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The Owl Team 2015

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 the 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 attended 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


Mr A. M. Cole

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. D.G. Walsh, B.Sc., M.B.A., C.Eng., M.I.M.E. (Warden) Mrs. J. Weir, B.Sc., C.Math., M.I.M.A. (Hon. Secretary & Senior Vice-Warden) Mr. N. W. Beggs Ms. S.A. Beattie, B.A., M.Sc., F.C.I.P.D., C.Psychol., C.Sci., A.F.B.Ps.D. Dr. A.A.W. Bell, B.Sc., B.Agr.Sc., Ph.D. Dr. K.M. Bill, M.B., Ch.B., F.C.A.I., F.R.C.A., F.F.I.C.M. Mrs. K. L. Burns, B.A. Mrs. A. Clements, B.A. Mr. R. Connolly, B.Sc. Ms. C.R. Dillon, B.A. Mr. P.G. Dorman, B.Th. Prof. E.E. Douglas-Cowie, B.A., D.Phil. Dr. J.A. Hill, F.R.Eng., B.Sc., Hon. D.Sc., C.Eng., F.I.C.E., F.I.StructE., F.C.I.H.T. Mr. K.A. Knox, M.Sc. (Hon. Treasurer & Junior Vice-Warden) Mr. P.S. McBride, B.Sc., B.Sc.Psych., C.Phys., M.Inst.P., M.B.Ps.S. Mr. B.W. McCormack, B.Sc. (Econ), F.C.A. Mrs. G.E. McGaughey, LL.B., Cert in Professional Legal Studies. Mr. M.J. Neill, M.Sc. Mr. S.B. Orr, LL.B. Mr. E.R. Paynter, B.Ed., P.G.C.T.E. Mr. D.E. Porter, M.Sc., C.Eng., M.I.C.E., M.C.I.H.T., M.C.I.W.E.M. Mr. D.A. Scoffield Q.C., M.A., LL.M. Mr. G.R. Simon, F.R.I.C.S. Mr. J.D. Twinem, B.A., D.I.S, Pg.Cert., Pg.Dip., M.Sc, M.Inst.L.M., M.C.G.I. Mr. S.J.S.Warke, A.C.I.I., Dip P.F.S., T.E.P. Mr. G.W. Watt, M.A. Mr. A.J. Wilkinson, F.C.A. Mr. D. Carroll, B.A., M.Sc., M.R.T.P.I (Co-opted Governor) 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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Staff Lists

MEMBERS OF STAFF Headmaster Deputy Principal

Mr. J. M. G. Dickson, M.A. Dr. C. N. Scully, B.Sc., Ph.D., A.L.C.M., P.Q.H. (N.I.) Dr. G.J.N. Brown, B.A., Ph.D. Mr. M. T. Wilson, B.Sc., P.Q.H. (N.I.) Ms. W. E. Graham, B.A., M.A., P.Q.H. (N.I.) Mr. M. C. W. Harte, B.A. Mr. M. R. Shields, M.A. Mr. J. R. Jamison, B.Sc.

Vice Principals Senior Teachers Deputy Senior Teachers


Mrs. P. Kerr, B.A., A.T.D., M.Ed. Mrs. G. McQuiston, B.Ed. Dr. A. A. W. Bell, B.Sc., B.Agr.Sc., PhD. Ms. J. R. Adams, B.Ed. Dr. B. T. McMurray, B.Sc., Ph.D. Mr. J. D. L. Reilly, M.B.E., B.A. Mrs. K. L. Stuart, B.Sc. Mr. W. J. W. Spence, B.Ed., M.A. Mr. C. A. Stewart, B.Sc. Dr. J. A. McCombe, B.A., Ph.D. Ms. S. M. McIlhatton, B.Eng. Mr. P. C. Porter, B.A., B.D. (Comm.) Ms. M. McMullan, M.A., Mus.B., L.T.C.L., A.L.C.M. Mr. W. I. McGonigle, B.Ed. Mr. R. Budden, M.Sc. Mr. P. Dorman, B.Th. Mr. K. Lunn, B.Ed.


Miss S. Tinman, B.A. Mr. J. M. Patterson, B.Sc.(Econ.), M.S.Sc., D.C.G. Miss R. McCay, M.A. Miss K. S. Barnett, M.A. Mrs. R. Morrison, B.A. Mrs. N. S. Nicholl, B.A. Mrs. J. Robb, B.Sc. Ms. D. Keenan, M.Sc.


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Ms. S. R. Ardis, B.Sc. Mr. T. Hughes, M.Sc. Mr. N. Irwin, B.Ed.

HEADS OF YEAR FORM I Mrs. R. Morrison, B.A. Mr. D. Creighton, B.Sc. FORM II Mrs. L. I. Nicholl, B.Sc. Mr. D. D. Morrison, M.Sc. FORM III Mrs. G. C. Morris, B.Ed. Mr. P. T. Stretton, B.Ed. FORM IV Mrs. K. McIntyre, B.Sc. Mr. J. F. Buchan, B.E.M., M.A. FORM V Mrs. S. Graydon, B.Ed. Mr. C. R. McCarey, B.Sc. FORM LVI Miss K. E. Brady, B.Sc. Dr. S. C. Springer, M.Sci., Ph.D. FORM MVI Mrs. J. Robb, B.Sc. Mr. M. J. Neill, M.Sc.


Ms. J. Adams, B.Ed. Mr. A. K. Moles, B.Sc.

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

GRAMMAR SCHOOL Mr. T.M.A. Baldwin, B.Sc., C.Biol., M.R.S.B. Mrs. J. C. Bell, B.Sc. Mrs. K. A. Black, B.A. Miss B. Brittain, B.Ed. Dr. C. Burns, B.Sc., Ph.D., M.R.S.C. Mr. J. Carolan, M.A. Miss V. Carson, M.A., A.L.C.M. Miss R. A. Christie, B.A. Mrs. J. M. Cleland, B.Sc. Ms. L. Craig, B.A. Mr. A. R. Creighton, B.Ed., P.Q.H. (N.I.) Mrs. P. R. Cummings, M.Sci. Mrs. C. E. Currie, B.A. Dr. D. Currie, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. Mr. G. J. Forde, B.Mus. Mrs. F. A. Gilmore, B.Sc. Mrs. M. L. Gray, B.A., M.Ed. Mrs. N. Henry, B.Sc. Miss J. Herron, M.A. Miss K. M. Kyle, B.Ed. Mr. W. M. Lavery, B.Sc. Mr. P. J. Martin, B.Ed.

Ms. T. McBeth, M.A. Mrs. G. McCadden, Dip. A.D., A.T.D. Mrs. S. B. McCoy, B.A. Mrs. J. McGowan, M.A. Ms. A. McMillen, M.Sci. Mrs. H. Miller, B.A. Dr. O. Mort, B.A., Ph.D. Mrs. D. M. Nicholl, B.A. Mrs. R. L. O’Donnell, B.A., Dip. A.D., A.T.D. Mrs. L. Patterson, B.A. Mrs. C. Prior, B.Mus. Mrs. A. M. Reynolds, B.Sc. Mrs. J. Shaw, B.Sc. Mrs. M. C. Sheeran, B.A. Mrs. J. Smyth, B.A. Miss N. Stewart, B.A. Mrs. H. Tate, B.A. Mrs. A. P. Terek, B.Sc. Miss R. C. Wallace, B.A. Miss H. E. Watson, B.A. Miss. S. V. Wightman, B.Sc., M.Phil. Mrs. M. N. Wilson, B.A.


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Staff Lists


Principal Vice Principal Mrs. Sarah Bell, B.A. Mr. P. J. Ingram, B.Ed., M.Sc. Mrs. A. Pyper, B.Ed. Mrs. P. Lennon, B.Ed.

Mr. W. T. Wilson, B.Ed., L.T.C.L. Mr. S. Patterson, B.Ed. Mr. D. Warwick, B.Th. Mrs. E. Wilson, B.Ed. Mrs. R. Wilson, B.A., B.Ed., L.T.C.L.

GRAMMAR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION Bursar Finance Supervisor Part-time Headmaster’s Secretary/P.A. Part-time Headmaster’s Secretary/P.A. Bursar’s Secretary/P.A. Part-time Office Administrator Part-time Finance Administrator Part-time Librarian Part-time Librarian I.C.T. Manager General Office Supervisor Telephonist / Receptionist General Office Administrator Senior Administrator

Miss E. Hull, B.Sc., Dip. (Acc.), F.C.A. Mrs. H. McClean, B.A., F.C.A. Mrs. P. McClintock Mrs. J. Sherry Miss G. Boyd, B.A. Mrs. J. Boyd Mrs. L. Hogg, B.A. Mrs. T. Corcoran, B.A. PG.Dip. I.M. Miss E. McAtamney, B.A. PG.Dip.L.I.M. Mr. J. R. Cleland, B.Sc. Ms. P. Ferguson Mrs. A. Foy Mrs. L. Oliver Miss A. Kerns, B.A.

ANCILLARY STAFF Laboratory Assistants Technology & Design Technician Art & Crafts Technician School Matron Study Supervisor Estates Manager Grounds Maintenance Supervisor Swimming Pool Manager/Instructor Maintenance Officer Bus Driver Bus Driver/Assistant Janitor Janitor General Assistants Supervisory Assistant

Mrs. D. Beattie Mrs. J. Carroll Miss A. Caroux Miss E. McAtamney, B.A. PG.Dip. L.I.M. Mr. M. McCreight Mrs. L. Atkins Mrs. N. Loughran, R.S.C.N. Mrs. C. Clyde Mr. W. Thompson Mr. M. A. Gaw, B.Tech. Mrs. E. Alexander, B.A. Mr. P. McCartney Mr. W. Dunn Mr. A. Hermon Mr. K. Hogg Mr. D. McKee Mr. M.J.C. Atkins Mr. M. Dickeson Mrs. A. Thompson 5

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CLASSROOM ASSISTANTS Mrs. H. Blair Miss S. Nash, B.Sc. Mr. D. R. J. Calvert Mrs. J. Reid Ms. C. Colwell, B.A., P.G. Dip., P.G.C.E. Mrs. A. Rea, B.A., P.G.C.E. Mrs. G. Hanna, B.A., P.G.C.E. Mrs. K. Tepe Mrs. C. Henderson Mrs. D. Townsend Miss P. Maxwell Mrs. N. Watson

PREPARATORY DEPARTMENT PRE-PREPARATORY AND DAYCARE ANCILLARY STAFF Secretary Classroom/After School Club Assistant Pre-Preparatory Group Leader & After School Club Leader Pre-Preparatory Group Assistant Building Supervisor Cook Part-time Catering Assistant Part-time Nursery Assistant Lunch Supervisor/ PT Nursery Assistant & Classroom Assistant General Assistant General Assistant Part-time Classroom Assistant Part-time Classroom Assistant Part-time Classroom Assistant

Mrs. F. Gouk, M.A. Miss H.E. Crossen, B.A., M.A., P.G.C.E. Mrs. C. Sempey Mrs. L. Kyle Mr. R. Crawford Mrs. L. Johnston Mrs. M. McEwan Mrs. S. Hunter

Miss S. Davidson Mrs. I. Campbell Miss H. Bacon, B.A. Mrs. A. Millar Miss Z. Haire Mrs. E. Leinster, B.A., P.G.C.E.


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Contents Diary of the School Year...........................................................8 Valete......................................................................................30 Obituaries...............................................................................31 Literary Contributions...........................................................34 Distribution of Prizes.............................................................48 School Societies......................................................................67 Music in School ......................................................................74 Drama in School ....................................................................90 Miscellany...............................................................................91 School Games ......................................................................146 Ben Madigan Preparatory School........................................197 Former Pupils’ News............................................................214 Degrees and Diplomas.........................................................222 Births, Marriages and Deaths..............................................223


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Diary of the School Year SEPTEMBER 2014 Politics Society students ran a mock Scottish Independence Referendum for students in Forms V to MVI and staff.

Emma Louise Johnston gave a Shared Experience Seminar on her career in television. **** The 7th annual Spanish Exchange group from Asturias in Northern Spain took place, consisting of 18 pupils and 2 teachers.

**** Hockey results were as follows: 1st XI won 5-2 against Coleraine High School 2B XI won 2-1 against Belfast High School U15 XI 0-0 against Belfast High School U14A & B XI both won 1-0 vs Belfast High School U13A XI won 1-0 against Belfast High School U13B XI lost 1-0 against Belfast High School. **** The 1st XI travelled to the East Strand at Portrush, where they did fitness training and team-building activities in the afternoon.

**** A group of Academy pupils, along with Miss Brady and the Bursar, Miss Hull, attended a celebration at Belfast City Hall to mark the ÂŁ15million investment in pitches Belfast City Council is making that will improve playability, provide greater use of facilities and ultimately boost excellence across a range of sports. ****

**** Rugby results against Ballyclare High School were as follows: 1st XV lost 23-19 2nd XV won 3-0 Med. XV lost 12-10 U14A XV lost 22-19 U14B XV won 12-10 U13A XV won 24-7 U13B XV lost 28-0. ****

The Headmaster attended the HMC Annual Conference. ****


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Diary of the School Year The Junior Maths team consisting of Daniel Quigley, Lui Hurson, Jack Green and Rory Flynn won the NI round of the UK Maths Trust Team Challenge. **** Dr. Bruno von Lutz came from the Universität des Saarlandes to visit students who are on placement in Northern Ireland this year as part of their Erasmus course. **** We held our annual Wellbeing Week. For one of the events, students baked a variety of healthy treats for Heat 2 of the Great B.R.A. Bake Off. **** The European Day of Languages took place. **** As part of ‘Read-On’, a party of two teachers and fourteen pupils travelled to the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children Centre, at Bryansford, County Down. **** Senior Prefects completed a variety of team-building tasks. **** Congratulations to the following girls who were selected for the Belfast Area U19 Netball Squad: Kellie McLean, Abbie Brown, Emer Gribbon, Rachel Miller, Lori Turkington, Lauren McCullough. **** Hockey Club results against Glenlola School were as follows: 1st XI won 3-0 2A XI won 2-0 2B XI won 5-0 U15 XI won 2-0 U14A XI won 2-1 U14B XI won 1-0 U13A XI won 1-0 U13B XI won 3-1. **** Eva Hayward and Cameron Carter were awarded joint first place in the B.R.A. Bake-Off. Third place was awarded to Neave Lockhart. ****


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The Owl 2015 Damien Magee, the Homelessness Prevention Coordinator from Simon Community NI, delivered an awareness-raising talk and workshop to two Form V GCSE English classes.

Representatives from both the Pupil and School Councils joined pupils from other schools at the Belfast Model School for Girls for the Princess Diana Awards Anti-bullying Ambassador Programme.

**** Form V pupils Chloe Anderson, Rachael O’Donnell and Juanita O’Kane, all gained full marks in the CCEA GCSE level examination 2014.

**** **** The School Library hosted a poetry competition ahead of National Poetry Day. Rachel Patterson (Form II) won first place with her poem ‘My son, my hero – Never Forget’.

MVI pupils received presentations on ‘Applying to competitive courses’ from St. Andrews and the University of Dundee and took part in a workshop on ‘How to write an Award winning Personal Statement’ organised jointly by the University of Aberdeen and Stirling University. Pupils also attended Open Days at Queen’s University, University of Ulster and St. Mary’s. **** Several speakers came to school to talk to LVI and MVI about their specialist areas: Jonathan Rainey and James Donnelly for their talk on studying and working with PWC, Mr Kevin McDevitt for his talk on Pharmacy, Mr Steven Allen for talking about his career in Business Management, and Dr Hannah Shields, Dr Anna Diamond and Katy Shields for their presentation about studying Medicine.

**** Mr Gavin Campbell, Director of Design Engineering & Technology Development in Bombardier, visited School.


**** The annual Scripture Union Weekend took place. **** Chris Torbitt, artistic director of Belfast Youth in the Arts, came into school to take a drama, dance and music workshop.



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Diary of the School Year

The School welcomed visitors from Mulanje Mission in Malawi.

MVI Economics students visited IKEA and were given a tour by one of the managers, Mr Nigel McGarry, who explained the IKEA approach to doing business.

**** The Headmaster attended The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award / Joint Award Initiative Reception at the Harbour Commissioner’s Office in Belfast. The event was attended by HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, who is himself a Gold Award holder and a Trustee of the Charity.

**** Over one hundred pupils from Form I and Form II designed their ideal house as part of White Ink’s ‘Dream House’ project for Culture Night 2014.

**** ****


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The Owl 2015 Twelve pupils from the Junior Book Club accompanied by Miss McAtamney and Mrs Townsend attended a musical adaptation of ‘Sky Hawk’. **** A Young Einstein Club experiment involved writing secret messages with invisible ink and then revealing what was written. **** Olivia Spring in MVI was one of 250 Derek Landy fans who took to the streets of Dublin in a role-playing adventure to mark the end of the best-selling series: Skulduggery Pleasant. Olivia was commissioned by Harper Collins to write an article on the event for The Irish Times entitled “Skulduggery Pleasant: my part in his salvation”. **** Congratulations to Kellie McLean, who was Joint 2nd in Northern Ireland in GCSE French, and to Taylor McCombe who was placed 3rd in the province in GCSE PE. **** A comprehensive range of Duke of Edinburgh’s Award activities took place. **** OCTOBER 2014 Twelve students from Forms III and LVI joined with other students from across Belfast and voluntary organisations for EurVoice, an initiative of the European Youth Parliament and European Commission to give young people a chance to discuss issues that affect them and their local community. **** Senior Debating took place, the motion tabled was, “This House believes that religion is irrelevant in the modern world.” **** Mr Matthew Corkey, a former pupil, came into school to discuss his work as a barrister and Mr Sean McIntyre, Lecturer from UUJ, came into school to discuss the work of an Environmental Health Officer. **** Five Senior boys were selected to play for the Ulster Schools’ U19 Waterpolo team during its recent tour to Edinburgh: Tom Donnelly, David Speers, Ruiari Hurson, Thomas O’Callaghan and Tom Loane. ****


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Diary of the School Year A FOTA wine tasting evening was held in the School Library. **** The Annual Prize Day was held in the Spires Conference Centre: Professor David Jones was the Guest of Honour. **** A team of thirteen pupils and five staff from The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the Academy participated in their highly successful Glens’ Cleanse Environment Day. **** Form III Drama students attended a Creative Choices Careers event at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. **** National Mole Day was celebrated.

**** NOVEMBER 2014 A group of five girls, who studied GCSE Technology and Design, were invited to a ‘Gender Diversity Event’ at Schlumberger. **** A service of Remembrance was held beside the War Memorials in the Crombie building. **** Eye4Education came into to deliver their Interview and Assessment programme. All of our LVI pupils were involved. ****


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The Owl 2015 The Headmaster, Dr Scully and Mr Martin attended sessions at the ASCL Annual Conference in the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick. **** Form V GCSE Literature students attended a trip to the Mill Theatre to view an adaption of Jane Austen’s masterpiece, ‘Pride and Prejudice’. **** Students from the Politics Society went to the cinema to see ‘’71’ and a live screening of journalist and political commentator, Owen Jones, interviewing Russell Brand. **** The Save The Children committee presented a cheque for £5000 to Georgie Johnston. **** Netball results were as follows: Inter B v Girls’ Model Won 14-3 Inter A v Methody Lost 27-13 Junior B v Hunterhouse A Won 13-3 Inter B v Hunterhouse A Lost 13-9 Junior B v Hazelwood won 25-3 Junior A v St Mary’s Newry won 11-10 (in extra time). **** Congratulations to Julliah Allen (FIII) who was selected for the Netball U15 Regional Development Academy. **** The Headmaster attended a Business in the Community partnership meeting organised by the CBI. **** A team consisting of Hailie Nicholl (Form I), Amy McDowell (Form I), Mairead Crinion (Form II) and Holly McBride (Form II) competed in the annual regional heat of the International Kids’ Lit Quiz. **** As part of the British Council’s Connecting Classrooms Project students had the opportunity to learn more about The Lebanon from two visiting teachers, Rolla Khaddage and Marianne Samaha. ****


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Diary of the School Year Thirty six Drama students from Forms IV, LVI and MVI visited the Grand Opera House, Belfast to see the matinee performance of the West End smash-hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors. **** The Boys’ Hockey 1st XI beat RBAI 2nd XI 2-0. **** Eight pupils from school took part in a Multi Mini Interview Simulation Event at Dominican College. **** The Headmaster attended an HMC Irish Division Meeting at The Royal School, Armagh. **** Netball results were as follows: Minor B v Bloomfield A drew 11-11 Minor B v Girls’ Model A won 10-0 Inter B v Hazelwood A won 19-1 Minor A v OLSPCK lost 13-4 Senior A v Rathmore A lost 27-20. **** Fifteen Citizenship pupils from Form III participated in the CATCH project.  **** Mr Reilly and the Headmaster attended the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award ceremony which took place in the City Hall, Belfast. **** To acknowledge Anti-Bullying week, the School ran a poster competition for the Form II tutor groups with an Anti-Bullying theme.  **** Bethany Hunter (Form I) became the 2014 Ulster Champion after winning at the Ulster Irish Dancing Championships, held at the Armagh City Hotel. **** Finn Purdy and Sinead Gourley (Form IV) competed for the G.B. and N.I. team at the Junior European Lifesaving Championships, held at the Peter Van Den Hoogenband Stadium in Eindhoven, Holland. Finn won a Gold medal in the Obstacle Relay Event and Sinead picked up Silver in the Girls’ event. ****


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The Owl 2015

A member of the Inspectorate carried out a survey of CRED provision in school. Netball results were as follows: Senior A v Rathmore A – lost 27-20 Minor A v OLSPCK – lost 13-4 Inter B v Hazelwood A – won 19-1 Minor B v Girls’ Model A – won 10-0 Minor B v Bloomfield A – drew 11-11 Junior A v St. Mary’s, Newry – won 11-10 Junior B v Hazelwood – won 25-3 Junior B v Hunterhouse A – Won 13-3 Inter B v Hunterhouse A – Lost 13-9 Inter B v Girls’ Model – Won 14-3. **** Past pupil of the Academy, Jonathan Agnew, was awarded the Danske Bank Prize for Mathematics at the annual Stranmillis University College PrizeGiving Ceremony.

**** Mr Harte and Mr Morrison joined thousands of other men across the UK in growing a moustache to raise awareness about Prostate Cancer. **** Netball results were as follows: Senior Cup v St. Paul’s Minor A v Grosvenor     Minor A v St. Genevieve’s Minor B v Hazelwood A Inter B v Wellington A    Minor A v St. Dominic’s   Junior A v St. Dominic’s  

(A) Won 25-20 (H) Lost 13-5 (A) Won 21-7 (A) Won 21-0 (A) Won 23-3 (A) Won 18-3 (A) Won 19-9.

**** The Young Einstein Club investigated Raft Design. **** A FOTA meeting was held in the Library. **** The Politics Society welcomed the Alliance Party Councillor for Newtownabbey Borough Council (and a Councillor-designate for the new Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council) Tom Campbell.

**** 16 ‘AS’ Politics students visited Parliament Buildings, Stormont to meet with MLAs and party representatives. **** The Old Boys’ Association Dinner was held in the Wellington Park Hotel.




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Diary of the School Year Members of Scripture Union took part in SHINE. **** The Headmaster attended the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Mournes Clean-Up in Newcastle.

The Sixth Form Centre Committee held its annual charity break with all proceeds in aid of the Down’s Syndrome Association NI. In addition to the break, MVI made a separate donation and wore their Christmas jumpers to school! A total of £604.58 was raised for the Down’s Syndrome Association NI.

**** Eminent Irish traditional musician and composer Neil Martin visited the School to meet with the Junior and Senior Traditional Groups.

**** The Senior Carol Service was held in St Peter’s Church. **** The Headmaster attended the Seaview Primary School Carol Service. ****

**** DECEMBER 2014 Sean Regan representing Bethany College, and James Regan representing Wheeling Jesuit University, came into school to outline the opportunities available for studying in the U.S.A.

Netball results were as follows: Senior A v Grosvenor – won 34-13 Senior B v Wellington – won 14-9 Senior A v Rathmore B – lost 28-15 Minor B v Aquinas – won 11-8 Senior Cup v Sacred Heart Newry – lost 33-22 Minor Plate v Friends’ – won 16-11 Junior Cup v Aquinas – lost 9-7. **** Stuart Olding and Ian Henderson came into school to support the Northern Ireland Hospice’s Lights to Remember campaign. They lit a candle in memory of Jack Kyle. **** The Class of 2014 re-union was held in the Library. **** JANUARY 2015 Our School Open Evenings were held.




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The Owl 2015 The Medallion XV beat Carrick Grammar School 33-5 in the first round of the Medallion Shield.

The Young Einstein Club put the old saying, “Seeing is Believing”, to the test with some Optical Illusions.



Members of the Reading Group and several pupils from Mr Buchan’s Form V English Literature class attended a Literary Lunchtime Event in The Black Box as part of the Out to Lunch Festival. With the publication of his latest collection Paper Aeroplane: Selected Poems 1989-2014, Simon Armitage read from and talked about his engaging, darkly comic work. 

Catherine Nelson MVI was invited to attend a reception and a private viewing of the CCEA True Colours exhibition at the Ulster Museum.

**** B.R.A., in conjunction with InvestNI, organised an Arabic language event for students studying the language.

**** Conor Ferguson won 3 Gold medals in the 50m, 100m and 200m Backstroke events, setting 3 Senior (and Junior) Ulster records and 1 Junior Irish record in the process. At the Irish Short Course Championships he became the first Irish Junior to break the 2 minute barrier for the 200m Backstroke. By the end of the weekend, Conor had collected 2 titles, in the 100m and 200m Backstroke events, also setting 2 new Ulster Senior records in the process.

**** A team of two Form III pupils, one Form IV pupil and one Form V pupil competed in the Northern Ireland local section heat of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s ‘Top of the Bench’ competition at the David Keir Building, Stranmillis Road, Belfast.




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Diary of the School Year Belfast Royal Academy Girls’ 1st XI Hockey team welcomed the Ulster U17 team to celebrate the first game under floodlights on their synthetic pitch.

Thirty-eight athletes from the Academy took part in the Schools’ District Cross Country Championships at Ormeau Park. The day was a successful one, with the Senior Boys’, Senior Girls’ and Intermediate Girls’ teams qualifying to compete in the Ulster Schools’ Championships.

**** The 2nd XV played Dalriada in the 2nd XV Cup winning the match 22-0. ****


Sixteen Sixth Form Drama and Theatre Studies students attended a one-day event with Bruiser Theatre Company at the Mac, Belfast.

Mrs McAuley from Tiny Life received a cheque for £2,000 and Deirdre Melly from Northern Ireland Hospice received a cheque for £500. The money was raised by the School and Pupil Council Nonuniform Day.

**** The Headmaster attended a seminar on ‘Managing Safeguarding and Child Protection in School’. **** It was a great pleasure to welcome crew members from the Logos Hope to Assembly. They spoke passionately about their work and showed videos about their lives on-board the ship. **** ****

U14A won 1-0 in Plate match against Regent House. ****


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The Owl 2015 Former Academy pupil, Rev. Ian McNie, was elected as the new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. **** FEBRUARY 2015 Fifteen Form III pupils participated in the CATCH programme (Challenging Attitudes Changing Horizons) and joined St. Patrick’s College at the 174 Trust Arts and Cultural Centre. **** This year’s Habitat for Humanity project brought the Academy together with De La Salle College. **** Four pupils were part of the Great Britain squad that competed at the Scottish Regional Lifesaving Championships in Glasgow. Between them they won 20 medals: Ruairi Hurson – 2 Gold & 2 Silver Finn Purdy – 4 Gold & 2 Silver Lui Hurson – 6 Silver Sinead Gourley – 4 Silver. **** Darren Nixon from Eye4Education came into school to run an event called Labour Market Information. **** Form III Business Studies travelled to Tandragee to visit the Tayto Factory. **** The Junior A Netball squad beat Dromore (11-8) in the quarter-finals of the NI Schools Junior Shield. The Senior A Netball squad beat Methodist College (20-17) in the quarter-finals of the NI Schools’ Senior Shield. **** A ‘Pizza Lunch’ was held for Form III and IV pupils who had shown significant improvement between the summer examinations and the examinations held in December. **** A FOTA meeting was held in the Library. ****


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Diary of the School Year In preparation for the Schools’ Cup, the Form V Girls’ Tag Rugby team played in a friendly match against Methodist College’s LVI team at Pirrie Park.

The Former Pupils’ London Dinner was held in the RAF Club. **** The Senior Boys’ Waterpolo team won the Ulster Schools’ Waterpolo U19 League, for the first time, but also the Canada Trophy (the Ulster Schools’ Waterpolo Cup) beating St. Mary’s 11-0 in the final.

**** Ted Jenson from Eye4Education came into school to run a STEM carousel. All Form III pupils visited 6 stations where they learned about the nature of each business organisation and the careers that are available. **** Middle Sixth History students travelled by train to Dublin for a walking tour of the city which stopped at various locations relevant to the A2 course.

**** The draw for pupils participating in the Accelerated Reader 100% Club saw Alex Gifford, Tom Nicholl and Victoria Mitchell as the lucky winners, each receiving £10 to spend at our Scholastic Book Fair. ****

**** HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex visited the Academy.

Twenty delegates from the Academy, ranging from Form II to LVI, attended the annual Model United Nations Conference at Wesley College. ****



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The Owl 2015

MARCH 2015 The 2nd XV won their 2nd XV Cup quarter-final away to Lurgan College. **** Form IV pupils Justine Harding and Claire Njanina recently helped Improve – the Food and Drink Sector Skills Council – to launch a new ‘Tasty Careers’ website to further educate young people about the benefits of a career in the food and drink manufacturing sector. **** Fifteen participants from Form III completed the final day of Co-operation Ireland’s CATCH programme (Challenging Attitudes, and Changing Horizons). **** The Form V Girls’ Tag Rugby team played in the Schools’ Cup qualifying tournament, organised by Ulster Rugby at Grosvenor Grammar. **** The U14 Girls’ Hockey squads celebrated their end of season with a Dinner and Awards Night at Sozo in Jordanstown. **** 70 LVI pupils attended the UCAS Convention at the King’s Hall, Belfast. **** Ten LVI girls attended a ‘Women into STEM Careers’ event at Belfast Metropolitan College. **** The LVI String Quartet played at the 2015 Northern Ireland Social Work Awards in the City Hall. **** Jude Moreland, a student from Northern Ireland, came into school to speak to pupils who were interested in studying in Europe. **** Two representatives from Price Waterhouse Coopers were in school to speak to a group of LVI and MVI pupils about the opportunities available with the Company. ****


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Diary of the School Year The annual Senior Scripture Union Weekend was held. **** The Junior Dance team participated in NICMAC for the first time in Lagan Valley LeisurePlex. They performed a very impressive piece of choreography with the theme ‘Broken Dolls’. **** The Academy’s Bridge teams had a successful weekend at the Irish Schools’ Bridge Championships in Galway. **** The Young Einstein Club made Grass Heads. **** The Boys’ Colts Hockey XI beat Nendrum College, Comber 5-0 in the last group game of the Taylor Cup. **** The 9th annual MUN Conference at George Watson’s College took place. **** Form V student Jessica North gained prestigious commendations and qualifications for Archery. **** The Boys’ Colts Hockey team beat Ballycastle High in the semi-final of the Taylor Cup 2-0. **** The Spring Concert was held in the Ulster Hall. **** A reunion of the Medallion Shield winning team of 1964-5 was held in the School Library. ****


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The Owl 2015 Pupils from the Junior Book Club travelled to Aquinas Grammar to attend the annual NI Book Award Launch. ****

150 members of the Rugby Club spent an enjoyable evening at the Castle Grounds. There was plenty of food, good company and awards for members of each team, presented by former pupils and Ireland Internationals Iain Henderson and Stuart Olding.

The Bridge team of Emma Mills, Lucy Kinnear, Angela Cao and Eilis O’Loan won the Under 19 Inter-provincial Bridge Championships. Ryan Lightowler, Molly O’Donnell, Andrew Milligan and Cameron McGaughey finished in 2nd place. **** Academy staff and pupils took advantage of a break in the cloud on the morning of Friday 20th March to observe the partial solar eclipse.

**** The Headmaster welcomed visiting pupils from Chicago to school. **** The FOTA Quiz was held in the School Library. **** **** The Boys’ Colts Hockey team played Markethill High School in the final of the Taylor Cup at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club.

At the Arabic conference at the University of London, the Arabic pilot programme undertaken by Belfast Royal Academy was showcased to the several hundred delegates and academics taking part. **** The Headmaster attended the Academy Rugby Club Dinner. **** The Headmaster attended the Royal Gun Salute at Hillsborough. ****

**** Pupils attended the ‘Bring IT On Roadshow’ when it arrived at BMC, Titanic Quarter for the fourth of the current series of regional events for pupils aged 14 to 16 years. ****

The U16 Girls’ Waterpolo team finished in 2nd place at the Irish U16 Championships. **** Rebecca Spiers, the Schools’ representative from the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, was presented with a cheque for £3,297.67 at Junior Assembly. ****


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Diary of the School Year Twenty-one rugby players from LVI and MVI departed for Browns Sports Complex, Vilamoura, Portugal for a 4-day tour.

Our LVI Biologists travelled to Greenmount College (CAFRE), Antrim.

**** Five talented students were commended for their creative efforts during a special ceremony held at Stormont Buildings: Adam McCready, Daniel McIlroy, Rebecca Plackett, Emma Hagan and Kaitlyn McCalmont reached the final of the Simon Community NI poetry competition and each received a beautiful framed copy of their poem. B.R.A. student, Adam McCready, won the competition with his poignant poem, ‘Homelessness’.

**** The Annual Sponsored Walk took place.

**** APRIL 2015 33 Academy pupils travelled to Paris. ****


Congratulations went to Lucy Kinnear (LVI) and Jessica North (V) on their selection for the ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ scholarship.

All Form 2 and a number of Form 3 Pupils attended Dove Self Esteem workshops in school.

**** ****


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The Owl 2015 The Culloden Ball was held. **** Nine LVI pupils, alongside Miss McAtamney, attended a special event at the Law Society and the Royal Courts of Justice to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. **** Twelve Form III girls attended an event at the Ulster Museum entitled, ‘A Day at the Museum’. It was hosted by Kainos and was designed to offer girls a fun overview of what computer programming is and the wide range of careers that currently rely on coding, or will very likely use it, in the future. **** A number of pupils, accompanied by Mr Wilson, attended St. Patrick’s College, Bearnageeha CrossCommunity Breakfast. **** Approximately 50 pupils attended the Scripture Union Pizza Evening in the Sixth Form Centre. **** MVI members of the Scripture Union Committee, along with SU staff, attended a special lunch in appreciation of the pupils’ hard work throughout the year. **** MAY 2015 Forty-three Academy students were published in the Young Writers’ ‘Mini Monologues’ Anthology 2015. **** Cricket results against Ballyclare High School were as follows: 1st XI - won 2nd XI - won by 9 wickets Under 15 XI - lost Under 14 XI - won Under 13 XI won. **** Seven LVI Business Studies pupils visited Moy Park. **** The Academy had a successful day at the Irish Schools’ Relay Gala at the National Aquatic Centre in Dublin winning 4 out of the 8 races entered. ****


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Diary of the School Year Members of the Old Girls’ Association met in the Library. **** The FOTA Dinner-Dance was held at was formerly the Crumlin Road Gaol.

The 1st XI Cricket team beat Ballyclare High by 101 runs at Hollinger Park in the re-scheduled Schools’ Cup game. The U14 XI beat Wallace in the McCullough Cup before going on to win against Down High in the Derriaghy Cup where they reached the semi-finals. Girls’ Cricket: U15 side beat Regent House by 25 runs in their Cup quarter-final.

**** The District Championships took place at the Antrim Forum for the Senior and Intermediate teams. There were many excellent performances particularly from the Intermediate Boys who won the overall team competition. The highlight of the day was Stephen McCorry setting a District Record in the Intermediate Hammer.

**** Year 8 and 9 teams took part in the annual U13 Netball tournament held at Rockport School. **** The Ulster Schools’ Athletics Championships took place. There were many outstanding performances, particularly amongst the Intermediate Boys who won the overall age-group competition. ****

A plaque marking the original site of the School in Academy Street was unveiled. ****


2nd XI defeated Bangor Grammar School by 50 runs in the Duke of Abercorn. **** An Information Evening for LVI parents was held regarding University applications and finance. **** Ulster Rugby stars Iain Henderson and Stuart Olding returned to school to help Ben Madigan Preparatory School launch its annual Family Fun Day. Members of the Belfast Royal Academy Netball squads had the honour being ‘ball girls’ at the European Netball Championships, which were held at the Antrim Forum. ****

**** JUNE 2015 The Cricket 1st XI drew with RBAI. The U14 XI beat RBAI. ****


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The Owl 2015

The Irish Schools’ Athletics Championships took place in Tullamore, Co Offaly. **** A meeting of the Northern Ireland Wing of the ATC was held in the Library, the Headmaster gave a report on the School squadron. ****

The Intermediate Boys’ Tennis team defeated Friends’ by 4 matches to 2. **** Oliver McGrath, Form I won two Cup finals with Linfield U12s. Oliver plays as a striker for Linfield and has scored approximately 55 goals this season.

Congratulations went to Shane Martin (Pole Vault), Stephen McCorry (Hammer), Matthew Dalton (Discus and Shot Putt), Jack Plackett (Pole Vault), Harriet  Dougan (Pole Vault), Katie Ritchie (Pole Vault) and Erin Moffett (Hammer) who were selected to represent Ulster at the GloHealth Tailteann Irish Schools’ Inter-provincial Championships at the Morton Stadium, Santry. **** The U14 XI beat RBAI by 17 runs in the semi-final of the Derriaghy Cup. 1st XI beat Strabane Academy by 7 wickets in the quarter-final of the Schools’ Cup, having beaten Bangor Grammar by 8 wickets in the previous round.


**** Harriet Dougan Form III, was selected for the Ulster U16 hockey team.

The 2nd XI beat MCB by 9 wickets to reach the Duke of Abercorn Cup final. The 1st XI and U14 XI also beat MCB, to win the overall McCullough Cup tie.



140 pupils from three primary schools – Lowwood, Glenwood and Carr’s Glen – attended the Big Day of Science.

The Old Girls’ Association held a table quiz at the Academy Club. ****


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Diary of the School Year MERIT SCHEME PRIZE WINNERS 2014-2015

Form 1

Form 2

Form 3

Form 4

Form 5

Form L6

Form M6

Autumn Term 1

Harry Ingram

Eva Hayward

Jennifer McCorry

Megan Gifford

Jacob Crawford

Dale CampbellDara

Jessica Walker


Yolanda Graham

Ewan Purdy

James Watt

Jonathan Cowden

Lee hendry

Rhys hendry

Sarah McMahon


Lydia Mees

Elisha Carmichael

Eoghan Watt

Rebecca Osgood

Andrew Milligan

Robert Bowman

David Campbell

Spring Term 1

Niki Duncan

Corey McVeigh

Cara Carson

Matthew Gorman

Niall Carson

Anna Hogg

Suraj Tirupati


Mikolaj Klesyk

Emma Higggins

Sarah Cahoon

Sarah McComiskey

Zuzanne Loboda

Aidan Davison

Sorcha Burke


Shakira Douglas

Oliver Allen

Irish Alvarado

Cameron McCartney

Katie Mccambridge

Rebecca Burns

Rebecca Caughey

Summer Term 1

Hanna Carey

Sophie Bloomfield

Jack Green

David Chancellor


Amy Harpur

Adam Lamb

Andrew Bassett

Irish Alverado


Niki Duncan

Sophia Del Castillo

Jakub Woloszyn

Meghan Gifford


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Mrs McCaig was appointed as Principal of Ben Madigan in September 1993. She is a former pupil of the Girls’ Model School and graduated from Stranmillis College in 1978. She previously taught in Earlview Primary School, being one of the first teachers appointed to the newly-created school. She was appointed to the post of Vice-Principal before leaving to come to Ben Madigan.

Mr Fred Baltazar, a former pupil of Jorge Peixinho, Portugal, and graduate of East London University, was appointed Physics Technician in April 2014 to cover Mrs Beattie’s maternity leave.

When at Ben Madigan, she was quick to embrace change when she felt that it was necessary but retained the traditional ethos which many of the parents wanted. A highly efficient and gifted administrator, Mrs McCaig brought her considerable gifts to keeping abreast of the latest thinking in Primary Education. A talented teacher, she was well-organised and her classroom was full of purposeful activity. She was an able “multi-tasker”, being called upon to teach a Prep 4 class, then having to manage a very busy dinner-hall, and finally to give one of her comprehensive guided tours around the school to prospective parents. Outside school, Mrs McCaig had an interest in gymnastics and lifesaving and possessed several qualifications in those domains. She is an excellent cook and enjoys trying out new recipes in her wellappointed kitchen. During retirement, she will be able to see much more of her husband Trevor, whom she married in 1980, and her son, Richard, a former pupil of the Academy. She leaves a strong, progressive school, in which pupils are provided with a wide range of opportunities both in the classroom and beyond: a school judged to be ‘Very Good’ in the recent ETI inspection.

During his time at the Academy, Fred was responsible for preparing laboratories for practical work and external examinations. He also assisted in the development of electronic resources. He is currently pursuing a career in teaching and we wish him all the best. Although Fred was only in the Academy for a short time, we are grateful for his contribution. R.B.

M.D. COLE Matt Cole, a graduate of the University of Sheffield, joined the History Department at short notice as a replacement for Dr. McCombe during the period of the latter’s secondment to CCEA. Throughout the year he proved to be an engaging, hard-working and resilient colleague, ever ready to contribute positively in departmental meetings and always receptive to advice. His involvement in the sporting life of the school was also much appreciated. On his departure, Matt took with him the best wishes of his departmental colleagues for his teaching career. J.H.C.

We wish Mrs McCaig well in what will, no doubt, be a busy retirement. W. T. Wilson


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Obituaries It was with great sadness that the School community heard of the passing of Rosemary McIlroy. Please find below Miss McIlroy’s Valete piece written by Mr Sillery. Miss R.E. McIlroy, B.Sc. ‘There were not only none better, but none equal.’ Hazlitt made the sentence, writing in appreciation of Cavanagh the fives player, but it stands as a fitting summary of the career and contribution of Miss McIlroy at the Academy. She retired at the very height of her powers and from a position at the forefront of her profession on this island. Her reputation as a teacher of Physics had spread far beyond the confines of the School and her professional advice and expertise were much in demand at the Northern Ireland Schools Examinations and Assessment Council; there are those who believe (she, happily for us, is not among them) that she could have gone on to become a Principal of any school for which she cared to make herself a candidate. Her former Headmaster at Ballymena Academy, (a school for which she retains an affectionate regard and warm respect) writing to Mr. Darbyshire in support of her application for a teaching post, identified in her a refusal to accept any standard short of perfection, and a capacity to give devoted service to the limit of her powers. In her time in the Belfast Royal Academy she amply vindicated that judgement. She first joined the staff from Omagh Academy. After a glittering career at Queen’s (where she had taken a first-class honours degree) she went to Omagh as her first appointment and soon had there the entire responsibility for the teaching of Physics. In fact, when she moved to the Academy she was obliged, in the manner of those days, to accept a cut in salary. She became one of a team of six gifted teachers (the others were Mr. Clements, Miss Harvey, Mr. Semple, Mr. Moore and Mrs. Kennedy) who had responsibility for teaching all the sciences, in the laboratories on the upper floors of what is now the James Crombie Building.

Her own teaching has always been characterised by high expectations for the most able, with patient support and encouragement for those for whom the laws of physics are surrounded in a scarcely penetrable mist. Ken Perrins’ second son John, referred often to the gifted Advanced Level class of which he was a part as ‘Rosie’s Honours School’. And over the years there have been many expressions of personal gratitude from those for whom a pass in Ordinary Level or GCSE Physics was an indispensable and hard-bought qualification for a para-medical career, or a passport to a specialised course in higher or further education. The three headmasters with whom she has worked were not blind to her powers of leadership and organisation and her career prospered. She was one of the pioneer Form Mistresses and successively Head of Physics, Senior Mistress, Vice-Principal and Deputy Principal. Highly capable, purposeful, selfconfident (at least outwardly), clear-minded, she added lustre to any office she undertook, and was rarely, if ever, at a loss; except perhaps at the time of the transfer of equipment to the newly constructed Bruce Building laboratories. With characteristic thoroughness and foresight, she had, as a first prudent step prior to the summer holiday stored the Physics Department material in the basement of the Crombie Building. It rained heavily that summer. The basement flooded. Everything metal rusted. An army of ancillary staff, teaching staff and cleaners set to work with steel wool and the contemplation of that team effort in adversity shook her familiar poise and moved her to tears in School for the first time. Though she cared little for games (except when an Academy hockey or rugby team was involved in the excitements of a knock-out competition) she was from the earliest days much engaged by the corporate life of the school, attending parties, dances and discos (these only out of a sense of duty) doing make-up for the plays, joining the ranks of the Staff Symphony Orchestra, participating in the staff and Senior pupils outings to Ballycastle, walking with prefects on the North Coast or in the Mourne Mountains, and later as Deputy Principal, playing the fullest part in the public occasions and commitments of senior staff in a major school.


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The Owl 2015 Many principals in the Province openly envied successive Headmasters of the Academy for the quality of staff that most closely surrounded them. Miss McIlroy was a Deputy Principal of exceptional quality. She escaped entirely that censoriousness that lies in wait for those long involved in the disciplinary role in a large school, retaining a sense of proportion and perspective and a warm – and not always reverent – sense of humour. She had sympathy and compassion for young people struggling with the pressures of contemporary society, and if her memory of a misdemeanour could be long, she never failed to forgive. Her self-discipline was flawless and she undertook the most complex and demanding of administrative tasks, working to exacting deadlines without flinching. No detail escaped her. Her writing of confidential reports on pupils for universities and colleges of further education was masterful. In helping to formulate policies she had moral courage of a high order and did not hesitate to disagree or to argue against the prevailing estimate of a situation, and her strength of will was unshakeable. Loyal, discreet, tactful and sensitive, she had excellent judgement and her advice was always disinterested and wise. Her opinion on any matter was worth having. Miss McIlroy belongs to that elite group whose standards and attitudes have become a part of the permanent fabric of the School. Her beneficent influence will be felt for years to come. The School of Education at Queen’s has been quick to avail itself of her services for one year, then perhaps she will have the well-earned and long-awaited leisure to involve herself with her wider family, to whom she is devoted. In the midst of her many interests and commitments, reflecting on a career of exemplary service to others, will, we hope, bring her much welldeserved happiness and satisfaction. W.M.S.

Miss S. P. Armstrong Miss Sheila Armstrong, who died in November, gave 30 years of devoted service to the Preparatory department. As a child Sheila contracted rheumatic fever and was advised when she grew to adulthood not to have contact with children or animals in whichever career she was going to follow. Happily, she ignored the advice of her doctors. The following valete comes from “The Owl” of December 1993 and amply summarises her achievements. Miss Armstrong has accepted early retirement after thirty years continuous service in the Preparatory Department of Belfast Royal Academy. During these years she worked

under three Headmasters – Mr Darbyshire, Mr Lord and most recently Mr Sillery. She was appointed in 1963 by Mr Darbyshire as Mistress in charge of Duncairn which was one of the three sections that the preparatory was then divided into. In 1965 when the Preparatory moved to its present location (becoming known as Ben Madigan), Miss Armstrong became head of the Kindergarten and in 1973 she took responsibility for all pupils form Prep 1 to Prep 4 in her role as Senior Mistress. In 1985 she was promoted to Deputy Principal, the post from which she has now retired. During her long and distinguished career in the Preparatory Department, Miss Armstrong’s name became synonymous with good teaching practice, fairness and discipline. It was through these qualities that she gained the respect of pupils, parents and fellow members of staff. She was closely associated with the corporate life of the school and keenly supported the many out-of-door activities in which our pupils are involved. Miss Armstrong has been editor of the Ben Madigan section of “The Owl” since 1985 and has organised the Prep 7 trip to London for three years, during which time she managed to arrange a conducted tour of Number 10 by the then Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher! She leaves us to develop further her interest in photography and the training of horses for eventing. She takes with her our best wishes for a long and rewarding retirement. During retirement Sheila enjoyed travelling and giving encouragement and help to her nieces, one of whom is an equestrian artist. She also enjoyed bowling at Malone Golf Club and continued bowling until recently. The large attendance at her funeral in St. John’s Malone bore testimony to the high esteem in which she was held by so many. R.H.I. SIMMONS, T.C. Mr Ivor Simmons, who died recently, was a greatly respected teacher, Vice-Principal and Principal of Ben Madigan until his retirement in 1993. We reprint the Valete which was written by the Headmaster at the time, Mr Sillery. Mr Simmons’ tenure of the headship of the preparatory department at Ben Madigan included the period of the most radical changes in education in Northern Ireland since 1944. For example, guarantees honoured for decades about transfer to


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Obituaries the Grammar School for all children, if necessary by paying fees, were no longer possible in law. The overall effects of the reform legislation were by no means favourable for preparatory schools in general, and it will be no mere footnote in the Academy’s history that Mr Simmons with shrewdness and energy maintained the momentum of Ben Madigan, building on the work of Miss Bass and Mr Thompson (two practitioners whom he unreservedly admires and to whom he acknowledges a substantial professional debt), winning and maintaining the confidence of parents in the high quality of service provided for young children. A former pupil of Ballymena Academy (and of its preparatory department) he had a distinguished career at Stranmillis College, where he was identified for a mark of outstanding merit in the teaching of older primary school pupils, and had six years of invaluable experience at Lisnasharragh Secondary School where he specialised in speech and drama, producing two well-remembered large scale plays, pioneering educational visits to France and to Holland, and establishing a reputation as a flexible and sympathetic teacher of those children most in need of help. On his appointment to our preparatory department in 1964 he was instantly at home in the family atmosphere generated by Miss Bass and was entirely at ease and at one with her standards and with her vision of education in the most formative years. When Mr Thompson succeeded her, and Mr Simmons became Vice-Principal in 1973, the two men formed a close professional relationship complementing one another, both selflessly committed in their different ways to children and young people. It was a matter of much satisfaction to Mr Thompson that his trusted lieutenant was appointed to assume full responsibility for the preparatory department in 1985, a year in the course of which both men had taken much pride and pleasure in the opening of the new kindergarten wing by Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne. At Ben Madigan Mr Simmons oversaw – and appreciated the value of – the modifications of the curriculum brought about by the primary guidelines initiative, which was sponsored by the Northern Ireland Council for Educational Development, and managed adeptly the impact on pupils, staff and parents of a series of important changes in the 11+ selection procedure. The broad experience for pupils that his predecessors had envisaged was maintained and the results of Ben Madigan pupils in the Transfer Procedure tests were of consistently high quality. Despite the inevitable increase in fees, and demographic changes in the traditional catchment area of the preparatory school, pupil enrolments remained buoyant.

But his role was not exclusively one of conservation. He initiated and innovated. He persuaded the Board of Governors of the centrality of a Library, influenced its planning and construction, and helped to build its present stock of 3000 volumes. He was instrumental in the further development of the school’s incomparable setting as an educational resource and showed much perseverance, and not a little political skill, in securing the creation and construction of a pond for environmental studies. He made the Carol Service a regular feature of school life, and set the pattern of an annual educational visit to London, and in recent years, of trips to European ski resorts. He established a high level of co-operation and good neighbourly links with the adjacent school, Our Lady of Lourdes. Just as he had pressed for a preparatory school prospectus that did justice to Ben Madigan’s facilities and advantages, he developed also as a regular feature of “The Owl”, the Preparatory Department Diary which gives such a vivid and effective impression of its day-to-day life and activities. Though he minimises his own aptitude for sport and games, he was convinced of their importance for all (or almost all) children and encouraged the development of a diverse games programme, promoting the annual Sports Day as an important event in the school calendar. Above all, he led staff and pupils through the imperious demands of the new Northern Ireland Curriculum, which seemed, at first sight at any rate, to devalue the past work of teachers throughout the primary sector, by keeping confidence and morale high and using much patience, tact and diplomacy. Mr Simmons asked much from himself and much from his staff, setting exacting professional standards which his colleagues were able and willing to meet. He acknowledges that the support of committed staff and loyal parents was indispensable to him in his work. The best wishes of both go to him in his retirement where, among many satisfactions, he will be able to contemplate a life-time of exemplary service to the cause of children and of young people. During retirement Ivor continued to teach, acting as a tutor in order to help prepare children for the Selection Procedure exams. He travelled widely with his friend and long-time companion, Mr Alistair McMillen and had a wide circle of friends which included Miss Rosemary McIlroy, former Deputy Head of the Academy and, like Ivor, a former pupil of Ballymena Academy. We mourn his passing.


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Literary Contributions THE SPARE ROOM


Dark, forgotten room with old memories, Jewellery box laid out with lots of accessories. From that time when I was small, That time I wasn’t tall at all. Pink princess wallpaper peeling off, with dust everywhere, I can’t help but cough. Joy, decorations, the old hamster’s cage, Books of every kind, torn page after page. Video tapes and DVD’s, This is the room that no one else sees. Walking into the room makes the old memories new; I sit down and listen to the rain dropping from the window pane. I see the day I moved here, I searched under the bed for monsters as I had no fears. I now see the times that I had in the room, When I would watch from the windows as the flowers would bloom. Good times, bad times come flooding back, Packing my first school backpack. Opening my eyes, it’s the same storage room, With rain on the window to add to the gloom. Back to the wallpaper and torn books, No wonder nobody looks. I bring in the bin bags and the boxes labelled ‘Charity Shop’, Piling the jewellery box to the very top. This is no longer my room, time has moved on, But the memories in this room will never be gone.

The other morning, I walked down my garden path. Just as I got to the gate, I heard a squeaking noise. I looked down to my right and there, to my surprise, I saw a little, two headed, green man. I thought I was dreaming, so I pinched myself. It hurt. So I wasn’t dreaming. He said to me, “You look very strange.” But I thought he was crazy, and that he was the one looking very strange. I walked away, but he followed me. And that was what started our day. I went to my school, which is called Belfast Royal Academy. He was so small I could fit him into my school bag. The first thing I did was show him to my friends, but when I opened my bag he had disappeared. However, when I walked away from everyone, he reappeared. He said he didn’t want to be shown to other people. After a while I persuaded him to show himself. He jumped out of my bag, and saw, what to him, was a lot of very strange people. He then jumped on someone’s head, and said, “I love this thing on your head!” I told him it was called hair, and being an alien he had antennae coming out of his head. Then after school I bought him a tiny wig. He loved it and wouldn’t stop touching it, and said, “Wow! I have hair!” When we got home, he tried some of our food. He said it was terrible and he would never eat it. Then at the end of the day, he had to go back to his own planet, and I never saw him again.

Emily Braiden, Form II

Kyle Lindsay, Form I


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to follow

THE GARDEN SHED Peer through the grubby window pane, Your mind starts to take a trip down memory lane. Childhood toys for girls and boys, Lie rusting and broken for no one to enjoy. Jiggle the rusty old lock and step inside, You see the insects trying to hide, Toolboxes, paint tins, all piled high with dust, A good clear out is really a must. One month later the forgotten shed is no more, The only thing left is an unloved floor. Joshua Ramsey, Form II UNDER THE STAIRS When I looked under the stairs, What I saw was a darkened lair. Where bikes could live, tools could dwell, And old storage parts we couldn’t sell. I saw some coats and clothes piles, Which if lined up, could go for miles. I flicked a switch and a bulb flickered to life, There I notice the place is rife, With plant pots, old paint, Some that’s dry and some that ain’t.

An ironing board looks at me, As if to say, “Are you ready?” I pick it up and drag it about, But suddenly, The light goes out! Lauren Wright, Form II NEEDLES By the run-down roadside I sat, Near children with needles and wool; Next to the scrawny Siamese cat. The needles clinked happily, yet of needles I had nought; Sitting nearby I looked a fool. A juvenile girl saw me: “I’ll get her needles”, she thought. She returned with needles and wool, Gave them to me permanently, a sweet look on her face; Stitch then cast, she taught me the rules. Now included, it seemed I was inside a forest glade. I worked on knitting, a soft hat, By the rundown roadside I sat. Eve Proctor, Form IV


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The other morning, as I walked down to the garden gate, I heard a squeaking sound. Looking to my right, to my surprise, I saw a little green man! I ran away screaming back home, only to find that he followed me. This made me realise, turning to him, that he wasn’t going to hurt me. He was a friendly alien, Alfie the Alien. We spent a great many days together doing everything from going out to the movies to having dinner in restaurants and the best part; we’re going to Paris together! Of course, he has to wear a disguise in case he scares someone half to death. Now we’re in Paris and its good fun! We’re eating different foods, taking pictures and generally enjoying ourselves. Because Alfie hasn’t tried loads of things, he decided to give Pizza a try, he loved it! He didn’t like pasta though, which I thought was odd. In his opinion it was too squashy. While in Paris we even saw the Eiffel Tower and got to go to the top. The view was amazing; we saw all of Paris from up there! But now we have to go home soon (tomorrow), so we had to go back to our apartment, get packed and get home safely.

A forgotten corner under my stairs, Is where spiders lurk, but no one cares. Flip-flops wait for another day, When the sun shines bright and we’re out to play.

Leah Doran, Form I

Cobwebs hang in the dusty den, Like green ferns growing in the shady glen. Tennis balls sit and tennis bat too, Hockey sticks and a single shoe. Scarves suspended from a rusty nail, Woolly hats on a wooden rail. A single star for a Christmas tree, A crumpled care for a boy of three. Memories tucked in a wooden box, Holiday pictures and single socks. A forgotten corner under the stairs, Where spiders lurk but no one cares. Owen Kane, Form II

GAMES They can be played. Physically, virtually or on your table. Football, minecraft or even chess. They can be their own story or straight from a movie! Under or overrated. Jude Lorenc, Form I


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The other morning I saw a little, green, two-headed man in my garden. As soon as I saw it, (after two minutes of being speechless) I kicked it. However, before I could actually kick him a little bubble appeared around him and I hit that instead. It hurt really badly! He said, “Sorry about that, but you started it.” “Yo…u…you…” I muttered shocked. “Yes, of course I can, anyway, I’m Bob.” He said gleefully. I couldn’t talk, I completely froze. Then I just blurted out, “What are you?!” He repeated, “I am Bob.” Then I laughed as the situation hit me. I was with an alien and his name was Bob?! Bob and I talked for a few minutes before going to the cinema and watching Star Wars (the only movie not already 30 minutes in). He kept on saying things like, “There is my friend!” and “Is that Jim?” or “Look at that cute baby”, when I couldn’t spot any babies. Not sure whether he was actually serious or it was a joke. Do aliens joke? But besides all that, I think he liked it. Then we went to KFC. I had a BBQ wrap; he had the cashier’s hat. We both enjoyed our meals. I tried to make him have a chicken nugget but he said it looked like fried meat. After I told him it was, he said, “Meat is spit on our planet.” Needless to say I left after that. Then Bob took me to an ice-skating park that was blocked off. We sneaked in when I saw a big hole in the centre. Going near it I saw a great many things that looked like Bob. They were his family. They were trapped so I broke the trap they were in and they got free. Now they live in Burger King, which in their opinion is much better than KFC.

