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Box Hill School newsletter - Focus - Issue 5

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This year we welcomed the Chief Executive of Round Square, Mr Brian Dawson, to Box Hill School as our guest speaker. It was the inaugural Speech Day for Mr Cory Lowde, who officially took up the post as the school’s fourth Headmaster at the beginning of April this year. On what was a quintessential English summer’s day, parents, staff, pupils and guests were welcomed into a marquee bedecked with seasonal flowers. Following a warm welcome from Mr John Banfield, the Chairman of Governors, the Headmaster took the opportunity to set out his vision for the school over the next five years. He reaffirmed his and the School’s core values of a holistic education rooted in the Round Square, the association of schools that follow the IDEALS of Kurt Hahn’s educational philosophy (Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service). He also announced that the school will continue with an ambitious development plan to follow the opening of the Sixth Form Centre in the Autumn (see page 12). An all weather sportspitch is in the planning for this winter and will be followed by a new Sports Centre (all subject to planning permissions!) which he hopes the school can complete for 2016. This will have a positive effect on the provision of the arts as space is freed up in other areas. Mr Lowde also pledged to continue welcoming pupils with a wide spectrum of abilities and talents to Box Hill School, whilst continuing to push up academic standards, with a particular focus on value-added. This is, at its core, what Box Hill School is all about. I have no interest in Box Hill School becoming an academic hothouse. “We do and always will cater for the individual, whatever his or her talents; through commitment to exceptional teaching and the focus on the development of character”. Our guest speaker, Mr Dawson, began his speech by taking a ‘selfie’ with the departing Year 13s before urging them to remember those Round Square IDEALS which have been such a part of Speech Day 2014 The newsletter of Box Hill School www. boxhillschool.com FOCUS ISSUE 5 JULY 2014 1 www.facebook.com/boxhillschool @boxhillschool New Guardians One of the highlights of Speech Day was the official handover of the role of the Guardians (Head Boy and Head Girl). Outgoing Guardians, Zoé Gross and James Swallow, made two very moving speeches which left the audience in no doubt as to their affection for the school and the values that it holds dear. Zoé also reminded the Sixth Form that their amazing experiences at Box Hill School were thanks to their parents who gave them the opportunity to learn here. Our new guardians are Talitha Jacob and Luca Kirchner. They are both studying the IB in the Sixth Form and both international students - Talitha from Malaysia and Luca from Germany. They are keen to use their year as Guardians to give more responsibilities to the Syndicate (prefects) and encourage the Sixth Form to build stronger relationships with the ‘green jackets’ (Years 7 to 11). School values reaffirmed at first Speech Day for new Headmaster Continued on Page 2 Spartans captains, Will and Zoé with Mr Brian Dawson
Page 1: Box Hill School newsletter - Focus - Issue 5

This year we welcomed the ChiefExecutive of Round Square, Mr BrianDawson, to Box Hill School as our guestspeaker. It was the inaugural SpeechDay for Mr Cory Lowde, who officiallytook up the post as the school’s fourthHeadmaster at the beginning of Aprilthis year.

On what was a quintessential Englishsummer’s day, parents, staff, pupils andguests were welcomed into a marqueebedecked with seasonal flowers.Following a warm welcome from MrJohn Banfield, the Chairman ofGovernors, the Headmaster took theopportunity to set out his vision for theschool over the next five years.

He reaffirmed his and the School’s corevalues of a holistic education rooted inthe Round Square, the association ofschools that follow the IDEALS of KurtHahn’s educational philosophy(Internationalism, Democracy,Environmentalism, Adventure,Leadership and Service). He alsoannounced that the school will continuewith an ambitious development plan tofollow the opening of the Sixth FormCentre in the Autumn (see page 12). Anall weather sportspitch is in theplanning for this winter and will befollowed by a new Sports Centre (all

subject to planning permissions!) whichhe hopes the school can complete for2016. This will have a positive effect onthe provision of the arts as space isfreed up in other areas.

Mr Lowde also pledged to continuewelcoming pupils with a wide spectrumof abilities and talents to Box HillSchool, whilst continuing to push upacademic standards, with a particularfocus on value-added.

“This is, at its core, what BoxHill School is all about. I haveno interest in Box Hill Schoolbecoming an academichothouse.

