan Castle, while others took part in events such as the International Women’s day STEM event, the Teenage Wellbeing Fair, the Book Fair, National Poetry Day readings, the Prefects’ teambuilding Day, the Robotics Roadshow, debates, a Global Entrepreneurship Challenge, the World Wise Quiz, the Schlumberger Gender Diversity in Industry careers event, the Kids’ Lit Quiz, the Interview Skills seminar, Careers visits, a STEM Carousel, the Roadsafe Roadshow, the EUNICAS seminar, the Mathematics Olympiad, a Stock Market Challenge and events to mark World Book Day. The vitality of our school community depends upon the shared enthusiasm and commitment of pupils and members of staff. When teachers leave, their involvement in a plethora of school activities is missed. We are fortunate indeed to attract first-rate colleagues from a new generation, who bring a new array of interests and initiatives, but the contribution of the members of staff who are departing now has been significant, both in the classroom and to the extracurricular life and ethos of the school. ‘The Owl’ will outline the careers of Dr Lomas, Mr Moore, Mr Nash, Mrs Thompson and Mr Forrest in a way which is not possible here. Suffice to say that we will feel their absence and we wish them well. Our priority is to enable pupils to fulfil their academic potential, whether they are among the top performers in the UK, or having to work hard to achieve a place in the Sixth Form or at a university. However, our ambition is to look beyond qualifications, and through the culture and values of the school and the range of opportunities and challenges which it provides, to enable our pupils to achieve their personal, human potential so that they may develop the “character” which will underpin their future happiness and the success of the next generation in all areas of our society. Promoting aspiration and ambition, fostering the growth of confidence and selfreliance, and developing a ‘skills passport’ for employment: it is a challenging agenda, but, judged against the CBI blueprint, and by a rigorous Inspectorate, we have travelled far along the road already.

J.M.G. Dickson


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Drama Notes - Snared “Sir, do Grease, go on do Grease”. I understand fully the reason why I am encouraged to make this choice every year: the youthful energy, the American high school context, the timeless boy meets girl storyline, the fashion and, of course, the evocative music. So why have I not done it? Well, for very selfish reasons really. I am attracted to stories that have a moral. Whether it is the Faustian soul-selling tale behind ‘Little Shop of Horrors’, the convent-saving antics of the ‘Blues Brothers’, the class-based value systems of ‘Much Ado’, or the mutual sacrifice of father and son in ‘Bleachers’, I like to have something to hang the fun on to.

That was the starting point for ‘Snared’. I wanted a show that was entertaining to watch and to be in. I wanted a context that would be engaging, that would stretch the actors and would have many speaking, non-speaking and singing roles to satisfy the diverse and impressive talents of Academy pupils and, in particular the girls, who traditionally audition in greater numbers than the boys. Superficially, the story set amid the Mods/Rockers riots in Brighton 1963, is about a boy who dreams of stardom in a rock band. He is unsuccessful in auditioning for a drummer until a girl from the local private school fits the bill. Of course, in 1963 a girl drummer would not

have been taken seriously and so she dresses as a boy for the auditions. Predictably, she gets the job. Then she falls in love with the lead singer, and has the dilemma of how to tell him that she is in fact his drummer. Meanwhile, he is offered a recording deal as a solo artist and he has the dilemma of how he deals with the other band members. The moral of the story is about priorities in life and what ultimately satisfies. I love being involved in drama and this project was one of the happiest I can remember. No need for hair-rending or gnashing of teeth. With such a wonderful group of young people and adult friends around me it was a blast from start to finish.

Usually as soon as I have completed one play, I have already started to plan the next. In this case, I can honestly say that I miss working with the cast and crew of ‘Snared’ and while I know there are so many young stars on their way, I will live off the memories for some time yet. Thank you to all those involved in ‘Snared’, in whatever capacity, and to parents, pupils, staff and friends of the School who attended the performances.

R. Jamison


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Rock Challenge On Monday 15th April, a team of 50 pupils returned once again to the Waterfront Hall to compete in Rock Challenge 2013. The competition was originally due to take place on Friday 22nd March but was cancelled due to bad weather at the time. Standards were very high in all aspects of the competition this year and the team competed against Ballee Community High School, Hazelwood Integrated College and Little Flower. Ashfield Girls’ School and the Girls’ Model also show-cased at the event. The dancers put on a spec-

tacular show and received three awards: Choreography, Performance Skill and Soundtrack. The team also received the Student Leadership Award for being entirely pupil-led. To complete a fantastic night, the team was placed 2nd overall. Preparations for next year have already begun and taking on board all of the judges’ comments, we are hoping to put on an even better show and finish the night in 1st place!