I can see all of the different buildings, like the Crombie and the Jackson. I can see people running in the first years’ playground. I can see the teachers marking the homework in their classrooms. I can see students writing in their books. I can feel the itchy scratch of my blazer. I can feel the smooth touch of my pen as I write. I can feel the silkiness of my tie around my neck. I can feel the newness of my hockey stick at games. I can smell the Tipp-Ex when I make a mistake. I can smell new paper and books from every classroom. I can smell the new folders in my bags as I search for my new books. I can taste the shepherd’s pie at lunch. I can taste the fruit shoots from the vending machine, which hands me extra change. I can hear the silence in the classrooms. I can hear the bell at the end of the day and the buses arriving at the school gates. I can hear the opening of the front door when I get home. Hanna Carey, Form I

Amber Smallwood, Form I



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MY MYSTERIOUS ALIEN One morning when I woke up right beside my bed there was a little, green man. I screamed and shouted, “MUM! MUM! Come in here! Quick!” My little, two-headed, green man said, “No, don’t shout, don’t scream, I am an alien, and I won’t hurt you.” So I yelled to my mum, “Don’t worry! False alarm!” I kept my two-headed friend a secret which was very hard. The next morning I went to school, but I couldn’t leave without him because my mum would find him. So, I brought him with me, hiding him in my pencil case until school was over. As soon as the bell had gone, I ran out of school as fast as possible and brought him into town with me for a bite to eat. We went to McDonald’s and we both got Happy Meals. He said he’d never had food like this before; he usually ate worms and insects for lunch. In answer, I said, “Trust me, this is much better than stinking worms and insects.” As we left out the door, he said, “I loved that it was so nice.” We continued on with our day. We went shopping in Hollister to get a shirt for myself for my cousin’s wedding on Saturday. I had to get something that would match my ‘lovely’ navy suit. I also got a pink Hollister top and then headed back home. As soon as we got out he said, “I don’t like that place it smells funny.” So finally we got the bus home, I put my friend upstairs and showed my shirt to my mum. “It’s lovely,” she said. But as she was looking at the shirt the door squeaked. She asked, “What’s that son?” “It’s the alien man.” So my mum walked out the door and there she saw him. She screamed, “AAAHHHHH!!!!!!” Callum Brady, Form I


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There’s a few footballs, roller blades, a box of nails, bucket and spade, a baby stroller, old paint tins, cardboard boxes, two plastic bins. Boxes of bulbs, a two wheeled scooter, hardware tools, an old computer, my old bike, an inflatable pool, a rusty saw and a wooden stool. Hooks line the ceiling, rusty and old, the boiler groans, keeping out the cold, the concrete floor has footprints of soil, the door is creaking; it needs oil. The garage is cold; the walls are bare, the car won’t fit - there’s no space in there, in the garage things are put away, lying unused, day after day.

I stood on the tarmac, Looking to the crowd, Heart pounding. Strangers, strangers everywhere, My friends beckoning and calling me. I run into the crowd, Engulfed by tall, 18 year olds, With small newcomers like me. I find my friend, And my day began.

Megan McKay, Form II

FIRST DAYS AT B.R.A. Entering the gates, feeling so small. Asking others for help, running around. Technology, Art, Maths, English, French…. How much more can there be? Break…then lunch… and back to work. The bell rings, everyone shoots out the door. I get home feeling more than exhausted. Jaana Tharun, Form I

Nina Leavey, Form I

MY FIRST DAY OF FIRST YEAR I enter the gate, A brand new start. Where’s my class? Oh my, I’m lost! I take out my map, walking around like a tourist, Looking around, where is it? There it is, A4! My class is nice, We’re all on the same boat. The rest of the day went so fast! Best of all, I have no homework! Upon leaving I felt like a veteran, Now knowing my way around the school. So now I know first year isn’t so bad at all! James Shore, Form I

CLOUDS STARTING NETBALL They are soft like cushions, Their bushy face, if that’s the case. Every night I stare at them, imagining them as objects. Big, small, all sizes, Their only flaw is that they block out the sun. Grey when sad, they are going to cry, White when happy, a sunny day. I love these soft white wonders; clouds. Adam Watters, Form I

Oooh, I thought, This looks exciting! But… How do I play? Do I kick a ball into a net? Do I throw something? As I throw on my kit and walk casually into the hall, With so many girls, Gob-smacked, I take a step back! As I look around, I find a girl that I know, As I say to her, “I don’t have a clue what to do!” Emma Connolly, Form I


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I walk in, what a sight! People laughing and screaming with joy! I climb the Crombie, feeling proud, Nobody shall stop my dreams here! The day moved on, Not as easy as I thought. Class to class, English to Maths, French to Chemistry, How will I ever learn it all? After all, I am happy, This is the place that I’ve wanted to be, This is where my dreams will turn into reality!

I walked up the driveway, nervous and excited. Today is my first day at B.R.A. I got on the bus, Pushed, shoved and squished. What if I can’t find any of my friends? What if I’m late for class? What if the teacher doesn’t like me? I worry to myself. Everyone is so tall, but the sixth years seem quite friendly. Music class was fun, But I’m not too sure about Maths. We get homework after homework, My diary’s almost full! Finally the day is over, My brain full to the brim, Getting home at last I think to myself, B.R.A. is great!

Ella Linton, Form I B.R.A. AT LAST Walking through the gates at last. Wandering around like a lost puppy. People 6ft tall, pushing and shoving. First period was very exciting. I didn’t think I would feel so small. Down from the top, to the very bottom. The fear of detentions or bumping into The Headmaster, Finally lunch came to a start, Excited to use my fingerprint for the first time. My next was Art then Math, Feeling afraid of all the unknown people. Suddenly school came to an end, It was the best day of my life. Rachel Rosbotham, Form I

Maia Erwin, Form I HAIKU When you’re in the dark and scared you remember things you want to forget. A small seaside town, Your parents’ smiling faces, A flash of red. Gone. You sit up smiling. Time doesn’t make you forget. You remember. War. Eva Hayward, Form II


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UNWILLING TO REMEMBER The trees’ wooden talons tear at me like hungry hooks, Begging me to take a peek, daring me to look, The dust of painful memories splashing in my eyes Promising to help me, despite my painful cries. My ghost shrieking, cackles pin me to the wall, Bringing me to tears and watching as I fall. Bringing back memories that should be lost in time, Unable to defend myself, I already know the lines. Losing in my battle I let the conflict end, I give in to temptation, the scene plays out again. Curled up in the corner all I see is the dark, All I hear is the beating and the pounding of my heart. Tara McBride, Form III DEAR YESTERDAY Dear yesterday Why can’t I forget you? There’s always some turmoil, always some pain. There are times I just want to erase you! However small or miniscule. But it’s just the same. Maybe a cut on the finger, maybe a fight with another. It’s never a perfect day, so why bother Remembering every single piece, No matter how horrible or bad it may be? Dear reader, I understand your plight, But do not condemn me so much. There’s bad in each day, I accept that, But nobody’s perfect, huh? Thing is, there’s good in the bad too, And although you can’t forget the latter, Immerse your memory in the good, Make the bad not really matter. Remember the warmth and the friendships, Remember the wonderful parts, The parts that made you feel amazing, The parts that touched your heart. There will never be a perfect day, And bad will be there, But should all the bad things really matter, When you have the good things that are truly good. Amelia McDowell, Form I


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REMEMBER Remember the tears streaming down her face, as the darkness consumed her at a painful pace. Remember the look of despair in her eyes, As she sat and waited for her certain demise. Remember her stumbling, lost in the dark, Finding her way as she slowly fell apart. But do you remember why she felt this way? Why she was lost and alone, why her mind slipped away? It was because she was abandoned by the ones she loved most. Her friends and family, lost. She was left without hope. No one to help her, to catch her fall. Left without anyone, anyone at all. But there was someone, lost in the crowd. Someone who watched her slowly fall down. Then he approached her, extended his hand. She took it and slowly came to a stand. He smiled at her softly, led her away, Suddenly she knew it was ok, Out of the dark, into the sun, Finally, she found she had someone. And that poor lost girl? That lost girl was me, Cold and alone, finally set free, So if you ever feel scared or alone, Remember there’s somewhere that you can call home. Holly McBride, Form II


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Distribution of Prizes The Headmaster’s Address Warden, Ladies and Gentlemen, Pupils of the Academy It is a pleasure today to welcome Kate Hoey as our Guest of Honour. In her final year at the Academy, the Headmaster, Mr Derbyshire, noted that she was “… a girl of excellent character and agreeable personal qualities, endowed with abundant energy, who enters fully into school life”. The integrity and energy which he identified have been to the fore throughout her life in politics: Member of Parliament for Vauxhall, and Minister for Sport in Tony Blair’s government between 1999 and 2001, her career at Westminster has been characterised by conviction and independent thinking. At Prize Day, 22 years ago, Mr Sillery commented that,“…her memories of her Academy days have by no means been obscured by the hurly-burly of political life.” Far from it. She has an active interest in the life of the School, visiting regularly, whether to support events such as the launch of our 225th anniversary book, or the christening of our floodlights at Roughfort, or to have a cup of coffee and to talk about the political currents which buffet education here. Kate, it is a pleasure to welcome you once again to Prize Day. This year will see the completion of an exciting range of building projects – we will enjoy our new facilities and we will be glad to have some old ones, like the Crombie Tower, restored and improved. I am grateful to our Board of Governors and Bursar for many things, but their vision and practical expertise where building projects are concerned are particularly valuable.

I thank them, and I wish to express my gratitude, in particular, to the Warden, Mr Walsh, whose energy, wise counsel and support I greatly appreciate; as a former pupil, whose children also came to the Academy, he understands the ethos of the school and he works tirelessly to maintain our values, and to develop a culture of innovation and high standards for the future. I also thank Professor Patton Taylor for taking part in our ceremony today. We are delighted by the academic success of our pupils which is testimony not only to their ability and effort, but to the support which they have received in school and at home. At Advanced level, 68% of examinations were passed at grades A*, A or B and 86% were passed at grades A* to C. 73% of pupils achieved a minimum of 3Cs. 14% of subject entries were awarded the A* grade, and 59 pupils, more than a third of the Form, achieved two or more A grades. Out of 522 subject entries only 5 were failed. Ruairi Brogan, Sorcha Burke, Victoria Campbell and Ruth McConnell gained 4 grade A* passes, Oliver Vick gained 3 A* passes and 2 A grades, while Angela Cao and Laura Farrington achieved 3 A* passes and 1 grade A. 16 pupils gained 4 passes at A* or A. At GCSE, 91% of pupils achieved A* to C in 7 or more subjects including English and Mathematics. 69 pupils – more than a third of the Form - gained 7 or more A grades. 44% of the examinations taken were passed at A* or A; 21 pupils gained 11 or more passes at A* or A, among them, Zuzanna Loboda


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gained 12 passes at A*, Chloe Dawson and Jamie Murray gained 11 passes at A*, Aimee Cochrane achieved 10A*s and 1A, and Natasha Kelly attained 10A*s. Chloe Dawson, who scored full marks, was placed Joint 1st in Northern Ireland in GCSE History. Three former pupils have taken up places at Cambridge University. Christopher Turnbull will study Mathematics at Queens’ College, Ruairi Hurson will study Economics at St. John’s College and Sorcha Burke will study Architecture at Emmanuel College. Sorcha will be the third of 3 siblings to go to Cambridge. We were pleased to hear during the year that two of the pupils who went up to Cambridge last year, Faye Kidd and Daniel Dass, won ‘Blues’, for representing the university in Hockey and Rugby respectively. Beyond the classroom, academic interests are fostered in activities such as the Maths Challenge and in clubs such as the Young Einstein Club, the Senior Scientific Society and the thriving Politics Society. Last year we became a ‘hub’ school for the British Council/Quatar Foundation Arabic Project. The programme, which has involved language, cultural and business activities, has attracted a good deal of media attention. Mr Porter was interviewed, in English, for the morning news on Al Arabiya television from Dubai! During the year we had visitors from across the world; and the horizons of our pupils were broadened by trips to Paris, Spain, Rome, the Alps, Dublin, Hadrian’s Wall and Ipswich, Portugal, South Africa, Malawi and the foothills of the Himalayas. Through these experiences, pupils gained confidence, developed friendships and explored their potential. It was pleasing at the end of the summer to be informed that we have attained the International School Award for another three years. I thank all of the members of staff who are involved in these activities, particularly Mr Porter, who has led the Arabic initiative, and Mr Dorman, who compiled our application, which was commended by the award adjudicators for displaying the excellence, passion and

expertise of our international work in education. I am pleased to report that we continue to be one of the most applied-to schools at the time of transfer, thanks in good measure to the efforts of our members of staff on Open Evenings and test mornings. In this, as in so much, the School is indebted to teachers whose professionalism and dedication go far beyond any contract of employment. Mr Young and his team at AQE continue to provide a service of the highest quality – not only are the assessments considered models of their type, but the ‘Access’ service, provided for children with particular needs, is excellent. After 22 years of service, and following a “Very Good” inspection report, Mrs McCaig has retired as Principal of Ben Madigan. I thank her for all that she has done: she will be missed by pupils, parents and members of staff. I wish her successor, Mr Wilson, well in his new role. I hope that Mrs McCaig will take pride in the fact that Ben Madigan continues to thrive both academically and through the rich variety of activities which it provides for its young pupils. We were all saddened to hear in the last week of the death of Mr Ivor Simmons, a member of staff at Ben Madigan for more than 30 years, and Principal from 1985 to 1993. Our challenge in school is simple: to enable our pupils to fulfil their potential both academically and as individuals. How to do so is not so simple: good teaching clearly plays a part, but so does the provision of opportunities, encouragement, the sharing of high expectations, and the development of initiative and self-discipline. I was interested to see that our aims match those set out in ‘Step Change’, the CBI’s recently published blueprint for ‘a new approach to schools in Northern Ireland’. It outlines a need for “young people [who] are rigorous, rounded and grounded” and notes that, “This requires schools and colleges to 49

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develop a culture and ethos that supports the wider development of young people, which includes rigour in core subjects… And, crucially, the development of the values, characteristics and behaviours needed for success.” It sums this up as “the development of character.” We seek to develop character, skills and qualities such as determination, adaptability and resilience by providing pupils with a wide range of opportunities and challenges, whether on a concert platform, in the swimming pool or on a playing field. Our pupils grasp the opportunity and rise to meet the challenge. In June, our cricket 1st XI won the Schools’ Cup for the first time in the history of the competition, while the 2nd XI and the Colts reached the final in their Cup competitions; in Athletics, our Intermediate Boys won the team trophy at the Irish Championships, at which Stephen McCorry and Shane Martin won Gold medals and Harriet Dougan and Katie Ritchie won Silver. Pupils were selected to represent Northern Ireland in Swimming, Hockey, Athletics, Judo and Wheelchair Basketball at the UK School Games. In the pool, Mrs Alexander’s aquatic teams continued to impress: the Senior Boys’ Water Polo team won both the Ulster Schools’ U19 league and, for the first time, the Canada Trophy Schools’ Cup competition. Six of our Lifesavers were selected for the GB Lifesaving Performance Squad, following their success at the British Lifesaving Championships, while our swimmers won a remarkable haul of Championship medals. In Boys’ Hockey, our Colts team reached the Final of the Taylor Cup, and our Bridge teams were placed 1st and 2nd and 5th at the Under19 InterProvincial Bridge Championships. Individuals excelled in a wide range of contexts. Tom McKibben won the Under 12 World Golf Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina; after also competing with success in the United States, Keaton Hamill-Morrison won both the Munster Championship and The Rory McIlroy Cup; James Reid captained the Northern

Ireland Judo team at the Sainsbury’s School Games in Manchester, where he won a Gold medal. He is the first Northern Irish competitor to qualify for the Commonwealth Judo Championships to be held next year in South Africa; at the English Athletics Championships, Jack Agnew won the Gold medal in the T54 wheelchair 1500m race. He is ranked among the top 10 wheelchair racers, of all ages and at all distances, in the United Kingdom; Max Burton was selected for the Ireland U15 Cricket squad, and he and Harry Warke toured South Africa as members of the Northern Cricket Union Under 15 squad, of which Harry was Captain. Jack Burton was a member of the NCU Under 17 team which toured South Africa; Andrew Forbes and Francis Collins were selected for the Irish Schools’ cricket team. Erin Getty was selected for both the Ulster and Ireland U18 Hockey Teams, and was one of eleven of our hockey or rugby players who were selected for Ulster agegroup squads; Harry Robinson was selected for the Northern Ireland Under15 football team; Jake Magill toured Canada in August with the UK Cadet Rifle Team, the Athelings. In the performing arts, Patrick Donnelly, Fiona McIlroy and Paige Clements gained places in the Ulster Youth Choir, Hannah Edgar and Ellen Quinn in the Ulster Youth Orchestra, and Owen Donnelly and Daniel Quigley in the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra. In the pool, Conor Ferguson won 2 Silver medals at the European Youth Olympics in Tiblisi in July; in August he broke the Irish Junior Records in the 50,100 and 200m Backstroke and met the Irish Olympic ‘B’ Qualifying time at the World Youth Games, in Singapore, and in September he won 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze at the Junior Commonwealth Games in Samoa. These achievements, and many others, are celebrated in Mr Jamison’s latest DVD. **** I am very grateful to Mr Jamison for making such an enjoyable record of the year.


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The 17th Century English poet, John Donne, noted in a Meditation, that “No man is an island, entire of itself ”; we are part of society and what we do affects other people. We have the potential to make other lives better, rarely through dramatic actions, but often through simple commitment or encouragement. To this end, significant funds were raised throughout the year for charities such as the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, Save the Children, Tiny Life, and Habitat for Humanity. Members of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award carried out their 25th ‘Clean Up’ of the Mournes on a bracing December Saturday; and more than 40 Sixth Formers paid weekly visits to local primary schools. Concern for others motivated the pupils who travelled to India with the Saphara project and to Malawi in the summer. Since our first trip to Mulanje, in 2008, 275 pupils, 36 members of staff and 2 Governors have travelled to Malawi. It has become a defining element in the culture of our school, and, once again, I am grateful to Dr Bell for leading the team this year. Every year sees events which linger in the memory - mile stones in the progress of the School. We should be wary of taking the excellence of our Concert in the Ulster Hall for granted – every year I am humbled by the talent of our pupils and I share the pride of the parents who fill the Hall. It is testimony not only to talent and hours of practice, but also to the inspiration of Miss McMullan and our Music teachers. Who knows what they will be capable of when they move into their palatial new facilities. In May, Mr Des Simon, at 99, I think, our oldest former pupil, unveiled a plaque in Academy Street to mark the site of the original location of our school, founded there in 1785, beside what was then St. Anne’s Church. I was particularly pleased that Mr Sillery and Mr Young, my two immediate predecessors, were able to be present at the unveiling.

At a time of on-going building work, it is pleasing to have our new Home Economics suite up and running, and as I speak, the scaffolding is, I hope, being removed from around the Crombie tower. On a freezing night in January, Kate and Nicola Mallon, the Lord Mayor, were our principal guests at the opening ceremony for our new floodlights at Roughfort. Suffice to say that the players in the match which followed were the warmest people there – but the lights worked perfectly! Perhaps we should consider installing outdoor heating next. On a memorable morning in February, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, visited school to meet some of the pupils and adult volunteers who are involved in our Duke of Edinburgh programme, and to acknowledge the inspirational leadership of Mr Reilly, under whose stewardship, our Award Scheme has grown to be among the largest in the UK, with well over 400 pupils involved each year. It is hard to imagine the administration and planning associated with an enterprise of this size, let alone the fact that more tents are dried in Belfast Royal Academy than in any other venue in Ireland. The Royal visit was a fitting tribute to a member of staff who has greatly enriched the school experience of generations of Academy pupils. The affection for schooldays fostered by such shared experience was evident too at reunions of former pupils held in school throughout the year. Including a lunch for the Medallion Shield-winning team of 50 years ago! And a reunion of pupils who had taken part in Dramatic Society productions over the last 40 years, which accompanied a performance of Mr Jamison’s play, the aptly titled ‘Reunion’. As the stories begin to flow on such occasions, I am reminded that if we are fortunate we carry not only friendships made at school through life, but memories, shared points of reference, which help to shape our sense of ourselves.


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One point of reference from last year which will long be remembered, by at least half of those present, was the final of the Cricket Schools’ Cup on 19th June, in which we defeated Campbell College to win the Cup for the first time. I congratulate the team and their coach, Mr Harte, ably assisted by Mr Shields. The Final was a day of ebb and flow, intensely contested by two good and evenly matched sides, in which the result was in doubt until the final over. Our victory relied upon character and personal qualities as much as skill, and was all the better for that. It was a marvellous team performance, but Francis Collins, who ‘carried his bat’ throughout our innings deserves special mention for an innings of sustained concentration, skill and tenacity. And so, another year has left its mark upon the history of our School. A year of opportunity and challenge, in which our pupils have excelled in the examination hall and in the arts and sport, a year in which we have looked back with affection and built for the future. In ending, I would like to pay tribute to the commitment of our staff, who share my vision of a rounded education. The success which we celebrate today, both academic and in every other sphere of school life, is built upon the firm foundation of their effort; not only do they provide the academic rigour called for by the CBI, but they make possible almost 80 extra-curricular activities through which potential is nourished and character is developed. I am grateful to them and, in particular to Dr Scully, Dr Brown and Mr Creighton for the dedication with which they worked to promote the interests of our pupils throughout the year, and to the Bursar, whose financial acumen is unrivalled. I am privileged indeed to work with such colleagues and in a school such as Belfast Royal Academy.

*At this point a DVD was shown to illustrate some of the highlights from the School year including the following:

ACADEMIC SUCCESS: Chloe Dawson GCSE History joint first place Taylor McCombe AS Geography full marks Juanita O’Kane AS Art and Design full marks English as an Additional Language Oliver Vick gained 3 grade A* passes and 2 grade A passes Ruairi Brogan, Sorcha Burke, Victoria Campbell and Ruth McConnell gained 4 grade A* passes. AS Level: 4 grade A passes (Luke Auterson, Harry Brewster, Cameron Chisim, Ryan Corry, Callum Dalzell, Micah Hipolito, Mimi Joffroy, Ryan Lightowler, Hollie McCalmont, Taylor McCombe, Erica McGovern, Rhys McKendry, Nicole Xu). Zuzanna Loboda gained 12 passes at A* GCSE. 11 passes or more at A* or A GCSE (Zuzanna Loboda 12A*, Chloe Dawson 11A*, Jamie Murray 11A*, Aimee Cochrane 10A* 1A, Natasha Kelly 10A*, 1A, Amy Crawford 9A* 2A, Carlos Firgau Marcano 9A* 2A, Katie McDowell 9A* 2A, Emily McMahon 9A* 2A, Kirsty Miller 9A* 2A, Naomi Newton 9A* 2A, Mary Cousins 8A* 3A, Andrew Milligan 8A* 3A, Casey Stewart 8A* 3A, Megan Waite 8A* 3A, Lewis Davidson 7A* 4A, Abby Wallace 7A* 4A, Hannah Edgar 5A* 6A, Roma Mulholland 5A* 6A, Erin Getty 3A* 8A, Anna Wilson 2A* 9A, Melissa Beggs 1A* 10A). 10 passes at A* or A GCSE (Thomas Carey 8A* 2A 1B, Victoria Stewart 6A* 4A 1B, Jessica McVeigh 5A* 5A, Jack Millard 4A* 6A 1B, Lucy Bryan 2A* 8A 1B, Jason Roe 2A* 8A 1B, Savannah Thompson 2A* 8A, Monique Hipolito 1A* 9A 1B).


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Distribution of Prizes

Cambridge University: Christopher Turnbull will study Mathematics at Queens’ College, Ruairi Hurson will study Economics at St. John’s College Sorcha Burke will study Architecture at Emmanuel College. OTHER SUCCESS Junior Maths Team; winners of NI Maths Trust Team Challenge, NI heat Form 1 Credit Union Quiz Team; Finalists in Dublin Middle School Chemists; 4th in “Top of the Bench” Chemistry Competition Adam McCready winning poem on Homelessness for Simon Community Rachel Patterson winning poem on National Poetry day Literary Quiz team competes at Methody Young Einstein Club Senior Scientific Society Junior Book Club Politics Society Classroom Assistants Certification Ross Pyper; private pilot licence. Duke of Edinburgh Award: 442 participants, 25th Mournes’ Clean-up and Royal visit by Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. Performing Arts: Patrick Donnelly, Fiona McIlroy and Paige Clements; Ulster Youth Choir Hannah Edgar and Ellen Quinn; Ulster Youth Orchestra Owen Donnelly and Daniel Quigley; Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra Spring Concert, Ulster Hall Chamber Choir finalists of Choir of the Year Summer Serenade Carol Service, St Peter’s School Play, Reunion Curricular Drama, 39 Steps Drama beyond BRA; Evita

Teenage Kicks Bethany Hunter; Gold at Ulster Irish Dance Championships Rachel O’Neill; World Irish dance Championships in Canada Junior Dance group at NICMAC. Trips: 4 Form Trips Hadrian’s Wall Spanish Exchange CU at Castlewellan Malawi Malawi visit to Belfast Sophora visit to India Paris Ski Trip to Switzerland Rome Dublin. Events: Eclipse of the Sun Mole Day Big Science Day Art Display Modern Language Food Experience Model UN Mr Des Simon at 99 unveiled a plaque in Academy Street Cross-Community Breakfast at St Patrick’s STEM Career Fair at BRA Biology Department at Greenmount ICT trip to “Bring it On” Economics trip to IKEA Anti-bullying Campaign at Boys’ Model Mock Scottish Referendum Staff development at Equestrian Centre Careers outing to Tayto Castle British Council/Quatar Foundation Arabic project Wellbeing week; Great BRA Bake-off and Staff Hockey. Charities: Cancer Focus Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children


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The Owl 2015

Tiny Life SENSE Habitat for Humanity Movember; Men’s Cancer Charity Down’s Syndrome Association NI Scrum Dancing; tour fundraiser Save the Children Sponsored Walk for Sophora, Cancer Focus, Malawi. Facilities: Astro pitch with floodlights and development of Roughfort Building work around Cliftonville Road Site. Sport: Max Burton and Harry Warke; Ireland U15 Cricket squad which toured South Africa Jack Burton was a member of the NCU U17 team which toured South Africa Andrew Forbes and Francis Collins; Ulster and Irish Schools’ Cricket 1st XI won the Schools’ cup Girls’ U15 XI Cricket semi-finalists 2nd XI and the Colts reached the final in their Cup competition Cross Country Oliver McGrath; Linfield U12s First BRA Girls’ Football Team Harry Robinson; Northern Ireland Football U15 Brandon Doyle; Milk Cup Winner Boys’ Hockey; Colts team reached the Final of the Taylor Cup Harriet Dougan and Trinity Geddis; Ulster U16 Hockey Squad Alice Reid; Ulster U17 Hockey Squad Erin Getty; Ulster and Ireland U18 Hockey Squad Intermediate Boys’ Athletic Team Ulster and Irish Champions Irish Schools’; Stephen McCorry and Shane Martin won Gold medals and Hamill Dougan and Katie Ritchie won Silver 17 qualifiers for Irish schools’ Sports Day Show Jumping at the Meadows

Bridge teams; 1st and 2nd and 5th at the U19 Inter-Provincial Bridge Championships Irish Schools’ Bridge Championships 2nd place Tom McKibben won the Under 12 World Golf Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina Keaton Hamill-Morrison; victorious in both the Munster Championships and the Rory McIlroy Cup Jake Magill toured Canada in August with the UK Cadet Rifle Team, the Athelings Jessica North; Archery Social Enterprise Bronze Qualification James Reid; captain Northern Ireland Judo team; Sainbury’s School Games in Manchester, Gold medal Jack Agnew; English Athletics Championships, Gold medal in the T54 wheelchair 1500m race Minor Netball B Team; Belfast Area League winners Junior Netball B Team; Belfast Area League finalists 5 players U19 podium Swimming: Conor Ferguson won 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze; Junior Commonwealth Games in Samoa 14 Ulster Grammar Schools’ Championships 20 Ulster Schools’ Minor Championships Senior Boys’ Water polo team won both the Ulster Schools’ U19 league and the Canada Trophy Schools’ cup Six of our lifesavers were selected for the GB Lifesaving Performance Squad Rugby; tour of South Africa Brian McLaughlin appointed coach Matthew Dalton, Cormac McCracken and Conor McAuley; Ulster U18 squad Daniel Logan, Harry Robinson, Jude Cowley and Jack Plackett; Ulster U16 squad Girls’ Tag Rugby Jack Kyle 1926 -2014 Iain Henderson Preview of building work.


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Distribution of Prizes

2015 PRIZE LIST Form I Adams, Louis T

McCluskey, Jodie A

Browne, Laura C

McConnell, Sam G

Cheung, Sinead Y

McDowell, Amy

Dorman, Louise C

McFarland, Naomi S

Dougan, Cameron R

McIlroy, Daniel J

Hagan, Emma R

McMahon-Beattie, Lucy E

Harpur, Amy C

McQueen, Grace S

Harvey, Ella J

O’Hagan, Aoife C

Harvey, Michael A

Pavelkova, Kristyna

Hetherington, Lauren

Plackett, Rebecca E

Hunter, Bethany J

Quinn, Ceri L

Jameson, Samuel A

Snoddy, Olivia J

Lavery, Erin N

Warke, Megan R

Massey, Katie-Rose

Young, Rhia E


McMahon, Erin B

Armstrong, Aoife M

Meadows, Zara M A

Baxter, Abbie L

Montgomery, Robin G

Carter, Cameron J

O’Kane, Anna E

Corry, Aoife C

Reid, Christopher

Crawford, Bryan J

Reid, Hermione K

Dixon, Ciaran N

Seawright, Shannon R

Ingram, Harry W

Watt, Ben A

Johnston, Amy S

Willey, Joshua R

Macauley, Lauren M

Worthington, Rees I

McIvor, Niamh E

Zhang, Mandy Y E

Form II Convery, Aimee S

Kane, Nik T

Convery, Lorcan F

Lee, Kirsty

Cooke, Tori J

McBride, Holly E

Craig, Dervla

McVicker, Nia

Creaney, Layla M

Meeke, Laura C

Donaldson, Olivia S

Moore, Katie G

Enriquez, Cher H

Parkes, Ollie

Erwin, Dylan

Salvatierra, Wrianne M

Forbes, Julia R

Stephenson, Callisto J

Hamilton, Maia C

Szlachta, Magdalena O

Hayward, Eva J

Walker, Charley E

Higgins, Jack P

Woloszyn, Sandra


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The Owl 2015


Kerr, Nathan C

Connolly, Erin E

McClements, Victoria A

Crinion, Mairead B

McCormick, Naoise

Doherty, Ben L

Murphy, Ethan S

Dougan, Charlotte M

Patterson, Rachel L

Duff, Rachel B

Peters, Varia E A B

Giannetto, Luca E

Reid, Cara E L

Gifford, Alex P

Roberts, Una C

Hughes, Luke

Sun, Jing Y

Ingram, Nathan I

Thabeth, Zakir S

Jameson, Ryan T

Uprichard, Julia

Jellie, Conor D

Watson, Rebecca J

Johnston, Vivienne T A

Williamson, Lily I


Business Studies

McComiskey, Christopher


Baird, Katie J

Art and Design

McConnell, Olivia C

Bassett, Andrew C


History, Home Economics

Carson, Cara C


McCullagh, Elisa


Coulter, Tiernan P


McGowan, Cormac K


Dougan, Harriet A


McGrath, Samantha A

Green, Jack C

General Excellence

English, Home Economics

Gutermann, Niamh C

French, German

McGuckin, Naomi C

Hamilton, Meghan A

Chemistry, Drama, English, Music

Religious Studies, Technology and Design

Jain, Alen


McMillan, Beth L

German, History

Joyce, Caitlin

Art and Design

O’Kane, Lucy E

Massey, Jill

Chemistry, French, Geography, Latin, Mathematics, Religious Studies, Spanish

Art and Design, Spanish

Peters, Sasha

Chemistry, Latin, Spanish

Purvis, Kathryn


Shaw, Madison S


Spence, Tom H

Biology, French, History, Latin, Mathematics, Physics, Religious Studies, Technology and Design

Uche, Doris U


McBride, Tara B


McCalmont, Amber E

Biology, Mathematics, Music

McCauley, Elizabeth G

Business Studies, Music, Technology and Design


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Distribution of Prizes

HONOURABLE MENTION Form III Bador, Gabriel H K Baird, Katie J Bassett, Andrew C Bradley, Amie A Carson, Cara C Dougan, Harriet A Gourley, Lorcan M Green, Jack C Gutermann, Niamh C Hamilton, Meghan A Jain, Alen Jamison, Jack Johnson, Emily O L Joyce, Caitlin Lethbridge, Cairo R Linden, Rory Lundy, Zak J A Massey, Jill McCalmont, Amber E McCauley, Elizabeth G McCullagh, Elisa McFarland, Emily R McGowan, Cormac K McGrath, Samantha A McGuckin, Naomi C McIlroy, Matthew D McQueen, Rosie C Moreland, Stephen S Mullan, Rian J O’Kane, Lucy E O’Kane, Orla C O’Neill, Jacob J Purvis, Katie Reddington, Thea L Ritchie, Joshua P Shaw, Madison S Smyth, Adam Spence, Tom H Sullivan, Anna L Uche, Doris U Warke, Harry S L Woloszyn, Jakub Young, Lauren-Ann

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

Form IV Adams, Douglas W Andrews, Joshua

Chemistry Information and Communications Technology Callaghan, Conor English Language, English Literature, Religious Studies Carson, Megan C E Latin Cavan, Tara General Excellence Chivers, Reece F Business and Communication Systems Dalzell, Ellen K History Del Castillo, Maria Spanish Donnelly, Patrick C Music Ferguson, Adam J Technology and Design Foster, Conor J French, Latin, Music, Spanish Gaston, Eva G Art and Design Geddis, Trinity E Biology, Geography Giannetto, Mia A Home Economics Gilleece, Grainne M Chemistry, Mathematics, Technology and Design Golden, Jack G Economics, Physics Hoey, Caitlin A German Loboda, Laura D English Literature, History Loudon, Daniel B A Information and Communications Technology, Business and Communication Systems Maguire, Aaron E Mathematics Marshall, Hannah P History Marshall, Katie R Geography Martin, Shane M Chemistry, Physical Education McAlister, Thomas G Economics McClurg, Anna Art and Design, Drama McIlwaine, Rebecca L Economics, History McVeigh, Curtis J Religious Studies Murray, Aidan J Science O’Hara, Francesca M Spanish Parkes, Zoe S Physics Proctor, Eve I J English Language Quigley, Daniel G Biology, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, Music Reid, Alice Business Studies, French, Geography, Religious Studies Ross, Jasmine L Biology, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, French, Latin, Physics, Spanish Roxas, Charles D Business Studies Schlogel, Lena M German Spence, Kate Art and Design Vick, Amber L Drama Walker, Jordan M Drama Wallace, Leah Technology and Design Woods, Michael S Business Studies


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The Owl 2015


Information and Communications Technology Baillie, Rachel E Geography, Physical Education Baird, Campbell C German Borne, Tori Drama Brady, Jacob R Business Studies Brown, Sam Business and Communication Systems Callaghan, Conor German Campbell, James Technology and Design Carson, Megan C E Chemistry, French, Mathematics, Physics Cavan, Tara History, Music, Spanish Doherty, Louise N K Science Ferguson, Adam J Physics Foster, Conor Mathematics Gamble, Alice J A History Gaston, Lucy C Art and Design, English Language Geddis, Trinity E Religious Studies Gilleece, Grainne M Geography, Physics, Religious Studies Hamilton, Lauren R English Language Hoey, Caitlin A English Language Hughes, Meaghan A G Latin Lightowler, Megan G Technology and Design Loboda, Laura D French Loudon, Daniel B A Business Studies Marshall, Katie R English Language, English Literature Martin, Shane M History, Mathematics, Physics McClean, Nathan R Science McConnaughie, Katie L Biology, Home Economics McIlwaine, Rebecca L Chemistry McVeigh, Curtis J History, Information and Communications Technology Moore, Craig D English Literature Orr, Natasha Spanish Parker, Tia Drama Parkes, Zoe S Economics, Spanish Payot, Alexis A T Art and Design Perry, Christopher O Information and Communications Technology Poh, Charlotte M W Home Economics Poots, Jason C Music

Proctor, Eve I J

English Literature, Geography, Latin, Physics Physical Education French Drama, Music Biology Religious Studies Latin History Science Art and Design, Chemistry Business Studies

Purdy, Finn Quigley, Daniel G Quinn, Ellen E Reid, Alice Ross, Jasmine L Schlogel, Lena M Spence, Olivia G Taylor, Kurtis H R Vick, Amber L Warke, Caitlin M

FORM V Beggs, Melissa L

General Excellence

Berry, Molly I

Home Economics

Bryan, Lucy A E


Carey, Thomas P J


Cochrane, Aimee C

Chemistry, Geography, German

Cousins, Mary O

English Language, German, Music

Crawford, Amy H

Biology, Latin

Davidson, Lewis

General Excellence

Dawson, Chloe A

Business Studies, English Language, English Literature, Geography, History, Physics, Religious Studies

Dougan, Courtney N


Edgar, Hannah E M


Farrington, Chloe H

Religious Studies

Firgau, Carlos L

Chemistry, French, Information and Communications Technology, Mathematics, Physics, Religious Studies, Technology and Design

Fleck, Laura

Business Studies

Getty, Erin M P E

General Excellence

Hipolito, Monique R J

General Excellence

Johnston, Kalvin

Business and Communication Systems

Kelly, Natasha

Biology, Drama, English Language, English Literature, Mathematics

Li, Lily

Art and Design

Loboda, Zuzanna A

French, Geography, Latin

McAllister, Shanagh M

General Excellence

McCartney, Cameron L General Excellence


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Distribution of Prizes

McConnell, Christopher R


McCorry, Stephen P B

Physical Education

McCullough, Jemma


McDowell, Katie J

Geography, Spanish

McGookin, Holly L


McMahon, Emily A

English Literature, History

McMahon-Beattie, James A

General Excellence

McVeigh, Jessica L


Millard, Jack E


Miller, Kirsty A

General Excellence

Milligan, Andrew W G


Mulholland, Roma E


Murphy-Morrison, Beth K

Art and Design

Murray, Jamie E J

English Literature

Neill, Hannah C A

Business Studies

Newton, Naomi J

General Excellence

Patton, Morgan L


Rea, Stephen

General Excellence

Reid, Kiah R T

HONOURABLE MENTION Form V Agnew, Bobbie-Jean

Business and Communication Systems

Alexander, Megan S

Information and Communications Technology

Bassett, Jayne E


Borne, Matthew

Art and Design

Cairns, Matthew W G

Physical Education

Carson, Niall T

Business Studies

Cochrane, Aimee C

Biology, French

Cousins, Mary O


Crawford, Amy H

English Language, Information and Communications Technology

Cummings, Sarah J

English Literature

Dalton, Matthew K

Physical Education

Davidson, Lewis

Biology, English Literature, Physics

Dawson, Chloe A

Chemistry, French, Mathematics

General Excellence

Dickson, Becky V


Roe, Jason F

General Excellence

Dougan, Courtney N

Simon, Richard D

Home Economics

English Literature, Latin, Spanish

Smith, Kirstyn F

General Excellence

Fleck, Laura


Stewart, Casey J

Art and Design, Latin

Gault, Rachel S E

Art and Design

Stewart, Lucy A

Physical Education

Hamill, Emily C

Religious Studies

Stewart, Victoria

General Excellence

Johnston, Ashley


Szulgan, Seweryn D

Business Studies, Information and Communications Technology, Technology and Design

Jones, Matthew

Business and Communication Systems

Kelly, Natasha

French, Physics

Loboda, Zuzanna A

Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics

Magill, Max R

Information and Communications Technology Music

Thompson, Savannah R Physical Education Waite, Megan A

Biology, Chemistry

Wallace, Abby M

French, German, Music

Martin, Naomi R

Wallace, Katie G

Home Economics

McAllister, Shanagh M Art and Design

Ware, Richard J L

General Excellence

McCrory, Anna

Home Economics

Wilkinson, Carly M

General Excellence

McKinnell, Jordan

Home Economics

Wilson, Anna J

General Excellence

McVeigh, Jessica L

English Language, Music

Young, Jamie F

General Excellence

Millard, Jack E


Miller, Kirsty A

English Literature, Geography, German

Murray, Jamie E J

Biology, Business Studies, Chemistry, Geography

Newton, Naomi J

English Language, Latin

O’Mullan, Rachel L

Home Economics

Patton, Morgan L

Religious Studies

Smith, Kirstyn F



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The Owl 2015

Stewart, Lucy A


McAtamney, Rachel

General Excellence

Stewart, Victoria


McCalmont, Hollie T

General Excellence

Stubbs, Jason D

Physical Education

McCombe, Taylor A

Geography, Spanish

Waite, Megan A


McCullough, Carly A

General Excellence

Wilkinson, Carly M


McCullough, J Ethan


Wilson, Anna J

Geography, History

McFarlane, Lynda C


McGovern, Erica R

Drama, English Literature

McKendry, Rhys

Economics, History

McKenna, Kieran P

Art and Design, Technology and Design

McLarnon, David M

General Excellence

McLean, Kellie

Business Studies

O’Kane, Juanita C

Art and Design

Rolston, Lauren E

General Excellence

Shaw, Chloe E N


Smyth, Sophie-Leigh

Information and Communications Technology

Stronge, Adam J B

Information and Communications Technology

Torrens, Hannah L

Business Studies

Venables, Jack

General Excellence

Xu, Nicole


Form LVI Anderson, Chloe M

Art and Design, Moving Image Arts

Auterson, Luke S


Brewster, Harry J


Briggs, Rebecca


Calderwood, Michael S


Campbell, David S T


Carroll, Niamh H R

Government and Politics

Chisim, Cameron E G

Biology, English Literature, Geography, Spanish

Corry, Ryan D

Economics, Mathematics, Physics

Dalzell, Callum T

Chemistry, Physics

Dempsey, Morgan A

Classical Civilisation

Donaldson, Lewis J


Donnan, Jessica D


Duffy, Orlaith

General Excellence

Ewart, Katie V

History, Sociology

Geddis, Megan S


Gray, Niall O H

General Excellence

Gutermann, Cianan C

French, German

Harper, Courtney Y

Classical Civilisation, English Literature

Hipolito, Micah D


Joffroy, Mimi A

French, Chemistry

Kinnear, Lucy M

English Language, Government and Politics

Leonard, Antoinette A Home Economics Lightowler, Ryan J

Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics

Loane, Tom C


MacDougall, Emma J

Business Studies

MacNeill, Rachel L

General Excellence

Magill, Abigail H

Government and Politics, Spanish

Majury, Amy R


Martin, Niamh K

Biology, Home Economics

McAllister, Chloe L

Geography, History


Technology and Design

Benson, Conor


Boreland, Andrew J

Technology and Design

Boyd, Amy M


Brewster, Harry J


Campbell, David S T

Classical Civilisation

Carroll, Niamh H R

English Literature, Latin

Corry, Ryan D


Cowden, Sarah

Information and Communications Technology

Dalzell, Callum T


Davison, Aidan M


Duffy, Orlaith


Ferrin, Eva M

Government and Politics

Fleming, Jason S


Gergett, Cameron B


Gihon, Matthew A

Moving Image Arts

Gray, Niall O H


Harbinson, Rachel J

Business Studies

Harper, Courtney Y

Art and Design

Hipolito, Micah D

Chemistry, Physics

Hoey, S Ben



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Distribution of Prizes

Hull, Olivia I

Religious Studies

Coates, Jenny E


Joffroy, Mimi A

Biology, Mathematics

Colvin, Meghan D B


King, Darcy

Art and Design

Crothers, Lauren N

General Excellence

MacNeill, Rachel L


Diamond, Helen R

Biology, Geography

Majury, Amy R

Government and Politics

Donnelly, Tom J


Matthews, Amy

Art and Design

Farrington, Laura S

General Excellence

McAtamney, Rachel

English Literature, History

Ferris, Liam K

Physics, Technology and Design

Forbes, Andrew J


Gorman, Aaron


Green, Paul A

General Excellence

Haddock, Victoria


Henderson, Aaron D

Geography, Religious Studies

Hurson, Ruairi J

Economics, Mathematics

Irvine, Christopher A C

Classical Civilisation, English Language

Khosla, Aakarsha

Moving Image Arts

Kingston, Amy L

Information and Communications Technology

Linden, Ruairi G

Business Studies

Madden, Rowan E

Classical Civilisation, English Language, English Literature

McCaughey, Conor D Business Studies McCullough, Carly A

Drama, English Literature

McCullough, J Ethan

Business Studies, History

McDonald, Kelly A


McGeough, Connell P

Religious Studies

McKendry, Rhys


McLarnon, David M

Geography, History

McLean, Kellie


Millar, Sam T


Mooney, John F

Information and Communications Technology, Moving Image Arts

O’Kane, Juanita C

Information and Communications Technology

Rolston, Lauren E

Government and Politics, Spanish

Maguire, Florence J

General Excellence

Rowan, Phillip N K

Technology and Design

McComb, Jordan

General Excellence

Stronge, Adam J B

Technology and Design

McConnell, Ruth E

Turner, Louise

Religious Studies

Biology, Chemistry, Spanish

Venus, Shannon T


McGowan, Ruari B S


Venables, Jack


McGuckin, Sarah G

General Excellence

Xu, Nicole


McIntyre, Andrew J

English Language

McKinstry, Rebecca J


McMahon, Sarah A


Millar, Rachel A

General Excellence

Miller, Rachel N


Moorehead, James O

Government and Politics, History

Form MVI Benson, Lauren

English Literature

Brogan, Ruairi


Mullan, Adam W

French, Spanish

Burke, Sorcha M

Art and Design, Biology, Mathematics

Nelson, Catherine D

Art and Design

Noble, Victoria C

Burns, M Rebecca V

Religious Studies

Campbell, Alan T

Government and Politics, Religious Studies

Information and Communications Technology

O’Donnell-Anderson, David A

General Excellence

Campbell, Victoria R


O’Loan, Eilis C

Biology, Spanish

Cao, Angela Y


Orr, Jamie W


Carey, James J

Art and Design

Palmer, Andrew B

Business Studies

Clements, Paige E


Porter, Sophie R



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The Owl 2015

Reid, Abby S

Business Studies

Henderson, Aaron D


Relph, Dana


Hurson, Ruairi J


Shahrukh, Muhammad

General Excellence

Ingram, Lauren E

Government and Politics

Speers, David C

Economics, German

Kingston, Amy L

Spratt, Rebekah E

English Literature

Business Studies, Geography

Tarr, Curtis

General Excellence

Thabeth, Sara D

General Excellence

Tirupati, Suraj


Vick, Oliver R

Technology and Design

Walker, Jessica N

General Excellence


Information and Communications Technology

Lyons, Aaron


Macaulay, Alexander L

Technology and Design

Magee, Katie


Magill, Jake T

Information and Communications Technology

Maguire, Florence J

Classical Civilisation, English Literature

McComb, Jordan

Religious Studies

McGowan, Clare J K

English Literature

McLaughlin, Bronagh L

Moving Image Arts

Millar, Rachel A

Geography, Mathematics, Physics

Miller, Rachel N


Mills, Emma L

Government and Politics

Shahrukh, Muhammad

Technology and Design

O’Donnell-Anderson, David A

Art and Design, Sociology

Orr, Jamie W


Spratt, Rebekah E


Tarr, Curtis

Information and Communications Technology, Technology and Design

Brogan, Ruairi

Chemistry, Mathematics

Campbell, Alan T


Campbell, Victoria R

Biology, Mathematics

Cao, Angela Y

Art and Design, Biology

Clarke, Louise E

Classical Civilisation

Clements, Paige E

Art and Design, Religious Studies

Crothers, Lauren N

Religious Studies

Diamond, Helen R


Elmore, Bronagh C


Farrington, Laura S

Chemistry, Physics

Gilleece, Peter E

Technology and Design

Thabeth, Sara D

Business Studies

Drama, Moving Image Arts

Thompson, Robyn E

Government and Politics

Hamill, Clara M

Moving Image Arts

Tirupati, Suraj


Heatley, Carla S

English Literature

Walker, Jessica N

Business Studies, Sociology

Gordon, Megan S


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Distribution of Prizes


Michael J Montgomery Benjamin P Watson


Rowan E Madden

FREDERICK WHITE MEMORIAL PRIZE (For the top performance at G.C.S.E.)

Zuzanna A Loboda


Natasha Kelly

J. J. KANE MEMORIAL PRIZE (for contributions to ‘The Owl’)

Lori C McDermott

T. R. COLLIER PRIZE (Mathematics)

Sorcha M Burke


Helen R Diamond


James J Carey


Sarah A McMahon


Michael S Calderwood


Rowan E Madden


Ruairi J Hurson

TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN AWARD Sponsored by Truesdale Heating and Plumbing (for the top marks in GCSE Technology and Design)

Carlos L Firgau


Ciara Patterson


Ruari B S McGowan


Ruth E McConnell Rebecca J McKinstry


Samantha A McGrath


Sorcha M Burke


Sorcha M Burke

S. S. N. PIERCE MEMORIAL TROPHY (for outstanding endeavour at GCSE)

Stephen P B McCorry

TROPHY FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE PERFORMING ARTS (Presented by the Old Girls’ Association)

Jenny E Coates


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The Owl 2015


Sarah G McGuckin


Angela Y Cao

R. S. J. H. MAGOWAN PRIZE (GCSE Geography)

Zuzanna A Loboda


Thomas J Donnelly

Government and Politics

James O Moorehead


Ruairi Brogan


Victoria R Campbell

Religious Studies

Aaron D Henderson


Meghan D B Colvin


Molly I Berry


Ruairi Brogan


Jessica I Burns Victoria R Campbell

CLYDE PRIZE (GCSE Religious Studies)

Chloe A Dawson

McCLAY PRIZE (Business Studies)

Bronagh L McLaughlin


Carlos L Firgau

KNOX PRIZE (Physical Education)

Orlagh McBriarty

OWL TROPHY (Presented by W. H. and J. Gray) (for outstanding endeavour at Advanced Level)

David S Campbell

THE CHRISTOPHER BOWES AWARD (for contributions to the ATC at representative level)

Jake T Magill


Amy McDowell

Form II

Eva J Hayward

Form III

Tom H Spence

Form IV

Jasmine L Ross

Form V

Zuzanna A Laboda


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Distribution of Prizes


Paige E Clements Sara D Thabeth


Ruairi J Hurson


Oliver R Vick


Angela Y Cao


Victoria R Campbell


Ruth E McConnell


Ruairi Brogan


Emma B Mc Allister


Laura S Farrington

C.B. and A.M. MURRAY

Helen R Diamond


Nathan Francey


Rachel A Millar


Louise E Broad


Jamie W Orr


Jordan McComb


Rebecca J McKinstry


Sarah A McMahon

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY BURSARY Sorcha M Burke THE BEGGS FAMILY PRIZE David C Speers W. A. RAW BURSARY (Modern Languages) Adam W Mullan Rachel N Miller MacDERMOTT TRAVELLING BURSARY (Modern Languages) Ruth E McConnell SHEARMAN TRAVELLING BURSARY (Modern Languages) David C Speers GLORIA SIDWELL (née KINKEAD) MEMORIAL BURSARY (Art and Design) Catherine D Nelson


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The Owl 2015

J. S. LOUGHRIDGE BURSARY (Geography) Taylor A McCombe TENNANT SALVER Amy L Kingston WALTER TATE ROSE BOWL Sorcha M Burke MARTIN PRIZE M Rebecca V Burns Ruth E McConnell WHITEHEAD TROPHY Ruairi Brogan ANNUAL PRIZE FOR BOYS Christian P O’Connor J. C. PICKEN BAT (for overall contribution to Cricket in School) Andrew J Forbes N. M. SAVAGE AWARD (for the most impressive combination of academic attainment, prowess in organized games and sense of corporate responsibility) Ruairi Brogan THE EVANS TROPHY Shaw


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School Societies AIR TRAINING CORPS There was a steady trickle of recruits throughout the year 2014 – 2015, with some 12 year olds coming in when the age for starting was reduced to 12. We finished the year with 18 on strength. However, we lost three senior cadets at the end of the year as they went to university. We had one Air Experience slot at RAF Woodvale, near Liverpool, which is the nearest AEF for Northern Ireland Cadets to experience powered flight. However, the weather was not suitable for flying cadets so the day was spent in the museums at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. We are hopeful that, now that the NI Universities Air Squadron has been re-formed, we will get an AEF back in Northern Ireland when they get their training Aircraft. This could be within the next year. Four cadets who attended camp at RAF Benson, in August, got AEF flying there. Also, with the formation of the new RAF Reserve Squadron at Aldergrove, cadets may be able to get Opportunity flights in other aircraft. Gliding has been suspended for over a year due to problems with maintenance paperwork. It is hoped to have it back within the next year since we do have our own Gliding Squadron at Newtownards. Cadets attended the Wing Annual Parade at Aldergrove, the Methods of Instruction Course, and the Basic Course. Two cadets, Daniel Harold and Daniel Hay, also completed the Wing NCO Leadership Course. In the Spring Term, those not on study leave enjoyed learning some basic field craft taught by Mr Thompson, in the Ben Madigan grounds. Daniel Harold applied for and got a place on, the UK Cadet Leadership Course held at Easter at Nesscliffe. The cadets on this course are mostly from the ACF and CCF’s and places are hard to get. It is a week of tough concentrated field craft, weapon training and leadership training, finishing with a field exercise. Daniel would highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in developing their leadership skills.

Three cadets, Matthew Blair, Daniel Hay and Daniel Harold, finished the Radio Course they have been working on for two years and were awarded their Communicator Badge. Daniel Hay attended a course in July to complete BTec Level 2 in Team work and Personal Development in the Community. All cadets worked on the subjects needed to progress through the Training Syllabus. Most of this training and exams are now done on-line. The School 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. Several cadets took part in the Open Nights and the information session for P6 pupils alongside Mr Thompson’s First World War Exhibition. Five cadets went to autumn camp at RAF Henlow in October, and four Junior cadets went to summer camp at RAF Benson in August, where they saw a wide variety of aircraft and experienced the running of a large RAF Station. Two cadets again took part in the ACO camp at the Royal International Air Tattoo at Fairford. The NI Cadets this year were involved in the ‘build’ phase, where they helped to set up the show. The ATC cadets get closer to the displays, the aircraft and their crews than the general public and the camp is always oversubscribed. Headquarters Air Cadets are planning a variety of events for 2016, which is the 75th Anniversary of the Air Training Corps. H.R.M.

Cadets also took part in Wing Rugby, Soccer, Cross Country and Athletics.


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The Owl 2015 RIFLE SHOOTING Cadets took part in a Sector shooting training weekend in Aldergrove in the autumn, where they qualified on and fired the No 8 rifle. Teams and Individuals were entered for Small-bore Competitions at local, Regional and National level. In Small-bore, Jake Magill, Eric Macauley and Max Magill were selected for the Air Training Corps Small-bore team in the Inter-Service match in the Winter. Jake Magill, Max Magill, Eric Macauley and Peter Gilleece fired for a Northern Ireland Team in the Schools’ International postal match. Peter and Jake also fired for Northern Ireland in the NSRA Junior League Team. In Full-bore, a team took part in the Northern Ireland Cadet Meeting in April, at which they qualified to shoot at the Inter Service Rifle Meeting at Bisley in July. At this Meeting, Max Magill came 7th in the Cadet Hundred and Bossom Trophy, out of 400 competitors. He and Jake both fired in the Inter-Service team for the ATC. Jake Magill, Peter Gilleece Eric Macauley and Max Magill attended the National Rifle Association Annual Championship Meeting which followed ISCRM. Peter and Jake both took part in matches against the Canadian Cadet National team. Peter was also selected to shoot for Ireland at Short Range but had to give up his place as it coincided with a cadet match, which takes precedence. Jake then went on to tour in Canada in August with the UK Cadet Rifle Team, the Athelings, during which he fired for UK Cadets in the Michael Faraday Match against the Canadian Cadets, and on the GB U-25 Long Range Match against the Canadian U- 25’s. He coached in the U-25 Short Range Match.

Gallagher (IV), and Molly O’Donnell (III). The Ulster Schools’ Teams competition saw us narrowly miss out on the top spot, placing 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th. The Irish Schools’ Pairs provided even more intense competition, but Andrew Mulligan (V) and Cameron McGaughy (V) played extremely competitively, managing to place 3rd. We travelled with Carrick Grammar to Galway this year to play in the Irish Teams, for a weekend of tea-drinking, reckless doubling, and even more reckless redoubling. Fortunately, four of our teams managed to place 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 10th in the Gold Final, as well as place 1st in the Silver Final. The Interpros was our last and favourite competition of the year, after Emma Mills (MVI), Angela Cao (MVI), Eilis O’Loan (MVI), and Lucy Kinnear (LVI) surprised everyone and won 1st place, leaving Ryan Lightowler (LVI), Cameron McGaughy (V), Andrew Mulligan (V), and Molly O’Donnell (III) to place 2nd, while Roma Mullholland (V), Megan Lightowler (IV), Conor Gallagher (IV), and Brandon Binnie (IV) placed 5th. We want to give many thanks to Mr Harte and Dr Springer for giving up their weekend to supervise the Irish Teams, in full knowledge of how rowdy and dangerous bridge clubs can be! It goes without saying, of course, but without Dr Lomas’ commitment and infinite wisdom we would not know which way is up, so we would also like to thank her for her kindness. We have high hopes for the competition year ahead, as well as the emerging talent in junior years. Ryan Lightowler (MVI)

Max Magill was selected to attend the Athelings PreSelection Coaching Course at Bisley in September. This is a difficult year for potential team members as the age limit for membership is being phased in and will change in 2017 to Under 18. There are therefore about twice as many cadets looking for places as normal, some of whom are a year less experienced than we would like them to be. Max is unfortunately in that category and did not get a place in the initial selection. He will now go on to the Open Selection phase. H.R.M. BRIDGE The Bridge Club has continued its success this year with the help of coaching from Diane Greenwood, kindly provided by the NIBU. On a school level, we maintained our title as Senior and Intermediate Ulster Schools’ Pairs winners thanks to Ryan Lightowler (LVI), Brandon Binnie (IV), Conor


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School Societies

CHESS CLUB Chess club continues to meet two lunchtimes a week, but with a slight change of days (now Wednesday and Friday). The stalwarts of many a year have been joined most recently by an enthusiastic band of promising Form 1 pupils who, I hope, will continue to attend and develop their game. The din of people munching on sandwiches and chatting away as they move knight to E4 continues to provide a more raucous atmosphere than is perhaps traditional for the game, but this all adds to a unique atmosphere. It is an informal club geared around playing a great game which is genuinely good fun once mastered. I would encourage anyone interested to call into M4 in a few times to try it out. S.C.S. THE CLASSICS SOCIETY AND THE GREEK CLUB This year, the Classics Society and the Greek Club both met on Thursday lunchtimes in J13. The Classics Society, as well as discussing the ancient world, became a centre for lively debate on worldwide language issues. Members of the Greek Club have continued to learn Ancient Greek steadily, with most of the stalwarts coming from Form II. However, we now have some new members from Form I. J.M.G. HADRIAN’S WALL TRIP This year, the annual trip to Hadrian’s Wall was a huge success with 44 pupils ranging from Forms I-III, accompanied by Mr Baldwin, Mr Jamison, Mrs Thompson and Mrs McGowan. We began our trip at the Roman Army Museum to see what the general purpose of The Wall was and then visited Corbridge, where everyone ran about madly, glad to be off the bus. Everybody had a good go at climbing around the tallest bits of the ruins, some more successfully than others. This was all still on the way to the hotel. When we finally arrived, everybody got their rooms, had dinner, and recuperated from a long, hard day of sitting on a bus…we had got up early!

the other got to go up to the very top of the centre - which is not good if you have a fear of heights. The view from the top is absolutely amazing. You can see the layout of the fort. The rest of the centre is pretty brilliant as well. There is a bit where you can construct a bridge, as if you were an actual Roman architect. We also climbed up on a small part of the wall which had been reconstructed to the size it would have been in Roman times, and you saw just how high up it actually was. In the afternoon, we went to a pool with a wave machine near the beach. Before we went to the pool, we got to go to the beach, where we all learned that Mr Jamison can do hand stands, and lots of them! When we went into the actual pool, the wave machine was great fun and everyone had a good swim. We went back to the hotel and had dinner, then went to the Metro, a massive shopping centre where we spent a couple of hours. On our third day, we went to Arbeia, the store-house for the Wall, where there are reconstructed barrack blocks, as well as a commanding officer’s house and a reconstructed gatehouse. Here we got to do a little digging of our own, as they had what was basically a glorified sandpit where they put things that had previously been excavated and we got to dig them up and inspect them. We spent that afternoon in a re-created mining village. Everything was just like an old-fashioned mining town. The sweet shops had a display of how they made things and it even had a little bakery with fresh baked rolls. There was also a big park with rides you would have at a funfair, such as a merrygo-round and, my personal favourite, swinging boats. On our way home we went to two of the loveliest sites on the Wall: Housesteads, where we stretched our legs and enjoyed the beautiful view, and Vindolanda, which had many fantastic displays, one of which was a display of a Roman soldier getting you to pledge yourself to the Roman Army. In conclusion, it was a great trip and I would encourage any first, second, or even third formers to take part. Máiréad Crinion (Form III)

The next morning, we went to Segedunum, a Roman fort at the end of the wall. There is a reconstructed bath-house and cavalry barracks. There is also a big centre, where we were split up into two groups: one started out with a tour of the outdoor grounds, while


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The Owl 2015 JUNIOR DEBATING SOCIETY This was another very successful year for the Junior Debating Society. Even though we lost many of our best speakers as they moved up through the school, they were replaced by many new Form I pupils who were shown the ropes by the Form II pupils of the previous year. The debates ranged from the serious to the light-hearted and once again reflected the many interests of our young people. There was an emphasis on topics of a political nature which attracted a noisy and enthusiastic audience. Once again we have some very enthusiastic debaters in the Society and we look forward to seeing them again this year. However, we are always pleased to see new faces to take up the mantle and carry the Junior Debating Society forward into a new year. J.S.

