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Posted: 02.06.14

Challenges To Face And Plenty To Unite Around In The Remainder Of The Academic Year

In this morning’s assembly, held in the Neuadd, Mrs Emma Taylor addressed staff and pupils as they returned from their half-term holidays.

She commented: “For those of us interested in sport there were some epic sporting moments over half term, not least the annual agony that accompanies watching British tennis player Andy Murray begin to make his way through the major tennis championships of the year.
When his 3rd round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber was suspended due to the fading light at 7-7 in the final set on Saturday night, the commentators on TV commented on what Murray would be doing overnight before coming back to finish the match yesterday afternoon. His support team was ready to spring into action to help him recover physically and psychologically overnight. Because although it looks as though Andy Murray is a soloist, a lone gladiator going out to face the best opposition in the world, in fact he is backed by a team of people who are all experts in their fields. He has a physiotherapist, a strength and conditioning coach, a fitness coach, a practice partner, a sports psychologist, a nutritionist. He is currently on the look out for a new coach, but his mother and his girlfriend have been constant supporters; he also has sponsors and equipment suppliers ensuring he has the best kit available. Andy Murray is the one who has to get out there and bring his talent, mental strength and skill to bear on the game, and his team get their job satisfaction from his successes.”

Mrs Taylor then observed that this story could be repeated for every successful professional sportsperson or team – the British cycling and rowing teams, for example, are backed by extraordinary people who are able to help them make the series of tiny improvements that allow them to challenge for gold medals time after time.

She continued: “Over recent weeks and into the second half of term the majority of you here will enter the sports hall, sit down, turn over the paper and start writing. This is your own personal competition, and you have to do it on your own once you are in there, but behind that performance is a team of others who are rooting for you and supporting you as you go out to prove what you can do. Obviously your teachers are chief among these supporters, as are your houseparents and tutors, your own families and your close friends. But it’s also the case that all of us here can be part of the team that supports these individuals as they face their own challenges. Everyone can contribute to their success by thoughtfulness towards them, for example making a quiet environment in Big School for revision, and by showing solidarity and support for them as they, too, face their big match and rise to the challenge of achieving at their best. It is a characteristic of Christ College that we celebrate the success of every individual; exams are a very individual matter in some ways, just as tennis matches are, but the team behind each candidate includes us all; we can all help, and we can all support. Very good luck to those who still have vital exams to sit; we are all behind you.”

At this morning’s assembly we welcomed to Christ College our new Bursar, Mr Martin Allen, who joins us from Wolverhampton Grammar School. Mr Allen has a good deal of interesting and relevant experience, not least that his previous school set up and opened a junior school just a couple of years ago. He has a degree in Law and Politics and is a keen historian. He received a very warm welcome from pupils and staff.

Mrs Taylor then awarded merit prizes from the last Grade Review here. They were won by:

  • In the 1st form, Milly Sandhu and for the first time this year, Aidan Hurst;
  • In the 2nd form, Lucy Price, Niamh Draper and for the first time, Isabel Phillips;
  • In the 3rd form Cai Williams and for the first time, Harry Roberts;
  • In the 4th form, prizes went to Catie Masters, AislingTarpey, Alice Lilley and Milo Welch, and for the first time to Lewis Donovan;
  • In the 5th form Annabel James, Rosie Evans, Sky Treasure-Jeffreys, Emily Devoy, Kate Cook, Mari James, Matthew Dempsey, Ben Draper and Harry Peach, and for the first time Sian Williams, Beca Boarer, Bryony Martin-Brown and Thomas Jenkins.

Certificates were presented for the Royal Society of Chemistry Olympiad, which took place some weeks ago. This is a competition which is entered by the top A level Chemistry candidates; this year over 5000 candidates took part and as ever, the questions were hugely challenging. It is greatly to their credit that Rhys Brown secured a Bronze Certificate, Lewis Murray a Silver Certificate, and Kyle Wang and Greyson Lou both gained Gold awards, putting them among the top 400 in the country. Well done to you all.

We then celebrated some Trinity College music examination results for percussion players: Rebekah Norman passed her Grade 1 Drum Kit with Merit, while Emily Forsyth and Iori Hughes both achieved their Grade 1 with Distinction. Dryw Brown and Iwan Parry passed Grade 3 Drum Kit and Connor Norris passed his Grade 6. Well done to the percussionists.

Mrs Taylor then explained that she had the pleasure once again a few weeks ago of going to watch two strong teams of cadets take part in the annual Cadet Cambrian Patrol competition at Sennybridge Training Area. The competition is a challenging one but year on year the Christ College CCF comes up trumps. This year was no exception, with our Junior Team, under the leadership of Matthew Dempsey, getting a Gold Medal, and the Senior Team under Luke Henderson a Silver. Despite being pushed close by Dulwich College, Christ College retained the best CCF trophy. Mrs Taylor paid particular credit to the contingent commander, Mr Owen, and to CCF SSI Mr Bevan, who prepared the teams so thoroughly and with such a competitive edge.

The teams are:

  • Juniors: Matthew Dempsey, Annabel James, Trystan Williams, Oliver Davidson, Sam Maggs, Jacob Williams, Sky Treasure-Jeffreys, ShupalShrestha and Milo Welch.
  • And the senior team: Luke Henderson, Josh Denton, Rhodri Edwards, Ed Harries, Neil Wang, Mimi Welch, Lloyd Donavon and Will Trumper.

Congratulations to you all on a fine win.

We celebrated another winner in the form of 3rd form pupil, Jack Stephens. Jack competes in the tetrathlon, which consists of shooting, swimming, cross country running and riding. He is part of the Brecon & Talybont pony club. Thanks to some excellent performances across the year, Jack was selected to compete for the Wales & Borders team in the Royal Windsor Horse Show a couple of weeks ago. Competitors take part as teams and individuals; there are 8 regional teams from around the UK. Jack performed superbly well, helping his team to 2nd place overall and topping the field himself, winning individual gold. Many congratulations to Jack.

Just before half term the new School Prefect team was announced. Mrs Taylor explained that this year’s Lower Sixth has many potential leaders, and there are many opportunities for senior pupils to take responsibility, serve the school and offer leadership and role models to those around them. Only a few can be School Prefects, and it is both an honour and a challenge to be offered such a role.

Mrs Taylor said: “I know that these 15 pupils will be ready to lead and to serve you all over the coming academic year.”

They are:

  • Andrew Barry
  • Alex Bush
  • Isaac Cho
  • Bronnie Davies
  • Joshua Denton
  • Alexander Dereham
  • Freya Felgate
  • Bella Fisher
  • Leonie Halpin
  • Luke Henderson
  • Amarachi Ihenacho,
  • Iain Mitchell,
  • Paul Pascall-Jones,
  • Luke Skibniewski-Woods
  • and Mimi Welch.

Congratulations and good luck.

Mrs Taylor concluded: “In a few short weeks the academic year will be over. Between now and then we have our own challenges to face and plenty to unite around, from the Alway House production of Bugsy Malone, to Stars in their Eyes, and from a charity football marathon to Prize Day and the Leavers’ Ball. In all of these things, can I encourage you to look not only for your own success, but to support those around you, and to be part of their team when they need you as they set out to be the best they can be.”

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