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Issue 35 Summer 2009







The 17th Annual Sports Tour Committee Dinner was graced by the presence of several sporting stars. Not least among them was Sebastian, now Lord Coe, Chairman of the London Olympics Organising Committee, himself a holder of two Olympic gold medals. Lord Coe came to Woollams as guest of honour in order to promote the School’s highly active sports tours programme. Lord Coe reminisced about his own time as a runner and, joining him, was David Bedford, Director of this year’s London marathon and whose son was a successful runner for the School. He and Lord Coe entertained the assembled audience of some 400 guests, who greatly enjoyed their wit and Lord Coe shares a joke with the new Chairman of HMC insight into the fast-paced world of athletics. Lord Coe also spoke of his dealings concerning the delivery of the London Olympics, and the politics behind it. Former England Rugby Union International Martin Bayfield also addressed the guests. His anecdotes about his experiences of international rugby were extremely entertaining. Around 400 guests enjoyed the evening, giving the speakers standing ovations and bidding for lots in the raffle.The top item was an England running vest signed by Steve Ovett, Steve Cram and Sebastian Coe, which attracted a final bid of £1700. Other items also raised well above their reserve price. Since its establishment in 1993, the Sports Tours Committee has raised £447,000 to send 1300 St Albans School sportsmen and sportswomen to South America, New Zealand, Canada, the Caribbean, the United States and many parts of Britain and Europe.

WATCHING THE WORMS Second form scientists Ben and Chris helped wildlife presenter Chris Packham launch the OPAL Soil and Earthworm Survey. The project will help scientists with research into soil and organisms that live in it. By testing the soil for certain characteristics and identifying their local earthworms, people can help scientists in their research and contribute to the first community-led study of the natural world. Chris Packham, said, ‘Earthworms are really undervalued and few people realise the impor tant job they do keeping the soil under our feet nice and healthy. Surprisingly little is known about the different species or their habitats, so this research will be vital to help scientists understand how earthworms are affected by pollutants in the soil and by human activity.’

CHALLENGING MATHS Having already scored highly in the Intermediate Mathematical Challenge, a number of pupils were invited to participate in the Intermediate Olympiad. This is a demanding paper requiring full written solutions and precise argument to gain good marks. Matthew Fletcher and Joshua Huntingford did very well to gain merits, but the par ticularly notable achievement was that of Daniel Heydecker. He has a certificate of distinction, a medal from the UK Mathematical Trust and a book prize. His score put him amongst the best 50 in his year group in the country.


The Spring Term is, as always, one of the most active for our musicians. After months of preparation, the 21st March was the date for the yearly Joint Schools Concert, performed by pupils, parents and staff from St Albans School and St Albans High School for Girls with guest soloists. The programme included Gerald Finzi’s Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice, John Taverner’s Funeral Ikos and, most

Mick Stout leads an energetic rehearsal for the Joint Schools Concert (above) and musicians in Italy (right)

importantly, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace. Accompanying pieces included Fanfare for the Common Man and An Albanian Interlude, the latter composed by our own Oliver Till. The audience enjoyed this varied programme tremendously; Michael Stout’s first oppor tunity to conduct this annual concert was a resounding success. The Easter holidays saw the choir, barbershop group, orchestra, wind band and flute group embark for Tuscany on their seventh annual tour. Three concer ts were performed at the converted theatre Olivio Camaiore, in the ancient Pistoia Cathedral and in San Agostino Church in the fortified hill town of San Gimignano. Beyond the concerts and rehearsals, students and teachers were able to enjoy the Italian atmosphere, culture and cuisine in Lucca, Pisa, Pistoia and Florence. The tour was

a great success and all who took part look forward to further travels next year. There was also a personal success for Chris Springthorpe, who played in a concert with the Herts Schools Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. This was coupled with the place which he gained in the Barbican Youth Orchestra, run jointly by the London Symphony Orchestra and the Barbican Centre.

BBC NEWSHOUNDS 120 young journalists hunted down stories, edited them ruthlessly and published them on the School’s website on BBC School Repor t Newsday.