As usual, we entered the Northern Ireland Schools’ Debating Competition. We defeated Ballymena Academy and the Abbey Grammar School Newry before leaving the competition at the Quarter-final stage. M.P./H.T. YOUNG EINSTEIN CLUB This past year has been very successful for the Young Einstein Club. This science club provides Form I and II pupils with the opportunity to learn more about Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The club enjoyed high attendance this year with over 30 pupils attending and consistent figures throughout the year. The meetings were held at lunchtime every fortnight and allowed Junior students to perform a variety of enjoyable experiments. Favourites included creating a fizzy drink in a chemistry lab and writing secret messages in invisible ink. We thank Mrs Bell, Mrs Henry, Mrs Cleland and our LVI committee for organising and running one of the most popular clubs in the Junior school and for giving Junior students the chance to learn and have fun in a relaxed environment. We hope that our members go on to enjoy science and we look forward to meeting many more next year.

SENIOR DEBATING SOCIETY Once again a wide variety of different motions reflected the interests of Society members. Topics included the merits of social networking, press freedom, shared education, and the Asher’s Bakery decision. We enjoyed average rates of attendance of around 30 pupils each week. For the past few years the Senior Debating Society has been dominated by the older pupils who have often taken an interest in debating in their last year or two of school. This year proved an exception with a number of Fourth Form pupils becoming heavily involved in the Society. Also encouraging has been the enthusiasm and talent of those involved, which has made our regular lunchtime debates an interesting and enjoyable experience for those speaking and for “members of the House.” If this level of enthusiasm is sustained, the opportunity for practice over several years should enhance the skills of our inter-school debating teams.

Niall Gray (LVI) YOUNG ENGINEERS The Young Engineers club continued to meet in the Technology and Design Department during lunch time. Projects undertaken this year included ‘Electronic Xylophone’, ‘Electronic dice’ and ‘Electronic MP3 amplifier’. The year ended with a visit to W5 where we interacted with robots fitted with sophisticated Artificial Intelligence systems. The Club was assisted this year by members of a very dedicated team of LVI pupils who study Technology and Design, and Rosie McQueen (Form III). The enthusiasm of every pupil involved this year is, as always, very much appreciated. P.T.S/S.E.G


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School Societies GAMERS’ CLUB The Gamers’ Club is going from strength to strength. We continue to meet in BB2 each Tuesday lunchtime and although it might be nice to enjoy a little peace and quiet in a busy day, I realise how much enjoyment the boys (and some girls) get from their time together. Electronic darts have been added to the menu of games which includes Retro Video Games, Fantasy Cards, Warhammer, Lego and PSPs. We may even have to restrict numbers soon! R.J.

MODEL UNITED NATIONS Another MUN year passed in a blur of lunchtime meetings, conferences, delegations and committees. As the year began, we set off with new debates in C5 for the Junior MUN members on a weekly basis, while the Senior MUN had fortnightly meetings in the Social Science room planning debates, going over resolutions and getting ready for the trips to conferences in Dublin and Scotland while having smaller debates to keep the fun atmosphere going. It was with great enjoyment that we attended the annual WCDMUN conference at Wesley College Dublin at the end of February. Our delegations


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The Owl 2015 represented Turkey, Iran and Angola and we debated controversial subjects such as disarmament and terrorism and tried to achieve peaceful resolutions both within our respective committees and during the emergency debate on Saturday afternoon. This was one of our most successful years as we won five awards: Isaac Jarman (Form III) and Jack Golden (Form IV) both won Best Junior Delegate for their Human Rights Committee; Jack Green (Form III) won Commended Delegate for the Africa Committee; Conor Callaghan (Form IV) won the Highly Commended Delegate award for the Economy and Society Committee; Jessica Dowey (LVI) was awarded Commended Delegate for Environment and Ecology; and Malek Hawela (Form III) won Best Delegate for Iran.   In mid-March, we attended the conference at George Watson’s College in Edinburgh. This is the largest conference we attend and is quite prestigious in MUN, with over 700 delegates. Here again more of our members won awards in their respective committees: Conor Callaghan as Best Junior Delegate in Political 1; Lucy Kinnear as Commended Delegate in Political 2; Malek Hawala as Commended Delegate in Disarmament 1; and Conor Gallagher as Commended Delegate in Media 1. These awards are a tremendous achievement and our members, not just the prize winners, are to be congratulated for their effort, contribution and enthusiasm throughout lunchtime meetings and the Conferences, showing that MUN is a really great and worthwhile experience. All that now is left is to thank Dr. Adair, Dr. Lomas and Ms. Barnett who continue to help MUN. Alizeh Ali (MVI) SENIOR SCIENCE SOCIETY The Senior Science Society is always keen to invite guest speakers into School to talk about their area of specialism and to give members an insight into career pathways and potential opportunities. We are very grateful for the support and enthusiasm of our guest speakers and for the tremendous effort they make to engage pupils and stimulate their intellectual curiosity. This year we had the pleasure of inviting Mr Gavin Campbell a director of Bombardier to give a talk on ‘Aerospace Engineering’. In addition to hearing about the latest developments in products and technology at Bombardier, Mr Campbell gave an outline of his career to date, discussed the qualifications required

for entry into the various levels within the company, and explained the opportunities that will arise in Bombardier. We thank Mr Campbell for taking the time from his busy schedule speak to the Society. T.B. JUNIOR SCRIPTURE UNION Headed by the much loved teachers, Mr Morrison and Mrs Graydon, along with the dedicated Junior SU committee members, the Junior SU met regularly all year, every Wednesday lunchtime in LL11. There was a fantastic turn-out of pupils from Forms I-III who thoroughly enjoyed the programme set out for them. This year we looked at a verse from Matthew 5 teaching us how to be the salt and light of the Earth; we then spent four weeks looking at the character of David. The pupils enjoyed chatting openly about these topics in order to get more knowledge of God’s word. The annual Christmas party, filled with talks, games, food and laughter, provided an opportunity to share the true message of Christmas and allowed us to celebrate it in style with the, as per usual, large attendance. After Christmas we looked at what it means for Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We looked at how to relate this to our lives, and to get alongside people just as Christ did. We also focused on the Trinity, taking three separate weeks to look at the individual branches. There was such an excellent bond between younger pupils and committee members at this point that each week the banter just continued to get better and better! There were several opportunities for the Junior SU to join with Senior SU throughout the year, most notably the big SU weekend held in Castlewellan Castle. Junior SU was kept highly entertained and interested by our Speaker, whilst at the same time getting to mix with the older pupils for great craic and many late night chats! Both Scripture Unions came together for the annual Pizza Night held in April, which was a resounding success due to the high attendance of both pupils and pizza. Sadly, at the end of the year we had to say goodbye to a number of our middle sixth leaders: Amy Hunter, Melissa Moffett, Catherine Nelson, David McCullough and James Carey. Both they and their enthusiasm will be missed and we pray they continue to grow in their faith and spread God’s message. We hope and pray that next year will be as blessed as this year and that Junior SU will continue to grow in size. We eagerly await what God has in store for Scripture Union 2015/16. Amy Hunter (MVI)


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School Societies SENIOR SCRIPTURE UNION This has been another exciting and successful year for Senior Scripture Union which met on Friday lunchtimes in J6 and had a strong regular number attending throughout the year. Senior SU has been led by a very gifted team of committee members who have used their talents to spread God’s word throughout the School. The committee has been guided wonderfully by Mr Wilson and Mrs Graydon. The committee would also like to thank Miss Barnett and Mrs Black for their continued support throughout the year. One of our themes was going ‘back to basics’ and thinking of the central foundations of the Christian faith. We have been lucky this year to have had the visits from various organisations including OM Ministries (Operation Mobilisation), Exodus, United Beach Missions and, especially, Crown Jesus Ministries. For the second consecutive year, a team led by Crown Jesus Ministries has visited our lunchtime meetings for three weeks. We were all encouraged to invite our friends along for the third week, which was well received and brought many new faces into SU. Their games and activities were welcomed with laughter and competitiveness and we were grateful for their time and effort as well as their message.

Jimmy Warburton (Assistant Minister, Whiteabbey Presbyterian) and Chris Hackworth (Youth Worker, Elmwood Presbyterian in Lisburn) led sessions based on Identity, as well as a special evening seminar on relationships which encouraged and challenged us all. Other events included the annual Pizza Night in the Sixth Form Centre where Jimmy Warburton returned to speak with us. Again I would just like to thank all those who have attended SU this year as it goes from strength to strength, and the committed team of pupils and teachers who are responsible for it. I also wish the Senior SU Committee members who are moving on to University and other areas of life the best of luck and God’s blessings for the future. We all hope and pray that SU in school will continue to grow and further progress the community which has developed. Aaron Henderson (MVI)

Another event which brought many more to SU was Shine, an event co-organised by Scripture Union NI and Crown Jesus Ministries. The province-wide project was held in November for three weeks. The aim of the project was to encourage schools in prayer and outreach, essentially to ‘shine’ in their schools. Shine was a great encouragement for SU as for the first time all the committee shared in a lunchtime meeting. Our annual Scripture Union weekend was held in October, and over one hundred pupils headed to Castlewellan Castle for a weekend of fun, laughter, sharing and encouragement through activities such as treasure hunts, quizzes and a sing along at Castlewellan Lake while gazing at the stars, a highlight for many. Our speaker this year, Andrew Thompson, delivered four sessions relating to the book of Joshua. We also held our annual barn dance introduced by former Headmaster, Mr Young. The costume theme this year was the letter ‘M’ and so people appeared as Minions from Despicable Me, Martians, Mary Poppins and Monkeys. We also had a Senior SU weekend to Seaview House, Kilkeel in March. This weekend focused on fellowship and friendship and was well attended by pupils from forms IV – MVI. The speakers,


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Music in School BIG BAND


The 2014/2015 year started with great confidence for the Big Band. However, as time passed that confidence was heightened by Ms. McMullan’s ‘encouraging words’ during practice.

Boys’ Choir is one of the most popular groups in the school and for good reason. The choir this year had almost sixty members, made up of both pupils and staff. It is an open, welcoming and fun-filled club that allows pupils from various forms to interact and bond with each other. The rehearsals are held every week in Miss Carson’s room at lunchtime. These rehearsals cater for a wide range of singing talent, from the Chamber Choir elite to the inexperienced newcomers.

Our first test came at the Open Nights in January. Here we played in the Assembly Hall before the Headmaster’s talks. We demonstrated our wide variety of musical talent by performing the difficult arrangement of ‘Libertango’ by A. Piazolla and the motivational and inspiring 80’s track ‘Eye of the Tiger’. The golden oldies such as ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Mambo Swing’ were also played. Soon after that our focus was shifted toward the Spring Concert in the Ulster Hall in March. For this we spent our Tuesday afternoons after school in MU3 perfecting our existing pieces with the addition of the ever elusive jazz standard ‘The Chicken’ including an outstanding drum solo from Georgia Sloan (MVI). Other soloists included Sorcha Burke (MVI) and Clare McGowan (MVI) on saxophone during ‘Libertango’. The year marked the end of an era with the departure of Ruairi McGowan, Clare McGowan and Sorcha Burke who carried the saxophone section for many years. We wish them all the best on their future musical endeavours. It is safe to say that the Band improved dramatically and we all greatly appreciate Ms. McMullan’s tolerance and the effort involved in preparing us for our performances. We will continue to build on the talent we already have next year. Owen Donnelly (IV)

During the special end-of-term assembly in December, we performed a crowd favourite, Merry Christmas Everyone, along with a selection of other classic Christmas songs. The sense of pride and camaraderie that the boys experienced during this celebration made it a highlight of the year for all who took part. The ‘main event’ for the Boys’ Choir is always the Spring Concert which is held in the Ulster Hall. It attracts a large number of spectators, many of whom come to witness the might of the Boys’ Choir. This year we sang some of the best songs yet. The Queen Medley, which included excerpts from We Will Rock You, Radio Gaga and Don’t Stop Me Now, was both inspiring and entertaining, but undoubtedly the favourite amongst the boys was The Bare Necessities from The Jungle Book. From the outset, this song was the favourite both to perform and rehearse. The night of the Spring Concert went smoothly and according to plan because of the talented music teachers who organised the event. Finally, on behalf of the Boys’ Choir, I would like to thank all the members of staff who help to make the Boys’ Choir a success. Most of all, we would like to thank Miss Carson for her continued hard work and support. Without her, none of this would be possible and we are looking forward to another great year. Gareth McAdams (LVI)


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Music in School CHAMBER CHOIR


Chamber Choir this year was definitely one of the best years so far. With a difficult repertoire, a huge number of pupils and Ms. McMullan on maternity leave, Mrs Black, was thrown in at the deep end. However, she excelled in rehearsals each morning and period two every Tuesday. During the rehearsals she prepared us for our first performance of the year at Prize Day with a performance of ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ by Mozart. Pleased with our performance, we began to focus our attention towards the Senior Carol service, where we treated the congregation to the extremely difficult ‘This Little Babe’ by Benjamin Britten, and ‘Lully Lulla Lullay’ by Philip Stopford with a beautiful solo from Jessica McVeigh (V).

I was in second form when I first went to Junior Choir. I was involved with other music clubs, but this was my first one to happen after school. I arrived with some friends and sat down, and the then new music teacher, Mr Forde, appeared and started handing out sheet music while chatting about what he wanted to sing that year. I was drawn in by the informal, warm atmosphere and so I became a regular attender.

Later in the year, we had a workshop with the Ulster Youth Choir’s choral director Dominic Peckham. We really enjoyed his huge repertoire of choral and vocal exercises. After hearing everyone sing he offered Paige Clements (MVI) and myself a place in the Ulster Youth Choir, and everyone else in Chamber Choir was offered a place in the Ulster Youth Training Choir. The busy year for Chamber Choir didn’t end there. After many rehearsals, Mrs Black decided we were good enough to apply for the BBC Radio Ulster School Choir of the Year. We sent a recording of the choir singing one of the pieces from the Carol Service and, not long after, were told we were through to the semi-final which took place in Methodist College Belfast in February 2015. We sang two songs; an arrangement of ‘The Parting Glass’ by Desmond Earley with solos by David O’Donnell-Anderson (MVI), Ruairí Brogan (MVI) and Christian O’Connor (MVI). The second piece we performed was the gospel song ‘Battle of Jericho’, arranged by Moses Hogan, with a powerful solo from Hannah Edgar (V). Unfortunately, we didn’t get through to the final, but we were certainly the talk of the competition and we all enjoyed hearing the other choirs sing. The final performance of the year was at the Spring Concert in the Ulster Hall, the highlight of the year for Chamber Choir. We sang ‘The Parting Glass’, ‘Battle of Jericho’ and, unforgettably, Eric Whitacre’s ‘Fly To Paradise’ with solos from myself and Hannah Edgar (V). ‘Fly To Paradise’ was the song Chamber Choir had been most looking forward to and our hair stood on end as we started singing. The Chamber Choir was unquestionably, one of the favourite groups at the Spring Concert, and this is all down to Mrs Black as we couldn’t have done it without her. She made it a fantastic experience and so much fun. Fiona McIlroy (LVI)

We sang a range of songs over the year from Christmas carols to ‘Love is an Open Door’ from the movie Frozen. Whether we opened the audience’s doors was anyone’s guess, but we all had a great time. I would like to thank Mr Forde for conducting the Choir and to say that it really inspired me to join the Senior Choir. The sounds he extracted from the unruly gang of Form I and II pupils were extraordinary. I would recommend it to anyone in the hope that they would join it and then remember it as fondly as I do. Eva Hayward (II) SENIOR CHOIR After the success of last year, many wondered how the Senior Choir would manage to top the previous year. However, under the guidance of Ms. McMullan, the Senior Choir flourished. Rehearsing three lunchtimes a week, it was obvious that Ms. McMullan had high hopes for this year’s Choir. With over one hundred members, it was obvious that she had a huge task on her hands. Thankfully, hard work, dedication and a great deal of patience definitely paid off as it turned out to be one of the most successful years yet. Early in October, we began working towards the Carol Service, held in St. Peter’s Church on the Antrim Road. We rehearsed classics such as ‘O Holy Night’ with an incredible solo by Paige Clements (MVI), ‘Whence is that Goodly Fragrance’ with a flawless solo by Patrick Donnelly (IV), ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ with a beautiful a capella solo by Rachael Miller (MVI), and the traditional Coventry Carol. With the Carol Service out of the way, our attention was drawn to the annual Spring Concert in the Ulster Hall. The Senior Choir concluded the concert with three contrasting pieces. The first was a medley of songs from the famous ‘West Side Story’ by Leonard Bernstein. This was difficult enough in sections and required the men to sing in six parts - quite a difficult feat. The second piece was another medley of songs


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The Owl 2015


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Music in School

from the popular film ‘Sister Act’ arranged for the Sopranos and Altos. The choir then sang the uplifting arrangement by John Rutter of the classic ‘When the Saints Go Marching in’. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Black and Mr Forde for helping us learn our parts whilst Ms. McMullan was on maternity leave. We very much appreciated their support and expertise. I would also like to thank, on behalf of the whole choir, Ms. McMullan for all her hard work throughout the year. I look forward to next year’s performance of ‘Carmina Burana’ by Carl Orff and all the challenges it will bring. Cameron Gergett (LVI) JUNIOR ORCHESTRA When the Senior School leave to revise and study, the Junior School get a chance to express themselves in Music. Nowhere more is this true than in Junior Orchestra. The Orchestra welcomes students from Forms I to IV as long as you can play an instrument. Last year, Junior Orchestra took place after school on Fridays for what seemed like a very long 45-minute rehearsal. The first piece we were handed was ‘Scottish Fantasy’. This traditional medley was quite challenging and often left Ms. McMullan and the orchestral members feeling very flustered. Our second and final piece was ‘Mancini Magic’ which included well-known theme songs like ‘The Pink Panther’. Even though this was very tricky music, the Junior Orchestra managed to play them excellently, but obviously couldn’t have done it without the help of Ms. McMullan and the rest of the Music Staff. I had a great time at Junior Orchestra and can’t wait to hear what they play next year at the Summer Serenade! Ellen Quinn (IV) SENIOR ORCHESTRA Last year proved to be a successful year for Senior Orchestra. Rehearsals took place on Fridays after school under the leadership of Mr Forde. Our first performance of the year was at Prize Day in the Spires Centre, where we played Bizet’s Overture from “Carmen”. It was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, staff and pupils. Our next performance was at St. Peter’s Church for the School’s Carol Service. The faithful Christmas folders were brought out once again and we played “Hark the Herald Angels sing”, “O Come all ye faithful” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” accompanied by the organ.

In the new year, we immediately began rehearsing for the Spring Concert. We opened the concert with the English Folk Song Suite “Seventeen Come Sunday” by Vaughan-Williams, and played highlights from “Jurassic Park” by John Williams with a clarinet solo from Martha Gordon in MVI. The orchestra thoroughly enjoyed playing these pieces, and it was amazing to see that our hard work had paid off. It’s been an exceptional year for Senior Orchestra with much dedication from everyone involved. We would like to thank Jessica Burns for being an amazing leader, and also the members of the orchestra who have now left school. They have been loyal members of the orchestra who showed up to years of rehearsals, and we wish them the best of luck for the future. The orchestra’s success relies on the pupils, but even more so on the teachers. We would like to thank Mr Forde, who with his endless enthusiasm, did a fabulous job of conducting the orchestra this year. Tara Cavan (IV) JUNIOR STRINGS Junior Strings is an excellent activity for people just starting out a stringed instrument, or individuals who have been playing for years. We meet every Monday lunchtime and it’s a great way to start to play with other people while developing your own skills at the same time. I joined in first year, and it has been an amazing experience for me, playing with other people and learning tunes I otherwise wouldn’t have. When everybody puts in the effort and plays their part, so to speak, we can sound brilliant (even if I do say so myself). It is also a very good way to socialise; you meet other people around your age who are just as enthusiastic about music as you are. It will sound silly, but Junior Strings honestly has changed my life. Before, I was all right at violin but I wasn’t that dedicated to practising and I didn’t play much with other people, but now I try to practice as much as I can and my USB stick is actually shaped like a violin! The reason I love Junior Strings so much isn’t necessarily the people, or even being inspired to play more, it’s the music we make and the tunes we encounter. Just last year we learned so many pieces I can’t even list them. It helps with confidence levels especially while playing because you hear the music you and everyone around you is making. You get this feeling,


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The Owl 2015 like nothing can stop you when you’re playing with this group of people your own age. You feel like one of those proper, big orchestras that play in fancy halls that people sometimes save up money to go and see. When I had my first Spring Concert in the Ulster Hall, I got so nervous, I felt like I was going to pass out, but once we got set into playing, I didn’t even notice it. It was as if we were in the practice room with nobody there, or even better, I knew where I was, but I didn’t care because I was playing. In conclusion, I really do love Junior Strings and it has helped me in more ways than I can count. Máiréad Crinion (II)

JUNIOR TRADITIONAL GROUP This year in Junior Trad. we performed on a number of occasions, and we all thoroughly enjoyed each performance. Our year started off with preparations for Open Evenings and the Spring Concert. After Easter, we prepared a new set for the Summer Serenade, and we also played when the Minister of Education, John O’Dowd, visited the School in June. Mr Forde rehearses Junior Trad. every Friday lunchtime and there is always a large turnout with many new members from Form I and three harpists. Overall we had a successful year in Junior Trad. and I really enjoyed being part of it. Lucy Clements (IV)

SENIOR STRINGS It has been another tremendously successful and challenging year for the Senior String ensemble in school. We started the year with the daunting prospect of maintaining the previous year’s impeccably high standards. With this in mind we began rehearsing in earnest after the summer break with practices taking place during Friday lunchtimes. Many would despair at the thought of having to take a rehearsal with twenty or so fatigued, irritable and irritating students, but Ms. McMullan came to each practice brimming with enthusiasm, and a passion for making music which she has instilled in us all. With renewed vigour we began to rehearse for the Spring Concert. Among the highlights of this event was the wonderful Double Violin Concerto by J.S. Bach. Jessica Burns and Victoria Campbell played the technically difficult solos with great aplomb. To add a lighter touch to the programme, we played ‘Hoe Down’ by Aaron Copland, a well-known tune which certainly got the audience tapping their feet along! We would like to thank, on behalf of the whole group, Ms. McMullan for the time and hard work which she puts in. It’s thanks to her that we have been able to enjoy the music which we play and continue our success. We are very sad to see the departure of some very valuable and dedicated string players. Victoria Campbell, Jessica Burns and Molly Martin will be missed greatly and we wish them well in their future careers. It certainly won’t be the same without them. Ellen Quinn (IV)

TRADITIONAL MUSIC GROUP Senior Traditional Group: Ruairi Brogan (Fiddle), Jessica Burns (Fiddle), Michael Calderwood (Bodhrán), Hannah Edgar (Fiddle), Bronagh Elmore (Bodhrán), Conor Foster (Flute), Emer Gribben (Fiddle), Molly Martin (Tin Whistle), Rachel MacNeill (Fiddle/Keyboards), Fiona McIlroy (Fiddle), Kieran McKenna (Flute), Naomi Newton (Guitar), Ciara Patterson (Fiddle), Abby Wallace (Tin Whistle). The first gathering of the Senior Traditional Group this year was for a masterclass with renowned traditional musician and composer Neil Martin, who came in to school to perform for the group on his uileann pipes. He also performed a memorable duet with his daughter Molly, a member of the group. The first performance of the year for the group was a Trad for Trócaire session in the Westwood Shopping Centre in December, where they raised £70 for Trócaire. This was followed by the Open Evenings in January where they played on both evenings to appreciative audiences. The Spring Concert brought a very special performance, when the group was honoured to perform a piece specially written for them by Neil Martin, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the group. The piece, called ‘Central Park, Christmas Day’, displayed Neil’s trademark blend of classical and Irish traditional music. The group preceded this with a rousing set of traditional reels. As ever, it is sad to lose the MVI pupils who have given such service to the group, and special mention must go to Ruairi Brogan for his contribution to the leadership of the group over several years. C.N.S.


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WIND BAND This year the Wind Band saw the arrival of a multitude of new, young, musical talent. Both the flute and trumpet sections almost doubled in size bringing an interesting dynamic to the already hectic first rehearsals of the year. This year’s Wind Band also saw the introduction of Mrs Black as the new conductor, although we are not sure that she really knew what stress she was letting herself in for! Everyone commenced rehearsals with great enthusiasm, thoroughly enjoying the first piece, a music medley called ‘Party Rock’. This excitement did cause some problems with over-enthusiastic playing which Mrs Black miraculously managed to bring under control before the trumpet section got completely carried away. There were many hurdles still to overcome, however, with it being quite a challenging piece of music for young players. Everybody greatly enjoyed the chance to shout and whistle during rehearsals as was required to create a full party atmosphere. The second piece was an old classic ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ which brought with it a new swing style to Wind Band. This took some getting used to as it became evident that we were going to struggle with co-ordinating the whole band into the same swing rhythm. After many weeks of trials and tribulations, trying to get the swing rhythm perfected for ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ and getting to grips with the fast tempo for the ‘Party Rock’ medley, it seemed that there was no end in sight. However, in the weeks approaching the Spring Concert there was light at the end of the tunnel. After many hours of perseverance from Mrs Black, the pieces began to take shape and just in time. With an incredible effort from many young, talented players new to the Wind Band, the pieces couldn’t have sounded better on the night. As those in MVI move on to pastures new they will be greatly missed and we know that they will miss the camaraderie, fun and frustration of rehearsals. It is reassuring for them to know that the Band will be moving on to new heights in the forthcoming years with the development of these new and very talented pupils. David McClements (LVI)


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SUMMER SERENADE An evening of music presented by pupils from Forms I – IV in THE SCHOOL ASSEMBLY HALL DARBYSHIRE BUILDING on TUESDAY 16TH JUNE 2015 at 7:30pm


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JUNIOR ORCHESTRA ‘Mancini Magic’ Scottish Fantasy’

Arr. Burback R. Washburn

Caitlin Joyce & Chloe Sayers (ukelele & voice) ‘Riptide’

V. Joy

CLARINET TRIO ‘Nocturne’ Mendelssohn Eva Hayward (violin) ‘Ashokan Farewell’

J. Ungar

JUNIOR CHAMBER CHOIR ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Miserables ‘Now is the Month of Maying’

Schonberg arr. Hare T. Molley

FORM I SAXOPHONE TRIO ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ ‘Louie, Louie’

Mills/Ellington R. Berry DIXIELAND JAZZ

‘St James’ Infirmary’

J. Primrose Clare Njanina (voice)



JUNIOR TRADITIONAL GROUP ‘The Kesh Jig’; ‘The Connaughtman’s Rambles’; ‘Miss McLeod’s Reel’’

arr. G. Forde

David Chancellor (piano) ‘Valse No. 6 Op 64-1’


‘The A-Team’


‘Groovy Kind of Love’

Wine/Sager Patrick Donnelly (trumpet)

‘Gabriel’s Oboe’


‘Batman Theme’


‘Love is an Open Door’ from Frozen ‘Best Day Of My Life’

K. Anderson-Lopez Z. Barnett


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JUNIOR CHAMBER CHOIR (directed by Mrs N. Black) Sopranos


Tenor & Bass

Tara Cavan Rachel Chapman Lucy Clements Lauryn Cotton Rachel Crawford Eva Gaston Lucy Gaston Lauren Hamilton Meaghan Hughes Lauren Kane Natasha Kelly Klara Ahman Hannah McKittrick Tia Parker Alice Reid Chloe Sayers Eve Proctor Tara McBride Anna McClurg Elisa McCullough Caitlin Warke

Tori Borne Emma Calderwood Rebecca Carse Elizabeth McCauley Amber McCalmont Jennifer McCorry Samantha McGrath Lauren O’Donnell Thea Reddington Chloe Sayers Aimee Wigham Katie Marshall Rebecca McIlwaine Nikita McShane Alexis Payot Ellen Quinn Jasmine Ross Ally Shaw Olivia Spence

Jordan Walker Darragh Armstrong Conor Callaghan David Chancellor Owen Donnelly Patrick Donnelly Lewis Milligan Lui Hurson Nathan McClean Reece McGuiness Eoin Bradley Conor McBride Adam McCandless Craig Moore Daniel Quigley Charles Roxas Ethan Snoddy Conor Foster Jason Poots

FORM 1 SAXOPHONE TRIO (directed by Dr G. McAtasney) Morgan Curran

Ella Harvey

Erin McQuiston

JUNIOR CLARINET GROUP (directed by Dr G. McAtasney)

Leah McCarter

Anna O’Kane Olivia Thompson Erin Cunningham

Rowan Moore


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JUNIOR WIND BAND (directed by Mrs N. Black) FLUTE Conor Foster Julia Uprichard Alice Reid Katie Ritchie Emily Braiden Emma Caldwell Ronan Poots Megan Warke Lui Hurson Eva Hayward Lewis Milligan TENOR HORN/BARITONE Ben O’Neill Jason Melville James Bryan Ben Watt

CLARINET Adam McCandless Lorcan Gourley Jennifer McCorry Leah McCarter Elizabeth McCauley TRUMPET Patrick Donnelly Pater Watt Roan Kershaw Lee Russell Joshua Boyd TROMBONES David Russell Tom Spence

ALTO SAX Darragh Armstrong Ethan Snoddy Erin McQuiston Ella Harvey Morgan Curran Daniel Quigley TENOR SAX Connor McBride TUBA Leo Milliard DRUMS / PERCUSSION Matthew Logan Owen Donnelly

DIXIELAND JAZZ (directed by Ms M. McMullan) TRUMPET Patrick Donnelly

GUITAR Owen Donnelly

BASS Conor Foster

PIANO Daniel Quigley

SAXOPHONE Darragh Armstrong

DRUMS Dylan McGrotty

CLARINET Lorcan Gouley CLARINET TRIO (directed by Dr G. McAtasney) Adam McCandless

Lorcan Gourley

Elizabeth McCauley


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JUNIOR ORCHESTRA (directed by Ms M. McMullan) 1st VIOLINS Tara Cavan Lucy Clements Lauren O’Donnell Wrianne Salvatierra Aoife Bennett

2ND VIOLINS Anna Quinn Eva Hayward Anna Midgley Mairead Crinion Olivia Donaldson Amy McDowell Jing-Yi Sun Lauren Hetherington Aoife O’Hagan Kate Duffy Eve Patterson Wilson Thea Reddington

VIOLAS Sinead Gourley Rachel Patterson FLUTE Conor Foster Lui Hurson Elizabeth McCauley CLARINETS Adam McCandless Lorcan Gourley Jennifer McCorry

CELLOS Jason Poots Ellen Quinn Neil Og Martin Amber McCalmont Nicole McClean

TRUMPET Patrick Donnelly Roan Kershaw Joshua Boyd

TROMBONE/TUBA David Russell Leo Millard James Bryan PERCUSSION Matthew Logan Owen Donnelly JUNIOR TRADITIONAL GROUP (directed by Mr G. Forde)

HARP Rebecca Carse Emma Calderwood Kerry Uprichard

FLUTE/TIN WHISTLE Ronan Poots Conor Foster Julia Uprichard Elizabeth McAuley

FIDDLES Tara Cavan Lucy Clements Jing-Yi Sun Aoife Bennett Lauren O’Donell Eva Hayward Wrianne Salvatierra

GUITAR Holly McBride Owen Donnelly Katie Moore BODHRAN Kirk Mullally Amy McDowell


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JUNIOR CHOIR (directed by Mr G. Forde; accompanist Daniel Quigley) Aoife Armstrong Abbie Baxter Abbie Beattie Aoife Bennett Martha Bloomer Laura Browne Ellie Byrne Hanna Carey Elisha Carmichael Aimee Convery Tori Cooke Aoife Corry Mairead Crinion Ellie Cross Emma Dobbin Olivia Donaldson Holly Donnelly Kate Duffy Cher Enriquez Julia Forbes Yolanda Graham Maia Hamilton Ella Harvey Eva Hayward Eve Henderson Lauren Hetherington Roan Kershaw Cuann McAuley Leah McCarter Victoria McClements Naoise McCormick

Kitty McCracken Amelia McDowell Sarah McIlroy Chloe McKnight Erin McKristen Erin McMahon Beth McMeekin Erin McQuiston Laura Meeke Anna Midgley Becky Millar Sophie Mills Katie Moore Jadyn Murphy Aoife O’Hagan Anna O’Kane Anna Quinn Cara Reid Danielle Speers Chloe Spence Jing-Yi Sun Elise Swain Olivia Thompson Julia Uprichard Kerry Uprichard Charley Walker Erin Wallace Megan Warke Lily Williamson Oran Taylor Joshua Boyd

FORM IV SAXOPHONE GROUP (directed by Dr G. McAtasney) Adam McCandless

Ethan Snoddy

Darragh Armstrong

Conor McBride


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Sorcha Burke (MVI) Jessica Burns (MVI) Rebecca Burns (MVI) Victoria Campbell (MVI) Victoria Haddock (MVI) Florence Maguire (M6VI) Molly Martin (MVI) Ruth McConnell (MVI) Ruari McGowan (MVI) Clare McGowan (MVI) Rebecca McKinstry (MVI) Peter Boyd (MVI) Jenny Coates (MVI) Megan Gordon (MVI) David O’Donnell-Anderson (MVI) Ruiari Brogan (MVI) Luke Auterson (LVI) Jason Fleming (LVI) Cameron Gergett (LVI) Martha Gordon (LVI) Emer Gribbon (LVI) Mollie Haddock (LVI) Clare Johnston (LVI) Kuda Kunaka (LVI) Hannah Lau (LVI) Antoneitte Leonard (LVI) Abigail Magill (LVI) Rachel MacNeill (LVI) Hollie McCalmont (LVI) David McClements (LVI) Kieran McKenna (LVI) Fiona McIlroy (LVI) Sarah McGuckin (LVI) Rachel O’Donnell (LVI) Timmy Robinson (LVI)

Rachel Campbell (MVI) James Carey (MVI) Ling Chung (MVI) Hannah McCalmont (MVI) Rachel Miller (MVI) Sophie Orr (MVI) Rebekah Spratt (MVI) Lori Turkington (MVI) David Bannon (LVI) Katy Mann (MVI) Kayleigh Martin (LVI) Niamh Martin (LVI) Amber Maxwell (LVI) Carly McCullough (LVI) Jack Millard (V) Daniel Wonnacott (V) Patrick Donnelly (IV) Conor Foster (IV) Jason Poots (IV)

MAJOR NEW AWARD Michael Browne (MVI) Christian O’Connor (MVI) Orlaith Duffy (LVI) Lucy Bryan (V) Mary Cousins (V) Hannah Edgar (V) Cameron McCartney (V) Naomi Newton (V) Ciara Patterson (V) Harry Russell (V) Victoria Stewart (V) Abby Wallace (V)

MINOR NEW David Campbell (MVI) Keeva Drummond (MVI) Daire Drysdale (MVI) Scott McMurtry (MVI) Adam McQuoid (MVI) Rachel Millar (MVI) Gabrielle Moore (MVI) Mimi Joffroy (LVI) Emily Cairns (LVI) Taylor McCombe (LVI) Kelly McDonald (LVI) Hollie Tracey (LVI) Molly Berry (V) Molly Bond (V) Naomi Martin (V) Jessica McVeigh (V) Charlotte Nicholl (V) Morgan Patton (V) Yasmine Tandon (V) Katie Wallace (V) Tara Cavan (IV) Lucy Clements (IV) Owen Donnelly (IV) Lui Hurson (IV) Ethan Snoddy (IV)


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On Saturday 22nd November, the Senior Dramatic Society presented the play REUNION. This was an original, one-act play set in a roof-top garden of a downtown hotel. The plot revolved around the reunion of the class of ‘99 meeting for the first time in 15 years. A little heavier and a little less innocent, the members of the class renew friendships and roll back the years, but is everything as it seems? A clue to the answer is from the true life story of a past pupil of B.R.A. who once dated my mother! Peter Scott was born in Belfast into a middle-class military family. Following his father's death, his mother emigrated to the United States. He had spent his father's inheritance by the time he left Belfast Royal Academy. The 1965 film He Who Rides a Tiger, starring Tom Bell and Judi Dench, was made about Scott's exploits as a cat burglar. At the time of the film's release Scott was in prison in Dartmoor. In 1995 Scott published a memoir, Gentleman Thief. In the fictitious story REUNION, an imposter tricks the offguard guests at the hotel in order to relieve them of their valuables. Needless to say, the long arm of the law catches up with him by the conclusion of the play.

ed kindly by the members of FOTA ,they were able to reminisce and view a spectacular permanent gallery of posters celebrating some 60 plays presented in the Derbyshire Assembly Hall. My sincere thanks are due to those people who came from near and far, or who sent video messages, and also to the Art Department for their professional creation and mounting of the posters. I am also very grateful to the talented pupils who took part in the show and sacrificed willingly other performances in order to promote the significance of the “Reunion event”. To all those for whom this was their final opportunity to be on a B.R.A. stage, I pass on my best wishes for the future and hope that they continue to derive enjoyment from the world of drama. Admiring the display of posters, I am struck by the vision, generosity of spirit, imagination and talent of all those pupils and teachers who have contributed immeasurably to the lives of so many. They have been truly inspiring. R. Jamison

In the real world, immediately prior to the show, there was a reunion of former pupils who over the decades had taken part in school plays. They joined the ranks of parents, pupils and friends who also attended the event. Over a reception provid-


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Miscellany ART AND DESIGN Juanita O’Kane, Form LVI, gained full marks in the CCEA AS Level coursework and externally set assignment. Sorcha Burke, James Carey and Catherine Nelson gained full marks in the CCEA A2 Level coursework. Chealsey-Ann Roxas, Casey Stewart, Lily Li and Shanagh McAllister gained full marks in the CCEA GCSE coursework. The following work was requested by CCEA for possible inclusion the 2015 – 2016 True Colours exhibition: • • •

Coursework Units by Sorcha Burke titled ‘Bio Mimicry’. James Carey’s ‘ Film Set Design’.   Juanita O’Kane’s AS Level coursework unit - a graphic book design based on the poem “Innocence”.

Mr Roy Donaldson, from Apple Office, presented two Art and Design MVI A2 Level pupils with a Student Art Pack Award: • •

Sorcha Burke, who gained a place at Cambridge University to study Architecture. Catherine Nelson, who gained a place at the Ulster University Belfast to study Fashion Design.

All Art and Design GCSE, AS and A2 level pupils attended the 2015 True Colours exhibition at the Ulster Museum to view the best examples of N. Ireland’s CCEA Art and Design coursework and externally set assignments. Rachael O’Donnell, Juanita O’Kane and Chloe Anderson received a CCEA certificate of Excellence for gaining full marks at GCSE level. The MVI and LVI Art and Design pupils visited the 2015 Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition at the Ulster Museum. The Department is used every week for Duke of Edinburgh Art and Design projects as well as CCEA GCSE and ‘A’ level units of work. A dedicated team of pupils enjoyed constructing, painting and decorating the set for the Senior School Drama Production, ‘Reunion’. In addition, the Department created framed memorabilia of past school productions now on display in the Assembly Hall.


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Chloe Anderson was awarded the Art and Design Major Award. This year Belfast Royal Academy has been engaged in an Arabic project with Methodist College, St. Malachy’s College, Antrim Grammar, Ben Madigan Prep and Carr’s Glen PS, focusing on the Arabic Language, Arabic Business opportunities and Arabic Art and Culture. Three Departments, Modern Languages, Home Economics and Art and Design, were involved in teaching aspects of the Arabic culture. The Art and Design Department chose to engage Form Two in this project. Their tasks include gathering research on Arabic Culture, Art and Architecture. They created ceramic tiles using clay, porcelain, cobalt glazes and oxides, and applied Arabic lettering from their language lessons into their designs. The pupils attended the Ulster Museum to experience ceramic workshops and explored the art of the Middle East and aspects of its history. The overall outcomes are two large wall panels combining the tiles and paintings to illustrate knowledge and understanding about the Arabic Culture, Art and Architecture. During our visits to the Ulster Museum, Lynda Hassin (née Brown) BA (Hons), Contemporary Applied Arts Ceramic and Jewellery designer from Moygashel Co.Tyrone, supported pupils at the ceramic workshop with the clay processes. Ashcan Essa, the Arabic Language teacher provided support for pupils using Arabic lettering stencils. This allowed the pupils to add the letters to the porcelain tiles. Samira Dani, Arabic Language Adviser with the British Council, visited the Academy to view the community relations, diversity and equality work which has been achieved through the Arabic language and culture programme. The Arabic programme was funded by the British Council and The Qatar Foundation and has as its goal the


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Miscellany empowerment of today’s students with the necessary language, business and cultural skills to engage fully in the future with enterprise in countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and UAE. Samira was very impressed at the level of work and commitment shown by the pupils. On Saturday 20th June the Annual Art Exhibition Charity morning showcased the project. The success of the project has provided us with a second year of funding.  The Art Department MVI pupils were invited to join the R.E. and Classics Department on the Rome trip. This was an excellent educational experience for the students involved. The Department continues to develop staff training in the use of ICT by investing in departmental iPad training with iTeach. The Department has purchased four iPads to support the teaching and learning with the iPad. The Department won an iTeach prize, an iPad table top tripod for interactive white-board use. The Art Computer room now provides pupil access to seven iMacs. The Department continues to provide pupils with an insight into Art and Design career routes. This was supported by guest speakers: •

Representatives from the Northumbria University gave presentations on Art and Design courses to the GCSE, AS and A2 Level Art and Design students.

Ulster University Fine Art 3rd year Degree student Alexandra Blackwell worked with MVI and LVI Art and Design students on Fine Art painting techniques and gave an insight into the Art and Design student career path.

This year the Art and Design Department hosted the N. Ireland CCEA Art and Design A2 Level Moderation. It was a very successful event involving two Pre-Briefing days for the Senior CCEA Team and a Briefing Day for forty Moderators. The June 2014-2015 Annual Art Exhibition included an excellent variety of work from all Forms. This year we had a sale of Art work, a total of six hundred and sixty five pounds was raised for BRA Art students and Save the Children funds. A further one hundred and forty seven pounds was raised by Teaching and NonTeaching staff at a break time preview of the exhibition. In June, we invited International photographers Professor Paul Seawright and Donavan Wylie from the Ulster University Belfast to launch the first BRA Photographic Society Competition. Pupils from Form I – MVI are invited yearly to take part. Finalists’ work will be displayed permanently in the new school buildings. P.K.  


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BUSINESS STUDIES TRIP TO BARCELONA October 2015 and a group of 27 A Level Business Studies pupils and three teachers (G. McQuiston, N. Irwin and M. Neill) are off to Barcelona for a threeday business related tour. Day 1 saw a large group of bleary-eyed, yet excited travellers leave Belfast on a very early flight to Barcelona and transfer to our accommodation. This was the Urbany Hostel and it proved to be an excellent base, both for accommodation and its very central location. The entrance to the Barcelona Metro was a few minutes’ walk away and allowed us to travel easily and quickly across the city. The combination of Mr Neill’s linguistic prowess, Mr Irwin’s pigeon-like sense of direction and Mrs McQuiston’s somewhat unnerving ability to ask the right questions at the right times, sped us confidently through the unfamiliar streets. Our first adventure was to the port of Barcelona. This is a vast port with many cruise and freight ships, and makes Belfast look like a small harbour. This relaxed afternoon ended on Las Ramblas where we remained for our evening meal. Day 2 started early with a three-hour guided walking tour of Barcelona, which covered a wide area and stopped at many local sights. The afternoon saw the group making their way across the city to visit Nou Camp stadium and the day finished again at Las Ramblas for our evening meal. Everyone had sore feet by the end of the day and slept well that night. Day 3 and a private bus arrived to take us to our factory visit to a family run, high-end yoghurt manufacturer in the hills above Barcelona. This business had recently begun to export its produce across Europe, and it was interesting to see the operations of the factory and learn about the importance of effective branding and packaging. We had lunch in a mountain top village with one café and no English speakers (for once Mrs McQuiston couldn’t think of a single thing to say!). In the end, however, none of us went hungry. Our bus then took us onward to the Torres Vineyard. This was a most impressive tour and highlighted the scale of the business and the importance of environmental issues. Our farewell dinner that evening was at the Hard Rock Café at the top of Las Ramblas. This was a very successful trip enjoyed greatly by staff and pupils. G.M.Q./N.I.

CHALLENGING ATTITUDES, CHANGING HORIZONS Co-operation Ireland’s CATCH Project Belfast Royal Academy has a long-standing relationship with Co-operation Ireland – for many years we participated in a successful exchange programme with Belvedere College, Dublin, and in more recent years joined other member schools of our Area Learning Community in the CATCH Project. This year twenty two pupils from Form III Citizenship classes participated in the programme. The CATCH Project allows our pupils the opportunity to build relationships with peers from a range of social and cultural backgrounds, including differing school communities. The varied, yet respectful, attitudes of many of our pupils are evident in their immediate engagement with the discussions and team-building activities required on the first day of


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Miscellany the CATCH Project. Building upon the Learning for Life and Work Curriculum as part of the Citizenship strand, our pupils benefit hugely from discussing issues with facilitators rather than teachers. Outside the context of the classroom and without the restraints of the teacher-pupil relationship, the participants have been observed asking questions and expressing views of a political or religious nature which we would not normally observe in lessons. The facilitators, highly experienced and skilled Youth Workers, allow the young people to explore a range of more sensitive or controversial points for discussion through an informal approach. This undeniably encourages honesty, which in turn, leads to a greater appreciation of and respect for difference within the group. The subsequent workshops, where pupils integrate with the other schools: Edmund Rice College, Hazelwood College, and St Patrick’s College, promote a sense of identity for the participants as members of a community of young people, members of a community within North Belfast and members of the CATCH Project community. As such, the cultural and religious identities, which in some cases may also define their school community, are celebrated and challenged. Friendships made within the CATCH community allow the participants to define themselves beyond race, religion, cultural or socio-economic background. It is a joy to see boys and girls, from Cliftonville, New Lodge, Woodvale, Rathcoole, Mallusk and Templepatrick (unidentifiable in their hooded jersey tops and jeans) learn together their shared history at the Crumlin Road Gaol, eat together at the beautiful surroundings of the Duncairn Arts Centre (174 Trust) and make music or play pool at the Hammer Youth Club. It is due to the work of the schools with Co-operation Ireland, like charities and their funders, that the young participants of the CATCH Project ask questions about healthcare, facilities for the young, and the elimination of recreational rioting when interviewing local politicians and committee representatives on panel day. Our pupils are proud on return to school to refer to themselves as the CATCH group and beam with pride (and blush with a predictable teenage tinge of embarrassment) on receipt of their certificates and seeing themselves in the highly-polished DVD documenting their experience.

ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIETY This was a new initiative from Catherine Law (MVI). Meetings took place every Monday in BG1 and a keen band of young environmentalists from FI to FIII discussed various issues. Catherine’s enthusiasm was infectious and numbers quickly grew. Projects included a bun sale to raise funds, developing resources to highlight environmental issues, and investigating websites to identify personal carbon footprints. We are very grateful to Catherine for her leadership and look forward to carrying her work forward in the years to come. Young Environmentalists FRIENDS OF THE ACADEMY Friends of the Academy brings together staff, parents and other friends of Belfast Royal Academy to enhance the school experience of pupils and parents through fundraising and supporting events. Committee members gave generously of their time and energy this year to provide refreshments at a range of events, including the Senior Carol Service, the School Play and Open Evenings/Morning. They also organised a number of events including the annual Quiz and a very enjoyable wine-tasting evening. Two uniform sales were held, providing a service which is much appreciated by parents while raising funds for the School. The highlight of the year was ‘The Great Escape’, the annual Dinner Dance held this year at Crumlin Road Gaol. Guests were entertained on arrival by Kerry Uprichard, Form I, playing on her harp, and dancing followed dinner in the central atrium. Funds were raised for the School by the tombola and a prize draw, and thanks are due to all those individuals and businesses who donated to these. Proceeds of FOTA fundraising this year covered the cost of the merit scheme and subsidised Form Trips and other educational trips. C.N.S.

The project challenges its participants’ views about the various communities from which they find their identity and changes horizons for the future of a post-conflict, 21st century North Belfast. T.M.B.


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During September 2015, the Geography classes were put into 10 different groups and  went to different parts around the school playground to measure the temperature and the windspeed in the BRA site. The places we went to included outside the Crombie, the swimming pool and outside the Jackson.   We used a thermometer to measure the temperature and an anemometer to record the windspeed in the school grounds. We waited 5 minutes for the temperature to stop fluctuating. To measure the windspeed, we held the thermometer in the air for 2 minutes and recorded the average speed. Then we went back to the classroom to find the average of all the results. Geographers (I)

FORM IV GEOGRAPHY FIELD TRIP TO BELFAST CITY CENTRE On Thursday 18th June 2015, GCSE Geography pupils from Form IV for their Controlled Assessment task went into the centre of Belfast to survey the public on their attitudes towards Fairtrade. Over 60 pupils gathered in different areas of the City Centre and asked passers-by numerous questions on the topic. An example of a question asked was: “What type of Fairtrade products do you purchase? Coffee/tea etc Chocolate Fruit Clothes Flowers Other

FORM II GEOGRAPHY FIELD TRIP TO HOLYWOOD Form II travelled to Holywood for their Coastal Defence fieldwork during the sunny month of May. Once there, they carried out experiments in groups of four or five to test infiltration rates along the upper, middle and lower parts of the beach. Classes were spread out in six different sections of the beach. They used two cans, a milk carton and a stopwatch to carry out some research at the beach near Holywood.

When the data was collected, the pupils went back to school and in their Geography classes spent the day completing graphs and tables for their hypotheses and evaluation. The Controlled Assessment equates to 25% of their final Geography GCSE grade. All in all, the trip into Belfast was very successful and the pupils also found it a good experience. Geographers (II)

When this task was completed, classes walked along the coastal path examining, photographing and sketching the main five coastal defences on this part of the coast. All the pupils had time to examine the rock armour, gabions, riprap, straight sea wall and the curved sea wall. Teachers explained how each of the defence measures visited did their job. Back at BRA pupils drew two different line graphs to show the different infiltration rates along the six sites and the other graph on the three sections up and down the beach. This information was used to complete the project. Geographers (II)


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LOWER VI GEOGRAPHY FIELD TRIP On the 3rd February the two AS Geography classes went to Roughfort and Carryduff, respectively, to carry out field work for their Module 2 examination. Each class travelled towards the city centre stopping along the way recording data such as temperature, average wind speed and humidity, to determine if an urban heat island effect existed in Belfast. We were split into groups of three within own classes and recorded data allowing us to take averages once we returned to school. It was a fun and successful trip and a stop for fast food afterwards was enjoyed by all. Geographers (LVI) HABITAT FOR HUMANITY SCHOOLS’ PROGRAMME This year’s Habitat for Humanity project brought the Academy together with De La Salle College once again and pupils from both schools worked incredibly hard in freezing conditions on Tuesday 27th January at Windsor Presbyterian Church on the Lisburn Road.

MIDDLE VI MURLOUGH FIELD TRIP On 7th September 2014, the MVI Geography students set off for a field trip to Murlough Bay and Newcastle, Co. Down. We studied the different coastal defence systems along the beach, stopping to draw sketches and take pictures along the way. We observed sea walls, gabions and railway sleepers which protect Royal Co. Down Golf Course and the Slieve Donard Hotel from sea erosion. When we arrived at Newcastle, we were given questionnaires which we asked the public to complete, with questions regarding their experiences of Newcastle as a tourist resort. When we finished, we were picked up in Newcastle and delivered back to school. Overall, the field trip day was a success as we collected valuable first-hand information and got to see the coastal defences, which we had previously studied in class. Geographers (MVI)

The church hall is being renovated to facilitate a community recreation centre with the purpose of working to reduce racism and subsequent hate crimes in the Windsor/Village area in South Belfast. Hard hats, high-vis and heavy duty gloves were donned by all as the arduous task of washing the walls in preparation for painting commenced. Even those with a fear of heights pushed themselves to work on the scaffolding for a few minutes. The final paintwork of crucial undercoat was completed to the delight of the Habitat construction managers. The group of ten Lower Sixth pupils will now commence their fund-raising projects with a target sum of £1250 in sight – the cost of a Habitat home in a developing country. T.M.B. MVI HISTORIANS VISIT DUBLIN On Tuesday 10th February our Middle Sixth History students travelled by train to Dublin for a walking tour of the city which stopped at various locations relevant to the A2 course. Dr. John Gibney, an historian working on the Decade of Centuries project, led our tour, giving us wonderful insight to the events that shaped the island in the first quarter of the twentieth century.


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The Owl 2015 Our first stop was the Custom House, which had been burnt down during the Irish War of Independence in 1921 and then restored following the AngloIrish Treaty. Then, after stopping at Liberty Hall from where arms for the Easter Rising in 1916 were distributed, we headed to O’Connell Street to visit the General Post Office, the headquarters for the revolutionaries. Here, we heard stories from the farcical to the daring from that week. At Dublin Castle, we saw the seat of British Rule in Ireland, and the site of the handover of power from Lord Lieutenant FitzAlan to Michael Collins in January 1922. After a brief stop at City Hall, we walked down to the Bank of Ireland, and went into the former House of Lords of the Irish parliament up to the Act of Union. Our final stop was Trinity College where we were given a brief background of the university including its links to southern unionism. After a much needed rest and lunch break, we met back outside Trinity College before heading back to Connelly Station. Overall, the tour helped to expand our knowledge of the course; seeing the places covered in our study of the period brought the events of 100 years ago to life. Abby Reid MVI

JUNIOR BOOK CLUB The Junior Book Club met every Thursday at lunchtime in the library. Approximately 30 pupils attended the Club weekly. The Club brings together the best teen fiction of the year, showcasing a blend of new and established writers across a range of genre and subjects. It encourages pupils to read books that will challenge them, further their knowledge of various genres, and promote the discussion of books. On Thursday 16th October, twelve pupils went to see Skyhawk at the Lyric Theatre. Pupils had read the book by Gill Lewis ahead of the performance. Pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience of seeing the adaptation of the text. A month later, on Thursday 13th November, nine pupils had the opportunity to attend the 2014 regional heat of the International Kids’ Lit Quiz. A team consisting of Hailie Nicholl (Form I), Amy McDowell (Form I), Mairead Crinion (Form II) and Holly McBride (Form II) competed against 28 other teams from across Northern Ireland. Known as ‘the sport of reading’, the Kids’ Lit Quiz encourages students to broaden their reading and creates an awareness of genre, authors and titles. The competition is designed to be huge fun, with an element of competition that is seldom available to children whose passion is reading.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL AWARD Belfast Royal Academy has completed three years of having the International Schools Award status and was successfully reaccredited for another three years. Over the next term, we will be detailing all of the new opportunities the School has created to expand its international focus. New opportunities may arise to investigate online collaboration with International schools. P.D.

The Book Club team from BRA performed superbly throughout the competition. They were joint first place at the end of round three. BRA still remained in the top 3 by half-time. The Club ended up in 5th place overall. Scores were very tight between the top 5 and only 10 points existed between BRA and the coveted 1st place position. The 100+ contestants from the 29 schools were asked spot questions. This provided the opportunity for individuals to be awarded with prizes. Hailie Nicholl and Holly McBride both won a prize. BRA also won both the staff and student award at the end of round six.


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Miscellany Amber Smallwood (Form I) beat off stiff competition from schools across Northern Ireland to win the coveted prize of ‘Best Dressed Fictional Character’. Amber dressed as Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Snow Queen’. Tara McBride (Form II) won 4th place in the same competition. Tara dressed as Tinkerbell from J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’. Eva Hayward (Form II) competed as Mr Tumnus from C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ and Cameron McKee competed as Dracula from the 1987 Gothic Horror novel by Bram Stoker.

At Senior level, pupils achieved 5 gold, 11 Silver and 27 Bronze awards. Ruairi Hurson (MVI) qualified for the British Maths Olympiad. Sorcha Burke (MVI) qualified for the Senior Kangaroo.

The Junior Book Club participated in many other literary events. This included shadowing the Northern Ireland Book Award. This award is now in its sixth year. Book Club pupils attended this year’s launch at Aquinas Grammar School on Wednesday 18th March. They took part in a literary quiz and were treated to a talk by the prolific author, Oisin McGann. The six shortlisted books were revealed at the launch.

At Junior level, pupils achieved 4 Gold, 15 Silver and 28 Bronze awards. Zak Thabeth (FII) qualified for the Junior Olympiad and achieved a merit. Daniel McIlroy (FII) and Tori Cooke (FII) qualified for the Junior Kangaroo.

On Tuesday 23rd June, Junior Book Club members travelled to the Northern Ireland Book Award finale, held at Strathearn School. Pupils got to meet Dan Freedman, who took time to sign books and have a chat. The winning book was announced as ‘Bloodguard’ by Carter Roy. Amber Smallwood from the Book Club won 1st place in the mini-sage creative writing competition. Pupils from 33 other schools had competed. Amber’s story was read aloud to all present at the finale. A lovely end to the summer term and to Junior Book Club for the year!

At Intermediate level, pupils achieved 9 Gold, 17 Silver and 24 Bronze awards. Daniel Quigley (FIV) qualified for the Intermediate Maths Olympiad and achieved a merit. Lewis Milligan (FIV), Richard Ware (FV) and Niall Armstrong (FV) participated in the Intermediate Kangaroo.

In team competitions, the Senior Team came fourth in the annual Queen’s Mathematics competition, and second in the NI regional finals of the UKMT Team Challenge. The Junior Team won the NI regional final of the UKMT Junior Challenge. This is the third consecutive year that they have been victorious and, once again, they travelled to London to represent NI at the national final. Pupils continue to participate with enthusiasm and demonstrate an admirable commitment to a rigorous training regime. They are a credit to the School in both their outstanding success and the good-humour with which they participate. S.C.S.


EXTRA-CURRICULAR MATHEMATICS The School continues to excel in all areas of extracurricular Maths at a province-wide and also UK level. Hundreds of pupils once again took part in the UK Maths Trust’s individual challenges and the number of certificates awarded and qualifiers for the elite further rounds continues to grow. The Olympiad competition consists of the top 500 students in the UK at that age and BRA was represented at all levels.


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The Owl 2015 FORM II PARIS TRIP The day was finally here. There had been so many “I’m so disorganised”, “What are you wearing?” texts exchanged, so many suitcases packed, unpacked and repacked; no more time to sit in school and dream about going to Paris, because that day had arrived. A lot of bleary eyed, yet excited pupils arrived at George Best Belfast City Airport, but were quickly woken up and put into groups by some very organised (but also a bit tired) teachers. After embarrassing goodbyes from parents, the journey began. The plane journey was short and we soon arrived in London. From London we were driven to the Port of Dover by Jim Walsh, who we all immediately liked for his wit and sense of humour. At Dover, some students were astounded by the massive white cliffs! We boarded the ferry and went upstairs to have a lie down in the lounge. Once we had got used to the slight rocking of the boat, some of us even ventured out to the deck to do some Titanic re-enactments. Soon we were back on Jim’s bus for the trip to Paris. After some sorting out, we all found our rooms in the hotel, unpacked and enjoyed a short trip to the Disney Village, after which we returned and quickly fell asleep after a very long day. In the busy days ahead, we saw all the sights, museums, cathedrals, shopping centres and petit streets that Paris had to offer. A boat trip on the River Seine was definitely a highlight, as we could get some beautiful pictures of the Eiffel Tower and look at the couples putting their padlocks on the unbelievable lock bridges to express their love for one another. We also waved to some of the locals, who looked at us as if we were a little bit funny! The Eiffel Tower itself was a magnificent sight, but of more interest to some was the crepe stand beside it! The Louvre, which holds the Mona Lisa, was a tight squeeze, as she is a very popular lady, but we all managed to catch a glimpse of the unexpectedly small painting. We visited the Arc de Triomphe and could see everything from there! After a short history lesson from Mr. McCoy, we jumped back on the bus and decided to roam the streets of Paris. Here we got to test out some of the French cuisine. Some brave people opted for the snails or frogs’ legs, but most decided that a Big Mac and Fries would suit nicely. After our feed, we dawdled around and soon the girls took a liking to the “Universite de Paris” jumpers and, after a lot of bargaining, we were kitted out in jumpers of every colour!