L. Craig

J.W. Carey - First Year At Oxford For me, the idea of studying History at Oxford can be traced back to two of my teachers: Mr Buchan telling me that I had the potential to aim for Oxbridge and Dr Brown telling my Maths class of his own experience studying there. I chose History because it was the subject that most enthralled me, as even from an early age I read about history for fun. All those who had decided to apply to Oxbridge attended classes led by Dr Brown from the end of Lower Sixth into Middle Sixth until we went for our interviews in November/ December 2011. These classes concentrated on what to expect in, and how to deal with, interviews as well as building our confidence in an interview situation. The interview was a daunting experience, as published historians quizzed me, and I experienced the full range of emotions during the days I was there. A few weeks later on the 16th December 2011, I found myself in my Economics class in school nervously opening the email that would tell me whether the hard work

had paid off and, thankfully, it had. I still needed to achieve the grades that were asked of me, and with hard work throughout the year as well as reading around my subjects, I was able to do this. All colleges in Oxford have their own personalities and St. Benet’s Hall is no different, particularly in that it only admits boys, as there is a community of Benedictine monks studying with us. It has been

nothing short of a fantastic experience both academically, as I have had so many leading academics tutoring me, and socially as I’ve become integrated into our college’s familylike atmosphere and am able to continue with other activities such as playing hockey. For anyone passionate about his or her subject and thinking of applying to Oxbridge I would encourage you to do so. If you’re successful it opens up a

world of opportunities and even if you’re not, the experience itself is hugely beneficial. Don’t let fear of disappointment prevent you from pursuit of your goals. Belfast Royal Academy is such a great place to launch yourself from and whatever your university or career aims, be sure to take advantage of the committed staff and everything the school offers. John William Carey


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Music Notes 2012/2013 has proven to be a very busy and exciting year for the Music Department. Rehearsals commenced immediately in September for all groups. Instruments were retrieved from the depths of bedrooms and store rooms and everyone seemed to really enjoy meeting each other again after the summer break. The first performance was at the School’s Annual Prize Day in UUJ. The Senior Orchestra performed ‘Marche Slave’ by Tchaikovsky and the Chamber Choir sang ‘Locus Iste’ by Anton Bruckner. Prize Day is one of the Music Department’s favourite days of the year and everyone thoroughly enjoyed sampling the various coffee establishments in UUJ between rehearsals. Immediately after the half term break, rehearsals commenced for the Senior and Junior Carol Services. Once again the Senior Choir, Chamber Choir and Senior Orchestra performed at the Senior Carol Service, with Michael Bell singing the tenor solo in ‘O Holy Night’ and Faye Kidd, Cameron McCartney and Cameron Gergett singing the solos in Howard Darke’s beautiful arrangement of ‘In the Bleak Mid-Winter’. Special thanks must go to Mr Stephen Hamill who accompanies the Senior Choir every year without complaining! In November the Big Band, Chamber Choir and Traditional Group travelled to Gonzaga College, Dublin, to per-

form at a fund-raising concert for Habitat for Humanity. It was a very enjoyable day and despite the concert starting half an hour later than advertised with Ms McMullan being told to “relax….this is the way it happens in the South…”, everyone had an excellent night’s craic. The Gonzaga boys will be coming to the Academy in November of this year and we are already looking forward to the ‘BRAzaga Experience’ – Ruari Brogan’s words, not mine. Details about the concert will be posted on the School website closer to the time. The Annual Spring Concert in March was a huge success. Fourteen different groups and over two hundred students performed to a packed Ulster Hall. With so many different musical genres represented throughout the evening it really was a feast of music. I think everyone enjoyed the experience of performing Karl Jenkins’s ‘Requiem’ with the School Orchestra, especially the Bass Section whose rendition of their part in ‘Dies Irae’ and ‘Rex Tremendae’ was quite simply awe-inspiring. Once Mr Briggs and Jamie Dwyer realised that the start of ‘Rex Tremendae’ was not to do with calling for a lost dog, standards improved considerably! Stefan Tucker performed the MVI solo demonstrating his dexterity on the flute. Special mention must go to the various members of MVI for whom this will be their last concert. There are simply too many to mention by name in this short article but Mrs