BBC School Report section of the School website. Activities included pupils creating their own video bulletins, discussing the morning newspapers and writing articles on the very latest issues, ranging from cross country running to the latest Formula One scoop. The repor ters were helped by teachers and mentors from the Sixth Form and learnt how to edit videos and write under pressure. A representative from the BBC also helped pupils to perfect the news stories.

The day is a national event run by the BBC in which over five hundred schools participated.The entire Third form took part, honing journalistic skills and reporting on the day’s latest events, locally, nationally and even internationally. The pupils had been preparing for the day in English lessons during the previous half term and one small group had even had the chance to visit the BBC studios to watch television programme making in action. Text and video reports were created by students with their broadcasting skills being tested throughout the day.The reports were put up on the

Third for mer s found the day fascinating and exciting, as did parents, who were so keen to view the pupils’ work, that extra bandwidth had to be obtained for the School website. Developing a story for the website

CCF NEWS The annual Geoffrey Pryke Memorial Lecture was given by LieutenantColonel HWR Eagan, Commandant of the Cadet Training Centre. He recounted his experiences during his 34 years in the army, which included service in Afghanistan, Iraq, Canada, Belize, Northern Ireland and Oman: he also completed the very tough Parachute Regiment course. His talk was very motivational, showing that the army’s core values were appropriate in all walks of life and these values are precisely those that are taught in the Sandhurst and Cadet Leadership Courses. Indeed some of our Sixth Form cadets had a most informative day at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in March. In April two of our air cadets went to RAF Leuchars for a week of flying, shooting, tours around various aircraft and a night exercise in tough Scottish weather conditions.Two of our cadets, Jamie DaCosta and James Crossley successfully completed a 10 day gliding course and were awarded their silver wings. Lt Col HWR Eagan of the Royal Welsh, who delivered the Geoffrey Pryke Memorial Lecture

Politics students enjoy the sites of Paris

INSIGHTS FOR ALL The extremes of Everest to the extremes of recession, the influence of Emperor Constantine and the development of the Eurofighter – all were amongst the diverse range of subjects covered by visiting lecturers during the term. The effects of extreme weather on the human body were appropriately the subject matter for the Stephen Hawking Society during a week of snow. Kay Mitchell of Caudwell Extreme Everest had clearly faced worse conditions, however. The marketability of scientific discoveries was the focus of the talk by Dr Arnab Basu, CEO of Kromek. While the latter talk also appealed to Economists, the Economics Society itself hosted Larry Elliot OA, The Guardian’s Economics Editor. He outlined the five stages

of an economic recession – bubble, denial, grudging acceptance, panic and recovery – as well as the path taken by world governments to right the financial climate. Dr Chris Kelly addressed the Hylocomian Society about Emperor Constantine and his conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity.

Larry Elliot The Engineering Society heard about outlines the rise the complex logistical challenges and fall of a associated with the development of recession East London for the 2012 Olympic Games. Mark Reynolds, who gave the talk, is Board director of Mace, the main contractor for the Olympic site in London, with key insight into the preparations. David Lye and Fiona Clark of Selex, Galileo gave students a privileged view of the designing and testing of the Eurofighter project.

OVERSEAS TRIPS This year has seen a plethora of visits to foreign parts.The annual exchange trips to France and Santander in Spain provided pupils with linguistic practice and cultural experiences, while the annual fourth form trip to the battlefields of the First World War: Ypres, Passchendaele,Vimy Ridge and the Somme gave budding historians a real insight into the tactical problems facing British troops at the time. Football in Florida and skiing in France were preceded by a trip for Upper Sixth Politics students to Paris to attend the Your Future in Europe conference. Hosted by John Sergeant, speakers included MPs Charles Kennedy, David Davis, Denis MacShane and Guardian columnist David Aaronovitch, who provided students with an overview of the development of the EU and an explanation of European Foreign Policy.