When we visited Notre Dame, the famous cathedral, we had to be quiet as there was a service going on. Being quiet isn’t one of our strong points and everyone’s attention soon turned to a man outside, who had pigeons on his head, his arms and all over his body. We visited the Sacre Coeur, which had some amazing views over the beautiful city. Everyone had a sit down after a long uphill hike, which again consisted of climbing many, many steps on a very hot day. I don’t think the lady selling bottles of water had ever seen so many people so thirsty! We then headed towards the Artists’ Square. Some students admired the beautiful art, while others just sat watching the world go by and enjoyed the beautiful weather that Paris had to offer. The highlight of all the museums, streets, shops and monuments had to be the Palace of Versailles. Even though our feet were sore from walking and we were tired from the late nights spent playing football out on the “Field”, everyone was excited when we saw the magnificent building. WOW! After a short history lesson given by Mr. McCoy and a trip through security, we got inside and travelled through the historic building. The best part had to be the “Hall of Mirrors”, where all the students (and some teachers) got plenty of selfies! Afterwards, we walked through the beautiful gardens (more crepes) and had an opportunity to spend some money in the massive Parly shopping centre. We went to Disney Village most nights, where the boys spent most of their time reliving childhood memories, playing with Lego in the Lego store, while the girls took the opportunity to shop and hunt around for some Minnie Mouse ears. We also found the biggest McDonalds we had ever seen! These daily trips to Disney Village meant that everyone was excited and prepared with Mickey/Minnie Mouse ears when we made the trip to Disneyland. No matter how good the shopping in the quaint streets, eating some weird and wonderful food or visiting historic sites was, Disneyland was the highlight (apart from Flunch, of course!). We were given time to go on all the rides (some even twice) and shop in all the typical Disney shops. Pictures were taken in front of the Disney castle, with famous Disney characters and autographs signed. Then it was time for our final meal in Planet Hollywood. After this fun-filled trip, there was a sorrowful vibe as everyone squeezed all their belongings and purchases into suitcases and attempted to clean their rooms. A lot of sitting on suitcases and we were packed up, ready to leave.


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Miscellany We would like to say a big thanks to all the teachers who made the trip so exciting and got us all home safely. A special thanks to Jim, who had to put up with our awful singing on the bus! This was such an amazing trip and anyone who gets the chance in years to come should definitely go on it! We made so many wonderful memories and thoroughly recommend it. Julia’s mum still raves about her Form 2 Paris trip! Unforgettable. Thank you. Julia Uprichard/Erin Davidson (Form III) POLITICS SOCIETY Politics Society focused this year on active engagement, with Senior school taking part in a mock referendum on Scottish independence in September and in May, Junior school exercised their (mock) democratic right by voting in a mock General Election. Both events showed the eagerness of our students to engage with issues in politics and gave food for thought regarding the lowering of the age of consent. In the mock referendum, members of Politics Society put together a well-run event, requiring students to have voter ID. Different coloured ballot papers were issued so as to analyse the results. Our result, which took place two days prior to the real thing, closely mirrored the real result, particularly with the reluctance of female voters to embrace Scottish Independence. In the Junior school mock election, the variety of political opinion in school was clear. Students in Forms III and IV ran the event, with election posters and policies for all the parties put up around school. This time, however, a Labour government would not be formed, despite the support received in the mock election. We also had visits outside of school. Ten students in Lower VI and Form III attended EurVoice, an event run by the European Youth Parliament in City Hall in October. The focus again was on active participation of young people in politics, giving pupils a chance to discuss issues that affect them and their local community with politicians, such as social media, sectarianism and racism, employment and the future of Belfast. Our occasional cinema visits also continued. This year we saw ’71, the Oscar nominated Selma and The Guardian’s Owen Jones interviewing Russell Brand. These cinema visits have been an important part of the Society’s activities as they have contributed to our political knowledge and challenged stereotypes and viewpoints.

During the year we had a visit from Alliance Councillor for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Tom Campbell. Mr. Campbell is a solicitor and father to MVI Politics Society student, Alan. Our lunchtime meeting was well-attended and students again proved their political nous through their discussion and questions. As Middle Sixth students leave behind the Politics Society, we’re grateful for the opportunity to learn more about politics away from the ‘A’ Level course and examinations; our lunchtime meetings covered a range of topics. From the situation in Syria and IS, to the legislation which protects animal welfare, our members are keen to share, learn and have an impact on the world. Long may the Politics Society continue to be a forum for such endeavour. Emma Mills (MVI)

PRIMARY SCHOOLS The Primary School Experience programme is a long-standing initiative whereby pupils from Lower Sixth attend a primary school once per week, gaining experience of a professional setting while working with the children and helping out the class teacher. This year 42 pupils were placed in 16 primary schools, ranging from the local schools to those in the Shankill area, and a number along the upper Antrim Road and in Newtownabbey. Attending on Wednesday afternoons in Terms 1 and 2, pupils engaged in a range of activities from numeracy and literacy support to PE lessons, with some pupils also supporting art or drama activities. At the end of the year, pupils received written reports from the class teachers which were invariably positive, with some teachers being so impressed with our pupils that they requested their support for extended periods and for additional school events.


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The Owl 2015 The pupils enjoyed the programme and developed their self-confidence while learning valuable lessons, on which they will be able to draw in their applications to university or employment. C.N.S.

RECYCLING Recycling continues in BRA with respect to paper and cardboard. Every Wednesday morning, a small army of fifth formers collects the black boxes and bring them to the recycling area and I am very grateful to them. It may be that the increasing awareness of our impact on the global environment will allow us to try recycling of plastic and aluminium again sometime in the near future. R.J. SAPHARA JOURNEY WITH PURPOSE This year our Lower Sixth students were given a new opportunity: to fundraise for and visit the successful Saphara projects in India run by former Methody teacher, Dr. Christine Burnett, who set up the charity in 2008 after many years of fund-raising through Methodist College, Belfast. Many schools across the province have taken part over the years and hundreds of young people have fund-raised and visited the projects with which Saphara work. The Academy joined with St. Malachy’s College, Belfast, Dominican College, Fortwilliam and St. Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, to form the North Belfast team. Twenty-two students and four teachers travelled to India, with Niamh Carroll, Henry Cavan, Kathleen Reilly and Jack Venables representing our school. With up to four teams visiting each year, the programme is a well-oiled machine. The first weekend is spent in Delhi, getting acclimatised to the heat and humidity. The hard-work begins as we travel to Dehradun, and on to Mussoorie, in the foothills of the Himalayas. The following two weeks are spent working in three different schools: Kaplani High School, Donk Primary School and Sneha Doon Academy. Through the fund-raising students do during the year, Saphara pays for teachers’ salaries, sponsoring students to go to school, paying for school uniforms and classroom equipment or building work. Education is at the heart of all Saphara does in India because it empowers young people from disadvantaged communities to escape poverty.

Our students explain more about the trip and reflect upon it: Niamh: We were all exhausted after a long journey to Delhi, however, we were soon awoken by the sights and sounds of the bustling city, I struggled to take it all in as we made our way to our hotel. After a brief rest in the hotel, it was off to FabIndia, a clothes shop in Delhi’s Connaught Place, where we bought our Indian clothes. We enjoyed picking out our outfits, and we all emerged from the shop feeling better equipped to blend in with our new surroundings. After shopping, we headed off in our new outfits to the Irish Ambassador’s residence. The Ambassador, Feilim McLaughlin, had kindly invited our group to join him and his family for a meal. It was great to hear him speak about his experiences in India and to acknowledge the work of Saphara in the country. The next day we had an early start, leaving our hotel at around 5.45am for Agra. Our first stop of the day was tea in the beautiful Trident Hotel, a welcome break following our bus journey from Delhi. Then we went to the incredible Taj Mahal! It was absolutely amazing to be able to see first-hand one of the most iconic buildings in the world. The heat of mid-morning India did not stop us from taking numerous photos and exploring this amazing building. After a delicious and refreshing lunch, we visited another iconic Indian building, Agra Fort. This was another interesting trip and, thankfully, the heat was less overpowering than it had been earlier in the day. Jack: The first school that we worked in was Kaplani High School, in Mussoorie, where we worked with students aged 11-18. I worked with Class 6 (the equivalent of Form I) teaching English, Personal Development and Science each day. Every lesson required detailed lesson plans prepared in our free time in the evenings. We tried to make the classes as practical as possible to help engage the students. One of the lessons that particularly stands out was measuring the speed of paper helicopters as they fell from the second floor balcony. The kids seemed to love the lessons and I loved teaching them. It was fulfilling to see their faces light up when they learnt something new and even from the first day it was clear that a bond had been formed between the students and us. We also had the chance to engage with the students during lunchtime when we played rugby, cricket, and even danced together. Kaplani High School is a remote school and it’s clear that the children there do not have a lot. They have


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Miscellany to trek, some of them for an hour or two just to reach school. Yet they come to school every day eager to learn. Kaplani was one of my favourite schools that we taught in. It was our first encounter with Indian children and the entire team built up a brilliant rapport with their classes. As we left for the final time, everyone broke down into tears: the students were crying, as was our team. We found it very hard to leave and it just demonstrated the bonds that we quickly formed with the kids. It’s a school and an experience that I will never forget. Kathleen: After the emotion of saying goodbye at Kaplani, we trekked the next day to Donk Primary School. This is the same journey that many of the students at Kaplani make each day to get to the school. Although it was dry when we started our trek, it began to rain heavily. The monsoon season had begun! A local woman opened her doors to us and welcomed us into her house. Although it had just two rooms, seven people lived there. We were humbled to see the simple living conditions in which they lived, but also grateful at her generosity welcoming twenty five dripping wet people into her home. With the rain not abating, we had to continue on the rocky track. It wasn’t long before the small primary school of Donk came into sight. We arrived to smiling and excited little children, children who had travelled in flip-flops through the same wet weather just to get to school. In Donk, we taught some craft lessons and found teaching nursery difficult, as language was an obvious barrier. However, we overcame this with handclap games and simple signs to communicate. The two rooms of the school were damp and cold with no electric lights and the windows had no glass, incontrast to the warm, bright and clean classrooms we have at home. Last year, the nursery did not have tables and chairs but we got to see again first-hand the funding that Saphara puts in place as now they had tables and chairs. The younger children made butterfly mirrors and decorations while the older children made baskets and stained glass decorations. It was brilliant to see their faces as they worked on their projects! With the rain still pouring down, we headed out on our trek back. We saw students from Donk walking past us in flip flops through the pouring rain, unphased and used to this daily walk. Henry: Our next school was Sneha Doon Academy in Dehradun. Although we were tired from travelling and teaching in the previous week, we woke up still very eager and excited for our first day at Sneha. Sneha is a large school in the middle of the

marginalised communities in Dehradun, which has 1100 students, and like Kaplani High School and Donk Primary School is funded by Saphara. In Sneha, I was teaching Class 1 (the equivalent of Primary 3). This was challenging because the classes were big, with around 40 students. However, this also led to great energy and the children were really keen to learn. We taught English using a book called Walking Through The Jungle and all our lessons had a jungle theme. In the afternoons we taught a conversation Class 11 and 12 students (the equivalent of LVI and MVI) to help improve their English. I really enjoyed these classes. Even in the short period of time we had, we could see their confidence in English improve and got to know them well. During our time in Sneha, we visited the marginalised communities where many of the children live. It was hard to believe that such welldressed and determined children come from this background, but hold so much enthusiasm and inspiration. Although we found it hard to see, we felt it was important to view the poverty first-hand so we can really see what a difference Saphara has made to the lives of so many children. At the end of our time in Sneha, we had a cultural exchange where they performed for us and we performed for them. It was a really enjoyable way to end our time in Sneha but hard to say goodbye. Niamh: Whilst the first weekend spent in Delhi had been an introduction to India, the final few days there were a farewell to a country we had grown to love. It was slightly surreal to be arriving back in Delhi after two weeks spent out teaching. However, our last few days were a fitting goodbye. Our trip to the Lotus Temple in Delhi is one experience I will never forget. The Lotus Temple is a beautiful building where peoples of all faiths and no faiths can pause, reflect and pray in quiet contemplation. After all we had experienced over the previous two weeks, it was very useful to have a time of personal reflection in the Lotus Temple. Our final stop before the airport was a trip to the Cottage Emporium where we were able to buy some authentic Indian presents for our family. We were all a little bit emotional heading onto the plane and saying goodbye to our fantastic Indian experience! We met so many amazing people during our time teaching in India. I think we all were inspired by the amazing children we taught in Kaplani, Donk and Sneha. Their enthusiasm and dedication to their learning was incredible, and the whole team was moved by the great kindness they showed to us.


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The Owl 2015 One amazing person we met in Mussorie was Surrender, who works tirelessly in the area to help the local people improve their lives. He is very well-respected in the rural area, and it was easy to see why. Not only was he our guide on our trek to Donk, but he also gave us a very informative talk about all the problems faced by the people he helps in the foothills of the Himalayas. We gained even more respect for Surrender after learning that he had previously worked as a very well-paid civil servant, but after refusing to take bribes, dedicated his life to helping others. At Sneha we were lucky to encounter even more inspirational people. Dr Reeta set up the school and has been able to help a vast number of families from the marginalised communities of Dehradun. She spoke to us about her work at Sneha following our visit to the marginalised communities, and we found her positive vision for the people who lived in poverty there inspirational.

I have. This experience and opportunity is one that I know I will never forget, and each remembering of the difficulties the children I taught faced, will keep me motivated to work hard. Jack: The 16 days of the trip were the most difficult 16 days of my life, emotionally, but my experience in India was one I will never forget. I spent 16 days with an amazing group of people, all from different backgrounds, working with Indian children in three 3 different schools and seeing some amazing sights. Teaching was so fulfilling and seeing the children so happy has encouraged me to do more to help. The Saphara Team

The headteacher of Sneha, Estermam was another very inspiring woman, who has a clear vision for the school and helps the students escape their impoverished upbringings. One of the most memorable people we met in India was a Sneha teacher whose salary is paid by Saphara, Nadesh. His singing and dancing at assembly, made sure everyone started their day with a smile. All the children clearly adored Nadesh and by the end of the week, all of our team did too. One thing that summed up Nadesh’s impact on the pupils was the vice-captain of the school telling us that he would be very sad to leave as Sneha and especially Nadesh were like a family to him. Final reflections: Niamh: Saphara has been an incredible experience and will stay with me forever. I feel so privileged to have been able to meet so many amazing people, especially the children in Kaplani, Sneha and Donk. I hope that we were able to make half as much of an impact on the kids as they made on us. I’m so grateful to have shared this experience with such an amazing team! Henry: Before I left for India, people who did Saphara before told me that it would be the best experience of my life. Although I thought I would have a great time, I was sceptical. I was wrong: Saphara has been one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and would thoroughly recommend it. Kathleen: This experience was amazing in every aspect. Not only did it teach me new skills but it also reminded me to be grateful for even the little things


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Save the Children at Belfast Royal Academy continues to thrive, running an array of fundraising events throughout the school year.

In December 2014, around 60 BRA pupils spent their run up to Christmas skiing in Leysin, Switzerland. An early 5:00am departure from the Academy gates on a coach to Dublin airport marked the beginning of a tiresome, yet exciting journey. After a long day of travelling, our coach arrived outside Hotel Central Residence, our home for the next week.

The year commenced with the Great BRA Bake Off where a number of students showcased their fabulous dessert creations. The tasty treats were then sold to a hungry crowd of pupils. Next came BRA’s Got Talent which attracted a number of aspiring acts to audition. The phenomenal two- day show entertained those who were present and the committee would like to commend all participants, judges and backstage crew for making it happen. The very popular Non-u=Uniform day, in aid of Save the Children, gave students an opportunity to contribute to the charity by donating £2 to such a worthwhile cause, enabling them to come into school in their “normal” clothes. As spring came rolling in, the Save the Children barbecue at the School’s annual Sponsored Walk served the eager multitudes of people with burgers. Manning the grills were Dr Bell, Mrs McIntyre, Mrs McMillen and Mrs Cummings alongside the rest of the committee who sold and checked burger temperatures. After a gruelling two hours of uninterrupted smoke in the eyes, crowd control and a few burnt patties, 350 burgers were sold. It was all a great team effort. After yet another successful year, the committee has raised over £4000 for the charity through the many events adored by all. We would like to thank Mrs McMillen, Mrs McIntyre, Mrs Cummings, Dr Springer and Dr Bell for their sustained support and benefaction making our time at serving on the committee a delightful and rewarding experience for those who were involved.

Although there was hardly any snow in sight, our hopes were not dampened. After getting skis and boots fitted the night before, we took a short coach trip to the glacier the following morning, where we would begin our lessons and meet our instructors. The glacier offered us enough snow and slopes to keep all of our ski groups occupied and entertained, and when we weren’t surrounded in a thick cloud of mist, the breathtaking views of Mount Blanc and picturesque mountains surrounded us. After our morning lessons we would retreat to the top of the mountain to refuel with a hearty lunch, to set us up for more slopes and jumps for the rest of the day. Once back at the hotel, we’d fill our free time by exploring the local village and shops, then sit down to a delicious dinner. Before returning to our rooms we’d end the night with bingo, team games, a Christmas movie or even tobogganing! Each day our instructors, who we came to know and love, tested our skiing abilities, always pushing us towards improvement. All in all, the trip was a major success and a great experience for everybody, and none of it would have been possible without the hard work of Mr. Moles, Mr. Murphy, Mrs. Reynolds, Mrs. Gilmore and Mr. McGonigle. I would encourage anybody of any age or skiing ability to take the opportunity to go on the ski trip when it next arises, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Trinity Geddis (V)

Save the Children Committee


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8TH SPANISH SCHOOL EXCHANGE WITH JUAN DE VILLANUEVA, ASTURIAS In September BRA pupils hosted their 8th school exchange with pupils from Asturias. 18 pupils accompanied by 2 members of staff, Isabel and Dioni, spent an enjoyable week in N. Ireland. Many thanks to Isabel who had to step in at the last minute due to a bereavement for the previously designated teacher. The pupils stayed with our pupils and enjoyed a range of activities and visits which included a visit to Crumlin Road Gaol and an excursion to Giant’s Causeway. They were also warmly received at the City Hall by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast and were given an insight into the role of mayor in Belfast. The clement Indian summer in the Province helped enormously thus making the exchange a particularly successful experience. Indeed, the best evaluation of the trip would be best summed up by the Asturian students themselves as seen below: It was one of the best experiences of my life. The people, the place, the college. I really loved it! I hope I can return one day and spend another incredible time with the friends that I have made and whose friendship I want to preserve for a long time. Carmen Alonso I believe this exchange was a beautiful and enriching experience, not just because of the improvement in our English, but by the deep links built with the BRA students and the development of values like empathy, tolerance and respect, as well as the discovery and interaction with the Northern Irish culture which is extraordinary. Andrés Presa This exchange was a really nice experience to remember. I made so many friends during one week and I had a really nice time. I would have liked to go to more classes but the building of the school was really beautiful and my partner was fantastic!!! I hope to go again and see everybody. Thanks for the experience. Irene I loved the exchange because we had a really good time in Belfast and in Asturias. In Belfast we visited so many places. They were all amazing, and with all the people from the exchange they were even better. The high school was awesome, it looked like the ones from the films, and all the people I’ve met there, were so nice. I really want to come back next year to see all the friends I’ve made and to visit those amazing places again. Elena Dapia

I was so excited about this Exchange. It was such a great experience that I will remember all my life. Through it I have improved my English so much and I made a lot of true friends. I did a lot of things that I had never done before, and I saw amazing places such as the Giant’s Causeway, for example. My partner was very nice, I´m sure that I am going to miss her so much. I am already looking forward to their return. I would repeat it many times. Pedrero Camblor, Sergio Through this exchange with Belfast I’ve met amazing and kind people. Before going there I thought that the country was like any other, a place where I could have fun. Once I was there I realized that wasn’t true. I’ve learnt lots of history and I’ve seen beautiful places. I met people who I’ll never forget and I started speaking English with them as if they were Spanish people. Now I’ve got new Irish friends who I’m sure I’ll see in the future, because since September we’ve lived a lot of good times together and we have to finish them. Belfast isn’t any ordinary Irish city for me now. María Fernández

SPANISH EXCHANGE 2015 (2ND LEG) Early morning of Tuesday 29th September commenced our 8th annual Spanish Exchange trip to the Instituto Juan de Villanueva in Pola de Siero, Asturias, our group comprising 15 pupils and Mrs Rea Wickens, Mrs Serrano and Mrs P McCamley, braced the early morning meet-up in the Europa Bus Station to catch the 8 o’clock bus down to Dublin, when, unsurprisingly, most of us were half-asleep until we arrived in buzzing Dublin airport. After a pleasant flight, we stepped off the plane in Bilbao, the heart of Northern Spain, to breathe in the thick, tepid Spanish air, completely unlike the rainy Northern Irish weather we left behind earlier that day. Finally, after our second bus journey, this time of approximately three hours, we reached our (almost) final pinpoint on the map, Oviedo: the capital city of Asturias, where the “asturianos” greeted us with a warm welcome and open arms. By this stage it was past 10:30pm local time, and the exhausting journey gave us what could only be described as the same feeling you get on a Friday afternoon: drowsy, but excited for whatever is to happen next. On Wednesday morning we woke up early (or in some cases, rather, were dragged out of bed by our exchange partners) to attend our first day of Spanish school. Upon arrival, it was very evident that there were vast differences between our two institutes, and we were immediately struck by the lack of uniform, which created a much more easy-going academic


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Miscellany environment in comparison to BRA. Their principal, Sergio (we were also shocked to find that Spanish teachers are known on a first name basis), met with us in their assembly hall to give us a personal welcome both to Spain and his school. Following this, at around mid-day, we took the train to Oviedo, where we reunited with the previous headmaster, Carlos, for an historic insight into Asturias. As students who follow either the Spanish GCSE, AS or A2 course, this was the first test of our translation and listening skills on the trip, as the tour was completely given in the native language. Before returning to the school we were given some free time in the city to ourselves, which we took as an opportunity to sample some classically Spanish churros, admire local sights and of course, browse the Asturian high street! Even within just one day of the trip, we had noticed many differences between the culture we were accustomed to back home, and the culture we were to live in for the upcoming week, with one aspect in particular being very difficult to get used to: the almost countless meals we had throughout the day – the feeling of hunger became very foreign to us that week! Although the breakfasts were fairly similar to our own, including pastries and cereals, in school we would then have our “almuerzo” at around 11am, typically consisting of bread with an omelette inside, as well as a piece of fruit, and we would then return home at 2:30 for our main lunchtime meal. After our day’s activities which the Spaniards had completely planned out, at anywhere between 9:30pm and 11:30pm we would have our “cena” (or dinner!) which was typically cold meats and cheese. On Thursday, we took a more practical-based cooking lesson through one of the school’s programmes orientated towards over-18s, with the teacher José María where we made delicious marzipan, the classic Asturias way – shockingly with potatoes! We were all ordered to wear hair nets, overalls, and gloves, and this is certainly one experience which I hope Mrs Rea Wickens doesn’t submit any photos of for the Owl! The afternoon brought good weather as we headed to Gijón, a nearby coastal city, where we spent our evening at a spa, enjoying the beach scenery and warm weather. Then it’s Friday! In the morning, most of us were scheduled for a Maths lesson with our partners, a class which was taught in English as part of the school’s bilingual progamme, in which many smart Spaniards who excel in their studies have the opportunity to follow the rest of their school courses in said language, which in this case is English. Later that day, we had a conference with Sr Alcade de Siero, the mayor of Pola, where we had the opportunity to ask him some questions regarding local economics

and politics, among various other topics. At last, school was over for the week, and that evening we all arranged to meet up at Café Gaso, where we could have a refreshing drink and sample the Spanish delicacy of pipas (a type of roasted and salted sunflower seeds), which most of us grew to love! Despite the fact it was a Saturday that followed, there was not much needed lie-in. Instead, we met at the Pola de Siero Bus Station, from which we headed off on yet another long journey, this time to Covadonga, which we must admit was completely worth it! Although words aren’t enough to describe this quaint village, situated in the Picos de Europa Mountains, some of our group could only define it as the most extraordinary place we had ever seen sorry Mourne Mountains! The day’s excursion also included visits to Ribadesella and las Cuevas de Tito Bustillo. We spent the Saturday night in Oviedo as a group, which was our final opportunity to say goodbye to the city - for now, and by Sunday, we finally got our lie-ins and lazy days as we each spent the time with our respective adopted Spanish families. On Monday we received a grand tour of “La Central Lechera Asturiana” where we learned how milk was locally sourced, prepared, and packaged for different products then sold in countries as far as China! The much-dreaded Tuesday came too soon, as this marked the day that we left Asturias. The Exchange was the most incredible experience, as we all formed such close and lasting friendships, and let’s just say that there were more than a lot of tears shed! It has taught both sides about life, language and culture across both Spain and Northern Ireland, and it was the ideal way to use our years of Spanish in a practical and compelling way, much more engaging and effective than any textbook could ever be, and even having returned to Belfast, we still find ourselves casually dropping words of Spanish into our conversations. ¡Viva el intercambio! Cameron Chisim (MVI)/Mia Giannetto (FV) At a time when many schools are reducing their modern language provision, it is wonderful to see that at Belfast Royal Academy, the interest in Spanish continues to grow. It is indubitable that the Spanish Exchange Programme plays a major role in this success as testified in the pupils’ accounts. We wish to thank our host school, Juan de Villanueva, for making this yearly experience such a memorable event. Spanish Department


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The Owl 2015 TEENAGE KICKS Teenage Kicks is a great programme that encourages people of all ages to come together and be more active. It increases confidence and creativity in those who particpate, by creating a routine to perform on stage in front of an audience at the Ulster Hall. Teenage Kicks encourages young people to love and enjoy exercise with friends. It is a great way to meet new people, as BRA is one of many schools that participate in the programme run by ‘Fitness Freddie’. Other schools include: De La Salle, Belmont Primary and Glenveagh School. Teenage Kicks brings together pupils from all over Belfast. The pupils are a mix of ages and this creates good community relations and a happy atmosphere to be around. Rachel O’Neill (MVI)

The Prince was very much impressed with the vast range of activities undertaken by our pupils and with the very friendly and informal atmosphere in the Assembly Hall. Each of the sections of the DofE, namely Volunteering, Skills, Physical, Expedition and Gold Residential, were represented along with the Mournes’ Clean-Up presentation. The Volunteering section was represented by a number of pupils demonstrating their individual roles, ranging from working as Dean’s Verger of St. Anne’s Cathedral to assisting with girls’ Gaelic football coaching. This section was introduced by Miss S. Ardis. The Skills section, led by Mrs. L. Nicholl, had on show a number of the pupils’ talents. Aaron Lyons, from Middle VI, whose skill was learning to cook, offered the Prince some of his homemade wheaten bread!!! The Physical section presented many activities including ballet, archery and even Taekwondo! All of these pupils were introduced to Prince Edward by Mr. J. Carolan. Our Expedition section represented Bronze, Silver and Gold foot participants and our Silver and Gold Canadian Canoe pupils, and was introduced by Mr. Maurice Miller.

THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD On Thursday, 26th February, 2015 we were delighted and honoured to welcome to the Academy HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. The Prince was visiting the School’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which is probably the largest school-based Award Centre in the United Kingdom, with 442 pupils from Forms III to Middle VI participating in the academic year, 2014-2015. He was particularly impressed with the unique nature of Belfast Royal Academy, reflected in the DofE in the school, with its significant religious, socio-economic and geographical mix of young people. Upon arrival, HRH Prince Edward was greeted by Mr. William Sillery, our former Headmaster in the role of Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Mr. Dominic Walsh the Warden, the Headmaster, Mr. Maurice Miller and myself, amid the music of five of our saxophonists. In the upper foyer of the Darbyshire Building, the Prince was first introduced to our current voluntary DofE Expedition Staff and Gold Award Leaders.

The Gold Residential section, introduced by Mr. J. Buchan, had pupils whose work varied in location from Nicaragua to South Africa, where they helped the local community with repair and restoration of the various villages. The Prince also met Mr. James and Mrs. Anne McHenry, from the Antrim Hills and Mr. Desmond and Mrs. June Patterson, from the Mournes. They are land owners from their respective areas and are very supportive of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. They are especially helpful to the Academy DofE. Kerry Uprichard from Form I was the youngest pupil present, performing on her harp as the Prince made his way around the Assembly Hall. Light music was also provided by four of our clarinettists. The Prince was then entertained by the Traditional Irish group and Traditional Irish dancing performed by Jessica Burns (Middle VI). The Headmaster thanked the Prince for honouring us with his visit. The Prince replied by commenting on the sheer size and versatility of the DofE in the Academy. He praised the participants on the diversity of the activities undertaken within the different sections, and finished by signing the Visitors’ Book.


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The Owl 2015 The Prince then took an unscheduled detour to the school playground, where he fully engaged with the Senior school pupils and staff. It was a highly memorable, historic day in the life of the Academy and was thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part. The total number of awards gained from 1984 to date are: Bronze –1226; Silver – 657; Gold – 436.

valued assistance; Mr. Alan Hermon for assisting with transport; Mrs. Michelle Wilson and Miss Holly Grant for outstanding assistance with Award administration; Mr. Martin Scott, Ms. Helen Douglas and Miss Joanna Clarke for very valuable assistance with administration work; and the Gold Award Leaders of 2014-2015 for excellent assistance with the running of the Dof E in the school.

Congratulations must go to the seven pupils who gained the Gold Award: Rebecca Burns (MVI), Amy Hunter (MVI), Aaron Lyons (MVI), Hannah McCalmont (MVI), Claire McGowan (MVI), Lori Turkington (MVI) and Oliver Vick (MVI)

The Academy’s Award Centre is indebted to the various Bed and Breakfast houses, which are the supervision bases for our many expeditions. Grateful thanks indeed to: Mrs. M. Trainor of Silent Valley, Kilkeel; Mr. and Mrs. J. McHenry of Glenariff, Ballymena and Miss M. Scally of Torr Road, Cushendun.

A very full and successful programme of expedition work in the Mourne Mountains, North Antrim Hills, Upper and Lower Lough Erne and in the Glencoe/ Fortwilliam/Lochaber area in Scotland was carried out during the year, directly involving 244 pupils in expedition theory classes, training weekends and practice and qualifying expeditions.

Not a single Duke of Edinburgh Expedition could have set out from the Academy during the year if it had not been for the tireless efforts of those ten or so pupils who form the “Tent Team” and who gave much of their time in maintaining our large stock of camping equipment. Many thanks, T-Team, for all your work!

We are indebted to the many people who were willing to give of their free time to make possible the huge undertaking of the Expedition section. We sincerely thank the following teachers, past pupils and adult helpers who generously gave their time and assistance:-

Expedition first-aid training was kindly provided by Dr. Norman Walker and by Dr. Keith Thompson and his team of volunteer First-Aiders.

Mr. R. Armstrong Mr. K. Cheung Mr. R. Colhoun Mr. J. Cummings Mr. J. Davison Miss. L. Dugan Miss. H. Grant Mr. C. Hall Mr. K. Laverty Mr. D. McArthur Mr. P. McArthur Miss K. McClelland Mr. M. Miller Miss C. Murphy Miss R. Petticrew Mr. M. Scott Mr. D. Sharp Mrs. M. Wilson Mr. A. Workman Mr. F. Workman Very special thanks must also go to the following people: Mr. Maurice Miller for his outstanding contribution in overseeing all aspects of the Expedition section; Mr. Billy Dunn for driving the school bus on many weekends and for his

The work of the Volunteering section continued successfully through the year. We are very grateful to Miss S. Ardis for administering the work of those pupils involved in individual Volunteering section activities. Thanks are owed to Mrs. G. Morris for assisting those pupils working in the Community Service option. The detailed administration of the Skills section was very ably undertaken by Mrs. L. Nicholl to whom we are very much indebted. Bible reading, car maintenance, photography and chess are just a few of the many interests pursued by our pupils within this section. Many thanks are due to the numerous members of staff who gave up their time to act as Skills section assessors including: Mr. Briggs Mr. G. Forde Mrs. N. Black Mrs. C. Prior Mrs. T. Corcoran Mrs. Currie Ms. Graham Mr. Jamison Mrs. Kerr Ms. McMullan Mrs. Morrison Mrs. O’Donnell Mr. Spence


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Miscellany Within the Skills section, 21 pupils took part in the Bronze Award Fire Service Courses held at Whitla Street Fire Station. We warmly thank the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for the provision of the courses and Mr. Reece Colhoun and Mr. Martin Scott for supervising the classes. 28 pupils took part in two Bronze Award First-Aid Courses based in the Sixth Form Centre on Tuesday evenings in the autumn of 2014 and the spring of 2015. We are very grateful to Dr. Keith Thompson and his team of volunteer First-Aiders for providing the course. 15 pupils were involved in the Silver Award Police Service Course organised during the year by the P.S.N.I. to whom we are most grateful. We thank Mr. Carolan for organising the administration of the Physical section. Many sports are pursued by our pupils within this section and we are grateful to the staff of the P.E. Department: Mr. Creighton, Mrs. Nicholl, Mrs. Shaw, Mr. McGonigle, Mr. McCarey, Miss Brady and all of the Games staff for all their much appreciated help throughout the past year. We thank Mr. Brian McLaughlin and Mr. Robert Armstrong for all their work in training the kayak canoeists on Friday afternoons. Much helpful advice in connection with the Gold Residential section is given to our Sixth Form pupils by Mr. Buchan to whom we are very grateful. Thanks must go to Mr. Maurice Miller for his help in looking after our finances. The 25th Annual Sponsored “Mournes’ Clean-up and Environment Day” was held on Saturday, 13th December, 2014. Taking part were 90 pupils, all Duke of Edinburgh’s Award members from Forms III to Middle VI as well as 30 adult helpers, including former pupils who are Gold Award holders, parents and teachers. Rubbish was collected from 11 sites in the Mournes area and in excess of six tonnes of rubbish were cleared. This was very good indeed, bearing in mind the cold weather. The pleasing sum of £2,225.96 was raised for our funds. We had much appreciated assistance from Down District Council, Newry and Mourne District Council, The Mourne Heritage Trust, The National Trust and Mark’s Skip Hire (Kilkeel). Councillor Dessie Patterson, ViceChairman, Down District Council and Chairman, Mourne Heritage Trust, Councillor Brian Quinn, Deputy Mayor, Newry and Mourne District Council, Ms. Margaret Ritchie, M.P., Mr Sean Rodgers M.L.A., Mr. Jim Wells M.L.A., Minister for Health, Ms. Rebecca McGreevy, Education Officer, Down District Council, Mr. Matthew Bushby, Countryside Services Manager, Mourne Heritage Trust, Mr. Damian McClean, Ranger for South Down, National Trust, Mr. Liam Dinsmore, Management Services

Officer, Newry and Mourne District Council, Mr. Phil Savage, Countryside Officer, Mourne Heritage Trust, Ms. Joanna Clarke, Senior Youth Worker, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, B.E.L.B. and Ms. Nicola Murray, Community Development Officer, Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful were present in Donard Park, Newcastle, early on the Saturday morning to lend their support to the event and to wish the B.R.A. Team every success. Grateful support was also received from The NGO Challenge Fund 2015 and refreshments were provided by Coca-Cola Clean Coast Programme. The Academy’s Open Nights in January, 2015 and the Open Morning in May, 2015 were a great success and all aspects of school life were on show to prospective pupils and their parents. Many thanks to all of those who helped to make the impressive D. of E. display in the Sixth Form Study Area so effective. The eighteenth highly successful Canadian Canoe Week was held from 1st to 8th August, 2015 in Lough Erne. This was a highly packed programme of Silver and Gold Canoe Qualifying Expeditions. 22 pupil members and 3 adult leaders took part. Congratulations to Lucy Dugan for gaining the Hillwalking Levels 1 and 2 Certificate; also to Martin Scott who has completed work for the Mountain Leader Certificate. On Tuesday, 23rd September, in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, a BELB Award Assessors’ and Co-ordinators’ Recognition Event was held in BELB Headquarters. Three of our Gold participants (Claire Magowan, Abby Reid and Rebecca Burns) received certificates for winning a BELB competition about nominating and thanking a DofE Leader. Claire read out her speech about Mr. Maurice Miller. We also received our formal Centre Service Level Agreement. Long Service certificates for Mr. Maurice Miller, Mr. Dennis McArthur and myself were also presented. At the Belfast Harbour Commissioners’ Offices, Prince Edward attended an Award Assessors’ and Co-ordinators’ Recognition Event for all other Education and Library Boards. Mr. Dickson and other Head Teachers from leading DofE Centres also attended. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing my deep gratitude to my mother for all her support and assistance during the last thirty-three years: she has been my ultimate source of encouragement. For thirty-two of those years, my late father had also been an immeasurable support.


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Miscellany In conclusion, in preparation for my retirement (D.V.) in the summer of 2017, Shelley Wilson and Maurice Miller are now sharing the leadership of the Academy’s DofE Centre with me as Joint Coordinators. In a carefully planned process that has been ongoing over the last two years, and will continue for the next two years, responsibility for and management of the DofE in the school is gradually

being handed over to Maurice and Shelley. The aim is that the DofE will continue as strong and vibrant as ever in the years to come, in a seamless handover of responsibility. Finally, pride of place and congratulations must go to the following pupils and past pupils who gained awards during the past year:-

Bronze Award Douglas Adams (IV) Bobbie-Jean Agnew (V) Matthew Blair (V) Szymon Bukowski (IV) Erin Campbell (LVI) Ryan Corbett (IV) Josh Craig (LVI) Maria Del Castillo (IV) Eva Ferrin (LVI) Olivia Hull (LVI) Jack Jamison (III) Eimear Jones (LVI) Cameron McCartney (V)

Elizabeth McCauley (III) Katie McConnaughie (IV) Molly McEwan (LVI) Rhys McKendry (LVI) Andrew Meeke (IV) Samuel Millar (LVI) Kathleen Reilly (LVI) Jasmine Ross (IV) Phillip Rowan (LVI) Richard Simon (V) Louis Totten (LVI) Amber Vick (IV) Bethan Watt (LVI)

Silver Award Rebecca Carse (IV) Henry Cavan (LVI) Cameron Gergett (LVI) Chloe Jeffery (MVI)

Antoinette Leonard (LVI) Niamh Martin (LVI) Eilis O’Loan (MVI) Ciara Patterson (V)

Gold Award Rebecca Burns (MVI) Amy Hunter (MVI) Aaron Lyons (MVI) Hannah McCalmont (MVI)

Claire McGowan (MVI) Lori Turkington (MVI) Oliver Vick (MVI)



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BRONZE AWARD BOYS’ FOOT QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 18th-19th APRIL, 2015 MOURNE MOUNTAINS Day 1 I awoke to the sound of my alarm clock, 7:49a.m., it read. The first thing that came into my head was Mr.Reilly from the day before saying, ‘Be at school for 8 ‘o’clock sharp, no later’. The first challenge of the weekend: getting into school on time. Miraculously, we arrived at school only two or three minutes late. I said goodbye to my mum, grabbed my rucksack from the car and headed to the assembly hall. My entire group had already arrived. I dumped my rucksack on the table and headed over to talk to them. They all looked tired and bleary-eyed. After sorting out who had to carry which gear, we were given a talk about the Mournes and about what to do in an emergency situation, etc. At about 9:00 we all got on to Billy’s bus and headed for the Mournes. We were dropped off at a spot overlooking Fofanny Dam, I got off the bus and put my rucksack on, which felt like it weighed a tonne. ‘How am I going to drag this thing around the Mournes all weekend?’ I thought to myself. It was a clear sunny day and the scenery was amazing. We didn’t get off to a great start. We were only about 20ft down the road when we realised we had taken a wrong turn. We could hear Holly shouting from the bus, ‘Stop! Stop! You’re going the wrong way!’ and so we had to turn back. Once we were back on the right route, things went pretty smoothly for the rest of the afternoon. By the time we reached Spelga Dam, which is a huge reservoir, we were already exhausted and the weather was extremely hot, which made it worse. We bumped into some other teams at this point and we decided to start the ascent of Slievenamiskan together. On the far side of the mountain, we finally made it to the bottom and started our final leg towards the campsite. It was about 5:00p.m. when we reached the campsite. We quickly set up the tent at the back of the campsite right by the river and got the trangias lit for our ‘boil in the bags’. We sat up and talked for a bit but we went to sleep pretty early as we were all so tired.

Day 2 I remember waking up on the second day absolutely freezing and soaking. We got up at about 7:00a.m. and took the tent down, got all our gear put away, cleaned the trangias and ate a nutritious breakfast of Lucozade and a Milky Way. We were one of the first teams to leave the campsite and we had to ascend the hill behind the campsite called Rocky Mountain. For me this was the hardest part of the whole expedition. The hill was extremely steep and we had to stop every five minutes to take a break. When we reached the other side of the mountain, I literally took my rucksack off and collapsed. We reached the entrance to a forest. We had to walk the whole way through it from one end to the other and at this point we just wanted to get to the bus as soon as possible. So we decided to just go for it without taking any breaks. At about 11:30a.m. we began our 4km trek through Tollymore Forest. It was flat ground the whole way through, which made it slightly easier. Finally, we reached the car park at the end of the forest. We were the first group back and about 30 minutes ahead of everyone else. The bus hadn’t even arrived yet! We were all so happy to have finished the gruelling weekend and at the same time completely exhausted. The Duke of Ed. qualifying expedition was one of the most frustrating, exhausting and highly stressful things I have ever done, but it has helped me build friendships with people, develop skills like navigation and teamwork and achieve things I never thought I could, and for that it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Anyone who is considering doing Bronze DoE: 1) make sure to pack plenty of food, and 2) just enjoy it, it’s an opportunity you will probably never get again. Michael McCormack (IV), Matthew McIlroy (IV), Phillip O’Callaghan (IV), Myles Ingram (IV), Cameron White (IV), Oliver Allen (IV)


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The Owl 2015


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BRONZE AWARD GIRLS’ FOOT QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 25th-26th APRIL, 2015 MOURNE MOUNTAINS Feeling anxious but excited, I arrived at school at 9:00a.m. on Saturday, 25th April, 2015. After a brief talk from our leaders, we loaded our heavy rucksacks into the trailer and set off for the Mournes! We were dropped off at Fofanny Dam and teams set off for their qualifying expeditions individually. Our group spirit was high as we bobbed along the road carrying our heavy rucksacks and singing songs. The weather was mild for the first few hours, but as we approached Spelga Dam, it began to rain. We walked carefully through Spelga Dam, avoiding sheep bones! As we approached the other side, our feet began to sink into the deep marsh, so the wall before Rocky River was a welcome sight. We were happy to meet some “Goldies” (i.e. Gold Award Leaders) and chatted over lunch! With energy replenished, we continued to contour Slievenamiskan. The walking became tough as we grew tired but we powered on! We then journeyed towards the campsite, climbing one final mountain before relieving our shoulders of rucksack pain at the campsite! My team then split into two tents, with Courtney and I (Meghan) setting up our tent while Molly and Clara prepared dinner. Following this we piled into our tent, exhausted, and within no time we were asleep.

On Sunday morning we woke to the sound of a trangia being beaten with a spoon at 07:30. We all scrambled out of the tent, had breakfast and prepared for our final day of walking! Our route began following the Ulster Way to the footbridge, and then following Rocky River to Rocky Mountain and round to Shanky’s River. Our feet and backs began to ache, but my team tried to maintain good spirits by making jokes and belting out songs! The day seemed to drag on forever, but once I realised we were only 10 minutes from our final destination, a car park, I was over the moon! When we arrived there, we threw our bags on the bus and headed out to get some food before returning to school. Then we sorted and returned our tents and trangias and headed home. I am proud to have completed my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I will forever be remembered as the girl who fell, neck-deep in a marsh, having to be pulled out by her team! Undeterred, I have just started training for Silver! Meghan Hamilton (IV), Courtney McCammon (IV), Clara Walker (IV), Molly Agnew Boyce (IV), Ellie Bradley (IV), Anna Whiteside (IV), Cara Carson (IV)


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The Owl 2015


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SILVER AWARD FOOT QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 19th-21st JUNE, 2015 MOURNE MOUNTAINS The purpose of our expedition was to study plants in the Mournes. We completed this expedition from Friday, 19th June to Sunday, 21st June. The members of my group were Laura Loboda, Eilish McEwan, Roise Murphy, Maria Del Castillo and (in addition to the qualifying expedition) Eve Proctor. The group equipment we had to bring was a tent, a trangia, a fuel bottle, 5 compasses, an emergency phone, 5 map bags and a camera. We shared this equipment out between us on the Friday morning of our expedition. In preparation for the expedition we had to do several training evenings, a weekend in the Mournes (learning skills, like leap frogging, aiming off, map reading, pacing and compass skills) and finally we had to do a practice expedition in the Mournes. Just before our expedition, our whole team got together in the school library and we drew our routes on the maps, wrote out our route cards and made our meal plans. We arrived at school at 7 o’clock, ready with our backpacks and we just had to collect our team equipment. The day turned out to be sunny and enjoyable. We were dropped off at the carpark near Tollymore Forest Park. We walked along a path through Tollymore Forest until lunch. It was sunny, which kept our spirits high. Our last leg before lunch was the hardest because we climbed 90m in 1hr. We took short breaks after each leg to make sure we arrived at each point on time. We met our assessor at our lunch stop. We ate some sandwiches to give us energy for the afternoon. After lunch, we walked along the Mourne Way at the edge of the forest and then entered back into the forest at 336311. The next few legs were quite tricky because there were a lot of different paths and on a few occasions we almost went the wrong way. We were so close to our campsite when Maurice came up to us and said we have to find a new one because our initial one was already occupied. This was definitely the hardest part of the expedition, because it was raining, foggy and cold. When we arrived at our destination we were really tired, so we just made ourselves a hot dinner and headed straight to bed. We got to stay in bed one hour extra that day because we had walked that extra hour the previous night. We woke up and made breakfast straight away. It was still quite foggy but we had some time before we had to depart. We discussed whether we should take the bad weather route or continue with our initial one. We finally decided to take our normal route as we noticed it was clearing up while we were putting away our tent. To get back on track we took a bearing to our second leg which was a corner in the Mourne wall. The very start of that day was all height climbing: we had to climb Carn Mountain, but after that it was all downhill to lunch. We had lunch at the Pigeon Rock at the end of Spelga Dam. The sun was shining and it was a very

nice day. I wouldn’t say it was easier than the day before because Saturday was high climbing and downhill but definitely shorter. Then the Friday was not much climbing except towards the end but it was very long. We had lunch here for 30 minutes and then continued. It was quite windy and rained now and then so it was hard to know whether to keep your waterproofs on or not. The weather throughout the expedition remained near enough the same. I got slightly sunburnt on my face because I didn’t realise the sun was out. The next two legs after lunch were quite difficult: the ground was wet and marshy and the plants were high. After this we were very tired but only had to go downhill. Some team members had difficulty in going downhill rather than up, so we tried to keep a steady pace and make sure nobody hurt themselves. When we got down, our path to the campsite was quite simple. It rained a few times throughout this part of the day but not as heavily as when we started putting up our tent once we reached the campsite. Thankfully, one or two of the boys who had already set up their tents, came and helped us with ours. Just our luck, as soon as we finished putting up our tent, it stopped raining. We spent the rest of the evening making dinner and socialising with the other groups. The midges were attacking us and we decided to play with the tennis ball before settling and going to sleep. The next morning we were the last team to leave. Before we left we had to do a litter sweep, but we eventually were on our way. We had an easy start. We met the other two teams that had left before us at the top of Rostrevor Forest. They had had a hard morning but our hard part was just about to start. We had to walk up to the top of Altataggart Mountain which was 260m of climbing. It was quite hard, but it was all track so that made it a lot easier in my opinion. We stopped at every junction and since it was quite warm, we all kept well hydrated. After we crossed the wall at 231229, the ground was quite marshy so we tried to keep slightly higher to avoid the wetness. This leg took us to the edge of the forest where we had lunch. We then continued our route to Rostrevor Park which was rather straight-forward and uneventful. When we got there we just used the toilets to get changed into clean clothes and had a chat with our assessor about how we did through the weekend and she told us as long as we handed in our log and project we had passed! We went and got dinner and then came back to school. We washed our trangias and hung up our tents before getting debriefed and going home to a nice shower and bed. Even though there were many ups and downs, hard and fun bits, we got there in the end safe and sound and I wouldn’t change any of it! Maria Del Castillo (V)


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The Owl 2015


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SILVER AWARD CANOE QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 2nd-4th AUGUST, 2015 LOUGH ERNE The Silver Qualifying Expedition at Lough Erne was from 2nd – 4th August, 2015, and it was such a great experience. It was a lot of fun to paddle along with my friends, and a real pleasure to be canoeing through Lough Erne. However, the weather was not in our favour at all: it proved too dangerous to continue on our original routes, so the majority of our journey over the three days was changed from the initial one. We were constantly subject to fierce winds and powerful currents, but our enthusiasm kept us going through the most boisterous waters.

As a team, the best part was probably paddling around Enniskillen, as the water was calm, and we paddled past some lovely fountains near Erneside Shopping Centre. Our team got on really well for the entire duration of the expedition, and everyone was only too keen to help another person out. Undoubtedly, it was time well spent at a great location with a great group of people! My canoeing team consisted of: Monique Hipolito, Louise Doherty, Michael Woods, Joshua Morrow, Lucy Clements, and myself. Jasmine Ross (V)

GOLD AWARD FOOT QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 13th-16th AUGUST, 2015 NORTH ANTRIM HILLS Our expedition began on Thursday, 13th August, 2015, which also happened to be AS-Level results day. The majority of our team decided to open our results before we left so we wouldn’t be left in suspense the entire weekend. Our day began a little later than planned, partially due to the excitement of everyone comparing results. When we got off the minibus, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. This made us so much more optimistic and determined to begin our final expedition. As we walked along the road, we were able to see not only the surrounding hills and farmland, but also the sea below. Around an hour or so into the day, we had our first climb. We were glad to meet it early in the day, as we still had plenty of energy and managed to complete it with little problems. At the top of the hill, we stopped for lunch before setting off again. As midday approached, we noticed that it began to get much warmer which led to everyone removing their extra layers of clothes such as fleeces etc. Luckily, the terrain was generally good for the rest of the day. The majority of the land was flat and not too marshy although there were some large ridges in the ground that had to be walked around. At around 6pm, we reached our campsite. Although we all had head-nets and repellent sprays to avoid the midges, we were surprised at how many there were. This resulted in us quickly putting our tents up and having dinner, so we could retreat to our tents. It wasn’t until later that night that many members of the team noticed that they had sunburn, which wasn’t pleasant but reminded us all to apply much more sun-cream the next day!

Friday began at 07:00 at our camp. We all knew that this day would be tough so we were all eager to set off. Having had breakfast and packed away our tents, we set off at 08:30. We met up with our assessor, Dermot, when we reached the road one hour later and he walked with us for a while. Unfortunately, one member of our team fell ill and didn’t feel well enough to walk the decided route. Therefore, we met up with Maurice, Shelley and Holly and had our route changed to hopefully allow the ill member to continue with the rest of the day. For the majority of day 2, we walked along roads. I enjoyed this as it meant that there were fewer things for me to trip over but it also meant that all of our feet were sore from very early in the day. However, we persevered and stopped for lunch at around 2pm. The weather was much more overcast and quite humid. This was a welcome relief as many of us feared getting more sunburnt. After walking for around three more hours, we reached our campsite. Due to the light breeze, we were all able to sit outside and eat dinner without being attacked by the midges. After that, it was another early night as everyone was incredibly tired. The next morning, our assessor brought us some hot juice to raise our spirits. After a brief rest, we set off once more. Half of the day consisted of walking through the forest which was great as it sheltered us from the showers of rain throughout the day. When we reached the end of the forest, we stopped for lunch as the clouds were getting darker and we thought there would be even heavier rain to come.


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The Owl 2015 Luckily though, we were wrong and it stayed dry for the rest of the day. The most challenging part of the day was a 100m climb. The hill was extremely steep so it took us quite a long time to reach the top. When we eventually did we had to take a long rest to recover. After walking for a couple more hours, we finally reached the campsite. We were all so excited that we only had one more day left and at the same time surprised by how quickly the expedition had gone. On the final day, everyone got ready to go faster than any other day. The walk was mainly on the outskirts of the forest and through a welcome centre. Our route had to be changed again as we weren’t able to cross a bridge in the forest, so we ended up having to walk around a dam. This was something everyone hated as the ground was extremely marshy. Although no one

seemed to mind, as we knew we only had one hour to go. The weather was generally overcast all day, which made the last day pleasant to walk in. At around 3pm we finally reached the minibus. Everyone was so proud and relieved to see civilisation again! We had a debrief with our assessor Dermot and then set off back to school. Everyone in the group agreed that it had been our most enjoyable expedition yet even though it was the longest. I would really recommend that everyone takes part in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as it is such a worthwhile achievement when it’s all finished! Aidan Davison (MVI) , Eva Ferrin (MVI), Niall Gray (MVI), Kieran McKenna (MVI), Cathryn Morrissey (MVI), Phillip Rowan (MVI) and Adam Stronge (MVI)

GOLD AWARD FOOT QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 16th-19th JULY, 2015 FORT WILLIAM/GLENCOE AREA, SCOTLAND DAY 1 We began on this day at the Ski Centre at Leanachan Forest after having breakfast in Fort William. We were all immediately struck by the beauty of Scotland, especially Ben Nevis, and how much it differed from The Mournes. We set off in perfect weather, dry with a slight breeze, and made our way on to the forest path. We all found this part to be quite enjoyable as we were able to set a good pace with the flat paths. It was about two hours or so later, when we had just passed the carpark, that we realised that our timing was off, as we were almost an hour ahead of time. We decided it would be best to stop and wait out the hour so we were on time, but when midges became a problem we had to keep going. Little did we know that Maurice was waiting for us back at the carpark and didn’t know we had been ahead of time. From here we carried on and followed our maps until the footbridge where we stopped for lunch to wait out the rest of the time. From here it went horribly wrong. We had written on our maps to head straight into the forest and we took that as gospel and walked straight for the trees. Now anyone who has been on an expedition knows that heading into trees with no path isn’t normal but we continued anyway. We must have spent a good hour in this small patch of trees trying to navigate out and eventually when we emerged we were so thankful! The path we were on ran alongside the Mountain, Beinn Bhàn, and that matched the path which we were supposed to be following so we headed on our way.

We came to a steep climb which killed our feet and slowed us significantly and when we finally reached the top of the hill the path levelled out and we stopped for water. As we filled up, Maurice, John and our assessor, Henry, came walking up the hill behind us and we were all so happy to see them! They informed us that they had been looking for us all day and that we were on the wrong path going up the mountain. We couldn’t believe how off we were but we fixed it and made it to the path in The Lairig for about 6:00p.m. Since there were still 5km until our campsite Henry allowed us to camp early in the forest which turned out to be a lovely campsite with a lot of shelter. With full stomachs, we all drifted off easily. DAY 2 We woke up at 7:30a.m. to get breakfast and have enough time to pack up our tents and equipment. The weather was generally fine at this point. However, the dark clouds in the distance warned us of the rain to come. Donning our waterproofs and bags, we set off and immediately the rain began. There was also strong wind once we left the forest and began on the path which was gradually inclining. The path was good for the most part but became very marshy and muddy as we continued and it flattened out. Finally we reached the bothy which was to be our campsite the previous night. When we began walking again the rain had stopped but it was short-lived.


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Miscellany After finally reaching the end of the path at Loch Treig, we ran into Maurice who said that he and John would be walking us into our campsite at Loch Chiarain. This entailed following Glean Lolairean for around 4 hours. This was horrible as the rain stayed on constantly with the strong wind, and the path was beginning to become very marshy. We kept going and eventually we could see the bothy and loch from the path. This motivated us and soon we reached the front door. We all piled inside and soon began to get changed as we were soaked to the skin. We slept in the bothy that night as the rain didn’t cease and we knew that our tents would get soaked. It was a nice night’s sleep as we all had a lot of room but we were also freezing and had to layer up just to keep warm. DAY 3 We woke up a little later on this day as Maurice advised to wait out the rain a little. However, it had no intention of stopping and we had to just get up and get on with it. After putting on our damp waterproofs from the day before, we cleared up the trangias and set off at 9:30a.m. We had only walked along the path for about 10 minutes but I could already see streams forming which weren’t supposed to be there and blocking the way. The actual rivers were rushing quite fast and before we came to our first main river we met Maurice who told us to turn back and head to the bothy as the rivers were too dangerous to cross. We met up with Dennis at the bothy who said that retreating from the hills would be our best option. So we set off, and began to walk along the path which we had used the previous night. We were told that we would be getting a train out of the mountains at 3pm as long as we made it there in time. This meant we had 5 hours to walk 12km to the station. This seemed impossible but after crossing our only river (where most of us got soaked anyway) the rain didn’t bother us and we just kept moving to stay warm. It took us a surprisingly small amount of time to double back and end up back at Loch Treig. Along the way there was a lot of slipping, sliding and falling as the path was very boggy. We had lunch at Loch Treig and began our ascent up to the station. It was about 12:30p.m. when we began, but after the initial climb the path levelled out and then we had to cut into fields to finish off the journey. As we neared the station the rain began to ease off and eventually stopped. to our relief. We sat in the waiting hut and dried off and ate some snacks while we waited for the train.

It was weird when we finally got onto the train as it felt like years since we had been in Fort William but it was nice too, to be out of the wind and rain for a bit. After a brief worry about paying (as no one thought that they would be taking a train during the expedition and so didn’t bring any money), we were sorted and having a nice time watching the scenery. We even passed Leanachan Forest and we laughed about using the wrong path and getting lost just a few days previously. It was a shock when we got out at Fort William and we were driven to the start of a new route which was drawn up by Henry while we were walking. The new route involved a big climb of 270m to begin with, but since the rain had stopped and the sun had since come out we were absolutely fine with it. By the time we reached our campsite we had all dried with the sun beating down. Camping that night was nice, although there were midges. It was dry and we got to sit up and talk for a bit about the day. DAY 4 This was one of the nicest days we had. The weather was beautiful and in such a contrast to the day before, we even had to put on sun cream! We headed out of camp at 8:30am and began walking on the mostly flat path. During our walk we got a lot of photos for our logs and projects and we were able to joke around and have a bit of a laugh. Following The West Highland Way couldn’t have been easier and we saw a lot of people along the way. We happily chatted and stopped at some old ruins to take photos. Heading on we met Henry, Peter and John who walked with us for a bit until we stopped for a short break. We headed through the forest until we met the Old Military Road and the minibus was there. We had lunch on a pile of pebbles while Maurice told us about the flooding across Scotland. We knew we didn’t have long left so we got up and pushed through. The road was tough on our feet and we had to take more breaks but the hardest part was going downhill - it killed your toes. Our ending was pretty surprising as we weren’t expecting to finish quite so early at 3:00p.m., but we were so glad when Henry announced that we had passed, even after all the stuff that happened. After some congratulations and a debrief we were on our way to have our dinner, at McDonalds! Shannon Venus (MVI)


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The Owl 2015

GOLD AWARD CANOE QUALIFYING EXPEDITION 5th-8th AUGUST, 2015 LOUGH ERNE We started the expedition on Wednesday, 5th August from Castle Archdale at roughly 10:00am. We unloaded the trailers and tied our barrels into our canoes and set off. As our expedition project was to view places of interest in Lough Erne, we had planned to do a loop of the Castle Archdale Islands and back to Castle Archdale for lunchtime. So we went through the pouring rain to White Island and Inishmakill Island where we stayed for a while and took in the beautiful scenery. As the weather was worsening, we headed back to Castle Archdale where we got to see the museum there about the role of Castle Archdale during World War II, which was fascinating to say the least. After we had our lunch, we headed off to our campsite at Inish Davarr Island. Luckily the rain eased and we were able to put our tents up while it was dry. Safe to say we slept well that night! The next day we woke up bright and early and left our campsite at about 8:30am. We headed off to our first point of interest at Devenish Island which had a ruined abbey and a tower we could investigate. Thankfully the weather was better today and we were able to stay a bit longer and enjoy the beauty of Lough Erne in full. Our route took us through Enniskillen and we were able to stop in Enniskillen town centre where we spent some time at the Lakeland Forum. We met up with Mr Reilly and we took a group selfie, using his new selfie stick. The weather began to turn, so we headed off quickly towards Ardhowen Theatre before moving onto our campsite on Cleenish Island. After chasing off some of the resident cows, we settled down for the night. The next day we left again at 8:30 and made our way towards Carrybridge in high spirits as the sun was splitting the trees! Henry and I even got to put on our shorts and sun cream! At lunchtime we made it to Knockninny, a hotel built near an old well where we stopped for some time with Ruth and Gordon.