The Academy Newsletter 2013 Burch, Mr Briggs and myself have greatly appreciated your support during your time at the Academy. The Music Department’s calendar of events continued into the Easter term. Michael Bell competed in and won the Catherine Judge Memorial Award on Saturday 20th April. He received a cheque for £5,000 towards furthering his studies at university and performed live on Radio Ulster on 6th May. The Big Band performed at the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra Showcase held at the Black Box after Easter. This was the final performance from stalwarts of the Big Band such as Ben

McConnell, Jamie Dwyer, Connor Brogan and James Donnelly. We shall all miss their wit and humour, especially Ben’s ability to start playing random solos at any point in the music. Mrs Burch directed the Junior Musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ which has taken years off her life, but she says that she will do it again! The quality of singing and dancing (at the same time) was quite remarkable considering the short space of time that they had to rehearse. Hopefully, this will prove to be a more frequent venture, especially since we have discovered Mrs Burch has a hidden talent for choreography!

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CLASS OF 1993 20 YEAR REUNION Saturday 27th July 2013 National Trust Minnowburn, Shaw’s Bridge Anyone interested in attending or for more information, please contact: Heather Sharpe - heather@firemed.co.uk or Nikki Johns (nee McStravick) - nickj1969@hotmail.co.uk The Senior Traditional Group has had a particularly successful year under the leadership of Dr Scully. In October they had the privilege of performing at the HMC Conference in the Titanic building and also at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award Ceremony at the University of Ulster. They have recently entered Music for Youth by video recording and are through to the next round in Birmingham in July. We wish them all the best for that competition. The Music Department would like to take this opportunity to thank the various members of staff who sing, conduct, ac-

company and take part in so many instrumental and choral groups. Special mention must go to Miss Carson who manages the Boys’ Choir with great aplomb! Without your support the Music Department would find it very difficult to produce music of such a high standard. Thanks also to the instrumental teachers in the School who have shown such commitment to the groups they have taken throughout the year.

M. McMullan

Catherine Judge Memorial Award Congratulations to Michael Bell (MVI) who was the winner of the Bank of Ireland's Catherine Judge Memorial Award. The live final was held on Saturday 20th April 2013 in the Great Hall at Queen’s University, Belfast. Michael received a cheque for £5,000 and an invitation to perform at the Sir Charles Wood Festival in August.

Leader of the Ulster Orchestra, Tamas Kocsis, made the presentation. Fellow judges on the panel included Ireland’s internationally renowned piano player Una Hunt, and Dr Joe McKee.

The Award was created in memory of Catherine Judge, an employee of Bank of Ireland who passed away in August 2005, as a way of supporting a Competition this year was new generation of musical talfierce, with soloists from Ban- ent. The Award is open to all of bridge Academy, Cambridge Ireland as part of the Bank of House Grammar School, CIT Ireland’s Secondary Schools’ Cork School of Music, MethProgramme. The Award is preodist College, RBAI, Royal sented annually to an excepIrish Academy of Music and tional solo classical musician Thornhill College. Michael per- who wishes to pursue thirdformed pieces by Bach, Britlevel music education. ten and Mozart.

Michael has been offered a place at St. John’s College, Cambridge, in September 2013 as a Choral Scholar. He

hopes to use the money for singing lessons in London. M. McMullan


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The Academy Newsletter 2013

Boys’ Sport Belfast Royal Academy provides excellent opportunities for pupils throughout the School. I would like to thank the staff for all their hard work, dedication and commitment to all aspects of sporting endeavour at the Academy.

had an encouraging season, winning ten games, including a victory against St. Joseph’s, Ipswich. The Form I Rugby team had a promising debut season, reaching the final of the Plate competition in the annual Coleraine Tournament.

The 1st XV played well this season, winning the Former Pupils’ Cup as the most successful team in the School and reaching the Final of the Subsidiary Shield. Daniel Dass and Stewart Martin played for the Ulster Schools’ U18 team in the Interprovincial Championships. Congratulations also to Angelo Marcia, Jordan Hylton, David Campbell and Matthew Dalton who have been included in various Ulster agegroup squads for next season’s Inter-provincial Championships.

The Hockey 1st XI finished 3rd in their Prior Shield qualifying group. The Athletics Club competed at the Junior and Senior District Championships. There were some outstanding performances, including new District records for Stephen McCorry in the Junior Hammer and Matthew Dalton in the 80m Hurdles.