Hockey: The season suffered some disruption because of the weather conditions: nevertheless there were some very pleasing results. The 1st XI enjoyed a fine 3-2 win against

event, Hannah Johnson was an excellent 3rd in the Senior Girls race, while Vasudev Zaver, Tom Brooks and Mark Pearce ran ver y well in their intermediate section. Our runners triumphed for the 12th year in succession to take the Goater Cup in an outstanding team effort.The two seniors ran the 2nd and 3rd fastest laps and the team won the race by over 60 seconds. At the Oxford Tortoise Relays there was further success with U15s winning their race and the Seniors just pipped at the post to come 2nd. At the South East Schools Championship, all 3 teams finished in second place: this was a good end to a challenging season.

Swimming: The Seniors finished the The U13 hockey season with great success, beating Merchant Taylor’s, while the 2nd XI team gained silver both Haberdashers’ and Berkhamsted scored well against Dulwich 4-1 and in the National to win the County league. Excellent The Leys 5-2. The very successful Minis County Cup performances from captain Dayne U16s emerged victorious against Lunn and James and Richard Dulwich 11-0, Hitchin 10-3 and Leather ensured this outstanding The Leys 5-4. The U14s, whilst achievement. The Juniors, strongly not unbeaten, enjoyed wins over Merchant Taylor’s 6-1, Hitchin 2-1, Oundle 2-0 and The Leys 2-1. The U13s took part in the National Minis County Cup, competing against 10 other schools. They got through to the final of the tournament to play Bishops Stortford. This was a tough contest, but resolute defending, especially from goalkeeper Euan McGonagle, resulted in a score of 0-0. However Bishops Stortford managed to score in extra time and snatched the trophy, leaving the St Albans side Skiers in the led by James Duke-Smith, came with silver medals. Earlier in the term French Alps 2nd to Haberdashers’, while the nineteen U13 players enjoyed a three Intermediates came 3rd overall. Both day tour of the West Country, playing Junior and Intermediate teams won in 11-a-side matches and a 7-a-side ‘most improved’ shields. tournament which gave them some excellent match practice. Rugby:The U12s stunned the Cross Country: At the Herts Clubs opposition in the Herts event eight of our pupils ran very 10s Rugby Tournament well with 6 boys gaining automatic by defeating 20 other qualification for the SEAA inter schools from around county championships and 2 boys Her ts to take the trophy, were placed as reserves. At the Knole beating Berkhamsted in the run, a gruelling six miles over a very final. Travis Hudson really muddy and challenging course, our distinguished himself in team did well to finish fourth this event. overall, with Euan Mackenzie Netball: The gir ls coming 6th and Billy Collins 8th. enjoyed At the Herts County Schools

a very good season, with fine wins against Beaumont 23-17, Loreto 12-6, Richard Hale 9-7 and St Albans High School. Football: Our footballers enjoyed a good season with some excellent wins against Rickmansworth, Beaumont and Haberdashers’. Two squads, the Seniors and the U15s, jetted off to Florida in February for the School’s first ever football tour. After a day’s acclimatisation in Orlando, which included a trip to Disney World, they went into action against Tarpon FC, The Palm Harbour Night Hawks and Everton FC in Tampa, scoring some fine victories. Chris Knights was the U15 player of the tour. Badminton: At the HSBA tournament three of our seniors got through to the main event and Mark Sadler got to the final, with a magnificent win 22-20. In the U15 competition our players, under the captaincy of Oliver Ng, won with a total of 199 points. The U13s came 2nd overall; both of these fine achievements. First former William Pickworth plays for Herts U13 team and has enjoyed a fine season. Skiing: 50 intrepid skiers set off for Les Deux Alpes in France at Easter. There was snow at the start of the week, making for challenging visibility conditions on the lower slopes, but the more experienced skiers could go above the clouds and enjoyed superb slopes and spectacular views. Midweek brought better visibility and many progressed quickly through to the red runs by the end of the week. An active après ski programme including ice gliding, skating and pool tournaments contributed to an excellent trip. Tennis and Golf: The annual Tennis and Golf camp at Millfield School saw 34 pupils benefit from high quality tennis and golf coaching in excellent facilities. Awards for most improved tennis players went to Darius Faiz-Mahdavi, James Scott and Bethan Griffith and for most improved golf players to Dev Patel and Max Houghton.

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Highlights Summer 09  

The termly newsletter from St Albans School