“We do and always will cater for theindividual, whatever his or her talents;through commitment to exceptionalteaching and the focus on thedevelopment of character”.

Our guest speaker, Mr Dawson, beganhis speech by taking a ‘selfie’ with thedeparting Year 13s before urging themto remember those Round SquareIDEALS which have been such a part of

Speech Day 2014The newsletter of Box Hill School

www. boxhillschool.com

FOCUS • ISSUE 5 • JULY 2014 1


NewGuardiansOne of the highlights of SpeechDay was the official handover ofthe role of the Guardians (HeadBoy and Head Girl).

Outgoing Guardians, Zoé Grossand James Swallow, made twovery moving speeches which leftthe audience in no doubt as totheir affection for the school andthe values that it holds dear. Zoéalso reminded the Sixth Formthat their amazing experiencesat Box Hill School were thanks totheir parents who gave them theopportunity to learn here.

Our new guardians are TalithaJacob and Luca Kirchner. Theyare both studying the IB in theSixth Form and bothinternational students - Talithafrom Malaysia and Luca fromGermany. They are keen to usetheir year as Guardians to givemore responsibilities to theSyndicate (prefects) andencourage the Sixth Form tobuild stronger relationships withthe ‘green jackets’ (Years 7 to 11).

School values reaffirmed at first Speech Day for new Headmaster

Continued on Page 2

Spartans captains, Will and Zoé with Mr Brian Dawson

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their education during their yearsat Box Hill School. He sharedsome of his own experiences inSouth Africa and particularlyencouraged students to explorethe natural world and volunteertheir time to environmentalcauses whilst using theopportunity to explore the globe.

Prize giving followed the speechesand this year saw an enormousamount of success beingrecognised across all the ageranges and ability levels. The mostanticipated prize of the day was thewinner of the Inter Thirdscompetition, which runsthroughout the year and in whichall pupils are involved. This year’swinners were the Spartans and thecup was picked up by Spartancaptains, Will Pereira and outgoingGuardian, Zoé Gross.

Following the prizes, guestsescaped the increasingly warmmarquee for Pimms andsandwiches on the lawn.

Speech DayHarry Potter Activity ClubThis term has seen the advent of an exciting new activity for our junior years – HarryPotter Club! Fans of the Gryffindor wizard have been seen around our very ownHogwarts (Dalewood House) on Tuesday afternoons making potions, taking part ingames of Quidditch and generally muggling along, learning to be wizards.

The group of 16 (divided into four houses, of course) have been dressing up in fullwizard regalia, led by their wizard in chief, Mrs Barai. Whilst having great fun re-enacting Harry Potter, they have also been learning some quite useful chemistry,going into the labs to make a variety of potions, explosions and magic wands. Thesehave been filmed by the group, with some help from our Head of Science, MrGallagher and can be viewed on our YouTube Channel, here:www.youtube.com/BoxHillSchool1

Harry Potter Club is just one of 63 activities that our pupils can take part in.To see what else they can do, see our website: www.boxhillschool.com/activities

Priya is one of our newer teachers,having joined the school in September2013. Priya teaches geography to allyear groups in what is her first teachingjob, having previously worked in avariety of roles at environmentalorganisations including Greenpeaceand Fauna and Flora International.

She began her working life as aresearcher before deciding on a careerin environmental consultancy. However,having started training in the City inconsultancy and financial roles sherealised that her long term future lay in

STAFF PROFILE - Priya Baraiteaching, after enjoying the experienceof some part time tuition work.

Priya has always had a love for HumanGeography – she studied it as an undergraduate at LSE before then going onto Harvard where she readHumanitarian Law as a post-graduate.She has travelled the globe extensivelythroughout her life; a highlight wasworking as a researcher off a Greekisland in the Ionian Sea.

Priya feels that her relative lack ofexperience in the classroom is made upfor by her extensive experience ‘in thefield’. A key feature of her teaching is tomake her lessons as experiential aspossible. For example, she runs a worldtrading game with one of her classeswhere each pupil represents a nationstate and she acts as the World Bank.“Each ‘nation’ starts the game with aparticular resource or fund of money.They very quickly learn that they needto work together to get what they needto grow their nation’s economy andalso learn to barter hard! By the end ofthe lesson the classroom resembles aCity trading floor – it’s frenetic and full

of energy, but a great way to learn and

the pupils really enjoy it!” Other

highlights of her year have been

teaching a Year 9 class about volcanoes

by making their own out of various

materials and then setting them off

with a mixture of chemicals in the labs

and also setting up Harry Potter Club as

a Wednesday activity.