In the Senior and Intermediate District Athletics Championships both teams finished second in overall points. Shane Martin won the Pole Vault Captained by Matthew Simpwhich, when added to the Junson (MVI) the 2nd XV saw ior Boys’ team’s excellent earsome memorable performlier performances, was enough ances, beating convincingly a to see the Junior Boys’ team strong Wallace High School, become District champions. Regent House and Portora The Boys’ team finished secRoyal. The 3rd XV developed ond in the Victor Ludorum, as the season progressed and when performances in all agemany of the players should groups are added together. come through to form the Jack Agnew competed in the backbone of senior rugby next inaugural T54 events with season. The Medallion XV great success, winning both had a very promising season. the 100m and 200m. They made good progress on the pitch and the highlight of At the Ulster Schools’ Athletics the season was the Medallion Championships, Stephen XV’s win at Roughfort against McCorry set a new Ulster rea much-fancied Ballymena cord in the Junior Hammer, Academy team. The U14 sea- throwing a massive 50.43m; son culminated in the tour to Robert Moffett retained his Cambridge, where the boys Senior Hammer title and Jack beat an undefeated Perse Plackett won the Junior Pole School 27-5. The U13 team Vault. Jack Agnew (T54 100m

and 200m), Matthew Dalton (Junior 80m Hurdles and High Jump) and Alan Curtis (Senior 400m Hurdles and Long Jump) all became double Ulster Champions, with Thomas Carey winning the Junior Triple Jump. There were many other fine individual performances which contributed to the Junior Boys’ team becoming Ulster Junior Champions and the Boys’ team finishing second overall. At the Irish Schools’ Athletics Championships in June, Matthew Dalton (Junior High Jump) and Shane Martin (Junior Pole Vault) became Irish Champions. Matthew also finished second in the Junior 80m Hurdles, as did Thomas Carey in the Junior Triple Jump. Alex Beattie (Junior Pole Vault), Robert Moffett (Senior Hammer) and Alan Curtis (Senior 400m Hurdles) all won Bronze medals. The Junior Boys’ team won the overall Irish Junior Boys’ Championship.

games, beating Ballyclare High by 14 points to 10. We entered four teams in the British Schools’ Karting competition, achieving 2nd and 6th in Northern Ireland, with outstanding wins from Michael Woods, Stephen Rea and Peter O’Neill. The Swim Team had another great year. Once again, B.R.A. is the top Grammar School in Ulster, with the Junior Boys’ team (Finn Purdy, Lui Hurson, James Desmond, Charlie George and Lorcan Gourley) winning medals in every competition. Conor Ferguson set two Ulster Schools’ records and was selected for the Ulster Schools’ Inter-provincial team. In total, B.R.A. boys and girls won 132 swimming medals during the last school year.

The Senior Boys’ Water Polo team finished 3rd in the Schools’ League, 3rd in the Canada Trophy and 3rd again in the Irish U19 Schools’ Championships. Tom DonThe Senior Boys’ Cross Coun- nelly, Ruairi Hurson and David try team, comprising Matthew Speers were selected for the Donnelly, Mannix McAllister, Ulster Schools’ U19 InterMalachy McKenna, James provincial team and finished Duffy and Caolan Lyttle, finrunners-up in the Irish Interished runners-up in the District provincial Tournament. The Championships and in a credit- U16 boys finished 2nd in the able 6th place at Ulster level. league and will play in the Irish Schools’ in September. The Golf team took part in the Ulster Schools’ Winter League. Both of the Senior Boys’ teams They qualified for the Final finished 1st and 2nd at the Ulagainst C.A.I. and St. Killian’s ster Lifesaving Championships at Royal Portrush. The team and go through to the Irish deserve a lot of credit for tournament later in the year. reaching the School’s first ever Ruairi Hurson was selected for golf final. the Commonwealth Games team and in September 2013 The 1st XI Cricket team sucwill be going to the Games becessfully negotiated its first ing held in Canberra, Australia. McCullough Cup series of W. McGonigle