We headed on towards our final place of interest for the day, Share Holiday Village, one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Lough Erne. We stayed here for a while until the wind began to pick up again so we made our way to our final campsite before the wind got too strong. Our final campsite was Trannish Island which had its own eco-toilets. We met up with the other canoe team here and spoke about our previous days and ate our meals together. However, everyone was very tired so we all went to bed early in preparation for our final day. We woke early and headed on our way at 8:30 once more. We only had one stop off on day 4 at Crom Estate so we made haste to get there as soon as possible. Once we got there, it finally began to sink in that we were coming to the end of our Duke of Edinburgh in B.R.A. I began to get quite emotional about it and when we met up with the other team once more we spoke in detail about our time doing Duke of Edinburgh all the way from Bronze through to Gold. After our reflection we only had another kilometre or so left of our expedition, so we pushed on to Bun Bridge in high spirits. Before we knew it, our expedition was over and we were getting our final debrief from Gordon. The whole team really enjoyed the expedition and I am very proud of what we have all achieved, not just over the expedition but over our whole time in Duke of Edinburgh. I would like to thank Henry, Martha and Micah for being such a fantastic team and a pleasure to canoe with. I would also like to thank Gordon, Ruth, Mr Reilly and Robert Armstrong for all the help and support they gave us on our expedition and how enjoyable they made our experience. Cameron Gergett (MVI), Henry Cavan (MVI), Martha Gordon (MVI), Micah Hipolito (MVI)


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I volunteer at Belfast Lough Sailability in Carrickfergus for my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

I joined The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Form III with most of my year, and I loved it so much that I have continued it throughout my school career right up to Gold Award. To finish my awards, I had to pick a Physical Recreation to do for a set number of months, so I decided to begin to learn archery.

Sailability brings the joy of sailing to disabled and disadvantaged people all across Northern Ireland. We meet regularly on a Wednesday evening throughout the year and take people with all sorts of disabilities on special sailing boats called access dinghies which wheelchair users can be hoisted in and out of. They have 5 access dinghies and each dinghy has a keel on board to stop the boat from turning over to make it safer for the passengers. They have other boats that disabled people can use like Sea Rover. Sea Rover is a motor boat which can carry up to 16 people and take disabled people to places all around Belfast Lough like Bangor, Whitehead and sometimes down the River Lagan. During the spring and summer months many groups (such as Special Needs Schools) come in on other days to sail along with other events which Belfast Lough Sailability host. I really enjoy sailing and teaching people how to sail. Sailability has been a way to give something back and help people who have difficult disabilities to enjoy themselves and forget any problems that they have in their day to day life. Henry Cavan (MVI) SKILLS SECTION FIRST AID COURSE I did this skill because it was something that I have not tried before and showed interest in, and it turned out great. Every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. we gathered at the Sixth Form Centre to do our theory and practical for 12 weeks. The practical was very interesting: it consisted of simulated situations at which you have to put your theory work to use. The theory side was very interactive and you could not be bored. We got to learn how to do slings as well as how to treat various symptoms and conditions such as shock. This was only a little of the First Aid we had to do. This gave me a chance to do something that can only be done in DofE during the school years. It was very enjoyable and I would recommend you give it a try. First Aid gave me new skills and refined some too, like time management and keeping calm during serious situations. Altogether the experience was exciting and always interesting: learning these new abilities can help you in the future. Kristyan Hristov (IV)

When I first went to the club, it was a huge deal for me. I didn’t know anyone else who attended and I was an extremely shy person, so I would have stopped going to the club not long after I started it if it were up to me. But, because I needed it for my DofE Award, I knew I just had to hold on and push my comfort zones a little further. I’m so thankful I did because I have now been going for over four years and I have even invested in my own bow. I have made so many friends I would never have encountered if I hadn’t attended, and through them I have been opened up to so many other new experiences. Everyone who goes is so friendly: I have found myself in the middle of a mini-community who all try to support me and help me develop my skills at shooting. Bethan Watt (MVI) GOLD AWARD RESIDENTIAL At the start of July this year, I travelled out to India as part of the North Belfast Saphara Team. I also used the trip as my Gold Residential. Saphara is a charity that works to educate disadvantaged young people in India, putting particular focus on helping girls, who are otherwise often discouraged from pursuing their education. I was privileged to be part of a team of 22 young people from 4 schools: B.R.A., St. Malachy’s, Dominican College and St. Mary’s, Magherafelt. Our purpose was to teach in three schools that Saphara work in; before we travelled out to India, we attended lots of teaching classes and workshops which equipped us with techniques to help teach the children well. Our journey to India began on 2nd July: we set off on a gruelling 24 hour journey to Delhi via Dublin and Dubai. Once in Delhi we spent an enjoyable weekend sightseeing and getting acclimatized to our Indian surroundings. Some of the highlights included visiting the Irish Ambassador’s Residence and going to the Taj Mahal. Although we really enjoyed this part of the trip, we were all eager to begin teaching the next week. After the first weekend, we journeyed by train to Mussorie where we would spend the week teaching


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Miscellany in Kaplani High School, which is a remote school of around 100 pupils in the foothills of the Himalayas. It was an incredible experience to be literally teaching among the clouds. During the week spent in Kaplani High School I taught Class 10 which is the equivalent to Form V. The three of us in our teaching group taught Class 10 English, Science and Personal Development during that week, and even though lesson planning was time- consuming, we worked really hard to make sure we had lessons worthy of such a brilliant class. On our final day in Kaplani, there were many tears shed both by us and the pupils. It was especially emotional when they gave us handmade cards to say goodbye. We spent a very special day in Donk Primary School, a tiny school of 40 pupils even more remote than Kaplani. Donk could only be reached by trekking into a valley which took an hour and a half each way. Despite having completed my Gold Qualifying Expedition a few weeks beforehand, I struggled with the hike and many small children who are pupils of the school overtook me on the journey. It was all worth it to see all the adorable children in Donk, and their faces light up when we walked into the classroom.

The final school my team visited was very different from Donk and Kaplani. SNEHA is a school of over 1000 pupils ranging from nursery to sixth form equivalent. Unlike the rural settings of the previous schools SNEHA is in the midst of the city of Dehradun. As soon as I walked in through the gates of SNEHA I could feel the amazing atmosphere of the school. In an area of great poverty it is a safe place of learning and care for the children who attend. In SNEHA my teaching group was assigned Class 3. I have never experienced such lively lessons, but even though we had up to 40 children in our class they were all so well-behaved and well-mannered. My trip to India with Saphara was an incredible Gold Residential, and it humbled me to see the enthusiasm for learning of the children in the schools. My Saphara experience has definitely made me more grateful for opportunities I have, such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and for my education more generally. Niamh Carroll (MVI)


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THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD DIARY 2014 – 2015 September, 2014

February, 2015

- Two Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Canadian Canoe training weekends were held for 12 Form IV and 2 Form LVI pupils in the Castlewellan Forest Lake area.

- Expedition route planning evenings were held in the school for Form III boys and girls working for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award. - An expedition training day based at the school was held for Form III boys working for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award.

- Form IV Silver Girls’ and Boys’ foot expedition training weekends were held in the Mournes area. - On Tuesday, 23rd September in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, a BELB Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Assessors’ and Coordinators’ Recognition Event was held in BELB Headquarters. Three of our Gold participants (Claire Magowan, Abby Reid and Rebecca Burns) received certificates for winning a BELB competition about nominating and thanking a DofE Leader. Claire read out her speech about Mr. Maurice Miller. The Academy also received its formal Centre Service Level Agreement. Long Service certificates for Mr. Maurice Miller, Mr. Dennis McArthur and Mr. Reilly were also presented.

October, 2014 - A Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award canoe and foot expedition training weekend was held in the Castlewellan Forest Lake and Mournes’ areas.

December, 2014 - The 25th Annual Sponsored “Mournes’ Cleanup and Environment Day” was held on Saturday, 13th December, 2014. Taking part were 90 pupils, all Duke of Edinburgh’s Award members from Forms III to Middle VI as well as 30 adult helpers, including former pupils who are Gold Award holders, parents and teachers. Rubbish was collected from 11 sites in the Mournes area and in excess of six tonnes of rubbish were cleared. This was very good indeed, bearing in mind the cold weather. The pleasing sum of £2,225.96 was raised for our funds.

- On Thursday, 26th February we were delighted and honoured to welcome to the Academy HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. The Prince was visiting the School’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The Prince was very much impressed with the vast range of activities undertaken by our pupils and with the very friendly and informal atmosphere in the Assembly Hall. He was particularly impressed with the unique nature of Belfast Royal Academy, reflected in the DofE in the school, with its significant religious, socio-economic and geographical mix of young people. Kerry Uprichard from Form 1 was the youngest pupil present. As the Prince moved through the Assembly Hall speaking with the pupils about the various activities they were undertaking, the soft strains of Kerry’s harp music floated across the venue. We were also delighted that Mr. Sillery, our former Headmaster, played an important role in the event as Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Belfast March, 2015 - An expedition training day based at the school was held for Form III girls working for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award. -The Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award practice foot expeditions were held in the Ballypatrick Forest area, near Ballycastle. April, 2015 - Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award Canadian Canoe training was held over a three day period during the Easter holidays on the River Lagan, the Six Mile Water and the River Bann. - Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver and Gold Award practice foot expeditions were held in the Mountains of Mourne. - The Duke of Edinburgh’s Bronze Award boys’ and girls’ qualifying foot expeditions were held in the Mountains of Mourne.


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Miscellany May, 2015 - Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award practice foot expeditions were held in the Mountains of Mourne. - Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver and Gold Award Canadian Canoe practice expeditions were held on the River Bann.

June, 2015 - Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award qualifying foot expeditions were held in the Mourne Mountains. - A Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award qualifying foot expedition was held in the North Antrim Hills.

July, 2015 - A Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award qualifying foot expedition was held in the Fortwilliam/ Glencoe/Lochaber area in Scotland.

July/August, 2015 - A Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award qualifying foot expedition was held in the Fortwilliam/Glencoe/ Lochaber area in Scotland.

August, 2015 - The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Canadian Canoe Week was held in Lough Erne. 22 pupil members and 3 members of staff and leaders took part. - A Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award qualifying foot expedition was held in the North Antrim Hills. - Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award qualifying foot expeditions were held in the Mourne Mountains.

THE OLD GIRLS’ ASSOCIATION The Old Girls’ Association moved fully into the digital age this year by setting up their new Facebook page. From the first posting, which received hundreds of ‘hits’ in a few days, it was evident that this was the way to connect former pupils and allow them to remain part of the School community. A quiz was held in the Academy Club in June to re-launch the Association with its new committee members and it was a very enjoyable evening led by Roly Jamison as quiz master. With those attending being drawn from former pupils, present and past members of staff, and parents and other friends, the success of the evening augurs well for the development of the association in the year ahead. C.N.S. THE READING GROUP Tuesdays, Week Two, LL9, the humble abode of the delightful Ms Graham. The camera zooms in on a sunlit square of desks, a packet of Oreos for the vegetarians to debate over, several cups of tea with the hidden pink pig only a sip away, a group of cheerful students and staff, and a large and eclectic collection of books. What are these books? Click: We zoom in. Every two weeks, it changes. American Classics, Spanish Romances, Historical Fictions, Werewolf Thrillers; this, friends, is the Reading Group: it’s impossible to pin down. The Reading Group meets bi-weekly in Ms Graham’s classroom for tea and book talk. This year it was a small, but mighty group, most of whom turned up loyally to every session to discuss current reads, themes they had been sent away to read, and anything else that happened to come up. Despite what Middle Sixth boys, under the illusion of being clever, might say when the announcements for meetings are read out in Registration, the Reading Group is probably one of the most enjoyable, intellectual and scrumptious groups in school. Nowhere else will you hear the concept ‘Ice Nine’ and the prose of Virginia Woolf debated, and mere weeks later hear a heartfelt declaration, without shame, of love for the Twilight novels. Every taste is accepted in Reading Group, so long as you will talk about it, and take a biscuit.

September, 2015 - Two Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Canadian Canoe training weekends were held for 12 Form IV pupils and one Form Lower VI pupil at Castlewellan Forest Lake. - Form IV Silver Girls’ and Boys’ expedition training weekends were held in the Mournes’ area.

This last academic year, Reading Group even ventured out of their comfortable room into the cold January Out To Lunch festival at the Black Box, to attend the poetry reading of renowned writer, Simon Armitage. The outing was much enjoyed by all pupils and staff who attended, particularly those who studied or taught Simon Armitage, and the poet himself received warm applause and a well-deserved Ikea pencil.


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The Owl 2015 The Reading Group is also a place for new writers, as well as established ones, and with three budding novelists in the group this year, time was devoted to hearing about the books that the Reading Group might come to discuss in future semesters. With as much pupil input as staff into what will be discussed each week, this is not an optional English course, or extra homework, rather a community of lovers of literature - be it 20th Century poetry, Young Adult fiction, prolific Victorian prose, or the plays of Aristophanes- to spend time together expressing equally weighted opinions on whatever their own current love- or new least favourite- might be. Click: We zoom out. The Reading Group was a haven of paper, caffeine and chocolate for a select few of Middle Sixth, but it is open to all Lower and Middle Sixth pupils who wish to make new friends, find new literary passions, and experience such surreal anecdotes as the memorable fifteen minute talk on the infamous ‘Chicken Tornado’. Whether you are a lover of the works of Homer, feel strongly about the Brontës, have something to express about Sylvia Plath, feel that the graphic novel genre is underrated or are very, very angry about supernatural teen fiction, whatever your experience with literature, the Reading Group is the place to be on Tuesday afternoons, no matter what that rugby boy in your Reg class keeps snorting about. Rowan Madden (MVI) ROME Senior pupils studying Religious Studies travelled to Rome in October for the annual A-Level Church History trip. Led by Mr Dorman and Mr Creighton, 20 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. Mr Creighton introduced a new walking tour of Rome this year which was met with rave reviews by the pupils. P.D.

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF CHEMISTRY SCHOOLS’ ANALYST COMPETITION On the 7th March, a team of three Lower Sixth pupils competed in the Northern Ireland Regional Heat of the Royal Society of Chemistry Schools’ Analyst Competition at Stranmillis University College Belfast. The team consisted of Micah Hipolito, Mimi Joffroy and Nicole Xu, who were up against ten other schools from across the province. The aim of the competition is to raise standards of practical analytical Chemistry amongst sixthform students and is based on problems relevant to industrial and social needs. The students are assessed in their practical skills, as well as in their understanding of chemical analysis and their ability to work safely as a team. The format of the competition is the same for each year. Each team carried out three experiments which all carried equal marks. This year the experiments related to the role of analytical Chemistry in pharmaceutical analysis. The three experiments involved the analysis of an Aspirin tablet by an acid-base titration, colorimetric analysis of an Aspirin tablet and analysis of a Vitamin C tablet by a redox titration. After three hours of practical work, the BRA team was announced fourth and received a cheque for £50 for the Chemistry Department. The experience gained was invaluable to the members of the team and I congratulate them on their performance. B.M.M.

THE SCHOOL COUNCIL The School Council is a representative group of the student body of the school. It meets each term to discuss various issues of school life that are of concern to all pupils. It is formed from the Pupil Council, wherein a boy and girl representative from every House in each form is democratically voted by his or her Tutor Class to serve as a Pupil Councillor. The Pupil Council is chaired by Ms McBeth and the secretary is a Senior pupil. This body then holds a vote to elect a boy and a girl representative from each year group to serve on the School Council and meets regularly to compile the agenda for the School Council meetings and to respond to the School Council’s action points. The School Council, this year, was chaired by Ms Graham who worked closely with the Head Girl, Sorcha Burke, as Secretary and Head Boy, Ruairi Brogan as Vice-Chair. The School Council worked effectively from the


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Miscellany outset of the academic year to help improve school life for pupils. There was a wide range of topics discussed throughout the year including: lunchtime facilities – in light of the new development of the Mary Heinemann building; canteen products; after school transport; Tuesday Period 2 tutorial classes; the House System and toilet facilities. Councillors individually worked hard to make effective contributions to the meeting and help address these issues. They have created both very positive, immediate changes around the school this year and innovative new ideas that will provide a basis for next year’s School Council to develop. Several of the actions undertaken by the School Council will hopefully be evident in the school year 2015-16: Development of the Tuesday Period 2 Tutorial Programme Mr Wilson met with the School Council and was given feedback on the issues that pupils have with their current Tutorial programmes. The School Councillors discussed each year group’s programme in detail. A number of the recommendations proposed by the Councillors are to be implemented, such as more time spent on group discussion and social development with mentors and other pupils in their tutorial classes for Junior School pupils. Development of the House System Councillors from Form IV were consulted by Mr Dorman about the development of the House System. After canvassing the opinions of many pupils across the year groups, the councillors have proposed a range of ideas for the re-vamped system. Some ideas include: increased house identity and presence in school life outside of sporting activities; the appointment of House Masters and Mistresses in addition to Year Heads; a house flag for each house; and a score board which would display the points that each house has received throughout the year. After School Transport After discussing the long wait for the Number 5 bus to Jordanstown with Mr Baldwin, it was agreed that pupils could wait in the foyer of the Louis Lord building so as to provide shelter from inclement weather as well as effectively decreasing the size of the crowds which build up outside of the School gates. Lunchtime and School Facilities School Councillors worked closely with Mr Thompson and Mr Hastings this year to carry on ensuring that some of the most prevalent issues raised to the Council were dealt with effectively. This included the maintenance of the toilets and ensuring that pupils were able to receive all the information

they required about canteen products and menus. However, ahead of the construction work being done to the Mary Heinemann, it has been decided that next year’s School Council will revisit some issues addressed this year so that the new dining space and toilet facilities can be used to their full potential. It is thought that the ongoing problem of pupils who eat packed lunches having to dine separately from those purchasing food from the canteen will be solved in the coming year. I would like to thank Mr Dickson for agreeing to hold an informative assembly for all pupils in the Summer Term which explained the development plans which were to take place on both the Bursar’s House and the Mary Heinemann. This was welcomed by staff and pupils alike who had concerns about the changes to examination rooms and classrooms. Diary Image Once again the Pupil and School Councils chose the diary cover for the next academic year and we are very grateful to Mrs Patterson for the time she gives in preparing options for us to consider and the work she does behind the scenes to make our selected cover print ready. In addition, the Pupil and School Councils organised a non-uniform day which took place on Friday 17th October. A sum of £3000 was raised from the non-uniform day, £450 more than the previous year, and it was decided by the Pupil Council that £2000 of this would be given to “Tiny Life”, the charity nominated by the Pupil Council at the start of term. “Tiny Life” provides support for premature babies and their families living in Northern Ireland. The remaining money was then split between the charities “Sense” which is a national charity that supports and campaigns for adults and children who are deafblind, allowing those with sensory impairments to live more independent and fulfilling lives; and the “Northern Ireland Hospice” which continues to lead the way in palliative care and offers the best support for patients and their families. This donation will continue to support the construction of the new hospice building on the Somerton Road. These two charities received £500 each. All three donations were presented at Assemblies during the Spring Term. On behalf of the School and Pupil Councils, I would like to thank both Ms McBeth and Ms Graham for their continued and active support of both the Pupil and School Councils. The School Council would like to thank Sara Thabeth for serving as secretary to the Pupil Council - Sara produced the Pupil Council minutes which formed the Agenda for the School Council meeting and has been an active member of the Pupil Council for most of her school life. I would


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The Owl 2015 also like to thank others who gave up their time to attend both Pupil Council and School Council meetings such as Mr Hastings and his manager Mr Eskdale. Thanks must also go to members of staff such as Mr Creighton, Mr Dorman, Mrs Patterson, Mr Wilson, Mr Baldwin and Mr Thompson who have taken the time to listen to our views and help us address the issues that we have raised on behalf of the pupils of Belfast Royal Academy. I feel privileged to have been part of perhaps one of the most active and influential groups in school. It was truly encouraging to see just how much of an impact pupils’ actions have had on school life. I hope that the Councils continue to play their key role to benefit the pupils which they represent even further in the future. Ruairi Brogan (Head Boy)

B Books The Library purchased lots of new books for pupils to enjoy, ranging from the latest David Walliams to new copies of ‘The Great Gatsby’. Scholastic Book Fairs took place during October and February, earning over £600 in new books for our shelves. Junior Book Club had a very successful year shadowing the NI Book Award, meeting every Thursday Lunch-time doing quizzes, puzzles and discussion all based around books and authors. Members of the Junior Book Club attended the launch and finale of the NI Book Award, meeting prolific authors such as Oisin McGann and Dan Freedman. The Kids’ Lit Quiz, Wellington College, was attended by Junior pupils and Amber Smallwood won first place and Tara McBride fourth place in the best dressed fictional character section. Junior Book Club members also travelled to the Lyric Theatre to watch Skyhawk. R Recitation was popular on National Poetry Day in October when once again staff and pupils entertained a packed library and read poems around the theme of ‘Remember’. Library Routines – the ordering and processing, the cataloguing and shelving and tidying that goes on throughout the year.

THE SCHOOL LIBRARY L Learning -The Library’s primary role is to support the teaching of the curriculum and so resources, both in print and digital, and for all ages, are provided to meet the needs of pupils. Library classes are part of all Junior pupils’ timetable – throughout the year they came each week to develop library skills and independent reading. Classes also visited the Library with subject teachers to research topics from energy to racism, Shakespeare to tropical birds. I Information comes now in so many formats and using ICT is an important part of library classes. The DE has fully funded a new library system, (MLS) Eclipse. This will provide our pupils with anytime/ anywhere access to a wide range of both physical and digital media (books, weblinks, eBooks, video clips) across multiple devices and systems. Pupils using the new library system will have easy and safe access to websites, enhance their digital literacy skills and increase their ability to use information critically to underpin projects.

A Accelerated Reader - pupils in Forms I and II took part successfully in this reading programme which aims to foster the habit of independent reading. The internet-based software initially screens pupils according to their reading levels and suggests books that match their reading age and interest. Pupils take computerised quizzes on the books they have read and earn AR points related to difficulty. We ran a 100% club and a Millionaire’s club throughout the year to reward pupil achievement in this area. R Reading for enjoyment, reading for information and revision, reading for learning in print or online, is all part of what the school library offers to all our pupils and staff. Borrowing has increased steadily over the past three years, and we hope to enhance and sustain this by purchasing new resources over the school year. Y You Thank you to all the enthusiastic readers who come to the library, the pupil librarians and prefects who are so willing and always available and to all staff, particularly Mr Spence of the English Department, and Mrs Tepe for your invaluable contribution to the work of the library. T.C.


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Miscellany SPONSORED WALK The Sponsored Walk took place on a fine April day, with over 1000 pupils participating. New safety measures on the course, and a slight alteration to the route, ensured that everyone safely completing the walk and had a great deal of fun. The good weather and activities at Ben Madigan ensured the whole school community had a pleasing time, whilst raising nearly £7000 in the process. P.D.

Ben Hoey Chemistry Ruairi Hurson Philosophy, Politics and Economics Clare McGowan Law: Criminal Issues Kieran McKenna Art and Design Adam Mullan Spanish and Latin American Society, History and Culture David Speers Computer Science Olivia Spring Approaches to English Literature: Texts and Contexts Suraj Tirupati Physics: The Quantum Universe Oliver Vick Chemistry: Quantum Mechanics to Biocatalysts The courses aim to inspire those with a strong aptitude for the subject by exposing them to material beyond the Advanced Level curriculum, delivered by undergraduates, postgraduates, research fellows and lecturers, many of whom are based at the University of Cambridge. Pupils attend workshops, lectures, discussion groups and educational visits, and enjoy the company of other young people who are similarly passionate about the subject area. C.N.S.


THE VILLIERS PARK TRUST The School’s relationship with the Villiers Park Educational Trust continues to be very strong and this year again several pupils attended week-long residential courses at the Trust’s centre in Foxton, Cambridge. They were: Victoria Campbell Ryan Corry Helen Diamond Peter Gilleece Niall Gray

Mathematics: Chaos or Clear Cut? Economics Geography: Geographical Imaginations Engineering Exploration of Space

The BRA Wellbeing Committee works to promote healthy lifestyle choices by pupils and the year got off to a positive start with the second annual Wellbeing Week in September. With a theme of ‘Take Five’, pupils were encouraged to make sure they were getting their five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and also to remember to take time to relax. Activities included an extra-curricular fair for Form I and a healthy theme for the BakeOff competition. Duncairn Newlodge Health Partnership came in to school to run workshops for MVI, and Volunteer Now came in to speak with LVI. Past pupil Christopher McKinney, a personal trainer, addressed Middle School Assembly about the importance of healthy eating and exercise, and the Head Boy, Head Girl and Deputies spoke at Junior Assembly about how they look after their own health. A poster competition was held in February for Form I pupils. The competition resulted in some outstanding posters, notably by Mr Dorman’s Registration Group, 1CU1, who created a huge wall display with two doors behind which were pictures representing good choices and bad choices. However, in the end, first prize, as judged by the Headmaster, went to Nicole McClean for her poster which highlighted some of the positive choices we


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The Owl 2015 can make for our physical and mental wellbeing. Winners and runners up received vouchers for Victoria Square, and the Registration Group of the winner, 1PO2, was treated to a trip to bowling at the Odyssey at the end of the year. For staff wellbeing, showers for those who run or cycle to work were refurbished and an ironing service was established. At the end of the year, a Wellbeing Afternoon at the Castle Grounds was arranged, with staff enjoying a picnic lunch in a marquee. Wellbeing Committee

This was because of the purity of the desire to remember those who lost their lives. I can honestly say that taking part in a programme that was dedicated to remembrance, free of political agenda or cynicism, has left me lost for words other than (the over used, and clichéd) “life changing”. Both Jessica and I are incredibly thankful for this programme, which gave us the opportunity to challenge our perceptions of our complex, shared history and gave us the chance to meet a group of incredibly kind, funny, and politically engaged Europeans who we can now gratefully call friends.  Lucy Kinnear (LVI)

WWI NEWTOWNABBEY SCHOLARSHIP MALAWI All Quiet on the Western Front All Quiet on the Western Front is a scholarship programme hosted in Belgium that brings together young people from all over Europe to talk about the lasting impact of World War One on modern day Europe’s international relations and democracies. Jessica North (FV) and I were lucky enough to make it through a difficult selection process to be two of the five people chosen to represent Newtownabbey, and as a result, we were fortunate to meet 40 of the most interesting and welcoming people either of us have ever encountered. Our schedule in Belgium was packed. We toured Ypres on bikes; debated about democracy; took tours guided by a historical expert named Eddie; heard The Last Post at the Menin Gate; visited Tyne Cot Cemetery; debated with each other about the state of the EU; visited the trenches; participated in a remembrance service at the Pool of Peace, and had great fun at a theme park - all the while navigating our way through communication with all the different languages represented (not least of all my Belfast accent!). When applying for All Quiet, I was apprehensive about what it could lead to, as World War One is difficult territory to tread upon in my community due to a tendency to politicise or ignore any area of history that complicates our view of the past.  To think that my opinions may fall on deaf ears, or be met by hostile patriotism was beyond stress-inducing. However, as it turns out, I had given far too little credit to these strangers that were soon to become my friends. We argued from the beginning until the end about anything we could think of, but our opinions were never met with disdain or exasperation. 

During the summer, a team of 24 Lower Sixth pupils had the invaluable opportunity to spend 16 days in Malawi at the Mulanje Mission Station. It was one of the most rewarding, yet hectic experiences of our lives. Throughout the two weeks we were lucky enough to be able to participate in many different activities. These ranged from work experience to building a house and even a safari. During our first day in Malawi we had an orientation around the Mission Station just to familiarise ourselves with the area. The very next day, however, we were thrown in at the deep end. The team was taking part in a parade to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the Mulanje Mission Station. The tricky part was that we had to attempt a Malawian dance and then perform it in the parade! That wasn’t the end of our performing, however, as we were taking part in the celebratory service. Our performance included a group song and a dance routine in which one member of the team sang whilst two others danced. The next day we attended a church service. This was an incredible experience, as church in Malawi is completely different to church services here with a different music style featuring beautiful acapella singing. For the first week we participated in work experience ranging from working in the hospital, labs, schools and also businesses. This provided us with many different insights into the daily routine of a very different country. One of the most gratifying experiences was when we built a house for a woman called Nduzani, and provided a bed for her on which to sleep. Her reaction was one that I am sure no one will ever forget. After handing over the keys to her new house, we then had a chance to visit the houses of some of the secondary school pupils. This challenged a lot of the


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Miscellany team as we saw the struggles of the Malawian people on a much more personal level. To finish off a very busy and challenging two weeks we went on safari which was an incredible experience, but nothing compared to the joy of the people that we met. The entire team had a worthwhile experience, with everyone bringing home their own unique highlight that will stay with them forever. When the team was asked what their favourite memory from Malawi was, they said this: How all of the team interacted and supported each other throughout the whole trip. I was slightly apprehensive before we went about how we’d all get on, I’m now lucky enough to be able to say that I’ve become close friends with some absolutely incredible people and shared countless amazing experiences. Cameron Chisim (MVI) The mind-set I obtained and brought back home with me. There’s so much positivity and motivation over there without the opportunity, this makes you take what life hands you with joy and appreciate the small things. Johnny Mooney (MVI) The rewarding feeling I got from teaching and having someone there to support you in every lesson. It was great getting to plan your lessons with another team member each day and building a good friendship from that. I loved seeing all of the children really engage in each lesson and enjoy it. It was amazing experiencing something new in every classroom you walked into. I loved sharing the experience with every single member of the team: from singing on the bus first thing in the morning, to late-night chats. There was never a dull moment in Malawi and I would love to return someday to do more work. Chloe Lynas (MVI) Malawi was generally an indescribable experience shared with a group of amazing individuals. My major highlight was the feedback I got from the children in APATSA, the primary school, where I taught the children English. Their enthusiasm and positivity was over whelming and it’s a moment that will stick with me forever. Kellie McLean (MVI) From the sense of pride I felt when the kids at APATSA understood enzymes with my help, to the feeling of true belonging with all my outstanding team members and leaders; I would do it all again in a heartbeat. One personal highlight was performing my late godmother’s favourite song “Ave Maria” at the secondary school and receiving a standing ovation. That was indescribable. Mimi Joffroy (MVI)

The teaching experience in the APATSA AIDS orphans’ school. Just after two days of teaching classes with over 40 children in each of them, it was a great shock to walk into a room with no more than 15 children, each with a book and an overwhelmingly strong willingness to learn. The attention and respect those children gave me will be something which I will never forget, and seeing progress from confused wrong answers to confident correct ones was more than fulfilling. I would go back and teach there in a heartbeat, it really makes one think about the value of an education. Erica McGovern (MVI) I found my Malawi experience to be very rewarding. It gave me the opportunities to experience healthcare in a third world country, further increasing my interest in medicine. The team aspect of the trip led me to form new relationships with some of my peers and brought me closer to my existing friends. Harry Brewster (MVI) Malawi 2015 was undoubtedly the best two weeks of my life with a truly amazing group of people! I was lucky enough to be in the medic team and had the opportunity to explore the labs, go to the nursing school and go on a tour of the wards. It seems like yesterday that we were singing on the bus to the mission station, having late-night talks in the dorms or having a dance off with the staff from Likhubula House! The people you meet will truly inspire you to always be the best you can be and you will make friends for life with your team as you bond over all the amazing experiences the Malawi trip has to offer! Niamh Martin (MVI) The trip to Malawi was truly an amazing experience. It would not have been the same without the wonderful group of people I met there and those who I got to know even better. My time spent at Mulanje Mission Hospital, in the wards and among the staff was not only incredibly humbling but was key in cementing my decision to follow medicine as a career. I’m so thankful I was given the opportunity to visit and meet such inspiring people. I can’t wait until I return. Rachael O’Donnell (MVI) I went as part of the business contingent and found the work experience very useful. As well as visiting places of industry I had a go at teaching. My mathematical and biological ability were put to the test when I had to teach the equivalent to Form 3 in these fields. Although a daunting prospect I soon began to embrace it and found it relatively enjoyable. Sam Millar (MVI)


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Miscellany From the high spirits during travel, the hilarious moments in the girls’ dorm, to the great insight from work experience at Mulanje Mission Hospital. Malawi is really the warm heart of Africa. My favourite memory will be the people and children of Mulanje. Their happiness just to have you visiting, playing, singing and dancing with them will always be stuck in my head. Emily Cairns (MVI) Malawi. What a wonderful country, with beautiful people who were so welcoming and warm. I couldn’t have asked for a better team such a special bond was created joined together with a common goal. Two weeks of my life that I will never forget. Katie Ewart (MVI) Malawi was an indescribable experience. From the bond that was made with the whole team, to the people we met over there, I wouldn’t change a thing. Malawi allowed me to push myself past my limits and grow as a person. Personally, I befriended a girl called Idah. This had the biggest impact on me because we are both the same age, yet her life is the polar opposite of mine. Being able to help out in any way was rewarding, but I’d give anything to go back to help the people of Mulanje again and would do so in a heartbeat. Hannah Torrens (MVI) Malawi was an unforgettable experience for me and it has changed me as a person. Working in the hospital really put into perspective how much we have and how we as a society should be more grateful. Seeing how grateful Nduzani was when we finished building her house was fantastic. I feel that I have a special bond with each member of the team and if I could return to Likhubula House and do it again I’d jump at the opportunity. Tom Loane (MVI) Meeting a 15 year old Malawian boy called Edward. Two years earlier, my brother visited him and his family at their home just down the road from Mulanje Mission. This was amazing to meet him out of the blue in such a large mass of people. Kieran McKenna (MVI) It’s difficult to pick just one memory. From singing our hearts out to high school musical on the bus, dancing and playing games in the yard or meeting all the friendly kids along the way. Malawi was an incredible experience, with an incredible team. My work experience was amazing seeing the difference in the labs at home and in the mission hospital, and teaching was so rewarding! I truly miss the late-night chats in the dorm, extremely warm welcomes and even the cold showers! It was undoubtedly the best 16 days of my life and I’d go back in a heartbeat. Rebecca Harbinson (MVI)

Teaching Maths to classes of over 50 pupils, working in the sun mixing mortar, levelling the ground out around that house, playing football with kids on the mountain and that’s all I can fit in before summing it up as the most worthwhile two weeks of my entire life. Philip Rowan (MVI) The bus journeys from Likhubula to the mission station. The blast of music at 6am every morning woke everyone up even though we only had a few hours of sleep. It gave us such a boost of energy and was a motivating start to the day. We all sang along on the way down to the mission station and it was so fun! Also the starry sky we saw at the Safari was absolutely breath-taking and a once in a life-time view! Nicole Xu (MVI) My favourite experience is when Lydia and I tried to buy a piece of sugar cane to try, and due to a bit of a language barrier we accidentally bought a whole cane (about 4 metres long!!). Martha Gordon (MVI) The 17 girls on the team that were all crammed into one room, the boys had 7 to the same size room! We girls bonded like no other girls have ever bonded before, from “Moyna that lights a dead giveaway!” to my late-night readings of very interesting novels, (they know what I’m talking about!) Then there was dancing in front of hundreds of Malawians at the 125th anniversary of the mission station, they were all so appreciative and genuinely interested and the laughs I got when I stood up and my behind was covered in red sand is a sound I will never forget. Nor will I ever forget my incredible 16 days in Malawi with the most amazing people for a team. Lydia Rooney (MVI) Sharing a room with all 16 of the other girls was one thing! Although it was very crowded, it made us all very close as a team and the nightly conversation never failed to lift my spirits. Clare Johnston (MVI) Malawi was one of the greatest and also one of the most difficult experiences of my life. A day that remains particularly vivid for me was the day that we went on the home visits. I was with a pupil named Henry and His twin brother Alan. They live in such a small house without a proper roof that it really hit home to me how much we have and yet we take so much for granted. It is a time that will stay with me forever and it has taught me so much in how to be appreciative for all that we have. David McClements (MVI)


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The Owl 2015 Having the opportunity to go to Malawi is something that I will never forget. I was astounded by the happiness of the children despite the fact that they have nothing. Their passion and enthusiasm to learn and also to move forward in their education to achieve their desired careers was inspiring. I have learnt much from the Malawian people and I hope that one day I will be able to return to such a beautiful country which has taught me so much. Taylor McCombe (MVI) Seeing Nduzani’s face when the keys were handed over. I loved the whoops of joy of Nduzani and all of the other women when they saw her bed. Jessie Cupples For us the team; what they achieved and how they achieved it. With the help of Mrs Lyla Kerr, they sent two full shipping containers to the Mulanje area to provide aid and medical supplies for flood relief and

the team was fantastic in gathering and packing the materials so generously provided by our wider school community. Thank you to those who supported us in donating items for this appeal. It was clear from the start that this team was a group who fully embodied be* the change Malawi. We are so proud of each and every team member, each travelling a little further in their own personal life experience and helping others along the way. We hope that 2015 is a reference point against which the rest of their lives can be compared and a memory which will stay close to them always. Thank you for being fantastic in 2015!! Miss Victoria Wightman, Mr Ken Knox, Dr Moyna Bill, Mr Daniel Warwick, Mr Paul Cupples, Mr Matthew Francey, Miss Sarah McGrath & Dr Andrew Bell


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School Games

1ST XV The 2014 / 2015 season got under way with a match against the touring Glenalmond College from Scotland. In a very open game, the side played some very exciting rugby, and were unlucky to lose 3530. It was an encouraging performance that showed that the side had plenty of potential. This good form was carried forward in the Graham Trophy hosted by Grosvenor Grammar School. The side recorded comprehensive victories over Banbridge Academy, Rainey Endowed and Grosvenor Grammar School, and lost by a single try to the eventual winners, Wesley College, in a game that they might have won. Two narrow defeats followed to Catholic University School and Ballyclare High School. The side performed very well during both of these games but could not do enough to close the games out. On the down side, these games inflicted some serious injuries on the squad. In all, 3 hugely influential players sustained knee injuries that would keep them out for the entire season: Gareth McAdams at number 8, Sean Rice at Hooker and Francis Collins at Centre.

The squad then went into a really tough run of fixtures against Methodist College, Sullivan Upper School, Ballymena Academy and Wallace High School. In very physical and abrasive encounters, the squad sustained many more short-term injuries that were to weaken further the squad. Following the half-term break, the squad regrouped and trained with real endeavour, recording victories against The Royal School Armagh, Portora Royal School and Friends’ School. They were also very unlucky to lose tight matches against Bangor Grammar School and Regent House, losing both by a single score. The Regent House match saw the squad lose their vice captain, Alex Steenson, to a dislocated shoulder, he would not play again for the rest of the season. In the Schools’ Cup competition the side was drawn away to Carrickfergus Grammar. In previous years, this may have been viewed as a kind draw, but Carrick was having their best season in many years, and the side knew they would have to be on top form to progress to the next round. Unfortunately, in the week before the match, the squad lost their captain, David Campbell, to a very serious head injury. He,


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too, would not play again that season. So, it was a young and inexperienced side that played against Carrickfergus, given we had 5 players unavailable due to season-ending injury, including the captain and vice captain. The side’s inexperience showed in the opening exchanges and Carrick were allowed to race into a 14-0 lead. The team fought hard to get back into the game, but unfortunately, they had given them selves too much to do. The final score was 17-10 in Carrick’s favour. They deserved to win on the day. The side’s season fizzled out a fortnight later with an under-power performance against Rainey Endowed in the subsidiary competition. Stephen McCorry, Drew Willis, Rakeem Marica and Gary Nelson all played at prop during the year with Rakeem and Stephen starting regularly. All four players scrummaged well and were industrious around the pitch. David O’Donnell Anderson, Matthew Borne and Sean Rice played at Hooker. As mentioned earlier, Sean’s season was cut short by injury, but he is a player with huge potential and I look forward to seeing him play next season. Both David and Matthew are mobile, as well as very effective ball carriers, and proved to be very reliable when called upon. Alex Steenson played well throughout the season in the second row. He was an excellent ball carrier and at the heart of everything good in the pack. Alex’s shoulder injury against Regent House was to keep him out for the rest of the season and this was a huge blow to the squad. Luke Auterson and Cormac McCracken also played in the second row. Both played well throughout the season, Cormac was our main target in the lineout while Luke was one of the main ball carriers. Congratulations to Cormac on his selection for the Ulster U17 squad. They were backed up by Tim Robinson, who proved to be more than capable when called upon. All three return to school next season and I look forward to their progress. The backrow consisted of many combinations throughout the season. Gareth McAdams was injured in early September and this was to rule him out for the remainder of the season. This was a huge blow to the squad as he was probably the squad’s number one ball carrier and go -to man when the going got tough. Scott McMurtry was the regular starter at No. 8. He played well regularly getting the ball over the gain line. David McCullough and David Reid played at flanker. David McCullough moved to flanker from the wing and his biggest asset was his ball carrying. David Reid captained the side during David Campbell and Alex Steenson’s injuries and he did an excellent job.

The half backs for the season were Conor McAuley, Michael Wilson, Samuel Osborne and Francis Collins. Francis Collins, as previously mentioned, unfortunately had a very serious knee injury against C.U.S. early in the season which ruled him out for the remainder of the year. Conor was a regular starter at scrum half. Throughout the season he displayed the skills and game management required to play in this position. He is an excellent and very natural scrum half who the team relied on for control. Michael and Samuel both played at out half during different stages of the season. Both players brought different styles to the position. Michael, who often also played at full back, is a very confident rugby player. His game management was sound, very often using his kicking game to put the team in excellent positions. He is also a very gifted goal kicker who works extremely hard to improve this aspect of his game. Samuel was an excellent attacking out half. His skills are of a high level and he showed the ability to create scoring opportunities for those around him. He very often brought a spark to the team’s attack and as the season progressed developed as a player. In the centres were two formidable players in David Campbell and Matthew Dalton. David was a regular starter at inside centre. He was strong and abrasive in attack whilst enjoying the defensive side of the game. He brought control and leadership to backline play and defence on many occasions. David, unfortunately, was ruled out of the Schools’ Cup campaign due to injury which proved to be a big loss. His leadership throughout the season was excellent. Matthew played the majority of the season at outside centre. Matthew is a very talented and athletic rugby player. His running strength and power brought him several excellent tries during the season. This was Matthew’s first season playing on the 1st XV. He also developed well as the season progressed and has a bright future in the game. Our back three for the season consisted of Ben Cave, Lewis Davidson and Jay McCrum. Jay and Lewis are two very powerful and fast-paced wingers. Both players showed great agility at different stages of the season scoring some great tries. Ben was a regular starter at full back throughout the season. His passing game was very good, whilst he also showed the ability to counter-attack on several occasions. His organisation of our back three was good, communicating effectively at various points during the season. C.M.C.


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The Owl 2015

THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME RUGBY TOUR TO SOUTH AFRICA Friday 17th July 2015 Fifty one very excited BRA school boys, and six even more excited teachers, gathered at Belfast City Airport to depart on what would be the Rugby Trip of our lives. Abandoning our sobbing mothers, stoic fathers and jealous brothers and sisters, we then took off for London Heathrow on our first of our many flights over the next two weeks. After eighteen months of fund-raising, which included having to watch Mr. McCarey dress up in sequins for Strictly Scrum Dancing, we were finally on our way! After arriving at Heathrow, the second leg of our journey was an eleven-hour flight across Europe and Africa to South Africa. We arrived in Johannesburg at around 6.00 am and, despite the sun shining and the sky being clear, it was freezing cold! After collecting our bags we met our driver and boarded our bus that we would travel on for the first week of our tour. The party then began its three-hour trip to Konka Camp. The mountainous scenery on our way was nothing short of incredible; only after seeing this did we realise what a beautiful country we were in. Once we had arrived, we were greeted with the warmest of welcomes from the Konka Camp staff. After our introduction we were shown to our cabins which, despite being tiny, they still managed to squeeze eight of us in! There was no time to rest or feel tired. After settling in we were given a tour of the facilities, and had our first training session along with some team-building activities. That night we were given a traditional South African Braai which consisted of meat, meat and more meat. This would be a recurring menu over the next 2 weeks! We woke up early for our first tour matches. Everyone was excited for the test that lay ahead and a light training session got us ready for the game that was soon approaching. Our opposition arrived and the Seniors got a chance to introduce themselves while the Juniors kicked off and won convincingly. Then straight after, the Seniors kicked off and again won convincingly. We then had a brilliant post-match lunch with our opposition. Once we had finished our lunch, we had more team-building games, which led us to our final meal at Konka Camp, after which we were entertained by the staff over a camp fire. On day four we departed Konka Camp very early, for a three-hour bus journey back into Pretoria where we would meet our first host families. However, before that, we travelled to the Voortrekker Monument where we had a tour of the Afrikaners’ heritage; the view of Pretoria from the top was simply breath-

taking. We then drove to the Loftus Versveld, home of the Blue Bulls, where the South African Rugby team play their international matches. The stadium, to which we were given a tour around, was one of the biggest and most spectacular stadiums I have ever seen in my life. After our lunch in the stadium, we went to Randpark School, where we were greeted by the school staff and introduced to our host families who we would be staying with for the next two days. There were two BRA pupils with each host family. We then departed to our hosts’ homes and met our ‘families’. When settled, all of the players from both Senior teams met at one of the homes for a South African barbeque or ‘braai’. This was one of the best moments of the tour: it was everyone from both Senior squads getting on like they had known each other for years. Before our games on the fifth day, we gathered early at the school for a training session. We had already travelled to the Apartheid Museum where we saw the appalling state South Africa was in during the late 20th century as well as seeing the incredible rise and work of the great Nelson Mandela. After this eye-opening tour, we drove back to Randpark for our second match of the tour. The Junior team again put in a strong performance against a very tough team winning 17-0. After seeing the strength and bond that the Senior Randpark team had we knew we would be in for a tough, physical and fast-paced match. We were not disappointed. In an aggressive and hard-fought match, the Seniors managed a 2110 loss with the final Randpark score coming in the last minute. After a quick shower and turn-around, we went out for a dinner with our new friends; we knew that we had made friends for life and that their hospitality and generosity wouldn’t be forgotten by us anytime soon. On the sixth day, we again met early at the school. After some goodbyes to our hosts, we got back onto the bus for the Lion Park where I experienced my personal tour highlight, namely entering a cage with a live cheetah and being able to stroke it like it was a domestic cat. We were also able to see an ostrich up close, feed giraffes and play with lion cubs. Once we had seen the tamer animals, we were then driven through the Lion Park and shown the magnificent African animals in their natural environment. It was hard to leave the Lion Park after experiencing so many firsts, but we knew that we had the exciting prospect of meeting our new hosts. We arrived at Fourways High just before sunset, to be introduced to our next batch of host families and an enjoyable meal. Day seven saw us going to a reptile park where we were able to see crocodiles and get to hold reptiles and other animals such as snakes,


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The Owl 2015 spiders and lizards. Many photographs were taken and there was much laughter. The only sour note was struck when Mr Irwin was caught terrifying the crocodile by smiling it! We all knew how it felt! Once we had finished our time at the reptile park we were en route to Fourways High for our game. The Juniors kicked off first and put in an impressive performance which saw them winning 22-0. Then, once the Juniors had finished, the Seniors kicked off to what would turn out to be one of the matches of the tour. The crowd contained the Randpark players who we had played only two days ago. It turned out that there was a great rivalry between Randpark and Fourways so we actually had a great deal of vocal support. BRA had a disastrous start to the game. Within a few minutes we were 12-0 behind. We knew that we had to improve. Re-grouping the Senior team responded in great style and scored two quick tries, but carelessly allowed Fourways to score one more which saw us go into the half-time interval 19-12 down. A stern talking to from our coaches saw BRA perform much better in the second-half. Straight from the whistle we attacked and were rewarded with 2 tries. Fourways fought back and replied with a try of their own. We then slotted over a penalty to take the lead with the score now at 29-26. Finally, we put the game to bed with a try in the last minute leaving the final score at 36-26. There was much exhaustion, delight and cheering from our friends from Randpark! The game had felt like a Cup final. We then returned to the homes of our hosts where we stayed and got to know them and their families. The following morning we arrived early at Fourways High where we said our goodbyes to our hosts and prepared for a two-and-a-half hour journey to Manyane Resort, a safari park in Pilanesberg. Once we arrived we were split into rooms of three, and soon after settling down, we met to go on our first game drive. On the drive we were able to see the animals acting in their natural habitat; it was mind-blowing to see how unfazed they were around humans. Day 9 began with another game drive. This time we saw how the animals acted first thing in the morning. We also got a much better view of the landscape the safari park was built around. Once the game drive had ended we went to Sun City, a resort where we were able to enjoy the water park and various other attractions. Arriving back at the Manyane Resort, we had some time to relax before we embarked on our final night game drive which was nothing short of spectacular. We had an early start on day 10 as we had to catch a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town. After a delicious breakfast, we headed for the airport where we had an uneventful flight to Cape Town. We also said goodbye at this point to our first coach driver Henning, a double of Hulk Hogan!

From the moment that we landed we could see just how amazing Cape Town was. If we thought the tour couldn’t get any better, it would! After a short bus journey, we arrived in our hotel unpacked and headed to Victoria Wharf for dinner. After a lovely meal and embarrassing Mr Irwin with a birthday song, we went back to our hotel where we had a much needed rest. By now we had become one squad. We were no longer two teams and a group of teachers. New friendships were being made within the group and some of us were even starting to enjoy the company of the teachers! Our eleventh day on tour began with another hearty breakfast provided by the hotel. We soon departed for a tour around one of South Africa’s oldest townships. The tour made all of us appreciate what we had seeing how joyous the people of the township were with the few material possessions they owned. Once we had been shown around the township, we were treated to a delicious meal of local food in a restaurant in the township. Once the meal had finished, we started our pre-match preparations for our up-coming matches against the Langa development team. The Juniors kicked off first with confidence and that showed on the pitch as they won. The Seniors kicked off in the same fashion as we won 43-19. Soon after the final whistle we departed the township for the hotel. We began day twelve, and on this day there was a spring in the step of everyone as today we knew that we would climb Table Mountain, which should be one of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. Knowing this was going to be a tough day, we had a huge breakfast in preparation for the monstrous task of climbing Table Mountain. After a quick bus journey, we reached the base of the mountain where we looked our challenge straight in the face. We were then split up into our travel groups and assigned mountain experts who would guide us from the base of the mountain to the top. We began and spirits and morale were high. Four hours later, we had reached the top of the mountain and it was clear from the second we stood on top of the great landmark how special the flat-topped mountain was. The views were something else, and I won’t be forgetting that amazing sight anytime soon. We were also fortunate that the weather was perfect and we could literally see for a hundred miles. You must try to get here at least once in your life. Despite many of us being reluctant to leave, we descended down the mountain and got onto the coach for a bus journey which would take us to Bredasdorp High School. After the bus journey, we arrived in the small town where we were soon shown who would be our host families for the next two nights. I then went back to my host’s house, where I enjoyed a traditional Afrikaans meal prepared by my host’s family.


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The Owl 2015 Day 13 began with us gathering at Bredasdorp School for a team run before the match later in the day. During the interval between training and the match, we took the time to go and visit a seaside town in the south of the country. The waves were simply stunning and the meal that I had while down there was one of the best that I had on the whole tour. Whenever we finished exploring the town, we got back on the bus and headed back for Bredasdorp ready for our last. After warming up for our final challenge we watched the Juniors kick off. They faced their toughest challenge on the whole tour having to dig deep and were able to win. Since the Juniors had displayed such a brilliant performance, the Seniors kicked off knowing the challenge that we faced playing against a spirited and physical Bredasdorp team who went into half-time leading 10-7. We were not going to back down from a fight in the second half and played a great 30 minutes scoring early and finishing strongly as we scored three second -half tries which saw the final score being 26-10. After the game, we returned home to our host’s houses to shower and get changed for going out to a local restaurant called Spur to have a meal with our opposition. Of the ten games played on tour, the Juniors won 5 out of 5 and the Seniors 4 from 5. Coaches and players were delighted with the wins. It was much better than our expectations. We had an early start to day fourteen as we had to leave early to drive back to Cape Town. We were given free time to relax in the hotel for a few hours before heading to Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre where we purchased our dinner and presents before returning to the hotel. Our final day on tour saw us getting up knowing that the end was near, but nevertheless we went to the Rugby Museum in Cape Town, where we saw the history of the game in South Africa and had many chats with the locals about rugby and their country’s chances at the World Cup. Once we had finished our viewing, we went back to Victoria Wharf to have one last look around and grab some lunch. We then caught a ferry to Robben Island where we were given a guided tour of the prison island by a former inmate. When on the island we got a chance to see the cell that Nelson Mandela spent nineteen years of his life living inside - the size of the cell and the poor conditions made you even more impressed with the man and his accomplishments. Our tour guide gave us a great speech that motivated us to enjoy rugby, life and our friends whatever we do. Whenever we got off the boat, we travelled to the airport where we began our journey back to Belfast. The journey began with not one boy or teacher wanting to board that plane. Eleven hours later, we were in Heathrow, now only two hours from returning home to our families. Getting off that plane

back into Belfast I was delighted to see my family but I also would have done anything to do it all over again. Highlights of the two weeks were also the singing on the long coach journeys, the warmth of welcome from our host families, and how rugby can be such a sport for creating friendships for life anywhere it is played. I would just like to thank every teacher, every parent, every sponsor and every player for making it the tour of a lifetime. Cormac McCracken (LVI) 2ND XV The season began with much belief that we could achieve something special. Our target – to win the 2nd XV School’s Cup. This was an aim which I still believe was realistic despite the disappointment of being knocked out at the semi-final stage by a very good Down High side. We began the season with a disappointing performance against an average Ballyclare High School. It was a comfortable victory for them which highlighted our squad limitations as we had a number of injuries and not enough quality cover. We began the game with a relatively inexperienced pack and with an ‘injury hit’ backline, so I was optimistic that when the injury list cleared up, we would become very competitive. It was obvious from early in this game that we needed to increase our intensity and levels of aggression, and develop a ‘killer instinct’ as we missed a number of opportunities throughout the match to score. However, there were enough positives to be confident for a successful season. The month of September saw our usual fixtures against Catholic Universities and Belevedere College cancelled which aided us, in that our injury-hit squad had more time to recover before our next match. The next match, however, still came too soon. We played and lost heavily to a very strong Methodist College. October and November offered a packed fixture list. Eight games in total were played where our record was somewhat inconsistent. We played a much-fancied Sullivan Upper side in Holywood. This was one of the stand-out performances of the season. Having a number of our ‘regular’ 2nd XV players available to us, I felt that this would give an opportunity to gauge exactly where we were in terms of our competitiveness against a highly-rated Sullivan side. Having put in a strong first-half performance, and leading midway through the second half 17-7 the 1st XV needed a number of our players due to injuries. There were three changes but credit to the boys, they


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School Games dug in and saw the match out, conceding one further try, giving us a hard-fought victory 17-14. Credit must be given to the boys, whose resilience, character and determination were put to the test - they had obtained a deserved victory. This performance was a massive boost and showed the boys what they were capable of. Afterwards, realising they had reached a higher level of performance compared to previous matches, they were determined to improve further. This required long hours on the training ground to address some defensive frailties, and further practice of offensive moves, in preparation for the games that lay ahead. We followed this up with a mediocre performance against an average Ballymena team. Unfortunately, as we approached the game the 1st XV had made numerous changes which in turn had severely disrupted our preparations. This is the nature of 2nd XV rugby, but admittedly, it gives other boys a chance to stake their claim for a place on the team. We competed well until early in the second-half. Unfortunately, with further injuries, Ballymena’s bigger and ultimately stronger pack began to take control and they ran ourt comfortable winners. Atrocious weather put paid to our fixture against Dungannon, however, the break seemed to revitalise us and gave time for a number of key players, who had missed previous games due to injury, to recover fully. We played Coleraine and very surprisingly, even remarkably, lost. By their coach’s own admission, they had got out of jail. We conceded soft tries eventually to lose the game in the last minute, a defeat that was hard to take, but one that shook the boys to realise they didn’t want to feel that low again. Our next match was an opportunity to put that right. And that we did. This time we scored in the last minute to beat a good Armagh team. It was a huge lift. This was another game that we had dominated and looked like throwing away, but on this occasion our fight, our belief, our determination and a bit of ‘Forbes’ magic gave us the result we deserved. Andrew Forbes was a ‘gift’ to us. A boy who should have played the whole season on the 1st XV, had decided to focus on his studies and not commit to the 1st XV. This was most definitely our gain. Andrew’s speed, strength, awareness and skill would have graced any 1st XV. Whether in attack or defence, he was excellent and led us almost single-handedly to numerous victories. Alongside this, he was a great leader and captain for this team, both on the pitch by his example and off it with his encouragement. We had two further games before our Christmas break, which provided victories against Banbridge Academy and a convincing win against Portadown.

In these games there were a few concerns defensively, but also more pleasing signs. We had learnt to have patience and control the game. Our ball retention, our improved body angles when rucking and our direct lines of running had developed, thus making us a formidable side in attack. The boys left for their Christmas holidays knowing their first game back in the New Year would be a Cup fixture against Dalriada. Christmas came and went and the Cup fixture was upon us. We travelled to Ballymoney on what was a horrendous day. It was freezing cold and it snowed for much of the match. However, the boys put in a brilliant performance winning 24-0. This gave much encouragement and belief for what lay ahead, a second-round fixture away to Regent House. After a two-week break (as we didn’t have any fixtures for late January), the away fixture to Regent was upon us. We performed brilliantly in the firsthalf. After a slow and nervous start, the boys soon found their rhythm. We were 18-8 up at half-time and seemingly in complete control. The second-half, however, was a different story. Complacency set in and we were no longer winning the ruck situations. Regent had the upper hand and, with three minutes to go, scored their second converted try of the half taking them into a 28-23 lead. Panic could have set in. It appeared that yet again, the ghosts of the Coleraine fixture were back and we were staring defeat in the face. Remarkably, the character, the sheer desire and determination of the boys shone through. After 7 phases of play, now deep into injury time, Roy Chia crossed their line in the corner leaving Jack Burton with a very difficult conversion for victory. He pulled it slightly wide, leaving it a drawn match and a replay at Roughfort in a week’s time. The last minutes of this match were, for me, a defining period of our season. We were seconds from defeat and an embarrassing exit from the Cup, but had shown incredible resilience to bounce back and draw the game. We would not make the same mistakes again. The replay was an incredible game, a brilliant team performance. We were excellent in this match, winning it comfortably 44-8. This, for me, was the performance of the season. The boys were so hungry for success to prove that they should have disposed of Regent in the first match. It was obvious they had a point to prove. Their rucking, their defence, their offensive attacking lines, their determination and their will to win were all at the top level. Regent House left that pitch with their heads in their hands. BRA left the pitch with pride, with confidence and genuine belief that we could and would succeed in this competition.


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The Owl 2015 The quarter-final draw was on paper, kind to us, but in reality, a tough away fixture against a Lurgan High team that had only lost once all year. This was a wonderful opportunity for us; defeat Lurgan High School and we were through to the semi-finals. The boys needed little motivation. As expected, Lurgan put up quite a fight but in the end we had too much for them, winning narrowly, nervously and a little unconvincingly 10-6. It was another learning experience where the boys realised that nothing can be taken for granted. Irrespective of the opposition, standards must remain high throughout the match to guarantee a top performance and victory. But we had won! We had ensured a semifinal place against a very strong and much-fancied Down High side. It was to be a home fixture at the ‘Fort’ to decide if we could book our place in the final. Our earlier fixture against them in the season had been cancelled. This match was played in poor and very windy conditions. Also, frustratingly for me, our usual 2nd XV pitch had been treated with pesticides earlier in the week and therefore could not be played on. This meant that we would have to play the match on the 1st XV pitch. I feel that this lessened the ‘home advantage’ that we would have had playing on our own pitch. Added to this was the loss of our regular and much improved out-half, Jack Burton, who was in South Africa with cricket commitments. Nevertheless, we knew the job in hand; no excuses! The boys were clearly focused and excited at the prospect of playing here. We started fairly well but it was clear that we were going to have to play near our best if we were to progress to the next round. Down High had a very aggressive, robust pack which we more than matched in the opening encounters. However, as the game developed we were losing some of the key battles at the breakdown. We had a strong wind behind us in the first-half and unfortunately did not use it to our advantage. We spent much of the half in their 22, but their excellently organised defence was proving difficult to break down. Then, somewhat unexpectedly, they worked an overlap and from their own 22 scored a try. They added a penalty to go in at half-time with an 8-6 advantage. We knew that the second-half would have to see us dominate possession as they could use the increasingly strong wind to their advantage any time they regained possession. We toiled tirelessly for 20 minutes with little reward. Down High was able to control the game in our half and, eventually, with less than 10 minutes remaining scored a further 2 tries and a penalty to win 23-6. This was not a true reflection of the match. It was heart-breaking. We had come so far and got so close to the final, only to be denied at the last hurdle.

