54 students completed their Physical Geography Fieldwork at Anderby Creek on Wednesday 11th September. The remnants of Hurricane Dorian did not dampen spirits on the day and the students worked hard to complete their investigation of the sand dunes. The Anderby Creek Beach Café was a great spot to finish the day in, providing many portions of chips and ice cream to our ravenous students!
Very early on the 30th July a weary group of nineteen students and two staff returned to QEGS at the end of a two week expedition to Nepal. The trip, the culmination of two year’s preparation, combined the usual mixture of tourism, educational activity, a project at a school and, for the first time, a visit to the conservation area of the Chitwan National Reserve.
On arrival we travelled to the Utse Hotel and quickly began our programme of activities which included visits to the Gurkha Welfare Trust that supports former soldiers and their communities, and the Kathmandu office of the World Wildlife Fund to examine the conservation and environmental issues faced by Nepal. A visit was also made to the impressive Buddhist site of the Boudhanath Stupa and to the Thamel Durbar (palace) Square. Everyone managed to get thoroughly soaked when caught in the monsoon that flooded the streets when returning to our hotel.
We then quickly transferred to the Namgyal Middle Boarding School to begin our project. The school has just under 400 students from the refugee Tibetan community, the majority of whom are sponsored and who are educated in lessons that include English, Nepalese and the Tibetan language and culture. The project was to prepare the ground for two 5000 litre water storage tanks so that the school was able to provide an adequate quantity of clean drinking water for students and staff. We had the job of digging a rather large hole through heavy clay. After three days the team had reached a depth of 5 feet and impressed everyone by their hard work. Our students had a great time taking some lessons, interacting with the children and finished off the stay with a joint cultural event and basketball matches.
Chitwan was a 5 hour bus journey but well worth the effort. The group had the chance to see Indian elephants, rhino, crocodiles, deer species and a range of birds and insects. We took part in a nature walk, jeep safari, elephant safari and had a wet time washing an elephant. We visited a local village to gain an awareness of the local ethnic group and followed this up with a cultural evening in the nearby village.
Our return to Kathmandu included an enjoyable and informative visit to Kopan monastery where a resident monk explained more about the beliefs of Buddhism and led a short session on meditation. This was also the time that we explored the shops of the Thamel district and sorted out the presents and memorabilia.
Overall it was a fantastic trip that saw the students gain a real appreciation for a number of aspects of life in Nepal and they threw themselves into the activities with enthusiasm and a genuine interest. I would like to thank Miss Freeman for her invaluable assistance on the trip, Charlotte Wilton for being an excellent expedition leader and Gautam, our tour guide, for sharing his knowledge, experience and good humour throughout the visit.
Thursday 4th July was the Lower Sixth’s annual business day. We dressed smart, worked hard, became competitive (some of us more than others) and generally had a useful, productive day.
Different from other years, our business day did not only consist of branding, product design and finance, but we physically had to make our own products, in this case: cupcakes. The 8 competing groups, therefore, also had to go head-to-head in the kitchen, where the intensity of decorating and baking was all too known. But first, the start of the day…
After a de-briefing from Mr Randman in the Main Hall, groups got to meet their mentors for the day and set up base in their allocated rooms. The idea behind the business day is to give the Lower Sixth – most of whom will progress to university or further their education in a year’s time – a sense of responsibility in ‘the business world’. In fact, the day imitates the popular TV show ‘The Apprentice’, where entrepreneurs are challenged on a weekly basis to create, design and be innovative. It’s safe to say though, we did a much better job than those seen on TV. In our respective groups therefore, we had to decide, simply, who was doing what. The team in which I was a part of sorted our roles fairly quickly; it helped that we all had different talents which we could apply to the job. After meeting our mentor Chris Prince, we decided on our ‘project managers’ being Connor Graves and Dan Webb; our finance team consisted of Aaron Marshall and James Clay; Charlotte Harvey and Sam Newton took on the roles of packaging designers; Alicia Woods and Viv Bone did market research and branding, including promoting our product on social media platforms; and Alice Verdon and myself did both the baking of the cupcakes as well as designing and pitching our presentation at the end of the day. In other words, we had a good team.
Throughout the day we spread ourselves out around the school, each with our own jobs and responsibilities. As the only group with three people having certain intolerances, we decided to make our cupcakes glucose and lactose free, which of course threw a spanner in the works of our production line, as ingredients had to be checked for any allergens. This also meant that packaging, branding and our pitch had to be altered to fully promote the product.
Shortly before 2 o’clock, our team had a final meeting to organise and prepare everything for the pitch, including any last minute alterations. Chris gave us further tips on public speaking, a useful skill to have not only for this particular project, but for years to come as we start to leave QEGS, a perfect example of why such a business day exists. After rehearsing our speech, our group went into the Main Hall along with the others, where we showcased our product next to other beautifully designed cupcakes in one big display. After that, it was time for the speeches: most were funny, some very cleverly planned through, and some where the maths calculations were COMPLETELY out, but in total it was amazing to witness everyone’s creative visions. After it was discovered that there were indeed three groups in 1st place, Mrs Payne was called upon to pick the overall winning group, and ‘Liberty Cupcakes’- our group - were victorious.
The Lower Sixth as a whole found the day very enjoyable and successful. Connor Graves stated that “everyone was able to carry out their roles effectively” and judging by the end pictures of all the teams, the day was thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to Mr Randman and all the members of staff who helped in organising this event, and to all the mentors who gave up their time to give us aid throughout the day. It was very much appreciated.
Jessica Rocci, L6C