The Academy Newsletter 2013 outstanding form at the District Championships and recorded nine 1st positions on the way For the 2012/13 Hockey seaupset the odds with two memo- to finishing 1st overall in both the Senior and Intermediate son we fielded 4 Senior and 4 rable victories and a drawn team standings, with the Junior Junior teams every week. In match. Girls' taking 2nd place. The addition to our 8 regular teams, the Form I side played For the second year Erin Getty Ulster Championships saw Hannah Allen, Emma Kelso friendly fixtures against Bally- has been selected for Ulster and Alex Beattie win Gold mena Academy, Grosvenor, U15s, and in June travels to medals in the Senior Hammer, Methody, Friends’ and BallyHolland with the team to play Senior Pole Vault and Junior clare High. The team ended in a European tournament. Pole Vault respectively. Both the season playing in the long- Other players from our Junior Emma and Alex continued established annual tournateams winning representative their good form in the Pole ment hosted by Grosvenor honours at Belfast U15 level Vault, taking Gold and Bronze Grammar School. were Lucy Stewart and Irish medals in their events at the Alvarado. Lucy also had the Irish Schools’ Athletics ChamThe Owls’ Cup is awarded honour of captaining the team every year to the team that and progressed to selection for pionship in June. wins the most matches and the Ulster B squad. In Cross Country, at the Disthis year the honour fell to the trict Championship, Form I’s 1st XI. Under the leadership of The 2A XI, led by Captain Captain Amy Mellor and Vice Megan Reilly and Vice Captain Aimee Bradley and Ellen Dalzell of Form II both ran outCaptain Faye Kidd, and with Sarah McGrath, played 15 the help of fifteen goals games, won 5, drew 4 and lost standing races to qualify for the Ulster final. Our highest scored by Sarah Martin, the 6 matches. The U14s were finishers at each level at the 1st XI played 22 games, won captained this year by Savan15, drew 3 and lost 4 nah Thompson who, along with Districts were, Rioghnach Catney (Junior), Natalie Watson matches. It was an excepLucy Stewart, shared the (Intermediate) and Katie Nixon tional achievement for the 1st Player of the Year Award. XI to reach the semi-final of Anna Wilson was top scorer for (Senior). the Schools’ Cup for the first the U14s, who finished in sectime in some 20 years. There ond place in their South Antrim The Senior Girls’ Water Polo team, captained by Caroline was no shame in their defeat league. Montgomery, saw Lori Turkingto the eventual Cup and AllIreland Trophy winners, LurThe U13s, captained by Trinity ton selected for the Irish U16 team to compete in the Trigan College. Reward for the Geddis, had 7 wins and 4 Nations in Cardiff. Eorann success of the season indraws out of 13 matches O’Neill and Caroline Montgomcluded a trip to Marbella, played. The top goal scorer ery continue to train with the where the 1st XI played two was Maria Del Castillo, while Irish U19s. More recently, the matches against Spanish opAlice Reid was named Player position. of the Year, an Award voted for U14 team competed in the every week by team members. Irish U14 tournaments in Galway and Dublin. Outstanding Players from the squad who play was in evidence from gained representative honours Tennis teams were entered at Maeve Gallagher, Anna Whitefor the Belfast Area U17 team Junior, Intermediate and Senside, Cara Carson, Emma included Judithe Allen, Faye ior Level. Senior and IntermeKidd and Abbie Brown. Faye diate teams have won all their Gourley and Jennifer McCorry. and Abbie went on to reprematches to date and have proThe Lifesaving Club, under the sent Ulster U17s, with Faye gressed to the knock-out having the honour of captainstages of their respective Cup captaincy of Sam Lindsay, won the award of top school/club in ing the team. They played a competitions. Northern Ireland for successthree-match series against England U17s at Lillishall and The Girls' Athletics Club was in fully completing and passing

Girls’ Sport

9

Lifesaving Awards. Lori Turkington had a great Ulster Lifesaving Championship, finishing in third place and progressing to the Irish finals later in the year. The Girls’ team for the British Championships had a good competition and picked up several medals. Maeve Gallagher and Ashley Johnston will compete in the Ulster Junior Lifesaving Championship. Eorann O’Neill won the 100m Obstacle and finished 2nd in the 200m Obstacle, as well as the Rescue Medley. Eorann and Lori were selected for the GB National squad and the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Lifesaving team. In September 2013, they will travel to the Games being held in Canberra, Australia. The Swimming team, captained by Kate Miller and Seana Harley-Moyes, is the top Grammar School club in Ulster, with the Senior Girls’ team becoming Ulster Champions. Eorann O’Neill and Katie Baird were selected for the Ulster team which won the Inter-provincial Championships at the beginning of May. Both Senior and Junior Relay teams are Ulster Champions in Medley and Freestyle. At the Secondary Schools’ Championships Eorann O’Neill won 5 Gold medals. Golfers Judithe Allen and Amy O’Donnell became Ulster Junior Girls’ Golf champions and Irish Schools’ Junior Cup winners - Judithe also won the trophy for best gross score at Junior level. N. Nicholl