The boys to their credit never gave up fighting to the end. However, victory was not to be. The final whistle saw a season of so much promise come to a disappointing and frustrating end. We had been narrowly beaten by a good Down High side, but a side that on our day, we were capable of beating. I was extremely disappointed yet proud of the boys who had given their all and had more. Trials, hardships, disappointments and defeats can make you a ‘better person’ and it is my belief that this, my most successful season as a 2nd XV coach, will turn out to be a brilliant strengthening and learning experience for bigger days to come. Many of these boys will form next year’s 1st XV and it is my belief that with further expert coaching, they will again compete for the Schools’ Cup if not next year, then the following year. I thank them for their efforts throughout the season and wish them every success in their future rugby careers. Special mention and my thanks go to my captain and vice captain throughout the year, Andrew Forbes and David Reid respectively, whose enthusiasm and desire to succeed should have been rewarded with more success than we had. It is difficult not to mention certain players whose desire to improve and help the team succeed should not go un-noted. Timmy Robinson made a huge adjustment from wing to flanker and, in time, became a tireless worker and valuable member of our back row. Eric MaCaulay was robbed by injury at the latter stages of the Cup, but is a young man whose never-saydie attitude is an example to all. Matthew Bourne is a much-improved player, who despite a tearful experience against Dalriada, would become one of our fiercest competitors. Conor Boyd ensured his place in our starting 15 with some pacey and elusive performances on the wing, while for his sheer grit and determination, Connor O’Neill deserves special mention. He has improved much and will do so further over the next year. For those who have gone un-mentioned, they still played an invaluable role in what was always a ‘team’ effort. No one man is greater than the team and this mentality almost took us to glory. I wish to thank the 1st XV coaches, Mr McCarey and Mr Creighton (pullbacks coach) for their continued help and support. I also reserve special and sincere thanks to the parents who supported us throughout the year.


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2nd XV Squad/Players: A. Forbes (c), D. Reid (vc), G. Nelson, A. Steenson, D. Willis, R. Chia. F. Collins, L. Donaldson, S. MaCaulay, C. Boyd, E. MaCaulay, E. Purcell, C. O’Connor, S. Osbourne, M. Bourne, R. Godfrey, C. Saunders, H. Russell, C. Boyd, M. Ireland, C. Black, J. Burton, J. McMahon-Beattie, B. Doyle, J. Davison, C. O’Neill, N. Carson, C. MaGaughey, T. Robinson, D. Willis, C. Brady, K. Buick, P. Boyd. P.M./C.L. Portugal 2015 21 boys, consisting of LVI and MVI players, departed for Browns Sports Complex, Vilamoura on Sunday 29th March, returning on Wednesday 1st April. The tour was designed to enable many boys that had missed out on the opportunity to go to South Africa in the summertime, to experience a professional training camp set-up, and to have an end-of-season tour where they could ‘cap’ what was for many of them, their final playing year at the Academy. Browns Sports Complex in Vilamoura is a professionally run training centre that many club and international teams have used as a warm-weather training centre, and we had the privilege to share a similar experience. The facilities were second-tonone and included a high -spec gymnasium that led into the changing facilities, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, an outdoor 3G football pitch, table tennis tables, a pool table, volleyball pitches, and a state -of-the-art Rugby pitch. We also had our own meeting room and private restaurant, where all our meals were provided to our specific needs on a daily basis. We ate like Kings! Having arrived on Sunday morning, we were given a tour of the complex. Afterwards, we had some free time (to use the pool and other facilities) before a training session in which to prepare for our match the following day. That evening we played a fairly competitive 5-a-side football competition. Mr. Martin’s team won. On the Monday afternoon we played Club Heulva, an U19 side from Spain. They travelled to our complex for the fixture that would see us win comfortably 64-10. We led 38-3 at half-time and in an energysapping second-half, we managed to score a further 4 tries, 3 of which were converted. We did, however, concede a converted try. Overall, it was an excellent performance which helped contribute to what was a brilliant tour.

On the Tuesday morning we went go-karting which was thoroughly enjoyable despite the 30 degree heat. That evening, we visited Vilamoura harbour where we ate together as a squad. It was a beautiful evening and the boys were in great spirits. We enjoyed a lovely meal together which was for me, a fitting way to bring the tour to a close. I wish to thank Andre Halbert and Mitch Atkins for their assistance during the tour. I reserve special thanks for my ‘tour partner’ Mr Stretton, who was instrumental in much of the organisation in the lead-up and duration of the tour. I also wish to give my sincere thanks to parents for their support in the fundraising efforts, and to the boys for making the trip such a success. Without their enthusiasm, co-operation and excellent attitude throughout, it wouldn’t have been the success it was. I trust they have forged new friendships and created memories that will last for a long time. P.M. 3RD XV

2014-15 was an encouraging season for a hardworking 3rd XV rugby team. This youthful side, ably captained by Karl Buick, contained some very talented Form V individuals who will go on to represent the School at a higher level. Throughout the early games of the season, some factors affected team selection and overall continuity within the squad. However, practice contained a core group of players whose commitment and determination to improve and succeed optimised the ethos of the 3rd XV. Indeed, all the boys played with an abundance of enthusiasm and passion on match days. The 3rd XV drew RBAI in the first round of the Cup. The boys never gave up and were determined to play skilful, exciting rugby. Unfortunately, the Inst. team was much more aggressive at the breakdown and won too many turnovers for our team to develop any continuity in their attacking play. Yet, the boys can take some solace that the RBAI side they faced were eventual winners of the Cup.


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The Owl 2015 It was a great delight to work with so many talented young men. With more experience at Senior level, they will surely enjoy greater success on the pitch. Thank you to the parents who came and supported the team. O.T.M. MEDALLION XV

In terms of results this was a disappointing season for the Medallion Squad. However, in terms of progress made as a group and as a team, the players and squad were incomparable at the end of the season. As coaches we feel that even though the group progressed, they never quite reached their full potential, being plagued with injuries throughout the season and having to endure the age old problem - lack of strength in depth. Training began early July with twice-weekly sessions and was well attended throughout. More regular training then began when the boys returned to school, with pitch practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with regular strength and conditioning sessions throughout the week also. The commitment shown by the squad was excellent, with attendances at sessions always high. A great deal of hard work was put into training in a bid to improve upon individual and group skill-sets, game management and fitness levels. The season began with a fixture against Denton College, an English touring school, and in a tight and competitive match BRA emerged victors by a margin of 8-5. The performance was pleasing and some of the pre-season work was evident throughout with an attempt to play an exciting and expansive brand of rugby. The first match against local opposition pitted us against Ballyclare High School and it was the opposition who came through to win 12-10. The Academy boys had a large amount of both possession and territory, but showed little ‘killer instinct’ and failed to capitalise, a recurring problem in a number of matches which followed. In fact, a total of five matches were lost by 5 points or less,

these were games which could and should have been won and if they had been our percentage win rate would have been so much better. A defeat to C.U.S. followed by a 25-7 margin and it was during this match that coaches sensed there was ability in the squad and the players, but that a lack of savvy and game management was the overriding problem, with a general inability to implement basic tactics putting unnecessary pressure on players both individually and collectively leading to basic mistakes and points being scored against us. Our next run of fixtures was probably the hardest three games we’d play over the course of the season. M.C.B., Sullivan Upper and Wallace all won handsomely, but this was not completely unexpected as all three were genuine Shield candidates. Ballymena was next to visit Roughfort and they too were seen as contenders for silverware, but an impressive start to the game, followed by some superb defence and dogged determination, restricted the physically larger and faster opposition to a winning score line of 22-0. This was a most impressive defensive display by the Academy boys and one we would build on in the months and fixtures which would follow. A trip to Dungannon Royal went unrewarded in what could only be described as one of the ‘lesser’ performances of the season. A win against Bangor followed and this was viewed as a building block, with two wins now expected from the following three matches. A strong Down High team was victorious at Roughfort, as were Dalriada and Regent House. The Dalriada and Regent matches were those which should have been won, but it came back to the aforementioned problem of a lack of ‘killer instinct’ and being unable to score points having dominated opposition in terms of both territory and possession. The next fixture was Coleraine Academical Institution away. This was probably the turning point of the season. Although the game was lost by a narrow score line, the performance was much better. The team played some expansive and attacking rugby, and for probably the first time over the course of the season, they set their defence well, getting good shape and structure, this pleased their coaches immensely. Another narrow loss away to Armagh followed, but again the performance was much improved and standards were high and both results, although defeats, could easily have been wins and hinged on the bounce of a ball and the decisions of the referee. Christmas was now upon us and a tough training schedule was in place to keep the squad sharp and on their toes over the festive period. There was also a match against Portadown College which was won


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School Games and boosted morale and confidence for the journey ahead. The first week back at school brought with it the first Shield match and it was off to Carrick College we did go. The match was midweek and a tight encounter ensued with some nervy rugby played by the Academy boys. Following a tense first-half, nerves subsided and after some superb work in both attack and defence, we emerged victorious and were rewarded with a home match against Regent. This would give us the opportunity to get revenge for arguably the low point of the season to date, a narrow loss to Regent at Roughfort in November. We knew we were good enough to win; we were not complacent, but rather we were determined to show we were better than results indicated over the season. The match was played at The Castle grounds midweek due to adverse weather conditions in the days before. Regent never really threatened and, after some good attacking play, we again emerged victorious with the reward of an away fixture against Portora Royal School. It was decided to make the long journey to Enniskillen the night before, and to stay in a local hotel, to save us from a tiring journey on match day. To say conditions were bleak come kick off is an understatement. The game could not be played on the regular pitch and, after some deliberation between coaches and the referee, it was agreed to play on the pitch adjacent after it had some excess water removed from it. The conditions were damp and boggy, conditions which played into the hands of the home pack which was enormous by Medallion standards. Some decisions made it difficult for the Academy boys to build any momentum and to get any continuity in their play. In fact, captain Shane Martin had a legitimate try ruled out, one which at that stage would have brought us level in score. On the day, however, it wasn’t meant to be and the home team came through to win 19-0 and to progress to the quarter finals. The final competitive match of a long season was a Plate match at Roughfort against Ballymena Academy, who had been red-hot favourites for the Shield, but who had lost controversially in the round previous. This was possibly the worst draw for us and, conceivably, the only team in the competition who were better in standard to us. It was a bright Saturday morning at Roughfort, no rain, no wind; just perfect for rugby. The Academy lads battled bravely in defence making tackle after tackle and hit after hit. They did tire however, and Ballymena seized their opportunities with great effect and ruthlessness. They were to run out comfortable winners, but nothing could take away or detract from

the tremendous efforts of the home team who held their heads high and defended with great aplomb and valour. In fact, Conor Callaghan typified the performance when late on, with the result beyond us, he threw himself at a Ballymena player who was easily twice his size and twice his weight; in fact the opposite player would not have looked out of place playing men’s rugby. Conor took his opponent to the ground and stopped him from scoring, a memory which will live long in our minds. Brendan Crinion, Douglas Adams, James Lavery and Owen Minford were the ‘Front Row Club’ for the majority of the season. Brendan was probably the most improved player over the course of the season, developing a physical and mental toughness which he needs to continue to do should he wish to play at a higher level. James is a feisty player, capable of some very good play, but must learn to focus for the full duration of a match and not switch off as he has a tendency to do. Douglas and Owen are skilful players, who can go on to represent the School at a higher level, but they must continue to work on their scrimmaging and general play in the ‘tight’ should they wish to improve and progress. Luke Doherty and Craig Moore were to be found in the ‘Boiler House’. Craig and Luke are very similar players, both strong and physical, but must work on their ability to get around the park. Michael Woods, Andrew Meeke and Sam Cherry also played a considerable amount of rugby in these positions over the course of the season when Luke played at prop or Craig in the back line. These boys have the ability and potential to kick on and progress next year. The Back Row was probably the strength of the team. Jack Plackett, Jude Zion Cowley were ever present and never missed a match. Both are fiercesome players. Both love to carry the ball, are good in defence, and excelled around the park hitting breakdown after breakdown over the course of matches and the season. Jack was one of the most committed and consistent performers over the course of the season. Light and quick, he was a tower in the line out and industrious in the loose. More often than not, it was he who would steal opposition ball in the ruck situation or was first to the breakdown, spoiling at every opportunity. Jude was a powerhouse at open side. He too is quick and dynamic and was physically one of the strongest in the team. A rugged player, he was assured and committed in defence and a ‘human wrecking ball’ in attack. I have no doubt whatsoever, these two players will go on to play 1st XV rugby, probably sooner rather than later. Kurtis Scott was also a regular in the back row a new position to him as he had previously played at prop forward. Kurtis


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The Owl 2015 has lots of potential, but must focus and concentrate for the duration of a match and not drift in and out as he currently has a tendency to do. Conor McBride also played in the back row and was probably the find of the season. Strong and rugged, Conor had only previously played for the B’s in his time at School. A bright and intelligent rugby player, Conor was able to compensate for his lack of pace by getting himself in the right place at the right time to make an impact and an impression in matches. Conor Callaghan and Jacob Brady also played in these positions when called upon during the campaign, and never let the side down. Aaron Lyons was the scrum half for the season. Aaron worked hard all season and improved his physicality markedly. He possesses a lovely pass off both hands and, when on form, has a wonderful box kick. At out half was Robert Daly. Robert has a fantastic boot and good vision. He is new to the game, having committed to rugby this year for the first time, and he will improve immeasurably if he commits further to the game. He can only improve and go from strength to strength. The midfield pairing was made up of Josh Hegarty and Captain, Shane Martin. Shane is an immensely talented young man; creative, tireless in defence and dynamic in attack. Mark also has a wonderful ability to ‘turn over’ opposition ball at ease. Unfortunately, unlike his coaches, referees did not realise how talented he was in this area and he was penalised wrongly all too often in this area. Josh was a complementary midfield partner, he like Shane was a thorn in opposition defence, constantly making gains in attack. Both Shane and Josh will go on to represent the school at 1st XV level in the not too distant future. The back three was made up of Aaron Campbell, Zak Mills and Tom McAlister. Tom came into the team at fullback early on in the season. A highly committed player, Tom worked hard at his game over the season. Aaron has pace to burn and rarely did we see opposition players as fast as him. He must continue to work on his game and develop the confidence to back himself in ‘one on one’ situations. Should he do this, he will go on to become a very good winger. Zak is an incredibly committed player, who potentially could have played anywhere in the backline, indeed playing the vast majority of the positions over the course of the season. He moved into the fullback position from wing when injuries dictated and he should be commended for his efforts. Jack Golden, Abdullah Sabri, Callum Lawlor and Ethan Snoddy

also played regularly in these positions. Again these players have plenty of potential and with hard work and determination each can on to play Senior rugby with confidence next season. Special mention must be given to three players from Form III who played up in the Shield matches: Tom Stewart, Daniel Logan and Harry Warke. All three are very gifted players and will go on next season to form the spine of what will be a very talented and competitive Medallion Squad. We take this opportunity to thank these boys and wish them all the best in next year’s attempts and efforts to win the Shield. Thanks to Mr McCarey and Mr Creighton Jnr for their help and unwavering support during the year. One last group who deserve special mention are the parents, who gave their support over the course of the season. Rain, hail or shine, they were in attendance wherever the venue, and their support was much appreciated at all times. Finally, thanks to the boys. Thank you very much for an enjoyable season. You were easy to work with and easy to coach. We wish you much success and happiness as you progress into Senior rugby next year. N.I./S.T.P./P.T.S. MEDALLION B The Medallion ‘B’ team experienced a tough season, where a lack of fixtures prevented a consistent run of form. The team experienced losses to Lurgan College A’s, and struggled in fixtures against Ballymena and Wallace. Positive results included a handsome win against Boys’ Model and, most significantly, a narrow 22-21 loss to Methody. Much improvement was observed among the Medallion squad as a whole with players such as Luke Doherty and Sam Cherry making significant inroads to the ‘A’ squad for the Shield. Special mention must go to Ethan Snoddy (most improved player), and Conor Callaghan (player of the season) who showed dedication and zeal throughout the year. I look forward to seeing the potential of this group fulfilled in the near future I would like to thank all of the boys for their effort and enthusiasm this year. P.T.S.


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U14 A


It was a fine season for the U14A Rugby side who built on the significant progress they had made as U13 players. Following tough close defeats to Ballyclare HS, Methody and RBAI, the season got going with a 26-5 win over Wallace HS, which sent the side on an 8 game unbeaten run.

The under U14B team captained by Cameron White got off to a great start to the season with an away game to Ballyclare. The game set the standard for the season going on to beat the Ballyclare side on two other occasions. The team won well over sixty percent of its games only falling short to two exceptional teams at home - Methody and Inst.

For me, the highlights of the season were the two tournaments in March. We won the Plate of the RBAI tournament beating QEGS Wakefield, Coleraine AI and Down High along the way. This achievement was surpassed on the annual tour to Cambridge for the East of England invitational tournament. We came second, beating Perse, Uppingham and Stowe, and losing by one score to an Oundle side who had yet to lose after three years on the Independent Schools’ circuit. The team was led from the front by captain and prop, Tom Stewart, who is among the biggest hitters and best leaders that I have seen at this age group. He was most usually joined in the front row by Aaron Martin and Ben Coleman, who improved significantly in the areas of work-rate and scrummaging respectively. The second row was a combination of: Phil O’Callaghan, a dynamic carrier, Adam Keed, an excellent line out option, and Simon Dalzell, who has the work rate of a back row. The back row of the pack was counter ruck and ball stealing specialists, Dominick Rhodes and Mark McKillen on the flanks with the energetic Charlie George at number 8. The back line was well marshalled by Max Burton at 9 and Harry Warke at 10. Daniel Logan is a potent threat at centre and is complemented well by his partner, the clever Rory Linden. Luke Carlin and Brandon Hassan were regular try-scorers on the wings and Adam Kane, a potent attacking and defensively solid full-back. It has been a pleasure to coach these boys for two years and to see the culmination of much hard work towards the end of the season and in South Africa. I wish them well for their Medallion year. M.R.S.

The team all worked hard together during the season, with a great turn-out to most training sessions, which helped us have such a good record. Selection was difficult every week with such a talented squad. We had individuals playing for the ‘A’ team throughout the season. Our most valuable player was Michael McCormack and most improved - Jacob O’Neill. However, congratulations must go to all the players. M.A. U13

The U13 Rugby teams performed very well this year. Both the A and B teams improved dramatically from the start of the season. It was very encouraging to see over 30 boys turning up to every practice. The pattern and structure to their games was evident and this was perfectly manifested when they finished runners-up to Friends’ in the U13 Rugby tournament at the end of the season. They defeated Catholic University School, Belfast High School, Grosenvor


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The Owl 2015 and Coleraine Inst. The team did not concede a point until the final. All the boys were committed fully and very enthusiastic throughout the season and contributed greatly to a very enjoyable year. I.M.G. FORM I

contenders in tournaments in years to come. The ‘A’ forwards throughout the season consisted of Chris Reid, Callum Brady, Cameron Dougan, Jonathan Forbes, Louis Adams, Ryan Simpson, Lee Russell, Jake Easdon, Ronan Potts, Tom Megahey and Jack McKee; the ‘A’ backs included Tom Davis, Zach Burton, Noah Davis, Sam Caldwell, Eliot Donaldson, Stephen Cunningham, Michael Kane, Max Braniff, Sam McConnell, Keaton HamillMorrison, Liam Ferris, John Gamble, Daniel Irvine and Robin Montgomery. There were a number of outstanding performances throughout the season. Eliot Donaldson was the Form I captain and he was the team’s talisman. He is an outstanding leader and an exceptionally talented and gifted rugby player. He is strong in defence and always willing to run the ball back at the opposition with some elusive running.

This year’s Form I Rugby squad was a very enthusiastic, tenacious and responsive group. There were a number of exceptional players which resulted in competition for places. This was demonstrated with around 25 players representing the ‘A’ team at some stage throughout the season. Most pleasing to the coaches was the dedication and willingness regardless of level of experience to learn new skills. The team played a number of games throughout the season against Sullivan Upper, Regent House, Dalriada, Coleraine Inst, Campbell College, Ballymena Academy and Ballyclare High School. All games were very competitive with the boys giving a good account of themselves. In the end-of-season Coleraine tournament, the boys generally played extremely well. In the first game against Rainey, a wonderful try from Daniel Irvine gave the team a hard fought 7-0 win. In the next game, the boys were 21-0 down at half-time against Sullivan Upper. After a tough, motivational talk at half-time the team performed heroics in the second-half to score two superb tries narrowly losing the game 21-14. Keetan Hamill-Morrison’s conversion kicking was exceptional. In the last game of the group, the boys lost heavily to Willow Park ‘A’ team, the team that eventually won the tournament.

In the ‘forwards’, Louis Adams, Ryan Simpson and Lee Russell were particularly powerful and influential; in the ‘backs’ Sam Caldwell, Keetan Hamill-Morrison and John Gamble were all very strong and fast, and scored a number of tries. In the end of season awards at Ben Madigan, Iain Henderson and Stuart Olding presented Eliot Donaldson and John Gamble with ‘Player of the Year’ awards. In closing, apart from the boys, I am also indebted to the hard work and professionalism of my fellow coaches during the year: Mr A Creighton, Mr Cole, Mr McCarey, Mr D Creighton, Mr Pentland and Mr Wylie. Their support, expertise, dedication and friendship made it a joy to be involved with coaching such a pleasant and enthusiastic group of boys. I wish them every success in their future rugby careers. T.H.

In the quarter-final of the Plate, there was some sort of revenge over Willow Park. Eliot Donaldson scored two excellent tries to ensure that BRA beat Willow Park ‘B’ team, 14-7. Unfortunately, the team lost narrowly to Ballymena in the semi-final. I hope the boys will learn from this experience and come back stronger and hungrier for success next year. They have the potential and eagerness to be strong


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Captain: James Carey The 2014-15 season for the Boys’ Hockey 1st XI was very much a rebuilding one. James Carey, the captain, was the only ever-present Middle Sixth member of the squad and there was significant turnover from the previous season’s team. Although James Johnston did return to the fray part of the way through the season, there was an inexperienced element to the squad, particularly as the season started. As such, it was perhaps not a huge surprise that the Prior Shield campaign did not fully bear fruit. There was a decent performance against a good Friends’ 2nd XI, where we competed well, but ultimately were not able to achieve the positive result we had hoped for. There followed two matches against other school 1st XI teams. We played Antrim Grammar and Ballycastle High School, and while our hockey at time was fluid and pleasing on the eye, ultimately it lacked a ‘killer instinct’. Invariably in too many areas of the pitch we lost our individual battles as the opposition was a bit more experienced and more willing to weigh into those 50/50 battles. In fact, on both occasions among our best performers on the day was Seweryn Szulgan, our goalkeeper. As a collective if they are to produce better results next season, they will need to supplement their obvious skillset with a bit more bite and competitive instinct. As the season went on the group gelled better together and that competitive edge started to

emerge. We produced a number of very good performances, notably away to Wallace 2nd team just after Christmas, where the side played with verve. However, the build up play was never quite matched by the finishing as we somehow failed to convert the many chances that we created. The season effectively was closed by a Burney Cup defeat in a twice-rearranged game against Kilkeel High School. James Carey was combative as ever and almost everything good we did going forward went through Jason Roe and Thomas Carey. Seweryn again made a number of very good saves, but it was ultimately a goal of real quality with their centre midfielder beating several players before smashing a shot in on the reverse that brought defeat. 1-0 was probably just about a fair result but the boys could not be faulted for their effort. In goals, Seweryn Szulgan has worked hard to turn himself into a very good shot stopper. His reflexes are very sharp and he displays great bravery. He needs to show greater command of his circle and better judgement of when to move off his line to thwart the opposition attackers. At the back, the left back slot was filled by either Cameron Gergett or Adam Stronge. Cameron is a very good competitor and an excellent low tackler. He needs to work on his distribution and, in


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The Owl 2015 particular, improve his hitting to relieve pressure in the left back position. Adam improved during the course of the year, and by the end of the season, had made the left back slot his own. He is a disciplined marker and has a good innate positional sense. He needs to improve his distribution, particularly the strength of his pass, and do everything with a degree more haste if he is to improve his output next year. James Carey operated at centre back. He continued to be a formidable presence there. His strength in the tackle and his recovery speed were impressive not to mention his bravery, which was unflinching. If he can improve his composure on the ball he has the potential to be a very good player. John Miller was often James’s partner in the middle at the back and they were a good foil for one another. John is composed on the ball and has very good stick skills. He needs to work on his decision-making as he is sometimes prone to dribble when he should pass and pass when he should dribble. His impact on the game needs to be greater next year, as often, it is less than his ability suggests it could be. Richard Ware was another who plied his trade at the back. He is a good low tackler and a very disciplined marker. However, if he is to have a greater impact he needs to be more aggressive on the pitch and, on occasion, his distribution could be more careful. Barra Patterson was employed either at the back or in midfield. His stick skills are very good and his passing is very confident and consistent. Occasionally, his decision-making could be called into question, and he needs to try to be more of a positive and encouraging presence to those around him. The lynch pin in midfield was Jason Roe. Jason has always had the stick skills and the vision to provide the decisive touches in midfield. Over the course of the last season, he improved his fitness and gained a yard of pace. He has benefitted hugely from his experience accrued playing for Antrim 1st XI, and he is an example to the others of the importance of playing club hockey and the improvement it can provide. The only slight criticism that might be made of Jason’s play is that sometimes he takes on a little too much himself when other teammates are better placed. James Johnston was a vital cog in midfield. He initially did not commit to the hockey team and spent his time between us and his football commitments. Had he committed more fully to the hockey he would have been even more of an asset. His competitive instinct is evident for all to see, but occasionally, his distribution let him down.

Thomas Carey played as a right-sided midfielder or attacker. He has great pace and good skills, with the ability to move the ball while moving with pace and tremendous fitness levels. He needs to produce more end-product as too often he would beat a couple of players but fail to find a pace or get a shot away at the end of it. He also needs to be more competitive and get more of a cutting edge within his play. David McClements was another one with a great engine. He is a strong guy with a good physical presence. His stick skills are improving, but he, like Thomas, needs to work hard to get great productivity into his game. Our most gifted attacking player was arguably Ben Irvine. Ben is very quick and has a powerful shot on him to complement his good stick skills. However, he needs to show greater discipline positionally as he was prone to chasing after the ball. Ryan Lightowler operated primarily on the left side of the attack. He has a very good competitive instinct and takes up good positions on the pitch. His stick skills are sound, but he needs to improve his fitness levels if he is to have a greater influence on the matches. Jarleth Dean played in midfield or attack. His season was affected by an ankle injury, which reduced his opportunities. This was his first year with the 1st XI squad and the standard of his play improved a great deal throughout the year. I am hoping he will have greater opportunities to play in this coming season. Matthew McCracken was another who was new to the squad this year. His enthusiasm was unending, but he needs to improve his fitness levels if he is to have greater impact on the outcome of games. Matthew had a knack of getting himself into great goal scoring positions, but his conversion rate of these chances was not as impressive as it might have been. I hope that the boys had an enjoyable season. It was not overly successful in the statistical sense, but many of the group were involved in the Taylor Cup run that saw them reach the final. As such, there are encouraging signs for the team over the next few seasons. I certainly enjoyed working with the group and would encourage them to join clubs and continue to develop their skills. I hope that James Johnston and James Carey both continue to play hockey beyond school. I wish to thank Mr. Lunn and Mr. Morrison for their assistance with Saturday mornings and also to Estien Kriek for his help on Wednesday afternoons up to Christmas. I know the boys, in particular Sewevryn, benefited greatly from his expertise. M.G.H.


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School Games COLTS


The 2014-15 season became one of the best and most successful in years for Boys’ Hockey at the Academy. The Colts team is made up of Form IV and V players with the occasional Form III boy included. The season started with a 1-0 loss to Friends’ Grammar School. For any supporter watching the match they would have confessed that the Academy should have won by four or five goals. The boys showed glimpses of what was to lie ahead in the season. September through to December comprised friendly matches against some of the nearby grammar schools, RBAI, Regent and Wallace. The boys won a couple of the matches and competed very strongly in every game. The group stages of the Taylor Cup began after Christmas, and the boys produced a convincing victory against Newry High School and narrowly lost to Markethill. Their final group game was against Nendrum College, Comber which they won 5-0. The goalscorers were Kurtis Taylor, Jason Roe (x3) and Stephen Rea. This result meant that the boys would progress to the knock-out stages of the competition. The boys were drawn against Ballycastle High away in the semi-final of the competition. Mr Morrison and Mr Lunn accompanied the boys to Ballycastle where they won 2-0. The goal scorers were Brandon Binnie and Jason Roe.  They reached the first Boys’ Hockey final for years. The final was played at Lisnagarvey on Wednesday 25th March following the Burney Cup final, with a 4pm push back.  This was against Markethill High School, who had easily disposed of Portadown College in their semi-final. The team, unfortunately, lost 5-0 after an enthralling game.  Each boy gave 100% and was able to walk off the pitch knowing they had given their all against a very strong side. I would like to thank the supporters and staff who came to support the team.  I am very proud of the boys’ achievement at reaching the first Academy Boys’ Hockey final in years. A special mention must also go to Mr Lunn, Dr McMurray, Dr Bell and Mr Harte who work with the boys during the year. The boys have worked extremely hard throughout the course of the season and I look forward to working with them again next year. D.D.M.

The Junior Boys’ hockey team could be likened to the construction work currently going on at the Academy; ‘work in progress’. It is important to realise the length of time that a new building takes to construct; it is always longer than one would think. I would consider that the Junior Boys’ hockey team to be the start of a long building process through school life, eventually ending up with boys from several year groups contributing to the 1st XI team in Senior school. One of the most important things in the construction of a new building is ensuring it has a strong foundation. We aim to develop the basic skills and techniques of boys in Forms I, II and III; the majority of whom have had little or no experience of hockey before. By developing individual skills, ball control techniques and general tactical themes at this stage, through fun drills and small-sided games, the rate of development of some players is very good. For those boys who take part in school hockey during games time only, hopefully, their level of enjoyment of school sport is high. For those who commit to the Junior team, it is never going to be a season of Cup finals and winners medals unfortunately. Therefore, much credit must go to the boys who regularly turned out at Games, after school practice and Saturday matches. There were encouraging performances against RBAI, Grosvenor and Friends’, but the team did not progress beyond the first round of the Bannister Bowl Cup competition. Peter Watt, Form III, was a consistently good performer in defence, along with David Rea in midfield. Form II boys David Russell and Owen O’Kane developed their skills well and contributed to the midfield. Form I boys Alex Dowds, Adam McCready and Isaac Walsh all showed very good natural ability, and made excellent contributions to the team through their pace, determination and enthusiasm. It is always very encouraging to see boys realise and develop their sporting potential in hockey and through commitment and hard work, despite little success, continue to develop as hockey players. I am sure many will carry on until they play for the 1st XI in years to come. K.L.


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The Owl 2015

GIRLS’ HOCKEY CLUB For the 2014/15 season we fielded our usual 4 Senior and 4 Junior teams every Saturday in our block fixtures and fielded a 5th Senior team anytime the opposing school could. Arguably the biggest event of the season was when the 1st XI hockey team welcomed the Ulster U17 team to celebrate the first game under floodlights at our synthetic pitch at Roughfort. The launch event, which was hosted on Friday 23rd January, was attended and officially opened by Councillor Nichola Mallon, Lord Mayor of Belfast. Also in attendance were Kate Hoey MP, Anna Rosa Ulster Hockey President, Stephen Watt, Ulster Hockey’s High Performance Manager, and Headmaster, Mr. Dickson. A crowd of about one hundred was treated to an enthralling game of hockey. The game ended with the score line being 1-0 to Ulster, though the Academy girls can hold their heads high after a fantastic performance. On a Saturday morning, our Form I club ran every week with over 30 girls in attendance. Coaches Neil Hermon, who has been our our Form I coach for some 10 years now, and Ashleigh Beattie, a player from Owls Ladies Hockey club, ran the Saturday morning club. The Form I team played a series of friendly matches against other schools, starting with 7-a-side and gradually building up to 11-a-side, in order to compete in the end of season tournaments. They performed well in the prestigious annual

Grosvenor tournament, winning two, drawing one and losing only one of their group matches. Unfortunately these results were not enough to progress through the group stage of the competition. In the annual Carrick tournament the team won all of their matches to win the Cup, the first team from BRA to win this tournament. The Owl’s Cup is presented every year to the most successful team in the School. This year the Cup was won by the Under 15XI captained by Hannah Marshall. Girls who achieved representative honours at Belfast Schools’ U15 level included Charlotte Anderson, Ellie Bradley, Harriet Dougan, Trinity Geddis and Naomi McGuckin. Both Harriet Dougan and Trinity Geddis progressed on to be selected for the Ulster U16 squad. Harriet played in a three-match series against Scotland. At U17 level, we had Alice Reid represent Belfast and Ulster. At U18 Erin Getty represented Northern Ireland at the UK School games where they won Silver. Erin also represent Ulster & Ireland which included winning a Gold medal at the Interprovincial tournament with Ulster, and playing with Ireland at Lilleshall National Sports Stadium and Cardiff.


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1ST XI SQUAD 2014/15 Played 21

Lost 11

Drawn 3

Won 6

Abbie Brown, Alice Reid, Anna Wilson, Erin Getty, Holly Reid, Judithe Allen, Lauren Crothers, Lucy Miller, Lucy Stewart, Megan Geddis, Robyn Geddis (Captain), Savannah Thompson, Taylor McComb, Trinity Geddis. The 1st XI 2014/15 season, captained by Robyn Geddis in her 5th season as a 1st XI player, statistically reads as a below average season. I feel the inconsistencies were due to the fact that it was a young team with only two girls in their final year in the squad and three Form IV pupils on the starting team. Despite this, the season had started so well with 5 wins and only 1 loss from our first 6 mathces including a convincing 3-0 win against Strathearn with fourth year Anna Wilson getting one of the goals.

We lost narrowly 4-3 on strokes, but the performance and maturity shown from the young team had been encouraging. To their credit, the team responded in their next match with an excellent performance against Victoria College winning 3-1, and it was the three Form 4 pupils, Trinity Geddis, Alice Reid and Anna Wilson, who got the goals. Going out of the cup in the 1st round meant we had to play in the Plate competition and we drew Larne Grammar at home, a match we felt we could win. Therefore, it was disappointing to lose 2-1. Inconsistency was what had cost us the game and effectively end our competition for the season. An end-of-season trip to Edinburgh proved both enjoyable and successful. We drew our first match 2-2 against St. George’s School for Girls and won our second match 4-0 against Trinity Academy. N.N.

In the Schools’ Cup we had a tough first round draw away to Omagh Academy. Credit to our young team for the fight and determination they displayed in taking a 1-0 lead, Alice Reid scoring the goal. Omagh unfortunately pulled a goal back in the second-half and took the match to extra-time, but no goals were scored and penalty strokes were to decide the winners.


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The Owl 2015 2B XI


Played 17

Lost 5

Drawn 1

Won 5

SQUAD Amy O’Donnell, Anna Hogg, Beth Magill, Chloe Dawson, Clara Montgomery, Ellen Dalzell, Hannah Lau, Jessica North, Kaitlyn Bruce, Katie McConnaughie, Katie Ritchie, Lucy Browne (Capt), Maria Del Castillo, Rebecca Harbinson, Yasmin McClean The team, captained by Lucy Browne in her last year at BRA, had a good combination of younger and experienced players. Like the 1st XI, the 2A’s statistics for 2014/15 season were disappointing. 4 of their 5 wins came before Halloween half-term. These included beating Glenlola Collegiate, Bloomfield Collegiate, Antrim Grammar and Kelso High School from Glasgow. Unfortunately, we had a tough draw away to Lurgan in the 1st round of the Cup. Despite competing well, we were beaten 3-0 but the girls had given a good account of themselves as Lurgan is never an easy competitor to face. An extremely disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Craigavon High in the Plate competition meant, like the 1st XI we went out of both knock-out competitions in the first round. A huge thank you to Mr. Dorman who, despite an extremely busy schedule, still finds time to coach both the 1st and 2A XI alongside myself. N.N.

Played Lost Drawn Won 16                    4                     4                     8 Captain: Kate Taggart Most Improved Player: Charlotte Nicholl Player of the Year: Sarah Cowden As this was my first season coaching the 2BXI, I was looking forward to building a new team. This season proved to be a most enjoyable and enthusiastic experience for the team with a very encouraging set of results only to be improved on next year. The team competed in the 3rd XI cup which began in October. Although we did not progress to the group stage, we did have an excellent 5-0 win against Portadown College. The team was dedicated to their training and worked hard to improve upon their skills and standard of play. They were very enthusiastic, energetic and a pleasure to work with. There was great team morale and special thanks must go to the captain Kate Taggart for motivating and organising the team. I wish all the members every success for the future and know that with their positive attitudes and determination they will continue to succeed.

‘B’ SQUAD Irish Alvarado, Kate Taggart (Captain), Jayne Bassett, Rebecca Burns, Mikeala Donaldson, Anna McCrory, Jenna McMurtry, Helen Diamond, Laura Fleck , Lauren Turner, MelissaMoffett, Sarah Cowden, Kayleigh Martin, Yasmin McClean, Charlotte Nicholl, Brooke McCombe. P.C.


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School Games U15 XI

Played Lost 13                    2    

U14 A XI

Drawn Won    4                      7

Captain: Hannah Marshall Vice-Captain: Megan McCalmont Player of the Year: Molly Brown Most Improved Player: Katy Thompson The U15 XI had an excellent season winning more than half their matches. They were the most successful team in school last season and won the Owl Cup. The team trained hard throughout the season and demonstrated great skill and improvement to their match technique. I would like to thank all members of the U15 squad for their commitment and enthusiasm throughout the season; they always managed to play well as a team and keep a positive attitude. Special thanks to the captain Amber Vick.

U15 SQUAD Jasmine Ross, Erin Moffett, Molly Brown, Rachel Baillie, Eileen Donaldson, Megan McCalmont, Hannah Marshall (Captain), Katie Thompson, Anna McClurg, Amber Vick, Sarah McComiskey, Lauren Hamilton, Charlotte Poh, Dannie Wilson. P.C.

Played Lost Drawn Won 19                 7                      7                    5 U14A Captain – Naomi McGuckin U14A Vice-Captain – Amie Bradley Player of the Year: Naomi McGuckin/Harriet Dougan Top Goal scorer: Harriet Dougan Most promising player: Thomasa Kennedy The U14’s had a strong start to the season with wins against Belfast High, Glenlola, Bloomfield and Antrim Grammar scoring nine goals in four matches. However, a tough draw against Down High School in October saw the girls knocked out of the Junior Schools’ Cup. The girls held their own and were very unlucky to lose 1-0 in the last 2 minutes of the game. After re-focusing, the girls set their sights on the Plate. The girls had a mixed season, as the weather in January caused a great number of cancellations. Despite this, the girls maintained good attendance at practice and played their hockey with enthusiasm. Competition for places in the team was high and all players were able to gain match experience throughout the season. The team played their first Plate match in January against Regent House at Roughfort. The girls won comfortably 1-0 with Julliah Allen scoring. At the start of February, the team played in the 3rd round of the Plate against a tough Cookstown side. The team played exceptional hockey but unfortunately the match went to extra-time, then penalty strokes and, sadly, BRA lost 2-1 on sudden death. The girls were disheartened not to have won but took consolation as both umpires and the coach of Cookstown commented on the high standard of their team performance. Every year the U14’s compete in the South Antrim league throughout the season. This year’s results were as follows: Belfast High – Won 1-0, Antrim Grammar – Won 2-0, Ballyclare High – Lost 5-0, Carrick Grammar – Drew 0-0, Larne Grammar – Won 2-0.


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The Owl 2015

REPRESENTATIVE HOCKEY Due to the high level of hockey being played, Harriet Dougan represented Ulster U16’s on Friday 19th – Sunday 21st June. They played a series of three matches against Scotland at Jordanstown University. Unfortunately, they lost 5-2 on Friday night (Harriet scored), drew 1-1 on Saturday and drew 5-5 on Sunday. Harriet was also selected for the Ulster U17Aathletics team, but due to Ulster hockey commitments, couldn’t compete on Friday at the Interprovincial Championships.

coaching and encouraging us throughout the season, and also to Amie Bradley for being vice-captain this year. Well done to everyone and I wish you the best for next season. N. McGuckin (Captain) U14B U14B Captain – Jessica Jackson U14B Vice-Captain – Molly O’Donnell

BELFAST U15 TEAM Congratulations to Naomi McGuckin, Harriet Dougan and Ellie Bradley who were selected for the Belfast U15 team. The team competed in the Area Board Tournament held at Lisnagarvey Hockey Club in March. On Wednesday 4th March, the U14 Girls’ Hockey squads celebrated their end-of-season with a Dinner and Awards Night at Sozo in Jordanstown. On Thursday 5th March, the season finished on a high with the girls securing two 2-0 wins against Larne Grammar. I would like to make special mention of our Captain, Naomi McGuckin, who led by example with her helpful, organised and pleasant manner as she performed her duties throughout the season. Many thanks to all the team for their dedication and enthusiasm to improve their skills and fitness throughout the season. I hope they will continue to enjoy their hockey as they move into the Senior club next season. Well done to all on a successful and enjoyable season! Squad: Ellie Bradley, Cara Carson, Chloe Joyce, Naomi McGuckin, Thomasa Kennedy, Darcey Collins, Harriet Dougan, Anna Whiteside, Samantha McGrath, Amie Bradley, Laurel Kennedy, Julliah Allen, Orla O’Kane J.R.S. U14 A CAPTAIN’S REPORT The U14As has been a very strong and committed team this season. I have been very honoured to captain such a great team. Every player showed great enthusiasm and effort during training which was then reflected on the pitch during matches. Overall, we have had a fairly successful season which included reaching the second round of the Plate where we lost narrowly on flicks. The skill level of the entire team has improved greatly and everyone should be proud of themselves. I would like to thank Mrs Shaw for

Played – 17

Won - 7

Drew - 4 Lost - 6

Player of the year: Jane Monahan Top Goal scorer: Anna Clingen Most promising player: Jessica Jackson This year the U14 B’s, captained by Jessica Jackson and vice-captained by Molly O’Donnell, had a very promising season. The girls had mixed results with wins, losses and draws in their 17 matches played, but no matter the result, the girls never let the scoreboard get them down. Many of the matches in which the girls played were very equal-sided. They showed that they were deserving of success but, unfortunately at this stage, they were unable to secure a win as they often took a step back in the opposition’s circle, afraid to take shots. However, due to all their hardwork and development in training, towards the end of the season their ability and confidence to score goals improved and they were taking more and more chances. This then led to more wins for the team. The girls on this team showed dedication throughout the season, always being enthusiastic and attentive at training sessions and pushing themselves to do better. It was a privilege to see how much encouragement and respect the girls gave to each other as well as their opposition both on and off the pitch. Their smiling faces and eagerness to improve made them a joy to work with. Squad: Ellie Bradley, Molly O’Donnell, Lorna Magennis, Cora Lamb, Olivia McConnell, Jane Monahan, Ellie Moffett, Aimee Lyttle, Sasha Peters, Lucy May Jamison, Jessica Jackson, Bethany Paull, Anna Clingen, Daniella McCourt S. McGrath/J.R.S.


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This season has been tough and challenging. The players on this team have all showed great improvement and the matches we played didn’t always show the hard efforts they put into training. Our toughest match was Methody, a team we played on three occasions and every time we got stronger and it showed. Our best performance was against Belfast High, where we won 2-0. This match made all team members so happy with each other. The team co-operated well which created a stronger sense of unity. We could understand each other’s movements and therefore got into the spaces where we were most needed.

The U13’s had a strong season working hard throughout the year and building on the work Miss Brady started last year. The team has improved in all aspects of our play being hard to break down and scoring goals from a number of positions.

I’m very pleased with this season, and it wouldn’t have been possible without our coaches. All our thanks go to Mrs Shaw and Sarah McGrath. They helped us with our training in their own time and on Saturday mornings. They also helped us with our spirits and kept them high. I hope the girls enjoyed this season and I look forward to playing with them in years to come. Jessica Jackson (Captain)


The season started with a draw against Methody and a series of good victories against local rivals Belfast High, Glenlola and Bloomfield Collegiate. A tightlyfought match away at Strathern was lost 2-1 and began a series of mixed results, three close 1-0 losses and hard-fought draws against both Victoria and Ballyclare High.  Later in the season, winning ways returned against Glenlola, Carrick Grammar and Grosvenor where we scored 9 goals without reply.  The successful run again faltered as the season closed with a narrow defeat to Friends’, 1-0 away, an epic 3-2 defeat to Methody at Roughfort and our final match drawing with Larne Grammar. Vice-captain Sophia Del Castillo and I have thoroughly enjoyed the season and are proud to be part of such a dedicated and hard-working group of girls. Special mention to Ellie Armstrong as most improved player this year and Wrianne Salvatierra’s goalkeeping for both the A and B teams. With further dedication, and the ever reliable support of the improving girls from the B team, we are looking forward to taking our game further under the guidance of Mrs Shaw next year.  Julia Uprichard (Captain)

Played 15

Won 6

Drew 4

Lost 5

Captain: Julia Uprichard Vice-Captain: Sophia Del Castillo Player of the Year: Julia Uprichard Top Goal Scorer: Zara McClean/Sophie Mills Most Improved Player: Ellie Armstrong Squad: Wrianne Salvatierra, Sophia Del Castillo, Ellie Armstrong, Julia Forbes, Ellie Cross, Laura Meeke, Rachel Duff, Julia Uprichard, Olivia Donaldson, Erin Davidson, Sophie Mills, Zara McClean, Sophie Bloomfield

The U13A team enjoyed a successful season. This was down to a group of girls who bonded as a team very quickly. They were a dedicated and hardworking team who never stopped running on the pitch. In the South Antrim Schools’ League the team had wins against Belfast High (1-0) and Carrick (2-0), drawing with Ballyclare High School (00) and Larne (2-2). They lost narrowly in the final minutes against Antrim Grammar (1-0). Despite some closely contested matches against Methody, Ballymena Academy and Friends’ School Lisburn, team morale and effort remained high throughout the season. There was a marked improvement in the standard of hockey at U13 level. Special thanks must go to Julia Uprichard who made an excellent Captain and Sophia Del Castillo, Vice Captain, for motivating and encouraging their team. I would also like to congratulate Julia Uprichard and Rachel Duff who were selected for the U15 Regional Development Squad. Throughout the season, the girls enjoyed various team bonding events including a Christmas


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The Owl 2015 Dinner in Cosmo, participation in the Antrim Sixes Tournament, and a trip to Dublin in March to spectate at the Hockey World League Series at University College Dublin. The girls enjoyed the opportunity to watch international hockey and the chance to meet some top class players. It was a very successful way to end the 2014/15 season. I would also like to thank Miss Allen for all of her coaching and umpiring throughout the year. It was a great pleasure to work with such a dedicated and energetic group of girls and I look forward to watching them progress as they move forward through the school. K.E.B.

The U13B team had a mixed season with a few defeats in their early matches. This, however, did not deter the girls whose dedication and desire to improve week on week was second to none. As the season progressed they grew stronger as a team, which was evident in a string of wins including matches against Grosvenor, Friends’ and Victoria College. They ended their season on a high with a win against a very strong Larne Grammar side. I would like to thank Fabienne Cochrane (captain) and Erin Davidson (vice-captain) for encouraging and motivating their team. It was a pleasure to work alongside such a committed and engaged group of girls. K.E.B.

U13B OWLS LADIES HOCKEY CLUB Following the completion and opening of the new floodlit facilities, Owls Ladies Hockey Club now use Roughfort for training at all levels and had a very successful 2014/2015 season. The “Mini Owls” section train on Saturday mornings and took part in age-appropriate tournaments throughout the year with much success. The Junior sections also participated in the Ulster Hockey Youth League and continue to improve their skills and fitness. This is very encouraging for the upcoming season. Played 14

Won 7

Drew 1

Lost 6

Player of the Year: Fabienne Cochrane Top Goal Scorer: Erin Davidson Most Improved Player: Erin Cunningham Captain: Fabienne Cochrane Vice-Captain: Erin Davidson Squad: Wrianne Salvatierra, Alex Gifford, Erin Cunningham, Beth Whiteside, Louise O’Neill, Fabienne Cochrane, Cliodhna McNaughton, Rose Jones, Tori Cooke, Lois Sharpe, Leah Jamison, Erin Davidson, Erin Wallace, Una Roberts, Jadyn Murphy, Erin Connolly. Captain’s Report The U13B team started off the season with a couple of defeats. The first match we played was against Methody which we lost 1-0 and, although we did not win, we played a very strong game. As the season progressed, we grew stronger as a team and achieved more wins. Out of 14 matches we won 7 drew 1 and lost 6. We finished the season with a win of 1-0 against Larne. I am very pleased with the results of our matches this year and I have loved being part of the team. Fabienne Cochrane (Captain)

After being promoted at the beginning of the season, the 2nd XI consolidated their status in Junior league 7. The team improved throughout the year and it was great to see the girls enjoy their hockey. The 1st XI had a great season finishing runners-up in the Ulster Hockey Intermediate Cup in addition to finishing 2nd in Senior 3 league ensuring promotion to Senior 2. This was a fantastic achievement and all the players and coaching staff should be pleased with how the season progressed. For the upcoming season a 3rd XI team has been created due to encouraging numbers at training and growing membership of the Club coming through from the successful Junior section. Girls and ladies of all ages and abilities will be made very welcome at the Club and we look forward to seeing you throughout the year. For more information please contact: Ashleigh Beattie (Juniors) Gemma Menaul (Seniors) Miss Brady P.E Dept.


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School Games OWLS LADIES MINI HOCKEY Owls Ladies Mini section had another successful season in 2014/15, catering for and developing both the hockey and social skills of girls aged 6-11. Our girls experienced hockey through a range of progressive and enjoyable drills and games led by experienced coaches. This season we have doubled our numbers and increased our training session to two times a week. The girls have had great fun this year, taking part in a number of tournaments and social events.  

‘Minis’ training will remain at BRA playing fields on Saturday mornings, 10.30am - 11.30 am on the gravel pitches. We have now established a Wednesday night training session which runs alongside our Under13 and  Under15 training  at BRA Astroturf pitch, 6.30pm – 7.30pm for P5-P7 girls.  We hope the 2015/16 season will bring great success and the girls continue to develop their love of hockey. K.E.B.


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The Owl 2015


Played - 10 Won - 8 Drew - 1 Lost - 1 Captain: Andrew Forbes Vice-Captain: Andrew Palmer The 2015 season was an historic one for the Belfast Royal Academy 1st XI, as Andrew Forbes became the first captain in the School’s history to lift the Schools’ Cup. However, the season began with a very inauspicious start! There was little sign in Andrew Forbes team’s batting display of the skill, grit and intelligence that would carry them through to that famous Cup victory. Against Sullivan the skipper won the toss and elected to field first, a custom that he would follow regularly throughout the season. The first ball bowled by Forbes eluded batsman and wicketkeeper alike disappearing for 5 wides. Indeed after 10 balls, Sullivan had 18 runs on the board and had looked untroubled. However, when Forbes held the catch offered by John Matchett off Michael Wilson’s bowling we had removed their talisman and had a foothold in the game. Wilson struck again a few overs later but the Sullivan innings meandered on at a leisurely pace anchored by Anderson to reach 91-4 in 20 overs. Wilson with 3-23 was the pick of the bowlers. Hardly an imposing target, and despite the loss of Francis Collins, for what would turn out to be a rare failure, in the first over, our progress was steady. 24-1 after 5 overs we were well on course. However, Reid and Burton became

bogged down against the spinners, particularly the miserly Shannon who bowled 4 overs for 4 runs. When Burton was out, Palmer struggled even more to get the run rate moving. Then wickets started to fall. Reid ended up getting 35 and batted well, but by the time Wilson tried to provide some impetus and Forbes hit a few lusty blows. However, it was too little too late. Sullivan won by 3 runs and our 77 dot balls of 120 faced told a sorry tale. Ballyclare High School were next up on a threejumper day at Rashee Road. Forbes devastated their top order with 4-2-3-3. David McLarnon and Jack Burton each picked up a brace of wickets helped by some slight loose bowling from Michael Brady. In fairness in the worst of conditions, for some leg spin bowling, and some abysmal catching Ballyclare progressed to 88-9 in their 20 overs. Our response was much more authoritative. Reid was solid again with his 15, but Collins paced his innings very well. He started slowly accumulating singles, but bludgeoned the change bowlers to end up with 55 not out of 45 balls and seal a 10 wicket victory. Friends’ was next up in the McCullough Cup after an aborted attempt to play Ballyclare in the second round of the Schools’ Cup (having received a bye in the first round) was thwarted by rain with us in a commanding position. In Lisburn, Forbes was again to make a couple of early break-throughs. However, the destroyer-in-chief was the seemingly innocuous


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School Games medium pace of David McLarnon, whose return of 4-0-7-4 ripped out the Friends’ middle order. Not for the last time his formula of a good line and length, combined with a little bit of movement was to out-fox many batsmen. Connor Boyd with 2-19 provided able support. Reid (20) and Collins (18) took only 8 overs to secure a 10 wicket victory for the second match in a row.

Next up was a trip across the city to take on Methodist College. The home side was restricted to 92 all out. Not for the first time Andrew Forbes spear-headed the attack with verve, collecting 4 wickets and he was ably supported by Michael Wilson providing menace with the new ball. In reply, Francis Collins led the way with a composed 52 not out as the total was chased down with comparative ease.

A third encounter with Ballyclare followed the next Saturday. It was a rare occasion as we were asked to bat first. Collins and Reid made a steady if unspectacular start as we proceeded to 30 for no wicket after 8 overs. When both openers fell in pretty quick succession, and Max Burton followed swiftly after, we were in a spot of bother at 51-3. However, by that stage Burton the elder, had already started his onslaught. Jack ended up 75 not out of 63 balls with 7 fours and a six, guiding the side to 147-6 off our 25 overs. Forbes struck in the first over and any doubt on the outcome of the game disappeared between the end of his second and third overs. A hat-trick in any form of cricket is rare, but Andrew didn’t settle for that as the second opener was removed followed by numbers 4, 5 & 6, all clean-bowled in a remarkable spell of bowling. He ended up with figures of 5-112-6 as Ballyclare limped to 46 all out. A marker had been laid down for the Cup run.

The following Saturday we travelled to Bangor Grammar who won the toss and elected to bat. Aided by a wind registering at the upper end of the Beaufort scale, Forbes bowled with some menace and not a little pace to remove the dangerous Onyekwelu early on. Meanwhile Michael Wilson toiled into the wind to remove the other opener Martin. Some strong hitting from the Bangor middle order saw them to a total of 134-8 off their 25 overs. McLarnon, with 3-28, was the most productive of the bowlers. Andrew Palmer (16) opened up with Francis Collins and got a start but failed to push on. Jack Burton came in when Palmer had departed. Jack was in a rush to go off and play for Carrick in the afternoon and it showed. He wasted no time in rushing to 40 off 20 balls before skying a catch to Ross Martin off Baxter. He hit 2 fours and 3 sixes in a fine display of clean hitting. Collins, who had started quite serenely then took over where Burton left off, hitting the 5th ball of the 22nd over for 4 to see us home by 8 wickets as he ended up 54 not out.

A sterner test came at the Castle Grounds the following weekend as RBAI was the guest. A miscommunication between coach and skipper, or skipper and team, necessitated some tinkering with the batting order. The top five of Forbes (20) Burton (16) McLarnon (27) Palmer (16) and Boyd (24) all got starts but none could push on to play the inningsdefining role. We ended up 157 all out in the 35th over leaving our guests 30 overs to chase the target down. Mellor and Hume set off apace in reply racing to 39 for no loss 2 balls into the 5th over. First Hume departed, bowled by Forbes, then Collins produced a great caught and bowled to get rid of Mellor in the next over. Another Forbes wicket in his next over and it was now 49-3. However, Lightbody and McGavock progressed ‘Inst’ to 89-3 in the 15th over without further trouble. His first two balls, yielding 6 runs, Jack Burton produced a spell of bowling almost as remarkable as Andrew’s had been in the Cup game at Ballyclare. Jack ripped the heart out of the RBAI middle order returning figures of 6-39-5 as he got over-excited during a fiery spell of medium-fast bowling. At this stage RBAI was 102-8 after 21 overs. Mairs and Cochrane re-grouped to restore calm to the situation as the game fizzled out into a draw as the away side ended up 127-8 after the 30 overs.

We returned to Cup action as we entertained Strabane Academy at the Castle Grounds in the quarter final. Andrew Forbes won the toss and invited Strabane to bat. Forbes duly struck to remove Haywood with the second ball. However, building their innings around the Hayes, Strabane built a solid platform in progressing to 52-2 in the 10th over. They were helped in no small part by the generosity of our bowlers. In all, 24 wides and 6 no balls inexcusably contributed to a total of 33 extras. If our bowling was, at times wayward and generous, our catching was far from it. Max Burton, Francis Collins and Forbes all held very impressive catches, but the pick of the bunch was Samuel Osborne who held on to a very sharp catch off Connor Boyd to remove the dangerous Hayes. Strabane slumped from 52-2 to 91 all out. Connor Boyd (4-14) and David McLarnon (3-10) shared most of the spoils. We were unhurried in our reply, and although Collins failed to continue his excellent form, a partnership of 42 between Jack Burton (26) and David Reid (19) edged us towards the total while Max Burton and Andrew Palmer saw us home with 7 wickets to spare.