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The Academy Newsletter 2013

Habitat for Humanity - Romania briefing, we were set to work like little elves hammering iron rods to make 25cm square The bonds of friendship were supports to help reinforce the strengthened further that weekend when pupils and staff concrete structure. This was high precision work and many from Colegiul Tehnic “Victor of our efforts failed Vio’s qualUngureanu” extended their ity control and had to be rehospitality by taking us on a visit to the stunning Turda Salt- done: we had to raise our game and become skilled at mine in the morning, followed this task before we would see Cluj, the second city of Roma- by a picnic lunch and walk nia, located in the north of the through the Turda Gorge in the progress in our labour! Our motivation came from the frecountry we soon came to afternoon. The saltmine has quent family visits of Adrian know is one of contrasts: a recently been converted for vibrant centre, with high qual- tourists into an impressive un- and Ancuta Vlaic, for whom we were helping to make this ity restaurants and beautiful derground leisure complex house a reality. Ancuta often architecture, belies an undercomplete with a number of atbrought her children to see the class of poor people. Concen- tractions including a Ferris ‘new home’ developing and trations of soulless, grey tower wheel, a boating lake and during tea breaks treated the blocks and dilapidated buildbowling alley. Even after a workers to some of her home ings are durable remnants of short time there, we felt the the old communist system of benefits of ‘halotherapy’ in the cooking. News of our work spread fast and we were soon governance. cool air, just what we needed to appear on Romanian televibefore our hike through the On arrival we were met by Gorges in sweltering tempera- sion, when the young presenter even interviewed Niall! Alexandra, our young Habitat tures. representative, who was to look after us during our time in After a weekend to acclimatise Three days in, driven by Mr Nash, we were mixing, shovelher country. Before beginning and relax, on the Monday ling and ferrying bucket loads the hard physical work on the morning we awoke full of enof cement in a Romanian heat building site we had the opthusiasm to begin our build. wave. Heather, Leona, Niamh portunity to undertake a num- As we left our hotel in the uniber of educational and cultural versity district for the thirty min- and Sarah proved worthy of activities. ute drive to the site, we passed the task and kept the boys, Oliver, Peter and Niall, under through the contrasting dispressure to fill 60 metres of A link fostered by Mr Nash tricts of Cluj – modern comfirst floor foundation in double through his work with Euromercial and shopping areas pean Studies allowed us to juxtaposed with cramped, out- quick time! visit a local school, Colegiul dated and poorly maintained Wherever we went in Cluj the Tehnic “Victor Ungureanu”. housing. people were friendly and welAfter sitting in on morning lescoming, impressed that such a sons (English, Mathematics Arriving at our destination we and Geography), both sets of were met by site managers Vio young team had travelled to their country to help them. A pupils in a packed lecture and Geta, who have worked local factory owner even theatre gave presentations on for Habitat for about 10 years bought us ice-creams and desour different cultures and after being involved alongside schooling systems. The Roother volunteers in the building serts to show his support for our work. manian students took the Bel- of their own ‘Habitat homes’. fast pupils for lunch in their Following a health and safety On the final day of our build we downed tools at lunchtime and celebrated a farewell barbeque with the family, Vio, Geta, Alexandra, Dr Oliver and the girls from Victoria College, who had joined us for part of our time. Having been involved with Habitat for Humanity N.I. for three years we decided, in June 2012, to take the next step in the journey and go on an international build to ClujNapoca, Transylvania, Romania. Several pupils from Victoria College came with us.

local town, Campia Turzii.

A few thoughts from the pupils: Sarah: I joined the volunteering programme for Romania - it was an experience I couldn’t pass up. My opinion on the experience – I wouldn’t change it for the world. It has been an amazing 12 days, and it was

more awesome than I ever thought it would be. I will be back as soon as possible. Niamh: I went to Cluj-Napoca, Romania because I wanted to have the experience of helping people help themselves. Doing this with Habitat for Humanity meant I could be a part of this process – actually helping in the building of a family home. It also gave me an opportunity to see and experience a new country and culture. Leona: The modern parts of Cluj-Napoca were not what I had expected, especially the shopping mall. I did see the poorer housing and the older flats built prior to the revolution and realised the need for help. Heather: Habitat is a very sustainable charity and for this reason I thought it would be very worthwhile to get involved. The past 12 days have been a great experience to be a small part of a really big picture. Oliver: I thought it would be a great and rewarding experience. I wanted to help the family myself, rather than just donating, as I wanted to be able to see where my money and time went. I was able to see the result of work done by myself and my team. Peter: I really wanted to do something worthwhile with my summer, and thought the trip would be a good way of forgetting about my exams and also helping out people less fortunate than me. I saw the trip as an opportunity to visit a country I otherwise never would have been able to. Niall: I honestly had no idea what I expected, but this trip showed me the severe gap between poverty and wealth for many people in Romania.

D. Keenan D. Nash The Habitat Team


The Academy Newsletter 2013

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Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka On Wednesday 27th March, the 1st XI Cricket team travelled to Sri Lanka for a preseason tour, becoming the first school from Northern Ireland to do so. The tour was productive, both in a cricketing and educational sense, as well as being immensely enjoyable. Highlights included playing at the Galle International Stadium, snorkelling in the Indian Ocean, bathing elephants, singing in a tree hut and working closely with two Sri Lankan charities, Child Action Lanka, and the Foundation of Goodness.

Eventually, Ananda College's draw'.” batting was too much to handle and we lost by 6 wickets.” The last match of the tour was played against Colombo InterThe team’s third match was national School, where B.R.A. played against the formidable secured an impressive first Foundation of Goodness Acad- win. Form V pupil, David Reid, emy, who beat the B.R.A. stu- commented on the winning dents in an exciting showdown. formula: Form III pupil, Jack Burton, shared his thoughts on the “We started off with CIS bowlsuccesses of his opponents: ing a lot of extras and were going well until 2 quick wickets “They beat us by 8 wickets, fell, leaving us 22-2. However, chasing down our modest total. Fettis and McFadden (36) batThe highlight for us was Ross ted superbly to take the match Bryans' fiery opening spell, in away from CIS with a partnerwhich he took two wickets. ship of 62. Jordi Fettis ended Francis Collins' juggled catch with a brilliant 50*, his 2nd fifty Students found the hot and was also impressive. At the of the tour. It was great to get humid conditions challenging end we were told by their our first win, so after the game at first, but they soon acclima- coach, Mr Anura, that because we celebrated by having an ice tised, ready for their first they have little rain, they train 7 -cream with the opposition and match against Kandy Acaddays a week, 365 days a year. then had a quiet relaxing last emy at Dharmaraja College This definitely showed in their night in Sri Lanka.” performance.” Grounds. B.R.A. student, As well as sporting endeavSuraj Tirupati, outlined the ours, the students also worked dramatic events of the match: Another exciting match was played at the famous Internaclosely with two Sri Lankan tional Galle Stadium against charities, Child Action Lanka, “They batted first and scored and the Foundation of Good132 in 20 overs on a very fast Nottingham High School. ness. David McLarnon exoutfield (Ben Kane 4 overs for B.R.A.’s Francis Collins replained the work undertaken to 9 runs). We backed ourselves viewed the match in this way: help others: from the start to put up a good “Nottingham had a good start fight - and that’s exactly what we did! Jordi Fettis scored 60 an opening stand of 115 runs. “We travelled to the Foundaoff 43 balls and was supported We finally broke the partnertion of Goodness Centre, ship when Michael Wilson by David Reid (28). After a where on arrival we were met see-saw battle we needed 26 bowled a 'jaffa' down the leg by Mr Anura. He gave us a off the last two. A massive six side and David Reid took a tour around the centre and exsharp catch. We fought hard by Cameron McClurkin proplained to us what the centre after that and with good spells offers to the local people of the vided some impetus. Ross from Ben Kane, Jordan CarBryans took 16 off the final Seenigama village: courses in lisle (who bowled the England Business Studies, English and over (3 off the final ball) to U17 captain), Andrew Forbes, Electrical Wiring, among othfinish the game in an incrediJordi Fettis and Andrew ble tie.” ers. There was also a medical Palmer, we broke through to centre located on the site The students’ next match was their tail. However, their numwhich provided a free service ber six counter-hit well and against Ananda College at and free medication to memscored a quick-fire 51* off 30 Shugathadasa Stadium. MVI pupil, Jordan Carlisle, outlined balls. They ended their innings on 254-6. the highlights of a well-fought battle: “With a defeat on the cards, “We won the toss and opted to David Reid batted 29.4 overs bat first. The heat in Colombo in the intense heat, scoring a well-fought 22 off 84 balls, ably was even more intense than supported by Jack Burton. JorKandy and the opening batsmen, Francis Collins and Jack dan Carlisle came in and picked up the run rate by scorBurton, were relieved when the sky clouded over just prior ing 36no off 34 balls, but at this to the start! After a decent first stage we realised we couldn't get bowled out if we were to 10 overs, we struggled to get get a draw. We succeeded in momentum, losing wickets not being bowled out and quite regularly but posted a ended up settling for a 'fair reasonable score of 161.