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The Owl 2015 So on to the Semi-Final, and an early Saturday morning trip to Coleraine AI. This time Forbes lost the toss, but Coleraine elected to bat. Hutchinson was bowled by Forbes on the first ball of the 7th over by which stage Coleraine was 29-1. As in the previous round, our generosity seemed to show no bounds and by that stage extras had already contributed 11. The key partnership involving Chopra and Smyth moved Coleraine on to 67-1 before Connor Boyd induced an edge from Chopra and David Reid did the rest. However, while there were batsmen in, our old nemesis extras, were still ticking over and in the end they were to be ‘out’ just short of their half century. To say that the profligacy of surrendering 48 runs to the Coleraine side in a final total of 129 all out, made our task more difficult, is a gross understatement. Of those who bowled 5 overs or more, only David McLarnon was absolved of guilt, and it was perhaps no coincidence that he returned by far the most impressive figures 6-0-145. Forbes also bowled with menace conceding only 6 runs of the bat in his two spells yielding. 6-1-193. Our reply started well as Collins and Reid saw off the majority of Chopra and M. Smyth’s overs in guiding us to 60 for no loss at the end of the 12th over. However, C. Smyth removed Collins (25) and Jack Burton in pretty quick succession and when David McLarnon was bowled by M. Hutchinson, we were suddenly 70-3. Max Burton struck a couple of boundaries, but soon followed the others back to the hutch, which brought the skipper to the crease. He and Reid seemed to be easing us towards the total before the Coleraine openers returned. M. Smyth removed Reid for a well-made 33 before Chopra accounted for Palmer without troubling the scorers. At 113-6, still requiring 17 runs for victory the nerves began to jangle. However, Forbes with 3 fours in his 25 not out was supported by Connor Boyd, to guide his side home and earn us a first Schools’ Cup final for many a year. Onto that final at Osborne Park on Friday the 19th June, where the gloomy conditions overhead were not mirrored by the spirit in our camp. A good-sized crowd turned up at Osborne for the Friday evening spectacle, where many a BRA alumni had dusted off their maroon blazers for the occasion; and what an occasion it was. What unfolded was a tremendous game of cricket played in a good spirit which ebbed and flowed like a well written play. Forbes won the toss and continued his policy of inserting the opposition. He followed this up by continuing his happy knack of picking up an early wicket bowling McMinn for 4. This brought Beattie to the crease to join Beverland and the two built a very good platform for Campbell. After 15 overs they had progressed the score 59-1. Then David McLarnon in his second over got one to nip away from Beverland and David

Reid took a smart catch. This brought Paddy Park, the key man, to the crease. McLarnon struck again with Park adjudged LBW second ball without score. Jack Burton, not to be outdone, bowled Telford at the other end as the Campbell middle order buckled under pressure. 59-1 after 15 became 67-6 after 19, and then when Connor Boyd came on and removed Beattie for 26 and the score was 74-7, BRA was very much in the ascendency. However, the 8th wicket partnership for Campbell counter-punched brilliantly; McCormick (25) and Hamill (45) both scored at faster than a run-a-ball as they added 72 in a shade over 9 overs to ensure Campbell posted 1467 and went into the interval with all the momentum. *** Campbell 146-7 from 30 overs. Hamill 45*, Beattie 26, McCormick 25*, Beverland 25. McLarnon 6-029-3, J Burton 6-1-19-2. *** The BRA reply started with intent and within 3 overs Reid and Collins had progressed us to 170. However, Wightman struck to remove Reid for 5, well caught in the slip cordon by Park. Collins continued with Jack Burton as the score reached 32 before Burton became Wightman’s second victim. The run rate slowed and the wickets kept tumbling, Max Burton joined his brother back in the shed Forbes, McLarnon and Palmer all followed without threatening to get past single figures. Suddenly, we were in a real bind at 56-6 after 17 overs. The required run rate was 7 and Francis Collins, who was composed at the other end, appeared to be in danger of running out of partners. We also had to cope with a middle and lower order who had been afforded relatively few batting opportunities by those comfortable victories batting second earlier in the season. The next cab off the rank was Samuel Osborne. Whose first act was to watch Collins hit a mighty blow over mid-wicket for a maximum and stoke a lovely four through extra cover. 10 off the over and a bit of impetus. Samuel took six balls to get off the mark but soon steadied himself and started providing able support for the well-set Collins. By the end of the 20th over, we were now 72-6 and still needing 76 runs off the last 10 overs. The other factor was that Telford and Beverland, who had both bowled tight spells, had now completed their allotted overs. Would Campbell gamble and bring back their openers to try to finish us off, or turn to their 5th and 6th options? They went for the latter and Osborne and Collins took advantage as the next 3 overs went for 31 runs. The equation was now 45 off 7. Wightman was recalled but sensible low risk


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School Games


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The Owl 2015 batting saw 7 taken from his over. The other opener, McCormick, returned at the other end, his first 3 balls yielded 2, 2 and 4. Thirty now needed off 33 balls. Osborne had moved onto 28 at better than a run a ball and Collins had long since passed 50. BRA was in the box seat then disaster struck when Osborne was caught behind by Beattie. McCormick had got the vital breakthrough. A no-doubt nervous Connor Boyd entered the fray. If he was nervous he hid it well, stroking his first two balls each for 2. 26 were now needed off 30 balls. 7 were taken off Wightman’s next over, the 8 off McCormick’s last. 11 now needed off 3 overs. Boyd and Collins were completely unflustered, and virtually untroubled, as they guided us home without taking any undue risk. A single off the third ball of the last over from Connor saw us home by 3 wickets as he ended up a run a ball, 14 not out. Both he and Samuel had played their part but the star of the show was Francis Collins.

season was much more limited than it had been in previous summers, but whenever he turned out for the School, his commitment was excellent and his performances very impressive. His role with the bat in the semi-final cannot be understated and I know how much this victory meant to him.


I must extend thanks to Mr. Shields and Mr. McGonigle for their assistance during the course of the year, in particular to Mr. Shields for organising practices in advance of the final when my exam commitments would not permit me to do so. Thanks also must go to Simon Johnston for the coaching he has done during the winter nets organised over the past few years. I thank Mr. Irwin for stepping into the breach in the game against Methody, to Dr. Campbell, whose support for the side is unwilting and, as ever, I extend my thanks to Anton Gaw for the excellent surfaces he continues to produce at the Castle Grounds. This fact was recognised as the School hosted the Irish Schools’ fixture against the Irish Under 17 team. It was no surprise that both Andrew Forbes and Francis Collins were in the Irish Schools’ side on that occasion, adding to their selection for the Ulster Schools’ XI. I also wish to extend my congratulations to Jack Burton who was selected for the NCU Under 17 team.

Collins ended up 73 not out from 88 balls with 7 fours and a six. His innings was one of pure class. He was unflustered by the demise of his partners at the other end and paced his innings very adeptly. He played shots all around the wicket and also put the fielders under real pressure by his business at the crease and alertness between the wickets. There was no official man of the match award, but no one left Osborne Park that evening in any doubt as to who would have won that accolade.

Irrespective of the success, it has been a pleasure to work with this group of players over the last few seasons, many of whom have suffered from the frustration of losing in early rounds of the Schools’ Cup to eventual winners over the last two seasons. I look forward to seeing the side attempt to defend their trophy next season, something they are more than capable of doing. Finally, I hope and trust that those that have moved on will continue to get pleasure out of playing the game.

That said, the effort throughout the season was truly a team effort. On many occasions, fewer people than I would have liked were afforded the opportunity to shine, particularly with the bat. The efforts of Connor and Samuel in the final showed that, when called upon, there was real depth and steel in our order, and I know Michael Wilson was champing at the bit to get in and contribute! With so many of the team returning next year, we would hope to be there or thereabouts again. A word must be said for those who will not be returning. My thanks go to Christian O’Connor, Andrew Palmer and David Reid for their contributions. In the case of Andrew and Christian, I know they would have wished for them to be statistically more meaningful. David kept a very tidy wicket and often provided us with a great platform with the bat. Special mention must be made of Andrew Forbes. His cricket during last


*** BRA 147-7 off 29.3 overs. Collins 73* Osborne 28. Wightman 6-1-31-2, Beverland 6-0-13-2.

2ND XI What a year it was! We reached the final of the Duke of Abercorn Cup and lost only twice in the season and that was to the same team. There were great victories over Ballyclare High, Methody and Bangor Grammar. The team was ably led by David Campbell and, despite a very good performance, lost out to a very strong RBAI team in the Duke of Abercorn final. It was great to see so many boys willing to come out and play cricket in a busy summer term when so many other school could not produce a 2nd XI. Roll on next summer! I.M.G.


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School Games COLTS XI


The Colts XI started their season very well with an excellent win in their Cup competition against Belfast High School. The game saw Max Burton bat extremely well scoring 88 runs of the team’s 129. Max showed tremendous technique and power in many of his shots throughout his innings. Another highlight of this game was the bowling performance of Aaron Lyons who took 3 wickets.

Results: Game 1: beat Ballyclare HS by 19 runs (McCullough Cup) Game 2: beat Friends by 94 runs (Derriaghy Cup – Round 1) Game 3: beat Ballyclare High by 96 runs (Derriaghy Cup – Round 2) Game 4: beat Friends by 32 runs (McCullough Cup) Game 5: beat Wallace by 34 runs (McCullough Cup) Game 6: beat Down High by 9 wickets (Derriaghy Cup – Round 3) Game 7: beat RBAI by 48 runs Game 8: beat Methodist College by 43 runs (McCullough Cup) Game 9: beat RBAI by 19 runs (Derriaghy Cup – Semi Final) Game 10: lost to Limavady GS by 4 wickets (Derriaghy Cup – Final)

The team went on to play Grosvenor Grammar School in the next round of the competition. Grosvenor batted first and scored 150 runs. Aaron Lyons again bowled well taking 2 wickets. Unfortunately, BRA scored 119 runs and lost the game however there were excellent batting performances from Max Burton, Harry Warke, Robbie Moffett and Tom Kendall. The team also played friendlies against Wallace, Ballyclare, Foyle and RBAI but unfortunately lost on all occasions. The Colts XI worked hard throughout the cricket season to develop. Each week saw different aspects of the game improve. Several of these players will have an impact on Senior cricket in years to come. Throughout the season there were valuable contributions from Daniel McDonald, Ben Greenlees, Oilver Lapworth, Tom Kendall, Zak Mills, Aaron Lyons, Euan Carrol, Daniel Simpson, Andrew Meeke and Owen Minford. It was a pleasure to work with this group of players. Special mention and thanks must go to Ben Greenlees who organised and led his team from the front. D.J.C.

As you can see from the above results, this was an exceptionally successful year for the Junior Colts cricket team. They won 9 out of their 10 games, only losing narrowly to Limavady Grammar School in the final of the Northern Irish Cup, which was the only game that the team underperformed in all season. The statistics below will show an exceptional year for Max Burton, who scored more runs in nine games than any U14 player that I can remember. Max was ably backed-up by Harry Warke, the captain, and Robbie Moffett. I was particularly pleased that when one of these three faltered, the others performed in their place. We were lucky that, in addition to the batting, bowling and fielding performances of Max, Harry and Robbie, we had significant back-up in all areas. Oran Corry bowled very useful slow left-arm, Tom Stewart proved a good wicketkeeper, Rory Linden, Ethan Thompson and Luca Johnston made contributions with both bat and ball, and a number


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The Owl 2015 of others: Joshua Ritchie, Oliver Allen, Ben Hopkins, Andrew Dorman, Reece Bowers, Aaron Heatley made contributions to an excellent competitive team throughout the year.


Batting Statistics: Max Burton 491 runs in 9 innings. Strike Rate 167.3 Average 70.1 Harry Warke 234 in 9 innings. Strike Rate 79.8 Average 29.25 Robbie Moffett 197 in 9 innings. Strike Rate 130.4 Average 32.8 M.R.S. JUNIOR XI

Our cricket season this year was a little disappointing in terms of results. We kicked the season off in May on a very cold and wet Saturday morning with a match against Ballyclare High School. The game started off slowly, but with perseverance and teamspirit, we won the match. Unfortunatel,y this good start did not continue! One of the highlights for us as a team was the opportunity to play a match at Castle Grounds against Wallace High School– although the surroundings and conditions were first class, our batting wasn’t and we lost the match. This year our team included some new players – two of whom had never played cricket before but who showed good potential and were keen to learn as well as eager to continue next season. As a team our skills and development have been greatly enhanced by the dedication and support of our coach Andre Halbert. Andre has recently returned home to New Zealand to continue his studies – we will certainly miss his exciting training methods and, most of all his, ‘banter’- thank you. Looking back, there are many positives to take from the season and as a team we look forward to building and developing on these next year. Andrew Greer (Captain)

The Form I cricket team performed admirably throughout the season. They were an enthusiastic and talented group with a number of exceptional players. However, the season began with disappointment. In their first outing, they lost their Cup match against Campbell College. After scoring a mediocre 37 in their 20 overs, BRA had Campbell College ‘on the ropes’ at 21-5, with some great bowling from Tom Davis, Max Braniff, Sam Caldwell and Evan Robinson. Unfortunately, Campbell College’s middle order secured a nerve-racking victory with 3 wickets to spare. Throughout the season there were a number of close games against Wallace High School, MCB, Foyle and Londonderry College, Ballyclare High School and Bangor Grammar. One of the many highlights of the season was a dominant display against Friends’. BRA scored 98 runs off their 20 overs, with Max Braniff hitting a magnificent 31, and Tom Davis a sublime 29. Sam Caldwell then took 4 wickets to bowl Friends’ out for 20 runs. Three of the stand-out players of the season were those who had never played before: Michael Harvey, Alex Dowds and Eliot Donaldson. Michael developed into an excellent bowler, bowling with pace and accuracy. He was our main wicket-taker in the second-half of the season, bowling a good ‘line and length’. Alex was our best fielder during the season and took a number of incredible catches. He also showed perseverance when opening the batting. Eliot is just an ‘all-round’ athlete. He developed into a very exciting, explosive and hard-hitting batsman, and also became a very competent wicket-keeper. During the course of the season, the team showed good potential and with hard work as well as determination have the makings of a very competitive team. In addition to the boys mentioned previously, the team could not have succeeded without the support from other players who turned up to practice every week: Noah Davis, Matthew Logan,


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School Games Jude Moorehead, Sam McConnell, Jonathan Forbes, Robin Montgomery, Ryan Simpson, Matthew Todd, Tom Megahey, Dylan Carlin, Ethan Quinn, Archie Wylie, Josh Mills and Ben Watt made the team a strong unit. Their tenacity, enthusiasm and teamspirit made for an enjoyable season for everyone. There is much talent here and every expectation that the side will improve as they move through the school. The boys can look forward with much anticipation to next year. T.H./P.M.

the semi-final stage and was unfortunate to lose. The team showed much enthusiasm and determination throughout the competition. I would like to congratulate Megan McCalmont and Rachel Baillie who continued NCU U17 Girls’ Regional Development Squad Training during 2015. It was fantastic to see so many girls who were dedicated to improving their skills this season. I would like to thank the girls for all of their hardwork, enthusiasm and determination. I look forward to working with them next year. K.E.B

GIRLS’ CRICKET BOYS’ ATHLETICS The Athletics season was slow to get going due to poor weather with early season fixtures against Coleraine Inst. and Methody having to be called off. However, once the season did get going, there were many excellent performances with a number of pupils being selected to represent both provincial and international teams. Congratulations to Matthew Dalton, Stephen McCorry, Shane Martin and Jack Plackett who were picked to represent Ulster at the GloHealth Tailteann Games. Stephen McCorry and Shane Martin were also selected to represent Ireland in the U17 Schools’ International. To cap off a fantastic summer of competition, Stephen McCorry (Hammer) and Shane Martin (Pole Vault) were selected to represent Northern Ireland at the UK School Games in September.

Cricket continued to be a popular extra-curricular activity throughout the summer for girls in Forms I-IV. A total of fifty girls took part in training and matches. Two teams competed in the U13 Super 8’s tournament in June at Friends’ School Lisburn, with BRA ‘A’ team reaching the semi-final stage by winning against Royal School Dungannon, Ballyclare High and Methody. Well done to all of the girls who took part. The U15 Girls’ Cup team won against Regent House by 25 runs in their Cup quarter-final with Irish Alvarado top-scoring with 23 runs. The team met a very experienced team from Royal School Dungannon at

The District Championships took place at the Antrim Forum on Tuesday 5th and Saturday 9th May. There were many fine performances which resulted in the Intermediate team finishing first overall and the Senior team finishing second. Athletes who finished in the top 3 in their event qualified to compete in the Ulster Championships held at the Antrim Forum. Special congratulations to the following boys who became district champions, Chris McLaughlin in the Senior Pole Vault, Jay McCrum in the Senior Triple Jump, Stephen McCorry in the Intermediate Hammer, Matthew Dalton in the Intermediate Shot and Discus, Callum Dalzell in the Intermediate Steeple Chase, Shane Martin in the Intermediate Pole Vault and Thomas Carey in the Intermediate Triple Jump. The Ulster Schools’ Athletics Championships took place on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th May at the Antrim Forum. Once again, there were many outstanding performances, particularly from the Intermediate boys who won the overall team


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The Owl 2015 competition. Shane Martin deserves a special mention as he set a new record on his way to becoming Ulster Champion in the Intermediate Pole Vault. In addition to Shane, the following boys also became Ulster Champions, Callum Dalzell in the Intermediate 1500m steeple Chase, Matthew Dalton in the Intermediate Discus, Scott McMurtry in the Senior Hammer and Chris McLaughlan in the Senior Pole Vault. The Irish Schools’ Championships took place in Tullamore on Saturday 30th May. The standard of athletics at this event is extremely high. The Academy pupils performed well with many just missing out on a medal. The Intermediate Boys’ team once again performed very well and won the overall team completion and thus became Irish Champions. Special congratulations to Shane Martin and Stepehn McCorry who became Irish Champions in the Intermediate Pole Vault and Hammer respectively. I would like to thank all staff involved with Boys’ Athletics. The running of the Athletics Club would not be possible without staff giving generously of their time. Mr Carolan, Mr Patterson, Mr Roberts, Mr Moffett, and Mr D.J. Creighton coached with enthusiasm and their commitment is greatly appreciated. C.M.C.

DISTRICT CHAMPIONSHIPS Senior Chris McLaughlin 1st Pole Vault 2.80m Alex Steenson 2nd Shot 11.40m and 3rd Discus 30.34m Jay McCrum 2nd Long Jump and 1st Triple Jump 12.22m Scott McMurtry 2nd Hammer 44.66m 4 x 100m (Roy Chia, Tim Robinson, Lewis Davidson, David McCullough) 2nd 48.4 secs Tim Robinson 4th 100m 12.1 secs and 200m 24.9 secs Roy Chia 5th 100m 12.4 secs David Campbell 4th Discus 25.85 m and 6th Shot 9.18m Intermediate Stephen McCorry 1st Hammer (new record) 58.66m and 3rd Discus 31.43m Matthew Dalton 1st Shot 13.67m and 1st Discus 45.7m Callum Dalzell 1st 1500 Steeple Chase 4 min 55 secs Shane Martin 1st Pole Vault 3.70 m and 3rd Triple Jump 11.41m Thomas Carey 1st Triple Jump 11.90 m Andrew Milligan 2nd 400m 55 secs and 2nd 800m 2min 8 secs Daniel Davison 3rd 1500m 4 min 44 secs Tom McAlister 2nd Long Jump 5.22m Lewis Davidson 2nd 400m 55.7 secs


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School Games 4x100m (Shane Martin, Abdullah Sabri, Josh Hegarty, Matthew Dalton) 3rd 47.5 secs Conor Foster 3rd Pole Vault 2.20m Jason Poots 4th Hammer 25.05m Josh Hegarty 5th 100m 12.4 secs and 4th 200m 24.9 secs Abdullah Sabri 5th 200m 26.5 secs James Lavery 6th Shot 9.59m Ryan Davidson 5th 800m 2min 22secs Jack MacNeill 6th Javelin 27.74 m Cameron McCartney 6th 3000m 10min 49 secs Junior Brandon Hassan 2nd Junior Boys’ Triple Jump 10.20m Daniel Logan 2nd Junior Boys’ Javelin 33.23m and 3rd Junior Boys’ Triple Jump 10.17 m Charlie George 2nd Junior Boys’ Discus 26.28 m James Getty 2nd Junior Boys’ 80m Hurdles 17.2 s Junior 4 x 100m relay team (D. Logan, B. Hassan, H. Russell, J. Getty) 3rd 51.2s Minor Jack Higgins 2nd Minor High Jump 1.38m Mini Mini 4 x100m relay team (A. Mahood, L. Nixon, O. McGrath, M. McDowell) 3rd. 59.2s

Andrew Milligan 4th 800m 2.08.71 and 4th 400m 56.60s Lewis Davidson 6th 400m 57.77s Daniel Davidson 9th 1500m Tom McAlister 9th Long Jump Senior Scott McMurtry 1st Hammer 40.06 Chris McLoughlin 1st Pole Vault 2.85m Jay McCrum 3rd Triple Jump 12.96m, 3rd Long Jump 6.09m 4x100m Relay 4th (Tim Robinson, Roy Chia, Lewis Davidson and David McCullough) 46.77s Irish Schools Championships Junior Boys Daniel Logan 4th Triple Jump 11.01m Intermediate Boys (winners of the overall points cup). Shame Martin 1st Pole Vault 4.15m Stephen McCorry 1st Hammer 59.42m Thomas Carey 4th Triple Jump 12.49m Matthew Dalton 4th Discus 39.27m & 7th Shot Putt 13.01m Callum Dalzell 5th 1500m Steeplechase 4min 47 secs 4 x 100m relay ( Shane Martin, Matthew Dalton, Josh Hegarty, Abdullah Sabri). 7th 47.88secs

Ulster School Championships Minor Jack Higgins 9th High Jump Junior Daniel Logan 3rd Triple Jump 10.60m and 5th Javelin 28.45m Charlie George 7th Discus Brandon Hassan 6th Triple Jump 10.00m 4 x100m Relay 5th (Charlie George, Daniel Logan, Brandon Hassan, Harry Robinson) 50.32

Intermediate (Winners of the overall points Cup) Shane Martin 1st Pole Vault 4.02m (NR) and 6th Triple Jump 11.60m Matthew Dalton 1st Discus 43.81m and 2nd Shot Putt 14.61m Callum Dalzell 1st 1500m Steeple Chase 4.49.17 Stephen McCorry 2nd Hammer 59.39m and 4th Discus 29.98m Conor Foster 2nd Pole Vault 2.45M 4x 100m Relay 2nd (Matthew Dalton, Shane martin, Josh Hegarty, Abdullah Sabri) 47.16secs Thomas Carey 3rd Triple Jump 12.14m

Senior Boys Scott McMurtry 5th Hammer Christopher McLoughlin 4th Pole Vault 2.80m Jay McCrum. 5th Long Jump 6.22m and 6th Triple Jump 12.28m C.M.C.

GIRLS’ ATHLETICS CLUB A.R. Foster Cup – Best performance by a Minor girl – Erin McMahon Air Formations Signals Cup – Best performance by a Junior girl – Harriet Dougan Glanville Cup – Best performance by an Intermediate girl – Katie Ritchie Girdwood Cup – Best performance by a Senior girl – Melissa Moffett The Athletics season began in March with training at Roughfort. At the end of April, we competed in the traditional Inter Schools’ Meeting between Glenlola, Hunterhouse, Methody and Strathearn at Ballykillaire track. This was the first opportunity for athletes to prepare themselves for the season ahead.


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I would like to wish Melissa Moffett all the best for university and hope that she will continue to participate in athletics. Her commitment to athletics over the past seven years has been outstanding. I congratulate all of the girls on another successful season and I hope that all of our athletes enjoyed this year’s training and competition. Their dedication and efforts have been rewarded. I would encourage all of the girls to continue developing their passion for athletics and build upon personal targets in the future. I would like to thank Mr Moffett for his continued support. Much of the success of our athletes would not be possible without him. I have learnt a lot from him, there is no question he cannot answer! I would also like to thank Miss Brady, Miss Rodgers and past pupils, Hannah Allen and Sarah McGrath, for their knowledge, hard-work and enthusiasm for coaching throughout the Athletics season. J.R.S. District Athletics Championships 56 girls were entered for the District Championships. 24 Schools competed in the District Championships on Tuesday 5th May at Antrim Forum. 21 girls qualified for the Ulster Championships, some qualifying in two events. In total 9 Gold medals, 6 Silver and 9 Bronze medals were won. The Intermediate and Senior teams were 2nd overall. Mini 1st 100m Erin McMahon Qualified for Ulster’s 2nd Long Jump Erin McMahon Q 3rd 800m Aoife Corry 4th 800m Bryanna Catney Minor 2nd High Jump Hannah Hill Q 3rd 800m Rachel Duff Junior 1st 100m Amie Bradley Q 3rd 200m Amie Bradley Q 2nd 75m Hurdles Harriet Dougan Q 2nd Pole Vault Harriet Dougan *New PB Q 3rd Pole Vault Darcey Collins *New PB Q 6th 800m Thomasa Kennedy 6th Shot Ellie Bradley 7th Javelin Ellie Bradley Intermediate & Senior Results Saturday 9th May Mini 800m Final 5th Aoife Corry 9th Bryanna Catney

Minor 800m Final 5th Rachel Duff Intermediate – Overall Team position 2nd 1st 300m Hurdles & 3rd 100m Beth Magill Q 1st Hammer & 3rd Discus Erin Moffett Q 1st Pole Vault (Q) & 4th Triple Jump Katie Ritchie 1st Relay (Beth Magill, Amie Bradley, Alice Reid, Trinity Geddis) Q 2nd 300m & 3rd 200m Alice Reid Q 3rd 800m Katy Thompson Q 3rd Hammer Lauren Hamilton Q 3rd Pole Vault (Q) & 5th Triple Jump Trinity Geddis 4th 80m Hurdles & 5th 300m Hurdles Laura Fleck 5th 1500m Ellen Dalzell 5th Long Jump Lucy Stewart Senior – Overall Team position 2nd 1st Hammer & 1st Pole Vault Melissa Moffett Q 1st 200m & 3rd Long Jump Megan Geddis Q 1st 1500m Hannah Lau Q 2nd Relay (Megan Geddis, Lauren Crothers, Abbie Brown, Ellen Dalzell) Q 3rd 100m Lauren Crothers Q 3rd 800m Abbie Brown Q

Ulster Schools’ Athletics Championships 15th & 16th May Antrim Forum 5 Gold medals, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze medals were won at the Ulster Championships. 5 girls qualified for the Irish Championships. The Mini team was 4th, Junior and Intermediate teams were 3rd and the Senior team was 5th overall. Mini (Team Position 4th) 2nd 100m 13.6 Erin McMahon 3rd Long Jump 4.25m Erin McMahon Minor 1st High Jump 1.40m *New PB* Hannah Hill Junior (Team Position – 3rd) 1st Pole Vault 2.50m Harriet Dougan *Current Ulster Schools’ Junior Record* Qualified for Irish 3rd 100m 13.14 Amie Bradley 3rd Pole Vault 2.20m Darcey Collins *New PB* Q 4th 75mH 13.24 Harriet Dougan 5th 200m 28.61 Amie Bradley Intermediate (Team Position 3rd) 1st Pole Vault 2.70m Katie Ritchie Q 2nd Hammer 36.38m Erin Moffett Q 4th 300m Hurdles 49.23 Beth Magill 4th Hammer Lauren Hamilton 4th Pole Vault 2m Trinity Geddis 4th Inter Relay 54.41


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The Owl 2015 with the aim of developing their badminton skills whilst socialising with other pupils in the school.

Senior (Team Position 5th) 1st Pole Vault 2.10m Melissa Moffett Q 1st Hammer 31.84m Melissa Moffett Q 4th 200m 29.01 Megan Geddis 6th 1500m 5.48.96 Hannah Lau

A.M.M./ S.C.S.

Irish Schools’ Athletics Saturday 30th May Tullamore


Senior Girls 5th Hammer 32.93m & 4th Pole Vault 2.30m Melissa Moffett Intermediate Girls 2nd Pole Vault 2.75m Katie Ritchie 8th Hammer 35.40m Erin Moffett Junior Girls 2nd Pole Vault 2.55m Harriet Dougan 4th Pole Vault 2.35m Darcey Collins *New PB* Sports Day Sports Day was held at Roughfort on Monday 16th June. Thankfully it was a dry day and approximately 180 girls were able to take part. There were many good performances and a good time was had by all. The House Cup was won by Shaw. 1st 476 Shaw 2nd 371 Pottinger 3rd 367 Cairns 4th 295 Currie Irish Schools’ Interprovincial Friday 19th June Santry Well done to Katie Ritchie Form IV and Erin Moffett Form IV who were selected as a result of their performances to represent Ulster in the Schools’ Inter-Provincial at Santry on Friday 19th June. Katie was 4th in the pole vault (2.60m) and Erin was 8th in the hammer with a throw of 38.54m. UK School Games 3rd – 6th September Manchester Congratulations to Erin Moffett who was selected to represent Northern Ireland in the UK School Games in Manchester from the 3rd to 6th September. Erin finished 7th in the Hammer with a throw of 36.28m. Well done on such a fantastic achievement. J.R.S. BADMINTON The Badminton Club ran weekly in the Sports Hall this year. A total of 150 pupils from all forms joined

Cross Country Running continues to be a popular sport in Belfast Royal Academy. In the championship races, success was to be had at both Senior and Intermediate levels. Greatest success, however, was enjoyed by Harriet Dougan, running at Junior level. In the District Championships, she was to cross the finishing line in a commendable 15th place. She was really to show her talent in the Ulster Schools’ Championships, held as ever, in the City of Belfast Playing Fields at Mallusk. Facing strong competition, she was to finish 13th and in so-doing, was to be the only Academy pupil to qualify for the Irish Schools’ Championships. Here, in spite of an unfortunate fall at the start of the race, she completed the course in 13th place. Should Harriet choose to remain in the sport, her future is indeed bright. Elsewhere, the Senior boys and Intermediate girls upheld the strong traditions of the Club. The girls, led by Rioghnach Catney and Ellen Dalzell, were placed third in the District Championships and seventh in the Ulsters. Rioghnach, who was 4th finisher in the Districts and 17th in the Ulsters, narrowly missed out on qualification for the Irish Schools. So too did Callum Dalzell, who was 7th in the District Championships and 16th in the Ulsters. We were delighted to secure the services of former pupil Mr Michael Roberts, who volunteered to coach the elite squad. An experienced coach, who has worked with American high school and collegiate squads, he has already proved to be an invaluable asset to the Club. We look forward to continuing our association. J.H.C.


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again from our performance. As these boys get older and stronger, I have no doubt they will bring success to the school.

Judithe Allen and Amy O’Donnell competed in the May Fitzgibbon foursomes at Tandragee Golf Club on Sunday 7th June. Playing in fair but testing conditions, the girls triumphed in the gross scoring competition and as a result of this success, represented Ulster in the All-Ireland Final at Greystones Golf Club, Dublin on 27th July.

During the summer of 2015, Tom McKibben and Keaton Hamill-Morrison achieved some tremendous success. Tom won the Under 12 World Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina. This is an incredible feat. Later in the summer holidays, he also won the under 12 Irish Junior Open at Killymoon. Alongside Tom’s success, Keaton achieved notable recognition by lifting the Rory McIlroy Cup in Holywood, Co. Antrim. Both boys are highly committed and driven to succeed. I look forward to further success in the coming years. MIXED GOLF

Further to this, both girls were selected for the Ulster Inter-Provincial team. They competed against Munster, Leinster and Connacht at Wexford Golf Club during the 7th-9th July. This is a tremendous achievement and is welcome reward for the hardwork they have put in throughout the year. P.M.

BOYS’ GOLF Owen Donnelly (FIV), Rhys Goodall(FIII), Keaton Hamill-Morrison(FI) and Tom McKibben (FI) competed in the Winter League at Shandon Park Golf Course this year against MCB, RBAI and Campbell College. Despite fielding a very young and inexperienced team (our opposition teams consisted of players 16-18yrs old), we finished second in our group, losing narrowly to Campbell College. It was only the group winners that progressed to the semifinal stage so we exited the competition earlier than we had hoped. However, it was a valuable experience for our young talented golfers, one that will stand them in good stead for later years. The aforementioned boys also competed in the Ulster Schools’ Scratch Competition at Bangor Golf Club earlier this year. Despite playing some excellent golf, none of the boys was able to post scores to compete with some of the older, more experienced players from some other schools. Our best score was 6 over par from Rhys Goodall. The winning score was one under par. Much encouragement was taken

We competed in the Darren Clarke Schools’ league this year with much optimism for success. Playing the strongest team we have had for many years, we narrowly lost to St. Malachy’s at the final hurdle. The competition favours those with higher handicaps, so despite having the majority of our team playing off single figure handicaps, we were always going to struggle against players with higher handicaps were getting many extra shots. This proved to be the case in our final group match against St. Malachy’s. Despite comfortably beating Sir Edmund Rice College, Our Lady St. Patrick’s and St. Mary’s; defeat against St. Malachy’s in our final group match saw us leave the competition. Our squad included, Judithe Allen, Amy O’Donnell, Owen Donnelly, Rhys Goodall, Ben Greenlees, Max Burton, Keaton Hamill-Morrison Tom McKibben and Andrew Greer. I have thoroughly enjoyed taking the Golf team this year. I am confident over the next few years we will achieve much success as our current crop of players are young but very talented. P.M.


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In the 2014/15 season the Football team competed in the Belfast Cup and Northern Ireland Cup.

2015 was a relatively successful year for the BRA Karting Team. We started our season with several practice sessions at Need4Speed in Doagh. This was our second year of racing here, after racing at Raceview, Ballymena in 2013. We ran a successful stall at the Extra-Curricular Fair in October 2014, which resulted in 43 people trying school karting for the first time. Form One participants were taken on a separate date to Doagh for an A&D session, which served well as a team-building afternoon. The other years in school were mixed in with the team from 2014 for the other A&D sessions, which also ran successfully in October. Another A&D session ran at Doagh in December, which determined who would be selected for the team.

Our Belfast Cup 1st round game was at home to Wellington College. The first half was a close encounter, with neither team allowing the other time on the ball. Both teams struggled to retain possession and were limited to long-range efforts. The half ended 0-0. Wellington began the second period the brighter of the two teams and impressive forward play saw them score two early goals. With this lead they began to play more defensively and were difficult to break down. The Academy did create several chances but were unable to convert any of these. The game finished 2-0. In the Northern Ireland Cup we faced Ballymena Academy. The teams were evenly matched throughout the game, which was played in difficult conditions. It was exciting from start to finish – plenty of shots on target and full-blooded tackles. Ballymena took the lead mid-way through the second half and held on to win 1-0. This was despite intense pressure from the Academy in the final 10 minutes of the game. The results do not tell the whole story. Every practice was well attended with the squad keen and eager to learn and progress. The games were played in good spirit with each player showing grit and determination. R.B.

BRA entered 4 teams into the 2015 BSKC: BRA A: Stephen Rea, Michael Woods and David Rea BRA B: Oliver Vick, Nathan Duddy and Peter O’Neill Both BRA A and BRA B qualified for the National Final in England after finishing 1st and 2nd at Doagh - BRA C and BRA D finished 3rd and 4th. The National Final in England took place on 17th July. The weather was fantastic on both the practice day and on the day of the final. Both teams took part in a one-hour practice the day before the tournament. Looking at our timesheets that evening, we looked destined for a top 15 finish in the UK. Unfortunately, Saturday’s events would tell another story. Michael was on course to finish 4th in his first race, however, the marshals unfairly penalised him for contact and as a result, he finished 16th. As it was the first race of the day, it was very demoralising, and proved to be a position from which we would not recover. Overall however, Michael finished 4th in his second race, but that was our only top ten finish. This meant that we were not winning many points. Oliver was penalised as well, despite being in 13th. BRA A finished 21st in the UK, whilst BRA B finished 24th. Had Michael not been penalised, BRA


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School Games A would’ve finished 14th, which was around where we thought we would’ve been. Despite all these unfortunate incidents, the team had a fantastic weekend elsewhere, visiting Silverstone the next day before flying home.


I would like to take the opportunity to thank Oliver Vick for his work as Captain of BRA Karting from 2013-2015. Oliver’s enthusiasm and fantastic decision-making will be missed as he leaves BRA for university. The team would also like to wish Peter O’Neill and Shahrukh Mohammad well for the future, as they too leave the team. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank Mrs Alexander for her never-ending dedication when it comes to karting. BRA Karting will continue to grow over the next few years. As the new Captain of the team, my aim is to bring the team as close to the top of the UK rankings as possible, and also to introduce a new, non-competitive charity tournament, which will involve BRA pupils, but will be run by myself externally. This is set to launch in 2016. It is worth mentioning that karting is open to anyone in school regardless of age, gender or ability. We try to organise as many events as possible at the lowest possible cost. I look forward to captaining one of the best teams in Belfast Royal Academy. We have a couple of very successful years ahead. Stephen Rea (Form LVI) NETBALL This year we had ten teams playing competitive games in the Belfast Schools’ Area League. We had record numbers attend training with over 170 girls taking part in extra-curricular netball. The Minor B and Junior B teams reached their League Finals, with the Minor B team winning against Grosvenor (12-4). The Minor A reached the semi-final of the Northern Ireland Plate competition, while both the Junior A and Senior A teams reached the semi-final of the Northern Ireland Shield competitions. We finished our season with our first Netball Awards dinner at Greenisland Golf Club. Netball in school has continued to grow with talented and committed players emerging throughout the Club. I would like to thank all of the girls involved this year for their effort and commitment to training. Representative Honours U15 Regional Development Squad – Julliah Allen U19 Belfast Area Schools’ Squad – Abbie Brown, Kellie McLean, Emer Gribbon, Lauren McCullough, Lori Turkington, Rachel Miller

Form I Netball training was on a Tuesday after school with four teams playing competitive matches against other schools. The girls were very enthusiastic and extremely competitive, while still having a good sense of fun and acquiring new skills. Their commitment enabled us to enter a team in both the Belfast ‘A’ and ‘B’ Leagues. The ‘A’ team showed much promise and had strong wins against Dominican (13-3), Grosvenor (15-2), Rockport (11-4) and Bloomfield (8-2), only to lose narrowly to Rathmore (7-10) and coming second in their league section. Captain: Megan Warke Vice Captain: Leah Doran Player of the Year: Megan Warke Most Improved Player: Ella Harvey ‘A’ Squad: Ella Harvey, Emma Dobbin, Leah Doran, Erin McMahon, Ellie Collins, Monica Del Castillo, Niamh McIvor, Megan Warke, Nicole McClean. Over the last year, the 1st year Netball ‘A’ team feel that we have improved immensely and have really come together as a team. Our last match we played was the toughest but we started off playing Bloomfield (Away) and won 8-2. We then played Dominican College (Home) and won by 10 goals.  Our next match was Grosvenor (Away) with a 15-2 win.  Rockport (Home) was a tougher match but we managed to beat them 11-4.  Unfortunately, on our last match against Rathmore (Away), we lost 8-5.  This was our only defeat for the season.  Well done to all the team - hopefully we’ll make it a clean sweep next year! We really couldn’t have done it without our coaches, Ms. Winning and Miss Brady, as they helped and encouraged us throughout the year. Megan Warke & Leah Doran (FI)


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The Owl 2015 The ‘B’ team demonstrated good potential. Their first game of the season against Dominican College resulted in a draw (1-1) and unfortunately this was followed by two narrow losses to Grosvenor Grammar (6-7) and Victoria College (3-7). Despite losing, the girls continued to work hard at training throughout the year, and improved their skills greatly.


Captain: Abbie Baxter Vice Captain: Eden McCoubrey Player of the Year: Abbie Baxter Most Improved Player: Megan Bloomfield B Squad: Lauren Macauley, Megan Bloomfield, Abbie Baxter, Aoife Corry, Grace McQueen, Molly Noble, Bethany Hunter, Eden McCoubrey, Ellie Murray, Erin McQuiston. Our team has improved a great deal this year. We started off drawing 1-1 with Dominican College and the player of the match was Lauren Macauley. In our next match we had improved both attacking and defensive aspects of our play, but unfortunately we lost 7-6 to Grosvenor. The player of the match was Eden McCoubrey and we all worked very hard. Unfortunately, we also lost our next match to Victoria College 7-3, as we aimed to keep the goal difference low. Hopefully next year we will have more wins to show for the hard work and determination we put in at training. Abbie Baxter & Eden McCoubrey (FI) The Form I girls also took part in the annual U13 tournament at Rockport. We finished second in our section which was a great achievement as they were playing both year eight and year nine teams. Fourteen girls also attended the Open European Netball Championships in May at the Antrim Forum. The pupils were courtside volunteers and for them this was a fantastic opportunity to experience fast-paced netball action, showcasing the elite game. I would like to thank the girls for their commitment and determination at training. The levels of participation and enthusiasm were excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed working with them this season. I hope we continue to build upon the skills and promise shown next year. K.E.B.

Captain: Julia Forbes Vice Captain: Rachel Duff Player of the Year: Fabienne Cochrane Most Improved Player: Hannah Hill Minor A Squad: Rachel Duff, Fabienne Cochrane, Olivia Donaldson, Layla Creaney, Julia Uprichard, Julia Forbes, Hannah Hill, Naoise McCormick, Ellie Armstrong. The Minor ‘A’ Netball team won 5 out of 7 matches this season. We had a very strong squad this year and all played to a very high standard throughout our games. Even when we were behind we worked hard to get a goal and not to let the other team score. Overall, we had an excellent season, well done to the whole squad. Julia Forbes (Captain) MINOR ‘B’ NETBALL

Captain: Jessica Kendell Vice Captain: Nia McVicker Player of the Year: Jessica Kendell Most Improved Player: Sophia Del Castillo Minor B Squad: Rebecca Caughey, Jessica Kendell, Zara McClean, Nia McVicker, Cliodhna McNaughton, Sophia Del Castillo, Emma Higgins,


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School Games Sophie Bloomfield, Lois Sharpe, Sophie Mills, Laura Meeke, Caitlin Drain. Our very first match was against Girls’ Model. This was a home match and we won 10-0. I was nervous at the start but I thought we played very well. I got player of the match. Our second match was against Bloomfield where we drew 11-11. It wasn’t our best match as it was tough but we tried our best. It was also a home match, and Sophia Del Castillo was awarded player of the match for brilliant work as goal defence. Our 3rd match was against Hazelwood. It was our best match as we won 21-0. The whole squad played at their best and worked very hard. It was an away and I got player of the match. Our last match was against Aquinas. It was a tight match and they were a very strong team, but we pushed through and won 11-8. Emma Higgins got player of the match as she was excellent in defence.

from strength to strength, to win the match 12-4. Well done to the whole squad who contributed to the team’s match success. The players trained hard each week to improve their skills and were always very enthusiastic and competitive. I would like to thank the girls for their effort and look forward to training with them in the coming season. K.E.B. JUNIOR ‘A’ NETBALL

The season ended by winning our league final, defeating Grosvenor 12-4. It was a very successful season. We would like to thank Miss Brady and Mrs Winning for all of their help and support. Jessica Kendell (Captain) Commitment from the Minor netball squad was excellent this year and we had over forty girls attending training each week. The Minor ‘A’ team won their league matches against St. Genevieve’s (217), St. Dominic’s (18-3) and Rockport School (18-1), only missing qualification for their league finals by losing to a strong Grosvenor team (5-13). However, the team continued to train hard each week and reached the semi-final of the Northern Ireland Plate competition, losing against a strong side from Wallace High School. The Minor ‘B’ team was unbeaten all season. They had notable wins against Girls’ Model (10-0), Hazelwood (21-0) and Aquinas (11-8). They also drew at home to Bloomfield (11-11). They went on to face Grosvenor in the Minor ‘B’ League finals. The opening quarter of the league final was fiercely contested with Grosvenor finishing ahead by three goals to one. BRA’s defensive combination of Sophia Del Castillo, Emma Higgins and Cliodhna McNaughton worked hard to close down the Grosvenor attack. The score at half-time was 6-3 to BRA. Centre court capitalised on winning possession, with some excellent passing from Nia McVicker and Zara McClean and goals were converted successfully by Rebecca Caughey and Jessica Kendell. At the beginning of the final quarter, the Academy went

Captain: Julliah Allen Vice Captain: Amber McCalmont Player of the Year: Niamh Gutermann Most Improved Player: Rachel Toan Junior ‘A’ Squad: Caitlin Joyce, Elizabeth Macauley, Amber McCalmont, Rachel Toan, Thea Reddington, Niamh Gutermann, Kenzie Arbuthnot, Julliah Allen, Carly McComb. The Junior ‘A’ Team had a successful and enjoyable season despite playing in a tough league group. We played four matches winning against St. Dominic’s and Rockport but Methody and Aquinas defeated us. We played St. Mary’s in the first round of the Cup winning 11-10 but unfortunately, in the second round Aquinas who narrowly won (9-7), put us out of the Cup. In the Junior Shield, we played two matches winning against Dromore but again, unfortunately, we lost in the semi-final against Mount Lourdes. Thank you to all of the girls for coming to training every week and thank you to our coaches Miss Brady and Mrs Winning for their commitment and encouragement throughout the season. Julliah Allen (Captain)


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with good wins against St. Dominic’s and Rockport, but losses against strong teams from Aquinas and Methody. We had good success in the Junior Shield competition where we reached the semi-final stage. Unfortunately, we lost to a very talented Mount Lourdes Junior squad. The girls were hard working and dedicated to netball and I thank them for their efforts throughout the season. Well done to Julliah Allen, captain of the Junior ‘A’ squad who was selected for the U15 Regional Development Academy.

Captain: Olivia McConnell Vice Captain: Katie Baird Player of the Year: Olivia McConnell Most Improved Player: Katie Baird Junior ‘B’ Squad: Chloe Sayers, Elisa McCullagh, Katie Baird, Darcey Collins, Lauren O’Donnell, Olivia McConnell, Jaimie Eaglen, Rebecca Holmes, Katie Purvis, Morgan Shields. Our first netball match away was against Hunterhouse, on the 11th November. This match started off the season well with a 13-3 win and the player of the match was Olivia McConnell. The team worked well together to get the result we wanted. The next match was against Hazelwood and this was also an away fixture. Everyone did their best and got a great result in the end. The final score was 25-3 and the player of the match was Jaimie Eaglen, who worked very hard to prevent the opposition from scoring. Our final match in our section was on the 13th January against Ashfield at home. The match would determine if we got into the Junior B League final. Fortunately, we won with a great score 13-1, and the player of the match was Olivia McConnell. The whole team put a great deal of work into the match and came out with a great win. Our league final match was against Dominican College. Unfortunately, this match didn’t go our way as we lost. It was a really tough match. However, overall we had a very successful season. The whole team put in a lot of hard work and training, thanks to the coaches Mrs Winning and Miss Brady. Our coaches played a major role in our team winning our section and getting us to the League final. Olivia McConnell (Captain) The Junior netball squads trained on Monday afternoons and improved their skill-set and matchplay greatly. The Junior ‘A’ team had a mixed season

The Junior ‘B’ team had a very successful season winning against Hunterhouse, Hazelwood and Ashfield to reach their League final against Dominican College. The team met very strong competitors in the Dominican team. From the first whistle it was clear that Dominican was not going to be content with Silver. Our girls fought hard contesting many 50/50 chances but unfortunately luck was not on their side. Towards the end of the second half, BRA found a better flow to their play and scored 3 consecutive goals, which clearly posed a threat to the well-drilled Dominican team. Unfortunately, the girls were defeated (12-6) but showed great team spirit and a desire to strive for gold next year. I would like to congratulate and thank the girls for their effort and teamwork. It was great to see so many girls in Form III taking part and I hope they continue playing netball next year. Well done to all of the girls involved. K.E.B.


Captain: Hannah Edgar Vice Captain: Naomi Martin Player of the Year: Naomi Martin Most Improved Player: Amber Vick


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School Games Intermediate ‘A’ Squad: Molly Gould, Hannah Edgar, Amber Vick, Ellen Dalzell, Naomi Martin, Mary Cousins, Clodagh Poots, Caitlyn Hoey, Kirstyn Smith. Although our netball season got off to a slow start, our team dynamics improved massively with each match, gaining us a much-deserved win over Domincan College in the last match of the season, with an end score of 12-7. The Inter ‘A’ team this year was a completely new team, with the previous Inter ‘A’ team all having moved up to the Seniors. Due to this, it took a while for us to get on our feet, but throughout this season, despite the fact we only won a few matches, we gained valuable skills to help us in our remaining years of school netball. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank Miss Brady and Mrs Winning for their constant support and help throughout the season.  Hannah Edgar (Captain)

The Intermediate netball squad met every Thursday after school. The girls who came were enthusiastic and showed a great desire to improve their technical skills and game plan. The Intermediate ‘A’ team was in a strong group and although they played well and showed great determination throughout each match, they did not progress through to their league semifinals. They won against Dominican (12-7), however, there were losses against Aquinas, Rockport and Methody. The Intermediate ‘B’ team had a successful season and won against Girls’ Model (14-3), Hazelwood (19-1) and Wellington (23-3). However, they did not progress through to their league finals as they lost their final match to Hunterhouse (9-13). It was a very enjoyable year and I would like to thank the girls for their commitment and determination at matches and training. K.E.B.


Captain: Ciara Patterson Vice Captain: Elish McEwan Player of the Year: Elish McEwan Most Improved Player: Laura Loboda Intermediate ‘B’ Squad: Elish McEwan, Jenny Fekkes, Danni Wilson, Ciara Patterson, Laura Loboda, Eileen Donaldson, Alix McKee, Natasha Kelly, Tia Parker, Lucy Gaston, Lucia McCorry. The Intermediate ‘B’ team had a very successful year wining almost all of our matches. The first match we played was against Girls’ Model and we beat them 14-3. This excellent win gave us great confidence as a team. Our second match, we narrowly lost against Hunterhouse, although we felt we played a good game. We then played Hazelwood who we beat with an excellent score of 19-1, this was a brilliant result for us as a team. Then our final match was against Wellington, who we also beat with a score of 23-3. This has been a very successful year for the Intermediate ‘B’ side and as a team we have gained new skills. Ciara Patterson (Captain)

Captain: Rachel Miller Vice Captain: Lauren McCullough Player of the Year: Emer Gribbon Most Improved Player: Rachel Miller Senior Squad: Lauren McCullough, Kellie McLean, Courtney Duncan, Rachel Miller, Emer Gribbon, Abbie Brown, Lori Turkington, Emma MacDougall, Holly Sharpe, Hannah Torrens, Hannah McCalmont, Melissa Moffett. The Senior netball team have had a very successful season this year. As a team, we train twice every week, working together to improve our skills and fitness. This helped us to bond as a team, on and off the court. Every girl was very committed and tried her best at every training session throughout the season. Our first match was an extremely promising beginning to the season, as we lost narrowly to Rathmore ‘A’, one of the best teams in N.I. Their


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The Owl 2015 coach gave us a huge compliment, in that we were the first team in seven years to give them such good competition. This motivated us to improve even further for the rest of the season. Throughout the season we had many successful wins against Methody, St. Paul’s and Grosvenor ‘A’. The development of our skills was starting to give us an edge over our competitors, and, as a team, we voted Holly Sharpe, Emer Gribbon, Abbie Brown and Rachel Miller as player of the match throughout the season. We progressed to the second round of the Cup, but we narrowly lost out to Sacred Heart Newry, which was a huge disappointment considering how well we played. However, we then entered into the N.I. Shield competition and progressed to the semi-final, where, unfortunately, we were knocked out by St. Dominic’s, who then went on to win. A number of girls were selected for the Belfast Under 19 Netball Squad: Lauren McCullough, Abbie Brown, Emer Gribbon, Kellie McLean, Lori Turkington and Rachel Miller. This was a great achievement for these girls, who gained valuable skills training with many other players from across Belfast. It was a very valuable and enjoyable experience which allowed us to introduce these new skills into our own school. We finished the training programme with a tournament against other regions of Northern Ireland and Abbie Brown was selected as player of the tournament. The Senior netball team would not have been successful without the committed work from Miss Brady and Mrs Winning, both of whom guided us through every training session and pushed us to our limits, in order to win many of our matches. They also organised an extremely successful end-ofseason Netball Awards dinner, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all netball teams throughout the school. It was a fantastic last season for the Middle Sixth girls on the team, who are very grateful for their seven years of great quality netball at BRA. Rachel Miller & Lauren McCullough (MVI)

Turkington, Emer Gribbon, Kellie McLean and Lauren McCullough was also selected for the Belfast Area, U19 Netball Squad. After several weeks of training with new teammates from different schools, the girls competed against five other areas and preformed well with Abbie being awarded Player of the Tournament. Many of this season’s Senior players are in MVI and, sadly, we must say farewell. I would like to thank each girl for her commitment and determination throughout many years of netball and I hope they continue playing in the future. I thank the squad for their continued motivation and efforts throughout the year and look forward to next year. I would like to thank Ms. Winning for her hard-work coaching the squads throughout the season. SHOW-JUMPING


The Show-Jumping team had yet another successful season in 2014-2015, under the excellent leadership of their chef d’équipe, Mr Murphy. The team competed in the Open League of the Meadows Equestrian centre Inter-Schools’ league which was generously sponsored by TRI-equestrian. The team this year comprised Mimi Joffroy (captain), Ana Desmond, Justine Harding and Amber Vick.

This year the girls played in the Senior ‘A’ League and had a challenging year. It was a mixed season for the team who were a very committed, hard-working group of girls. The team played a number of League matches but did not make it to the League finals. However, we won against a strong Methody side to reach the semi-final of the N.I. Shield competition. Unfortunately, we lost to St. Dominic’s who went on to win the competition.

The team debuted at the second week of the league on Saturday 11th October and was placed first in the Open team class (maximum height 1m). This brilliant start to the season placed the team in good stead for the rest of the league, despite missing the first leg. The team was unfortunately not placed the following week, though Ana Desmond (LVI) placed 4th in the highly competitive Premier Individual competition (maximum height 1.10m) that week with her horse Lizzy.

I would like to congratulate Rachel Miller, who was an excellent captain, and led by example throughout the year. Rachel along with Abbie Brown, Lori

The fourth leg of the league took place on the 13th December, where the team was placed 3rd in an extremely tight competition. Mimi Joffroy (LVI)


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School Games was also placed 5th individually in the Open class, whilst Savannah Thompson (FV) jumped clear in the Novice Individual class. The final of the Inter-Schools’ league was held on Saturday 10th January 2015, where the team finished 5th and placed 6th in the overall league with a total of 67 points. Savannah Thompson finished 23rd overall in the Novice Individual league, Mimi Joffroy was 15th in the Open Individual league, and Ana Desmond finished 20th in the Premier Individual league. The four team members were honoured to receive Major Honours for Show-jumping after this season and look forward to the 2015-2016 season. Mimi Joffroy (MVI)

made finals of their events. At the Irish Senior Schools’ meeting we picked up 24 medals. Conor Ferguson made qualifying times for selection onto the Irish Team to compete in the European Youth Olympics, in Georgia in July; he won 2 Silver medals in the 100m & 200m backstroke events. At the World Youth Games, in Singapore in August, he finished 11th, 12th and 13th in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke races, he broke the Irish Junior Records in all of these events and, more impressively, reached the Irish Olympic ‘B’ qualifying times. Finally Conor competed in the Junior Commonwealth Games in Samoa in September, where he picked up 2 Silver medals in the 50m & 200m backstroke, a Gold in the 100m backstroke, and a Bronze in the mixed medley relay. E.A.


European Youth Olympics Festival, Tbilisi, 2015 100m Backstroke Silver medal 200m Backstroke Silver medal

The Minor Schools’ competition in October started off a brilliant year for the Swim Team. We picked up 19 medals, with outstanding swims from Scarlett Armstrong, Monica Del Castillo, Amy Harper, Lydia Mees and Adam Mahood, to name a few. The Secondary Schools’ competition came later in November, and although these clashed with other events and we were missing many of our top swimmers (half the Intermediate and Senior squads), the team won 11 medals. On to the Ulster Grammar Schools’ in January where 29 medals were added to this year’s collection. Conor Ferguson and Lorcan Gourley were selected for the Ulster Inter-Provincial Team. Ruairi Hurson, Conor Ferguson, Finn Purdy, Sinead Gourley and Sam Brown, were all selected for the Ulster Swimming Squad. In February a small group (5 pupils) headed for the Irish Minor Schools’ championships in Dublin, where Scarlett Armstrong and Monica Del Castillo

This was my first international competition representing Ireland. During this meet, I had my first experience competing against the best 1999 year category boys in Europe and had to face many challenges such as competing in an outdoor pool. There are no outdoor swimming pools in Northern Ireland and it was an unfamiliar environment. It is important to swim straight in the lane in backstroke to avoid hitting the rope which will slow you down. Unfortunately, I had no ceiling to keep me straight in the lane, and this happened to me in both my finals. This meet taught me many things and has been a big learning curve for my future swimming career. 5th Final World Junior Championships Singapore 2015  50m Backstroke 11th in the world U18, 3rd in the world 1999, Irish Junior record. Ulster Junior record. 100m Backstroke 12th in the world U18, 3rd in the world 1999, Irish Junior record. Ulster Senior record. 200m Backstroke 11th in the world U18, 3rd in the world 1999, Irish Junior record. Ulster Senior record. 4x100 mixed freestyle relay 12th in the world. Irish Junior record.  This was a great experience as I was competing with the best athletes in the world. The times I swam here are 2% off the Olympic ‘A’ qualifying standards for Rio 2016 Olympics. This means that I will be targeting these standards next year. I don’t think that Rio is unrealistic, but it will be a long-shot to make the standards in the qualifying period. It was good


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The Owl 2015 to break my Irish Junior records again, and this gives me an idea of where I am at a world stage level. I will be looking forward to competing at this meet again in 2017.

beginning of September and Copenhagen at the end of the month. Sam and Anna Whiteside were also selected for the Irish U15 team, and competed in August in Walsall in England.

Youth Commonwealth Games Samoa 2015 50m Backstroke Silver medal 100m Backstroke Gold medal 200m backstroke Silver medal  4x50m mixed medley Bronze medal 


This was a very successful meet especially because I was competing with U18’s and was able to medal. It was difficult to swim to meets back-to-back and cope with the travelling but I was able to manage that well. Samoa was a great experience and an amazing country. Conor Ferguson (FV) WATERPOLO

Lifesaving goes from strength to strength in the School. At the Ulster Championship, we picked up 15 medals: Junior girls, Senior girls, Junior boys, Senior boys and Open men. In January and February, pupils were competing for the GB Squad (Finn Purdy and Sinead Gourley) at a Junior competition in Holland called the BeNe Cup, while Ruairi Hurson and Eorann O’Neill for the Senior team went to Germany to compete in the European Championships.

Our Waterpolo Teams had their best season ever. The Senior Boys’ U19 Team won the Ulster Schools’ Cup (Canada Trophy), for the 1st time in its 74-year history. This was very historic for two families in the School, the O’Callaghans and the Hursons whose grandfathers, father and uncle all won the trophy at St. Mary’s and St Malachy’s years before. The boys only lost three matches all season and finished 5th in the Irish Schools’ competition as well. Five players made the Ulster Schools’ Team, Tom Donnelly, David Speers, Ruairi Hurson, Thomas O’Callaghan and Tom Loane. With David Speers playing on the Irish U17 Team, in England, Malta and Sweden, he is heading to Denmark at the end of September. The girls, not to be outdone, finished 3rd in the Irish U16 and U19 Championships and were placed second in the U16 and U19 Irish Schools’ Cup. Maeve Gallagher and Ashley Johnston were selected for Ulster U16. Maeve and Sam Brown were selected for Irish U17 Team and played in Prague at the

At the end of February, the School team headed for the Scottish National Championships where they won 20 medals: 6 Junior boys medals; 4 Senior girls medals and 10 Senior boys medals. This was very impressive! At the British National Championships in March, in London at the Olympic Aquatic Centre, where we met Olympic and World Champion, Mark Foster. The Team accumulated 52 medals: Junior girls won 16, Junior boys won 16, Senior girls won 12, Senior boys won 7 and Open women 1. The Lifesaving Team set six new British Records, and this year six members were selected for the GB Squad Ruairi Hurson, Finn Purdy, Lui Hurson, Sinead Gourley, Sam Brown and Lorcan Gourley. We finished third in the medal table, an outstanding achievement by all of the team. We are so proud and well done! Congratulations to all the medal winners and record breakers! E.A.


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BOYS’ TENNIS Boys’ Tennis continued to meet on Friday afternoons at Cavehill Tennis courts during the summer term. The time was expanded to ninety minutes to allow extra play. Rain or shine, there was an enthusiastic contingent who attended including some keen Form V pupils who attended during study leave as a break from their revision. The only downside was perhaps the record number of tennis balls hit over the walls. This at least demonstrated good power if unfortunately very little control. S.C.S.

The Minor Tennis Cup was won by Niamh McIvor in Form I. The Junior Cup was won by Anna Whiteside in Form III. The Intermediate Cup was won by Anna Wilson in Form V. N.N. GIRLS’ TAG RUGBY


Two Intermediate Teams and one Senior Team were entered into the Cup competitions which are played in league format for the first part. Each team had three or four matches in their section, but unfortunately none of the teams progressed through this year. However, coaching sessions continued to take place at Cavehill after school and on Saturday mornings weather permitting. The Form I girls played friendly matches against Belfast High and Victoria College as a means of enjoyment and encouragement. The Intermediate A team consisted of: Anna Wilson, Chloe Dawson, Mary Cousins and Lucy Stewart. The Intermediate B team consisted of: Irish Alvarado, Sinead Gourley, Zoe Parkes and Leah Wallace. The Senior team consisted of: Emma McAllister, Kellie McLean, Lucy Miller and Hannah Torrens.

This year’s Girls’ Tag rugby team was made up of a group of Form V girls. The Form V girls were an enthusiastic bunch who were always keen to try out and learn new skills. The girls had the opportunity to be coached by Ulster Rugby for several sessions throughout the year. Unfortunately, we struggled to get matches against other schools as many are just starting out. However, in the run up to the Schools’ Cup Qualifying Tournament, we were able to play a friendly match against Methody at Pirrie Park. The final result was 6-5 to MCB. The girls played very well and thoroughly enjoyed the run out. On Thursday 26th February, the Form V Girls’ Tag Rugby team played in the Schools’ Cup qualifying tournament organised by Ulster Rugby at Grosvenor Grammar. There were 16 schools involved in the tournament. The team beat Ballynahinch 4-3, and narrowly lost 3-2 to Kilkeel High School. The girls were second in their section, but unfortunately didn’t make it through to the quarter-final. Top try scorer of the day was Kara Johnston. The girls enjoyed playing in competitive matches, and especially getting to meet Paddy Jackson from Ulster Rugby! Well done to all involved. J.R.S.

Every year the girls in all of the year groups have the opportunity to compete for a school cup and gain points for their House.


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VOLUNTEERING WITH SPECIAL OLYMPICS ULSTER This year, fifteen MVI pupils completed an Introduction to Coaching Practices Course with Special Olympics Ireland. Pupils then went on to volunteer at Cedar Lodge School delivering tag rugby and also at various sports clubs in the Belfast and Newtownabbey Area. Coaches gained valuable skills and I would like to thank all of the pupils involved who committed their spare time each week to coaching. For the third year running, twenty pupils in Forms III-V also contributed to the running of the Special Olympics Development Aquatics Event, held at Bangor Aurora. Pupils were responsible for many poolside activities, including time-keeping during races. I would like to thank all of the pupils for dedicating their time and expertise to volunteer at these events. K.E.B.


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Ben Madigan Preparatory School BEN MADIGAN DANCE ON


In October 2014, Miss Johnston decided to infuse a little movement and dance into the extra-curricular scene at Ben Madigan. She started up a Dance Club for children in Prep 5 to Prep 7. It was always her intention to encourage the pupils to get active, have great fun, and also to learn as well as perform a series of choreographed routines in front of an audience. Even though this only took place on an informal basis, the members of the Dance Club managed to perform a wide range of routines including: Whitney Houston’s Joy to the World featured in The Preacher’s Wife; You Can’t Stop the Beat from the hit musical, Hairspray, and in the summer term, 5678 by Steps.

This year, Mr Warwick and Mr Patterson started a brand new photography club. Mr Warwick’s skills and knowledge of photography combined with Mr Patterson’s expertise in ICT meant that the Club was a great success. As a school, we were able to invest in five Sony cameras. 15 children from Preps 6 and 7 attended and learnt about different styles of photography and how to put their knowledge into practice by experimenting with the new cameras. We looked at portraiture, landscapes, macro photography and film-making. The children were taught how to upload and save their images to a named folder and then how to insert them into a PowerPoint presentation. We were very impressed by the maturity the pupils demonstrated in looking after the equipment and working together as a team. Some fantastic work has been produced by our budding young photographers and we look forward to taking the club further next year. Mr Warwick/Mr Patterson

Time was given in particular sessions to pupils allowing them to choreograph and make up moves themselves to a few songs from the charts, which was a great deal of fun. It was wonderful to see the children taking responsibility for teaching their fellow dancers some killer moves as well as infusing their own flare and creativity. The pupils excelled in each session and in every performance, gaining so much confidence and a sheer love of performing… something that Miss Johnston enjoys! Some future Strictly Come Dancing stars in the making?

DIARY 22nd September 2014 Arabic Week 24th September

Jared Payne, Ian Humphreys, Rob Herring Ulster Rugby Photo School

7th October

Streamvale Farm visit Pre-Prep

8th October

Pantomime Dick Whittington

In class the children also worked hard on designing a movie that was shown at a private screening in the Odyssey, where we received a runner-up accolade – well done Prep 7 from Seagate Industries.

11th October

Ulster Minor Schools’ Swimming Gala

14th October

Fisherman and the Pearl Show

All the Prep 7 pupils attended and cheered when their “spy video” came on screen. Possibly a few acting careers beckon.

11th November

Halloween Disco Prize Day Ulster Wildlife visit Pre-Prep

9th December

Prep 1 and 2 see Cinderella

ICT CLUB REPORT Once again the Information Communication Technology Club met regularly every Thursday in the Spring Term.We performed a variety of tasks including poster-making, research, speed-typing and keynote as well as Powerpoint presentations.

P. J. Ingram


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15th December

Christmas Carol Service Pre-Prep Nativity

19th December

Prep 1-3 Nativity Playbus visit Pre-Prep

26th February

Hockey friendly Vs. Strandtown Preps 5-7 visit the BBC

4th March Girls’ Ulster Hockey Qualifiers 5th March Boys’ Ulster Hockey Qualifiers 24th March

Belfast City Council Cross Country Finals Prep 6 Holy Week at Whitehouse Presbyterian

27th March Schools’ Council Easter Fun Day 17th April Open Afternoon Boys’ Rugby at Campbell College 22nd April

Wacky Hair Day

29th April

Girls’ Ulster Hockey Finals

30th April

Boys’ Rugby at Ravenhill TREK Day at Stormont

Boys’ Ulster Hockey Finals May and June Mr Wilson appointed Principal May and June Boys’ Rugby Tournament at Roughfort Prep 3 visit the Balmoral Show York Trip Fire Brigade visit Pre-Prep Pre-Prep Family Day at the Zoo Fun Day P7 Girls’ Football Tournament Sports Day Prep 1 and 2 visit Clementsmount Farm Sammy Sweeper visits Prep 1 Prep 3-7 Play Prep 5-7 Outings Pre-Prep – Prep 2 Concert Prep 5 visit Castle Espie Trophy Presentation.

MUSIC IN BEN MADIGAN The numbers in our school choir during the year were small, but nevertheless, we were able to perform creditably at our school Carol Service in Whitehouse Presbyterian Church. Our violin and piano tutor, Miss Jane McCartney, continues to teach several pupils and our drum tutor, Mr Kyle McDowell, has several enthusiastic pupils. We have many talented instrumentalists at our school, in particular a Prep 4 pupil, Amrita Kumbla who achieved the highest mark in the United Kingdom in the Trinity Grade 6 piano examination. Amrita is currently studying for the Grade 8 piano exam. Other results are as follows: Prep Test (Piano) Christopher Handley Initial Piano Asha Mullan (Distinction) Grade 1 Piano Eve Taylor (Merit) Zara Handley (Distinction) Grade 3 Piano Emma Uprichard (Distinction) Grade 4 Piano Hannah O’Kane (Merit) Oliver O’Kane (Merit) Grade 1 Violin Joshua Gould (Pass) Erin Bennett (Merit) Grade 3 Trumpet Emma Uprichard (Merit) Mossgrove Youth Musical Festival Philip Russell – 1st place in Class B1 Piano Solo under 8 years.


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YORK TRIP 2015 Our now bi-annual York Trip started this year on Monday 18th May and on that day most of our Prep 6 and Prep 7 pupils met at Belfast International Airport. After flying to John Lennon Airport, we drove to the Leeds Armouries where we enjoyed the various exhibits including a very interesting talk on Samurai warriors. When we arrived at our hotel we had our evening meal and then travelled to a Leisure complex near Doncaster to try our hand at ten-pin bowling. Some of our pupils showed considerable aptitude at this and I was glad that I was there in a supervisory capacity and not as a competitor! On Tuesday morning we were given a very entertaining guided tour of York before going to the Jorvik Centre. After lunch, we decided to visit the Castle Museum or for the braver participants, a scary visit to the York Dungeon. Fortunately this year no pupils decided to leave the Dungeon halfway through their tour, so I was spared the walk between the Dungeon and the Castle Museum. That evening we went on a particularly interesting Ghost Walk of York. Our guide was a very talented actor who conveyed aspects of the darker history of this ancient city in a very compelling and memorable manner. Wednesday morning was spent visiting the World War Two prison camp, now called Eden Camp, which is on the outskirts of Malton. The pupils and staff enjoyed the exhibits in the various huts but possibly the highlight was the Music Hall which featured such artistes as Gracie Fields, Flanagan and Allen, Stanley Holloway and George Formby. I certainly enjoyed singing along with those great characters of a bygone age! During the afternoon we visited the Sea Life Centre at Scarborough after having our packed lunch beside the sea. Several people enjoyed the revamped facilities, such as the opportunity to get “up-close and personal” with the penguins in their enclosure. Later on we enjoyed the amusements on the sea front at Scarborough before having a meal at Harry Ramsden’s. The service was so efficient that we were able to enjoy some time at the beach before driving back to Wetherby. On Friday after our final packing and checking the rooms we drove into York for a visit to the Minster. Our guide was sensitive to the fact that we were all (including the teachers) quite tired and did not bombard us with too many facts. Several pupils found the exhibition devoted to the restoration of the spectacular east window very interesting and all of the Ben Madigan pupils were very attentive and well-mannered during the entire visit.

After shopping round the centre of York we made our way back to the coach and travelled to Liverpool Airport. I would like to thank Mrs Sherrard and Mr Ingram for their patience, good-humour and fortitude during the trip. The fact that the pupils enjoyed the trip so much was in no small part due to them. W. T. Wilson SPORT AT BEN MADIGAN MINI RUGBY With some strong teams coming through the Prep department, the boys attended a number of festivals including one at Campbell College Junior School, Roughfort and Kingspan Stadium at Ravenhill. The boys, being young, enjoyed mixed fortunes. However, what was clear was that the boys were trying to play an exciting brand of rugby, showing skills beyond their years of rucking, ball presentation and passing. Though being smaller in stature, we had to over-commit to the rucks leading to problems if we lost it. Other teams with larger players often breeched our defence relatively easily. This sometimes flattered the opposition in terms of the score-line. When we had the ball, it was a rewarding experience for the coaches to see exciting, high-level rugby played at such a young age. It was clear from coaches, parents and spectators that the boys had been well-coached for the last number of years and know they will have to work on “falling giants” to compete in terms of the score line. It will be with great interest to watch the boys develop over the next couple of years. P. J. Ingram GIRLS’ FOOTBALL TEAM After experiencing success last year at the Annual Waringstown Girls’ Football Tournament, there was a lot of pressure on the ‘Girls’ Football Team’ as they took to the pitch this year. The girls, however, rose to the occasion and picked up where they left off the previous year. They went through the group stages unbeaten and were again the only team not to concede a single goal all day! With many super performances, special mention must go to Ella McMahon, who captained the side. She not only worked tirelessly all day, but also popped up to score the winner in the final of the Shield. This goal helped


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The Owl 2015 the girls to go on and retain the title which they had won last year. Well done to all the girls involved. Thanks must go to the ever dependable parental support! Team: Caitlin Hennessy, Nadia Scanlon, Monica Del Castillo, Kerry Uprichard, Rebekah Lennon, Emma Dobbin, Ella Harvey, Erin McQuiston, Carla Sloan, Emma Uprichard, Bryanna Catney and Olivia Crowe

BOYS’ HOCKEY Having only been formed this year the Boys’ Hockey team surpassed all expectations by finishing 2nd in the Ulster Primary School qualifiers and progressing to the Ulster Finals. Mr Warwick accompanied the boys to Lisnagarvey on 1st May where the structure of the tournament was the same as the Girls’ tournament with 4 groups of 6. The boys were placed in a difficult group and despite losing 3 games to Ballygowan, Gilnahirk and Pond Park, they beat Ballynahinch 1-0 and drew 1-1 with Omagh Integrated. This ensured that they finished 4th in their group and went into the Plate competition. Their first quarter-final game was against a much larger Armstrong PS who had a lot of experienced hockey players. Unsurprisingly, Armstrong inflicted a heavy defeat. This then set up their last game against Christie PS where the boys fought valiantly, but were unlucky to lose 2-0.


This has been an extremely successful year for the boys and, in their first year as a team, they have shown much promise for years to come. Thank you to all parents who helped with transport and offered great support throughout the course of the day.

Travis Lavery came first in his weight category at the Northern Ireland Open Martial Arts Championships 2014! Travis also came 4th in the World Championships and was beaten by the eventual champion! A credit to Ben Madigan.


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After winning the Antrim District qualifier, the Girls’ Hockey team travelled to Lisnagarvey Hockey Club on Wednesday 29th April for the Ulster Primary School finals. The competition comprised 4 groups, each group consisting of 6 teams. After the group stage, the top 3 teams would go into the McCloy Cup, with the bottom 3 groups in each group going into the Plate.

Travis Lavery (Prep 7) came runner-up overall in the Individual Boys’ section of the Primary School Athletics Shield and Cup. This remarkable achievement will see him represent Northern Ireland later this year.

The girls found themselves up against a small but skilful St. Brigid’s team, who defeated the Ben Madigan girls 2-0. The game was much closer than the result suggests. The St. Brigid’s team went on to win the competition. The mark of a good team is how they react to defeat, and the loss in the opening game spurred the Ben Madigan girls into action. They then went on a run of 4 successive victories beating Carntall PS 3-0, Toreagh PS 3-0, Millington PS 2-0 and Wallace Prep 3-0. This good run of form ensured they finished 2nd in the group and qualified for the top competition, the McCloy Cup. The quarter-finals were structured into small groups of 3 teams. Ben Madigan was grouped with Killinchy PS and the highly-fancied Methody Preps (Fullerton and Downey). The girls conceded an early goal against Methody who ran out 2-0 winners. They then had to produce a good result against Killinchy, and hope that Methody would lose to Killinchy later, in order to secure a place in the semi-finals. The girls entered the game with confidence and attacked from the start, producing the game of the tournament, by chalking up an 8-0 victory. This, however, was not to be enough as Methody beat Killinchy 1-0 to secure top place in the group of 3. The girls have worked incredibly hard this year and they deserve the success which they experienced. I am proud of the entire squad and would like also to convey my thanks and appreciation to the parents who travelled.

A well-deserved achievement for a dedicated sportsman who has much potential. Ben Madigan is proud to share in his success!

TENNIS Having received coaching for a term in school, Stephen Service, Benjamin Watson and Erin Bennett were selected for the Ulster Tennis U10 Regional Development Squad! Well done guys!


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We were once again privileged to have beautiful weather for our Sports Day. Having put in weeks of practice, all classes from Pre-Prep to Prep 7, were ready to compete in four separate disciplines. The Junior Sports Day was as colourful as ever and parents enjoyed cheering on the young athletes as they participated.

Name of Cup

Winner 1

Cricket Cup (McClay)

Sudeep Tirupathi

Athletics Cup (Ryan Moore)

Travis Lavery

Athletics Cup (McCoubrey)

Caitlin Hennessy

With Mr Wilson again responsible for the sound system, all parents were kept well-informed of the events and winners throughout the Senior Sports Day. The main event saw children from Preps 4-7 battle it out in many disciplines, from sprint races to obstacle races, with closely contested races across the board. The only award presented on the day was the ‘Peter Thompson’ Cup for the best overall girl and overall boy in Prep 4.

Cross Country

Travis Lavery/Emma Uprichard

Swimming (Jacobs)

Lewis Ingram

Swimming (Girls)

Caitlin Hennessy

Mini Rugby (School)

Ben Lonsdale

Most Improved Rugby

Jay Boyd

McCoubrey (Most Improved)

Carla Sloan


Emma Uprichard

Physical Education

Georgia Harvey/ Lewis Ingram

Peter Thompson Cup

Grace Cowden/ Jonathan Colvin

The award this year went to Grace Cowden and Jonathan Colvin. Sports Day concluded with the now annual, voluntary cross-country race participated in by the majority of pupils from all classes. Another successful Sports Day. Thanks must go to all parents for their ever-amazing support.

Gymnastics Cup (Warke) Beth Jackson Cycling Proficiency

Asha Mullan

Creative Writing

Zara Handley


Eva Bannon-Mutlu


Alex Rodgers


Zara Handley

Boys’ Football

Ella McMahon

SCHOOL COUNCIL The School Council this year had big shoes to fill after the success of the Council the previous year. The Council worked hard together and reaped the rewards of several well-organised events. The Halloween Disco got the Council Fund-Raising events off to the perfect start. Other events, such as the Christmas Fun Day, Easter Bonanza and Crazy Hair Day, all contributed to a grand total of £1,205 being raised for school funds. In addition, the School Council also gave £200 to the NSPCC.


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cave and realised this was the lair of Melissa, the bad mermaid. She trapped me but 1 hour later my sisters came to rescue me. They killed her with her weakness. I can’t tell you what her weakness is, it’s a secret. But we lived happily ever after. The End. Phoebe Bradley, Prep 3 The Life-Cycle of a Chicken First in the life-cycle, the mum and dad have to make a special egg called a fertilised egg. After that, the mum makes the egg and takes it to the nest to sit on it. That’s called brooding. Next the chick breaks out of the egg with its egg tooth. Then after a few weeks the chick loses its yellow feathers and grows nice, silky, bronze feathers. After that, the pullet grows into an adult. Finlay Baird, Prep 3 Arctic Melt The soot from factories, cars and planes goes into the air and travels to the Arctic. It falls on the ice and melts it making the sea warm up and melt more ice. The sun melts the Arctic ice because the soot absorbs the heat and melts it. As the Arctic gets smaller the polar ice melts and polar bears have to swim to catch their food. The polar bears have to travel a long way to get food. It is very hard to find land.

Prep 2 My Favourite Toy My favourite toy is called Bumblebee. My toy is yellow and he makes lots of sounds. He is out of Transformers and he is a robot. He is hard and you can see through him.

Henry O’Connor, Prep 3

Max Brennan, Prep 2 My Favourite Toy My favourite toy is called Bouncer. It is soft and it makes sounds. It makes me happy. I love her. She is yellow and I like to play with her in the house. Lucy Bittles, Prep 3 Prep 3 The Adventure of Andrea the Mermaid Hello, I’m called Andrea and that’s my two sisters, Jessica and Rebecca. OK, this is where the fun begins. Once my dad Teran said, “Don’t go down to the bottom of the ocean.” I said “Why?” and he replied, “Just.” So I walked away and went to bed… Hi, it’s 12 o’clock. I’m going to the bottom of the ocean. I shouldn’t but I’m curious. So I went and suddenly my tail got caught in seaweed. I shouted HELP! But it was too late. I got sucked into a dark


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GOAT Generally goats are lazy! On a goat’s mind it thinks about food. A goat lives on a farm. Typically a goat gives us food! Stuart Knox, Prep 3

of heart’s desire. There you will be able to access anything you want to take or you want to do.” “I’ll go,” I told Philomena. She flew through a thick forest and landed at an entrance of a cave. “Go inside the cave and open the chest inside it.”

DAVEY JONES Davey Jones is dangerous. Anchors are black. Vicious if he has lost treasure. Eggs are his favourite. You are mean, people say that!

I did what I was told. I went inside and opened the chest. I found a beautiful dress made of fire, water, wind and earth. I put it on and looked at the other item. Inside the chest was a diamond sceptre. “Take these; it will help you.”

Jack Sparrow is his enemy. Octopuses are his favourite. Nasty you are, say lots of people. Evil you are, people say! Sails are black.

Then Philomena flew us into a gate. A serpent attacked us, but I hit it on the head with my sceptre. Next was to get past the barrier of fire. My staff shot water at it. My wish was to have a heart diamond. We flew back and said goodbye.

Sarah Teague, Prep 3

Prep 4 A Dream of Heart’s Desire One day I was day-dreaming in a meadow with peacocks, birds, deer and cows. I could hear the chirping of birds and I could smell an aroma of fragrant flowers. It was a phoenix. “Hello,” it said in an honest voice. “My name is Philomena. Will you come on a quest with me? You will have to conquer the mighty anaconda warrior then you will have to find a way to pass through the barrier of fire, water, wind and earth. Then you will enter the land

Amrita Kumbla, Prep 4 The Quest I was in my meadow getting a bit of fresh air, smelling the flowers, when suddenly I saw a creature coming to me. It was a big, striped, two-footed creature and it said he was my protector. Even though I knew not to talk to strangers, I believed him. He told me I had to come with him so I did. Off we went on an adventure. First we went to the forest. It was very cold and dark and spooky. I felt like things were watching me. It was really scary but one way or another I got through it. After the deep, dark scary forest I had to go to a cave, a cave that had a chest. We opened the chest and there was a costume and a weapon. My protector told me to put on the costume and carry the weapon with me so that’s exactly what I did. Next, we had had to go through another forest but this time it was a nice forest, a beautiful one, but I had to go to a different place. The next place we went to had a big gate blocking where we had to go next and surprisingly the person who was guarding it was my brother and he had fire powers. So when I tried to get in he wouldn’t let me get past him. I had no choice. I had to destroy him so that’s exactly what I did (but at least I got past him). There was a barrier in the way now and it was fire, so I found a little bit of water and I threw it at the fire. The whole thing went out. We were finally there to the heart’s desire land and I chose to get a horse and ride it back. Now I had to say bye to my protector so I said bye and he said bye. Then I went back home. Emily Meekin, Prep 4 A Walk In My Imagination One morning I was out in the meadow when I saw a


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The Owl 2015 creature. He came over to me and he said that he was my protector and he said, “Let’s go on a little trip.” I know not to go with people that you do not know but I went with him. So the first thing that came up was a forest and we were stuck; there was no escape but my protector had a plane he could fly. So he said “Hold tight.” I was doing 500 mph. I’m telling you I was so cold that my head could have fallen off, but when we got down I was warm again. Then I saw a cave. It was very big and very wide and I saw a chest and the protector gave me a key. I pushed the key in and turned it and it opened. What was in it was a sword and a costume. My protector said, “Put it on”. So I put it on and it was so, so tight and the sword was tough to hold but I could do it. Then he said to me, “Get on my back. We have a long trip.” After eight hours we were there. What was standing on the back of the gate was a bull with big teeth. My protector said, “You have to kill or knock him out”. “What is it?” I said. “Knock out,” he said. “Here is a hammer. Go and get your heart’s desire.” I said, “Ok,” so I crawled over to him slowly and my protector said to knock him out but I sneaked from him and hot my heart’s desire. It was a BMW car. We got in and drove it home. Tomas Murtagh, Prep 4

THE DEATH OF BALDUR Baldur was one of the most beloved of all the gods. His father was Odin, the chief of the gods and his mother was the sorceress goddess Frigg. Baldur was a generous, joyful and courageous character who made everyone around him happy. When he began to have ominous dreams of something going to happen to him, Odin was asked by the gods to discover the meaning of the dreams so Odin mounted his eight legged horse, Sleipnir and rode him to Helheim to ask the dead seeress whom he knew would understand the dreams. He went in disguise. When he arrived at Helheim, it looked like a magnificent feast was about to happen. Odin questioned the seeress and she explained that they were expecting Baldur. She explained how he would meet his doom, but stopped when she realised it was Odin in disguise. What the seeress told Odin actually happened. When Odin returned to Asgard, the gods’ celestial stronghold, he told his comrades what he had been told. Frigg wanted to save her treasured son and obtained oaths not to harm Baldur. The gods made fun of the situation. They threw sticks and rocks at Baldur, and they laughed as they bounced off him. Loki was considered as Baldur’s brother because they all thought he was Odin’s son but Loki was the son of Farbauti and Laufey. Loki was insanely jealous of Baldur. He had two brothers called Helbindi and Byleister. His father was a giant and his mother a giantess. Loki went in disguise to Frigg and discovered that everything except the mistletoe had sworn an oath not to harm Baldur. Loki departed, got some mistletoe and returned to where the gods were playing their new game. Loki tricked Hodur, Baldur’s younger blind brother, to throw a sharpened mistletoe bough which pierced Baldur’s heart. Being blind, his young brother did not know that the stick was sharp and where he was throwing it. Baldur fell down dead on the spot. All the gods were upset and frightened. Frigg asked Hermod, a son of Odin, to travel to the land of the dead and offer Hel, the death goddess, a ransom for Baldur’s realease.

Prep 6

The gods arranged a lavish funeral for Baldur. They turned his ship, Hringhorni, into a pyre fitting for a great king. The gods had trouble launching the ship and had to get the giantess, Hyrrokkin, to push it out to sea. Nanna, Baldur’s wife was so overcome with grief that she died on the spot and her body was put on the pyre with her husband. All kinds of beings from throughout the nine worlds


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Ben Madigan Preparatory School attended this ceremony, gods, elves, giants, dwarfs and valkyries. They watched the burning ship disappear over the ocean. Hermod rode through the valleys to rescue the part of Baldur that had been sent to Hel. He arrived at the bridge. Mooguar, the giantess, asked him questions and when he answered correctly he was allowed to cross. When he entered into Hel’s realm, he spotted Baldur sitting in the seat of honour next to her. Hermod explained that everyone, especially the gods, missed Baldur. Hel replied, “If this is so, then let everything in the cosmos weep for him and I will send him back to you. But if any refuse, he will remain in my presence.” Hermod rode back and told the gods, who sent messengers throughout the worlds to tell this news. Loki took on the disguise of Tokk, a giantess. Tokk told the messenger, “Let Baldur stay with Hel.” Odin was heartbroken at the loss of his beloved son, Baldur. He was enraged at the part Loki had played in his death and the fact that his soul would not be returned to them. Odin had Loki chained in a dark cave over some slabs of rock and a serpent hung over him so it would drip venom into his face, until the end of the world. Lara Lennon, Prep 6

THE KIDNAP Long, long ago in the god’s land of Asgard there was a king called Odin the Ancient, the god of wisdom and poetry and his horse was called Sleipnir. This was not an ordinary horse. It was a mythical creature with eight legs. Odin and Sleipnir decided one morning to go and visit Midgard, the land of humans. When they were about to set off they heard the sound of screaming. It was Thor, the God of Thunder and Lightning. He was in peril. The sound was coming from the windows of Idunna the goddess of spring and everlasting sleeping quarters… Then Odin heard a loud demanding voice. It was a giant. He said, “If you want your fellow gods back, meet me at Helheim tomorrow at dawn and come alone.” Then in a flash he was gone. The next morning, Odin set off on his eight-legged horse down to Helheim but when he got there nobody was to be seen. Then he heard a loud noise at the top of the big fiery cave. Suddenly, a cage dropped to the ground with a clang, trapping Odin. When he tried to break out of the cage it broke but it grew back again very quickly. Then the loud voice belonging to the giant which he had heard earlier said, “You fell into my little trap! I imagine you want your friend back!” Then he pulled a rusty chain, and with their hands and ankles chained, came Thor and Idunna. They came out of a house made of bones. Following them was the Queen of Helheim called Hel. She was whipping Thor and Idunna as they slowly walked out of the house. “Idunna! Thor!” shouted Odin in an enraged tone. “Hel, you beast, why did you kidnap my fellow Gods and Goddesses?” Then Odin struck Hel with wisdom seeds, but to Odin’s surprise the wisdom seeds started to grow. They didn’t look like trees, they had teeth dripping with slime. “Ugh!” said Odin. “Help, help us!” It was Idunna and Thor. “I will help you guys,” said Odin in a heroic tone. Then he jumped up as though the air was his ride and slashed the giant in the eyes with his staff and the giant fell to the ground. “Now, Hel, give me my friends back!” With that he sprinted at Hel and blew an icy wind and froze Hel. She was allergic to the cold and she froze to death, setting Idunna and Thor free. THE END!!! TILL NEXT TIME! Jude Crook , Prep 6


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The Owl 2015 A VIKING SAGA Once upon a time in the land of Asgard, the goddess of love, Freyja, was in peril. She had lost a horse, but it was no ordinary horse. In fact, it was the great and all-mighty Odin’s magical eight- legged horse, Sleipnir. Freyja was terrified because she had said that she would not let anything bad happen to Sleipnir and now look what had happened!She had only one choice and that was to call up that mischievous, shape-shifting and God of fire, Loki. So she went to him weeping her golden tears and through sobs said, “Oh, Loki, Something terrible has (gasp) happened! You see, I was watching Odin’s horse and I looked away for one hour and……” Then Loki interrupted saying, “One hour, Freyja. That actually is a long time!” Freyja now spoke. “Yes, I know and when I looked back he had gone!” Loki said, “Ok, Freyja…Only because it’s Odin’s and he can’t find him we’re all in trouble.” And with that, Loki shape-shifted into a beautiful and elegant dragon and flew off through the stormy sky, beating his crystalized red wings.

Now Idunna was supposed to be in her orchard, but she wasn’t there so when Odin went to get an apple she was not there.This made Odin and Thor suspicious. Suddenly, a giant emerged in the form of a small wolf and said, “You had better hurry up in time or your friend shall be dead,” and with that he turned into a bird and flew off. Loki could not find Sleipnir and returned to Asgard.. Odin was not angry at all. In fact, he just said, “Loki and Freja, it is not your fault that Sleipnir went missing. A giant stole him while Freyja was busy doing her hair. We must go to Helhiem to save Idunna and Sleipnir before sundown.” And with that they left Asgard, home of the gods.. Now in Helheim Idunna was trying to keep Slepnier under control. She said, “Slepneir, it’s ok. Calm down. Odin and Thor will be here soon, I hope.” Loki, Odin and Thor arrived in less than an hour. The giant appeared from a huge cavern in the wall and said, “Ha Ha Ha! I have you all now. Asgard will belong to giants!” Then Thor said “Oh I believe not!” Suddenly Thor hit his hammer with all of his might against the giant. “AHHHHHHHHHH!” screamed the giant as he fell backwards.

Meanwhile, back in Asgard, the home of the gods, Odin was riding over Bifrost which was the rainbow bridge that attached Midgard to Asgard, Freyja let out a ear-piercing scream which stopped Odin in his tracks and pretended that there was trouble in Midgard. She said, “Oh Odin, something terrible has happened. You see, the giants attacked Midgard and the whole place is in ruins!”

Suddenly Death appeared out of a puff of black smoke and said, ”I will deal with this Giant as he entered my realm without my permission. Now take your friends, leave my realm!”.

Now before Loki had left he said to Freyja, “I will set Midgard on fire so if Odin comes back you can tell Odin to distract him.”

And with that she and the giant disappeared in a cloud of dark grey smoke. The gods returned to Asgard.

Odin said, “Well, I will call Thor to help me put it out.” And with that he went off.

Happily, Idunna was back in her orchard and Odin had Sleipner back and they all lived happily ever after…For now! Felicity Fagan, Prep 6

Freya sighed a sigh of relief.

Death dragged the iron cage that Idunna and Sleipner were in and broke the cage with her hands and said, “Now go.”

Now back to Loki… Lightning had struck the ground and rain fell like stones, Every time he beat his wings lightning tried to hit him. “I imagine Thor’s angry about Midgard!” laughed Loki with a secret smile.


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Ben Madigan Preparatory School

PREP 7 COMPUTER CAT It was eight am. All the family are about to leave and all the other cats are coming. I open the cat flap and the two of them came in, Sparks and Tabs, and then we head over to the food bowl and there are nine small treats in the bowl because Sparks was just fed. Me and Tabs had four each and the other one was left in case Sparks wanted it later. We then went over to the computer and we made an account called CAT in capital letters. We are on the file and an advert comes up for a 500 words competition. Tabs wasn’t very into it but Sparks and I were. So we get writing and we were writing it then, suddenly, a cat came at the cat flap. It was called Honey and we realised we didn’t shut the cat flap so Honey was able to walk in and said, “Where is Skips?” to Tabs Tabs said, “Why do you want her?” Honey replied saying, “She stole one of the mice I was chasing.” Tabs says, “Well you can’t see her right now because she is doing something.” But Honey barges past Tabs and starts to look for Skips. Skips is hiding under the kitchen table and Honey is coming through and spots her under the table. They ran all the way around the house and Skips runs out the cat flap. They jump on the trampoline and because Honey is so heavy she flung them both in the air and, because Skips is always lifted onto the trampoline she lands right, and Honey falls on her side and said, “What if we stop this and go hunting together.” Skips says, “Ok, but after I finish a story you can come inside and have one of my treats.” And they go inside and finish the story and the family come home and look at the computer. There is an account called CAT and they go on the account and it says on the web page, “Story submitted.” And there are paw prints leading from the computer to the cat bed where Skips is sleeping. Jay Boyd, Prep 7

MONDAY Swiftly Curiously Friendly Obviously Elderly Strangely Quietly Beastly TUESDAY Absently Daily Annually Arguably Aptly Busily Cheerily Apparently WEDNESDAY Deadly Deathly Disorderly Lazily Happily Immensely Actually Angrily

CONSCIOUS Industrious Unconscious Nutritious Ambitious Delicious Obnoxious Conscious Industrious Unconscious Nutritious Ambitious Delicious Obnoxious Conscious Industrious Unconscious Nutritious Ambitious Delicious Obnoxious


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Titanic Diary

Once upon a time there was a little boy who enjoyed playing a lot of sports. He would always go kicking with his dad for rugby as he was a number 10. He also enjoyed playing air soft and other sports as he was a very sporty person.

10th April 14:27 Dear Diary, I am going on a ship named R.M.S. Titanic and I am on my way to New York in America me. Me, mum, my dad and my brother John are looking forward to the trip. The ship will leave soon and I want to see New York.

His mum on the other hand hated sports and would be in most of the day doing the housework. His mum also didn’t like him playing with guns as she thought it would make the younger son like to play with guns as well. The reason why his mum hates them playing with guns is that about one year ago, the first time the older son went to air soft, he was only wearing a t-shirt and shorts. As soon as he got there to the air soft for the first time, he knew as soon as he walked in he was wearing the wrong stuff. When he got in to the place where they do the air soft he got really badly hurt and when he came home he had all these big bumps on his body that really hurt when he touched them. The younger son hated air soft, rugby and all the other sports his brother liked. Unlike his brother he loved to play football and they never got along together. His mom was the one who got the younger brother to play football. Sometimes the mum would make him play with his younger brother. The older brother was 16 and taller than the mum so he thought that he could do whatever he wanted to as he was also taller than the dad. The dad, unlike the mum, loved to play contact sports and get into the middle of it all. Mum and dad would sometimes try to think about the older son because he is so sporty he leaves his education behind him as he thinks he can become a professional rugby player. The mum did a lot better at education than the dad as the dad made his money from playing rugby. The son looks up to the dad as the dad did horriblly at his education and still played for Ulster and got all fails in his A levels. 5 years later luckily enough he was picked for Ulster and played his first match on that day and was playing for Ireland in 2 years and playing for the Lions in 3 years and was on the Lions first squad in 7 years. His mum and dad were really relieved when he got to play for Ulster as he had failed in every subject he tried in his A levels. The younger brother was always at the matches watching his brother and now he is playing rugby and decided to ditch football, he and his brother get on really well now together.

11th April 15:41 This is my first day on Titanic and it’s very cramped in a third class room, but I don’t mind. John wants a bigger room, so do I, but we can’t afford it so I make the best of it. 13th April 18:58 I am about to go to bed but there are icebergs all around the ship. I think the Titanic will hit one and sink, but it is meant to be unsinkable. 14th April 19:11 I am going to bed now. Mum let me stay up a bit longer but I am still worried about the Titanic sinking, I will go to sleep worried. 14th April I was right The Titanic hit an iceberg and Titanic is sinking. We are going to get in the lifeboats and sail away. This could be the last time I write in my diary. 15th April 00:07 I am in the lifeboat watching the Titanic disappear beneath the Atlantic waves and my dad is still aboard. Most of the lifeboats are half empty, more people could board. My dad might not survive and I can hear people screaming from the ship. One of the funnels has collapsed and fallen into the sea and killed many people. 19th April 17:58 We made it to New York, except without my dad and I miss him. All my friends I met onboard the Titanic might be dead, I don’t know. I hope this doesn’t happen ever again. Asha Mullan, Prep 7

Lewis Ingram, Prep 7


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Ben Madigan Preparatory School BEN MADIGAN VALETE Mrs Violet McCaig Mrs McCaig was appointed as Principal of Ben Madigan in September 1993. She is a former pupil of the Girls’ Model School and graduated from Stranmillis College in 1978. She previously taught in Earlview Primary School, being one of the first teachers appointed to the newly-created school. She was appointed to the post of Vice-Principal before leaving to go to Ben Madigan. When at Ben Madigan, she was quick to embrace change when she felt that it was necessary but retained the traditional ethos which many of the parents wanted. A highly efficient and gifted administrator, Mrs McCaig brought her considerable gifts to keeping abreast of the latest thinking in Primary Education. Her teaching was very sound and well-organised and her classroom was full of purposeful activity. She was an able “multi-tasker”, being called upon to teach a Prep 4 class, then having to manage a very busy dinner-hall, and finally, to give one of her comprehensive guided tours around the school to prospective parents. Outside school, Mrs McCaig previously had an interest in gymnastics and lifesaving and possessed several qualifications in those domains. She is an excellent cook and enjoys trying out new recipes in her well-appointed kitchen. During retirement, she will be able to see much more of her husband Trevor, whom she married in 1980, and her son, Richard, a former pupil of the Academy. We wish Mrs McCaig well in her retirement. W. T. Wilson


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Ben Madigan Preparatory School


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The Old Girls’ Association has been in existence for more than 50 years. Mary Hyndman was one of the founders of the Old Girls’ Association and the first President. She was a member of the Academy teaching staff and served the School devotedly for over forty years, during which time she had been Domestic Science Mistress and Senior Mistress.

KARYN HARTY (née Woods)

From September 1900, girls who had hitherto attended the Preparatory Department continued their education through the higher classes of the Academy. In 1923 it was the decision of the Headmaster, Mr Foster, to make the Academy a co-educational school. This important development would not have been accomplished as smoothly as it was had not Miss Hyndman supervised the practical details of the change. Mary Hyndman remained a Patron of the Old Girls’ Association until her death in 1958. The Constitution states that the aim of our Association was to unite former pupils of the Academy and to engage in social, philanthropic and educational enterprises. Membership came under the headings of ‘Ordinary’ and ‘Magazine’. Ordinary membership included former pupils and members of staff who had been connected with the School for at least one year. Magazine membership was for former pupils residing in Great Britain or abroad, who would not receive any notices or invitations connected with the Association, but would receive ‘The Owl’. Today we have Life Members from as far away as South Africa, Hong Kong and New Zealand. If you are not a member, and would like to be, please contact the School.

Karyn left the Academy in 1992 to read Law at Queen’s University. After graduation, she was apprenticed to Cleaver, Rankin & Fulton, one of Belfast’s best-known law firms. Karyn then moved to Dublin where she joined the litigation department of McCann Fitzgerald, a Dublin law firm which dates back to the early 19th century. The company, with seventy partners and three hundred and fifty lawyers, has offices also in London and Brussels, and, in fact, is the only Irish law firm to be established at the institutional headquarters of the European Union. It provides legal advice for clients who are principally in the corporate, financial and business sectors. She became an equity partner in 2005, specialising in complex commercial litigation and has recently been appointed to the firm’s Policy Committee. Karyn Harty, as she now is, married a fellow lawyer, and combines a busy professional life with being a mother of three children – all under the nine years of age. While at the Academy, Karyn was awarded a coveted Honours Blazer for Shooting, and went on to shoot for the Irish Rifle Team at long and short range. ****


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Former Pupils’ News


LAURA JACKSON (née Francis)

Elsewhere in this issue of the Owl, reference is made to the unveiling of a plaque in Belfast’s Academy Street, marking the foundation of our school there in 1786.

Laura Francis graduated from Queen’s University in 2001 with a BSc in Accountancy which, two years later, she complemented with an MSc in Advanced Accountancy from the University of Ulster.

The short ceremony was the subject of a subsequent article in the Irish Times. This was written by a former pupil, Amanda Ferguson, and widely circulated on social media. Indeed, another former pupil, Martin Sieff, now a prominent writer and journalist in the United States, described it as a very fine piece.

During her studies Laura worked for Action Cancer, Northern Ireland’s leading cancer charity thus adding to her professional qualifications, experience in commercial and business leadership. This already impressive skills-set was augmented by an Institute of Directors scholarship established in memory of the late Sir Ian Gow, the Conservative MP who was assassinated by the IRA in 1990.

Amanda Poole, as she then was, left the Academy to study Marketing and Communications in Glasgow. She had always wanted to be a journalist, and on graduation returned to take a related post-graduate course in Belfast Metropolitan College. Thereafter, Amanda began her career as a free-lance journalist covering a wide range of areas particularly in news, politics and the arts. She also provided commentary for broadcasters, as well as articles for the Belfast Telegraph, the Irish Times, the Sunday Times (Ireland), the Guardian, and a variety of other media outlets. In the course of her career Amanda has won a number of awards. These include the Martin O’Hagan Memorial Prize, Newcomer of the Year, and in 2014 she was shortlisted for the Journalist of the Year award at the Northern Ireland Media Awards ceremony. The newspaper industry is being dramatically transformed by the rapid development of online media. We can be sure that whatever the challenges, Amanda will be well-placed to confront them.

Laura is currently working with the Audit Department of the business advisory firm BDO (originally established as Binder, Dijker, Otte). The company has member firms in 151 countries, employs around 60,000 partners and staff in 1,328 offices world-wide including almost 8,000 in China. It is the largest accounting firm in the United Kingdom with clients ranging from sole traders to firms in the top ten in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. Laura played a leading role in the recent conference at Titanic Belfast which was designed to help BDO’s clients develop strategies to implement one of the most significant accounting developments for some time: the introduction of a single accountancy standard to replace existing practices in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Laura Jackson (as she is now) is still involved in charity work, is a strong advocate for the local female business community, and is the mother of two children, Jonah and Sophia. ****



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HELEN FRIGIERI (née Beggs) Helen Frigieri (née Beggs), who left the Academy to read Modern Languages at Queen’s, was appointed as the Personal Assistant to HM Ambassador to the Holy See. Helen was also awarded a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. **** ELIZABETH SHAW A past pupil Elisabeth Shaw produced a series of children’s books in German that have stayed in print since her death in 1992. She was educated at Belfast Royal Academy in the 1930/40s and later wrote a famous children’s fable in German - Der kleine Angsthase - The Timid Little Rabbit, who goes from zero to hero by teaching a lesson to a sneaky fox. A school in Berlin still bears her name. Our former German Erasmus Teacher Florian Graf translated the German fable and left the School with this beautiful story in English. **** OLD BOYS’ ASSOCIATION The main event in the Association’s calendar is the Annual Dinner. This was held in the Wellington Park Hotel on Saturday 29th November 2014 under the shadow of the recent passing of one of our mostloved Old Boys, Dr Jack Kyle OBE. The President, Mr Adrian Brown, welcomed a total of around 188 members and guests and asked them to stand to observe a minute’s silence in his honour. The speakers at the dinner were: • • • •

Mr Mark Orr QC who proposed the toast to the School The Headmaster who replied and proposed the toast to the Association The President responded and proposed the toast to our guests Mr CT Hogg replied on behalf of the guests and entertained the members and guests with a series of amusing stories and anecdotes.

The success of the dinner was again due, in no small measure, to the Dinner Secretary, Iain Knox, who worked extremely hard to encourage a large number of members to attend. The Old Boys’ Association organised the second annual dinner in London which was open to all former pupils of the Academy who live in the Greater London Area and beyond! A total of 87 former

pupils attended the dinner which was held on Friday 27th February 2015 at the RAF Club, Piccadilly. Prof James Stirling, Provost of Imperial College, said the Grace before dinner. The main speakers at the dinner were the President; Dr Catherine Scully, Deputy Principal, standing in for the Headmaster who was otherwise engaged at an important HMC Committee at the Kingspan Stadium, and Mr Colin McIlheney, Global Research Director with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Plans are already in place for another London Dinner; this will be held on Friday 19th February 2016 again at the RAF Club, Piccadilly. Former pupils who wish to attend should contact the Hon. Secretary at The Annual General Meeting of the Association was held on 14th April 2015 and the following officials were elected for 2014/2015: President Tony Cole Senior Vice President Robb Fletcher [vacant] Junior Vice President Louis Campbell Hon. Secretary Hon. Treasurer Nik Simon Hon. Membership Secretary Michael Bennett Iain Knox Dinner Secretary Hon. Auditor Drew Wilkinson The Committee for 2015/2016 was also elected and permission was sought, and granted, to co-opt a Junior Vice President at a later date. The future of the Association depends upon Old Boys becoming involved and I would again appeal to anyone who has an interest in joining the Committee to speak to the Hon. Secretary or any member of the Committee. The annual cricket match of the Old Boys’ XI against the School XI had to be cancelled because the School 1st XI was otherwise engaged in playing in the final of the Schools’ Cup against Campbell College on Friday 19th June 2015. In what proved to be a very exciting, close match, Francis Collins (LVI) was the hero, batting through the innings for 73 not out, hitting the winning run with just three balls to spare! This is the first time that a team from Belfast Royal Academy has won the Cricket Schools’ Cup; Captain Andrew Forbes and his team fully deserve our warm congratulations. The Golf Society, under the leadership of Ken Knox, continues to attract good numbers of golfers for the two main competitions normally held in June and September.


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Former Pupils’ News The results this year were: Picken Cup at Malone G.C. Thursday 18th June 2014 Winner: Sheldon Coulter Iain Knox’s Captain’s Day at Royal Belfast G.C. Friday 11th September 2014 Winner: James Beattie Ferguson Cup for best aggregate score over two outings Winner: Adrian Brown James Beattie will be next year’s Captain. Provisional dates for next year’s competitions are: Picken Cup at Malone GC on Thursday 16th June 2016; Captain’s Day at Royal Belfast GC on Friday 6th September 2016. Throughout the year, Robin Reid once again masterminded, with the assistance of others, a series of monthly lunches which are normally held in golf clubs around the greater Belfast area. These continue to be very popular with around 50 or more, mainly retired, members attending. We thank Robin for co-ordinating these lunches. Each year, the Old Boys’ Association tries to make a financial contribution to School to support particular projects. Last year, the Association, with the guidance of the Headmaster, supported the framing of programmes and other memorabilia from School Drama Productions which are now on display in the Assembly Hall, and the purchase of photographic equipment for use by Roland Jamison in the production of promotional material for the School. A cheque for £4000 was handed over to Dr Catherine Scully at the London Dinner to fund these projects. It is worth noting here that the Association has donated over £15,000 to fund various projects in School over the past number of years. The Old Boys’ website - continues to attract a lot of interest from younger and older members alike. The Association is in the debt of Iain Knox and Michael Bennett for keeping this internet site up-to-date. At the time of writing these notes, the President’s letter is about to be sent to all members; a copy of the School’s Academy Newsletter will also sent with the letter. Also included in this mailing will be the fourth edition of the Old Boys’ Newsletter which highlights the activities of some of our Old Boys. If you would like to contribute an article for a future edition of this Newsletter, please contact the Hon. Secretary. Inevitably, many of the President’s letters are returned to School as members have moved away from the address held by the Membership Secretary.

I would appeal to all members who have moved in recent months (or years) to contact Michael Bennett at or contact Andrea Kerns in the Alumni Office in School at Again, I appeal to those Old Boys of School who are reading these notes but who are not members of the Association, to think about joining and thereby restoring links to the School. L. Campbell Hon. Secretary OLD BOYS’ NEWS PROFESSOR STEVE BROWN FRS, F MED SCI.

Steve David Macleod Brown has been elected to a Fellowship in what is certainly the oldest and perhaps the most prestigious scientific society in the world: the Royal Society, the first meeting of which took place on 28th November 1660. Steve Brown left the Academy for Cambridge where, as an undergraduate at St Catharine’s College, he was granted the title of Scholar in Natural Sciences and a College Prize. After his PhD in 1981, his scientific career flourished. He became a professor at Imperial College London and was awarded the Genetic Society Medal in 2001. Steve was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2009. He is presently Director of the MRC Mammalian Genetic Unit at Harwell, Oxfordshire. In August 2015 Harwell linked up with Diamond Light Source to facilitate further research into hearing loss and Type2 Diabetes. Steve Brown’s research interest is in understanding the function of novel genes involved in human disease, particularly in the area of deafness. He has been at the forefront of new approaches to the identification and characterisation of disease models. Membership of the Royal Society comprises approximately 1,600 of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Foreign


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The Owl 2015 members include around 80 Nobel laureates and current Fellows include such well known scientists as Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. ****

HBOS, of course had to be rescued by the British taxpayers in 2008 via a merger with Lloyds Bank. Richard moved on to financial derivative consultancy and, by 2012, was head-hunted for a contracting position with Barclays Capital.



The financial crash of 2008 made it clear to everyone just how central to the continuing existence of our modern globalised economy is the world of high finance, hitherto considered by most people as a particularly arcane aspect of banking with its own impenetrable jargon. Richard Lewis is a former pupil who is now part of this world. He very kindly came into school during the year to explain to Economics students the significance of Collateralised Debt Obligations, Credit Default Swaps and other apparently mysterious but important concepts. He left the Academy in 1987 with the aim of becoming a foreign exchange dealer. His first post was with the Ulster Bank, where he passed the requisite psychometric tests to confirm his aptitude for dealing on foreign exchange markets (Spot FX Markets in the jargon), and then acquiring the relevant IT training. Thus equipped, Richard left retail banking for stockbroking with Cunningham Coates, the United Kingdom’s oldest firm of private client stockbrokers. With renewed enthusiasm, Richard achieved his Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments Diploma and moved to Dublin in 2004 where he worked for a time for Anglo-Irish Bank which in those pre-crash, pre-scandal days had the second largest Dealing Room in Dublin. Very fortunately, in the light of what happened a few years later, Richard returned to Belfast where he was offered a contract to head a new Treasury Deposit Department at the Bank of Scotland.

There is always something intimidating about being interviewed by the headmaster. However, when Cormac Leyden was asked by the then headmaster, Mr Young, what career he would like to have in fifteen years’ time, he had no hesitation in declaring his ambition to be a pilot. Cormac became heavily involved in the Air Training Corps, where in association with the Ulster Flying Club, he built up his quota of flying hours with the aim of ultimately achieving his Private Pilot’s Licence. Cormac left the Academy in 2008 to study Aerospace Engineering at Liverpool University from which he graduated in 2011. With his choice of career still firmly in mind Cormac had, as an undergraduate, joined the university’s Air Squadron and Liverpool Flying Club. And thus, the year before graduation, Cormac obtained his PPL. After the 9/11 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, recruitment to training schemes for commercial pilots was frozen. Undaunted, Cormac applied for sponsorship to both Aer Lingus and British Airways, was accepted by both, and opted for Aer Lingus. For the next fourteen months Cormac was at Flight Training Europe near Jerez de la Frontera in Spain where, as he puts it, he was trained on a twin engine aircraft little bigger than a family car! On qualification in 2013, he took up his first posting as First Officer on a 60 tonne Airbus A320.


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Former Pupils’ News Those of our readers mentally comparing a family car with this aircraft, might aid their imagination by googling a photograph of this aerial giant. Despite the challenges of piloting such a plane, Cormac has no difficulty in getting out of bed on a cold morning as he is heading off to what he describes as his dream job.

recently as a result of media sensationalism with respect to what was described as ‘three-parent babies’, that is, in attempts to prevent mitochondrial disease, in vitro fertilization was undertaken as a result of which an unborn baby’s mitochondrial DNA came from a third party. ****


‘Bobby’ McFarland left the Academy in 1987 to read Medicine at Oxford. After graduation ,he spent three years studying clinical medicine at King’s College Hospital in London, qualifying in 1993. He then undertook a further three years of paediatric training in London and in Newcastle, and began his PhD in 2000 on a Wellcome Trust Clinical Scientist Fellowship. This was followed by a Medical Research Council Scientist Fellowship which led to his appointment as Clinical Senior Lecturer and Consultant Paediatric Neurologist to Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust. Dr McFarland’s research aim is to understand the processes that cause mitochondrial disease in children. Mitochondria are responsible for producing energy in cells – thus enabling them to function in the organs and tissues of the body. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited from one’s mother, and disease is caused by gene mutation, acquired or inherited. Mitochondrial disease causes the cells to cease functioning or to do so imperfectly. The commonest parts of the body affected are those which have the highest energy needs, such as the brain, the liver or the kidneys. Dr McFarland leads the Newcastle paediatric mitochondrial disease service for adults and children. They are trying to understand the processes that cause this disease while his own research area includes the identification of mitochondrial and nuclear gene defects causing the disease in children. Mitochondrial disease, for which there is no cure at the moment, was given particular prominence

Mark Regan has been appointed CEO of Kingsbridge Private Hospital on Belfast’s Lisburn Road. On leaving the Academy, Mark studied Radiography at the University of Ulster. After graduation, he worked for the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland, and then for the NHS in Northern Ireland. He left the latter in 2001 to join the Italian pharmaceutical company Bracco, and subsequently moved to Philips Medical Systems. In an interview this year with the Belfast Telegraph’s Lisa Smyth, Mark recalled how, in persuading the directors of Kingsbridge’s parent company, 3twofive (named after the firm’s address on Lisburn Road), to purchase a CT scanner, he was in turn persuaded to move again and assist in the growth plan of 3twofive – soon to become the largest healthcare group in the country. Mark, who is critical of Stormont’s management of the Health Service here, sees the independent health sector as a bridge between the capacity of the NHS and the demands for its services. There is, as he points out, an ageing population with ever increasing numbers of people having orthopaedic


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The Owl 2015 problems. This inevitably puts pressure on the provision for spinal surgery, as well as the need for hip and knee replacements. The company has won contracts worth more than £40 million over four years from the Health Service as part of a plan to deal with waiting lists. On September 15th 2015, the Irish News reported that Mark, a father of four, had been urged to apply for the post of Chief Executive of the Belfast Trust, one of the most demanding jobs in Northern Ireland’s Health Service. ****



Andrew Curtis received a STEM Scholarship from Queen’s University (£1,000).

Both the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish Times this year featured articles on the Academy. The newspapers focused on the plaque which was unveiled in Academy Street to commemorate the foundation of the Belfast Academy there in 1786. This of course is why Academy Street is thus named, even though the school has been on the Cliftonville Road since 1880.


The plaque was unveiled officially by an Old Boy, Mr Des Simon, in the presence of the Headmaster. The campaign which culminated in this ceremony was initiated some years ago by Mr J Carolan who will be well known to many former and present pupils as a teacher of history and politics in the Academy. Mr Carolan was instrumental not only in the successful campaign for official recognition of an important event in both the history of our school, and in the history of the city, but in the design of the handsome bronze plaque, now secured to the perimeter of St Anne’s Cathedral. The original Academy building has, alas, long since been demolished. Our photograph shows Mr Carolan and the new plaque. The article on the Academy which appeared in the Irish Times, and referred to above, was written by Amanda Ferguson, a former pupil who is making a name for herself in local journalism.



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Former Pupils’ News SCHOOL ARCHIVE


It is hoped that by the end of the school year important records central to the history of the Academy will be available in digital form. Many of our old registers and other handwritten documents are in danger of deterioration as a consequence of the passage of time and Belfast’s famously damp climate.

The aim of the Alumni Office is to engage with our past pupils and to help our alumni to remain connected to the School and to former classmates. We can help put former pupils back in touch with old school friends and assist with the organisation of reunions, visits to the School and other former pupil events.

Our photograph shows Sandra Ardis, a former pupil, and now a volunteer with The North of Ireland Family History Society, presenting to the Headmaster copies of the newly transcribed registers. These are also available in digital form. As the manuscripts are safely stored in the temperature controlled conditions provided by the Public Records Office, the digital copies will be available to those involved in school projects, historical research or family history. It will soon be possible to interrogate the computerised record to find out, not only the names of former pupils and their time at the School, but also to construct a social profile of the Academy at different periods of its history. The Academy is greatly indebted to Sandra for her invaluable work in helping to preserve for future generations so much of the School’s archival material. In tandem with this important work with the registers there is an ongoing programme to make a photographic copy of the entire series of the Owl. This will ensure the security of that essential source of school and indeed, social history, which first appeared in 1924. E.M.C.

The Alumni Office works with the Old Girls’ and Old Boys’ Associations to manage their member databases and assist with the promotion of their events and other communications. The Alumni Office also publishes an Alumni Newsletter each term, sharing information on alumni events and former pupils’ activities, plus a selection of current school news. We love to hear about what our past pupils are doing after they leave Belfast Royal Academy and former pupils’ contribution, feedback and suggestions to the Alumni Newsletter are always welcomed. If you have a story or piece of news that you think others would be interested in, please email the Alumni Office with an accompanying photo. Last year, Belfast Royal Academy invested in a communications and alumni relationship management system, The Raiser’s Edge, which has enhanced the Alumni Office’s ability to communicate and therefore strengthen links with our alumni and others who have an interest in the School. The School appreciates your help to ensure that your contact details are up to date and to actively encourage friends, colleagues, siblings and other family members who were pupils at Belfast Royal Academy to join the alumni family. All alumni data is held securely in the School in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Andrea Kerns is your main point of contact in the Alumni Office and she can be contacted on 028 9074 0423 or


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BA Lynsey Campbell Shauneen McNeill Georgia Orchin Andrew Robinson David Rogers Margaret Stewart

BA Catherine Hughes Jacqui Montgomery Genevieve McBride Andrew Smyth Ashleigh Taylor

BSc Dean Abbott Matthew Acheson Ryan Brown Ryan Clarke Lianna Dalmeny Niall Darrah Adam Gray Ruth Moss Christabel Murray Robyn McCue Rachel McQueen Dean Philpott Hannah Sullivan John Simpson Norman Sinclair Conor Spence Lauren Tohill LLB Emma Daly MPharm Christopher Clarke Ashley Francey Gareth Pierce

BSc Rachel Bannon Jordan Buchanon Fergus Carlin Patrick Catterall Charlotte Clarke Rebecca Collins Erin Davison Alexander Deaney Keeelan Durnien Lorna Hughes Sian Jamison John Kelly Karla Kelly Alex Long Adam Martin Michael McCann Dale McComiskey Rachel McMurray Amy Milsud Jack Mooney Jonathan Orr Garth Redmond Amy Rooney Amy Simpson Andrew Stewart Ciara Verzin Antoinette Walsh

LLB Laura McCrea Victoria Sayers MEng Jonathan Skelly Dip in Art and Design Jenna Todd UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW BSc BDS MRCPSG (Membership of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Glasgow) Christine V Lyttle Bachelor of Dental Surgery (Comms) Amy Porter


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Births, Marriages and Deaths BIRTHS BEST, 8th September 2015, to Matthew and Lisa, a daughter, Esme FOY, 23rd August 2015, to Steven and Jennifer, a son, Elliot Edward Foy MCALPINE-LAUNCHBURY, 29th September 2015, to Fiona and Drew, a daughter, Emma Ruth McELHINNEY, 23rd April 2015, to Ross and Julie, a daughter, Anna Rachel MCKINNEY-CARRIGAN, 14th December 2014, to Meghan McKinney and Craig Carrigan, a son, James MOORE-ASH, 21st February 2015, to Natalie and Colin, a boy, Lucas Gary SHIELDS, 12th December 2014, to Richard and Nicola, a daughter, Holly Erin SMYLIE, 26th September 2015, to Andrew and Louise, a son Daniel Harry Mervyn MARRIAGES ALLAN – KYLE: 13th June 2015, Nick Allan and Jane Kyle COOPER – SHIELDS: 5th September 2015, Chris Cooper and Hannah Shields CLOW-GILPIN: 18th July 2015, Alicia Clow and Darren Gilpin DELANEY – CROMIE: 14th February 2015, Ryan Delaney and Rebecca Cromie FOY-McCORMICK: 12th September 2015, Gillian Foy and Richard McCormick (Nicola and Ashleigh Foy were bridesmaids) HENRY – RUSSELL: 12th September 2015, Greg Henry to Jenna Russell McDOWELL-CLEGG: 25th May 2015, Jamie McDowell and Rachael Clegg McMORRAN – CRAWFORD: 4th July 2015, Michael McMorran and Janine Crawford MUDGE – COCHRANE: 9th July 2015, Jamie Mudge and Jemma Cochrane OLDING – MELLOR: 25th July 2015, Ross Olding and Louise Mellor TRACEY-McDOWELL: 10th August 2015, John Tracey and Gillian McDowell WILLIS-OLIVER: 6th June 2015, Stephen George Willis and Julie Valerie Oliver 223

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The Owl 2015

DEATHS ARMSTRONG: November 2015, S.P. BALMER: 5th June 2015, Walton BARTON (nee Tennant): 21st September 2015, Marie BLACK (nee Darling): 21st October 2015, Myrtle Joan BRICK: 5th July 2015, Ian HUTCHMAN: 24th August 2015, Harry KENNEDY: 21st August 2015, David F KYLE: 28th November 2014, Dr John Wilson (Jack) LEWIS (nee Giff): 7th August 2015, Eileen LUNEY: 28th April 2015, Wallace MARTIN: 4th March 2015, John MAULTSAID (nee Dean): 1st April 2015, Jennifer McFARLAND: 11th April 2015, Olive MIDDLETON: 31st December 2014, in Newfoundland, David OAKEY: 23rd November 2015, Helen ROGERS: 26th April 2015, A. Vance SIMMONS: 2015, R.H.I. Ivor WADSWORTH: November 2015, Trevor WHITLEY: 4th January 2015, in Kingston, Ontario, Professor J.A. (Jimmy) WRIXON: 13th July 2015, Eric


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Cover Design by: Chealsey-Ann Roxas

Printed by Peninsula Print & Design

The Owl Team 2015

The Owl 2015  

Belfast Royal Academy - The Owl Magazine - Christmas 2015

The Owl 2015  

Belfast Royal Academy - The Owl Magazine - Christmas 2015