bers of the surrounding area. It was surprising to hear that the foundation runs entirely on donations. After our visit we completed a beach clean-up and had a well-deserved swim.” The good work continued that evening, when the students gave cricket and football training to 60 local children. Students also enjoyed visiting many tourist sites, including a tour of Kandy, an excursion to a Buddhist Temple, snorkelling in the Indian Ocean and a trip to an elephant orphanage. They also received a talk about the Sri Lankan conflict. For many, the highlight was a trip to the Cricket Shop, where many bats and shirts were purchased. The boys were also treated to a visit to Premadasa International Stadium to watch the face-off between Great Britain Combined Universities and Bangladesh. Overall, the tour was a huge success and enjoyed by all involved. Form IV student, Michael Wilson, concluded, “We boarded the plane saying farewell to a nation we have become very fond of, making new friends and leaving with happy memories.”

M. Shields


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The Academy Newsletter 2013

Ben Madigan Notes This year all of our teachers have been supplied with iPads to use in their teaching. Training in their use has begun and various apps have been downloaded for use. Fully filtered Wi-Fi will be installed soon, along with two AppleTV systems. If insurance is in place, we hope to expand the number of iPads next year to enable more pupils to access them and possibly permit pupils to bring their own iPads to school.

land Primary Schools’ Hockey Cup. They stormed through the qualifiers and were quietly optimistic about their chances in the finals. Having been placed in a tough group with one of the favourites, the girls played extremely well and qualified 2nd in their group with convincing wins over Victoria Prep, Ballyholme, Cookstown and Carryduff. They avoided the Plate competition and qualified for the Cup. The girls were only 4 victories away from winning the entire competiOn 24th March, the Ben Madi- tion. They stormed past their gan Hockey team travelled to next two opponents, Carrick Lisnagarvey to participate in Model and Hazlett Primary with the finals of the Northern Ire6-0 and 5-1 victories respec-

tively. The semi-final saw the girls come up against a well-drilled Waringstown team, who had won this competition several times in the past. The girls showed no fear and were winning 2-1 with 30 seconds remaining. Waringstown, however, scored a last gasp equaliser which sent the game to extra time. There was nothing to separate the two teams and the game was forced to go to penalties. Waringstown showed great composure and won 2-0 in the penalty shootout. They then went on to win the final with a 4-goal margin.

The Ben Madigan girls can hold their heads high as they are the 3rd best team in Ulster Primary Schools’ Hockey. A tremendous effort! V. McCaig

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Since 1984 the following Awards have been gained by our pupils: • Bronze: 1,152 • Silver: 628 • Gold: 418

from Forms III to MVI, as well as 36 adult helpers, including former pupils who are Gold Award holders, parents and teachers. In excess of five tonnes of rubbish were cleared from 13 sites in the Mournes’ area. We received much appreciated assistance from Down District Council, Newry and Mourne District Council, The Mourne Heritage Trust, The National Trust, Tidy Northern Ireland and Mark’s Skip Hire (Kilkeel). This year, the Mournes’ Clean-Up raised £2,301.87 for our funds.

The 23rd Annual Sponsored Mournes’ Clean-up and Environment Day was held on Saturday 8th December 2012. Taking part were 155 people, i.e. 119 pupils, all Duke of Edinburgh’s Award members

In recognition of their outstanding commitment and long years of service to our Centre, Mr. David Sharp and Mr. Frank Workman each received the “Long Service Recognition” Certificate from The Duke of

The DofE in the Academy continues to go from strength to strength. Currently our membership stands at 418 pupils from Forms III to MVI: this means that the Academy has the largest school-based Award Centre in Northern Ireland, and possibly the United Kingdom.

Edinburgh’s Award. An Award Ceremony was held on Tuesday 12th February at Hillsborough Castle where Mr. Workman was presented with his Certificate by HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. On Tuesday 5th March in the Headmaster’s Study Mr. Dickson presented Mr. Sharp with his Certificate. We thank Dr. Lomas very much for her outstanding commitment and long years of service to our Centre as Coordinator of the Skills section and wish her a long and happy retirement. We are very grateful to Mrs. L. Nicholl for agreeing to become the new Skills section Co-ordinator. Two hundred and thirty-five of our members have been very

successfully involved in a busy period of expedition work at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, on foot in the Antrim Hills and the Mourne Mountains, and, by canoe, on the River Bann. The exceptionally poor weather at the end of March and the beginning of April caused the postponement of some expeditions until the arrival of better conditions. After the summer examinations the programme of expedition work will continue right through until the end of October.

J. Reilly

The Academy Newsletter 2013  

Belfast Royal Academy - The Academy Newsletter - June 2013

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