Priya’s enthusiasm for teaching is

obvious when you meet her and she

feels that the school’s ethos has really

helped: “It is such a friendly, welcoming

environment, both for pupils and staff,

and that, for me, is what makes it such

a good place to learn (and teach!)”.

Continuedfrom Page 1

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Numbers rule the universe!Year 11 pupils go further with mathsThis year’s top Year 11 maths set would probably agree with Pythagoras’s assertion that ‘numbers rule the universe’ as they areon course to be one of our most successful maths sets ever. In Year 9 they were identified as being a particularly talented yearand the decision was made to accelerate them towards an early IGCSE, which they took in January this year. The results wereexcellent; out of a set of 18 pupils, they were awarded nine A*s, six As and three Bs.

They then started work towards their Further Maths GCSE, which is the only exam that awards the A^, known as an A hat. It isthe equivalent of an A**. Both exams have recently been taken and Miss Appleton, who teaches the set, is hoping for several A^sin the group, which would be a remarkable achievement.

Miss Appleton reports that the pupils have really enjoyed the challenge and the ‘out of the box’ way of looking at maths that theFurther Maths course demands. She says they have really embraced the ideas and challenge of it and have been a real pleasureto teach. Look out on our website for the final results!

Anyone associated with the school over the last year will have seen theadoption of the ‘Inspirational Box Hill School’ logo.

A question often asked by visitors is what is it that’s so inspirational about BoxHill School? We decided the best way to answer this was by asking the pupilsthemselves and putting the results into a new school video! So in the EasterTerm every pupil was asked to write down on a postcard what it was abouttheir life at Box Hill that inspires them – the answers were, well, inspired! Wesifted through all the cards and found five pupils’ answers that we felt reallysummed up the spirit of the school and what pupils are able to achieve here.The video, with a background look at how it was made and a profile of each ofthe pupils involved can be found here: www.boxhillschool.com/inspirational

Sixth Form winoffers to UK’s topuniversitiesThis year’s Upper Sixth are eagerlyawaiting their results for both the IB andA-levels – the first time that our SixthForm had the option of taking eitherqualification. The choice seems to havehad a very positive affect, if universityoffers are anything to go by!

Fifteen of this year’s Upper Sixth arelooking to go to UK universities inSeptember and of those, a remarkablefive have accepted conditional offers toExeter, one of the UK’s top university’s inthe well-known ‘Russell Group’. Despiteaiming to head to Exeter together, thefive students have all been offereddifferent courses. Former Guardian,James Swallow, is hoping to readBusiness and Management, PatrycjaPalys, our Polish scholar, is wanting toread Law. Beatrice Avanzini is looking atEconomics, Alasdair Gibbs, Psychologyand Esther Lowde, English.

Two further students have acceptedoffers to other Russell Group universities,York and King’s College, London, whilstthere are also offers to Newcastle, RoyalHolloway, UWE, Westminster, Kent,Sussex and Greenwich.

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At 5.30 am on a drizzly Friday morningin February, a team of six staff co-ordinated 60 Year 9 pupils and six Year12 students onto two buses to begin thejourney to Belgium.

We visited several historical sites duringthe trip, from the dressing station atEssex Farm to the rows and rows ofgraves at Tyne Cot. However, this year’strip, in the centenary year of the start ofthe war, took on a particular significancefor one of our pupils, Kayleigh. Her greatgreat grandfather, William Clark Adams,served in the First World War for theScottish Highland Light Infantry 17thBattalion and died in Flanders on 10thJuly, 1917, having been buried by abomb and not dug out in time to savehim. The family was able to discoverthat he was buried at Coxyde MilitaryCemetery in Belgium and so the schoolvisited the cemetery, where Kayleighlaid a wreath by his grave – the first ofhis family to do so in 97 years.

Another pupil, Annabelle, laid a cross ofremembrance for her great great unclein Tyne Cot cemetery and six boys laidwreaths under the Menin Gate, writing

In memoriam Pupils remember war dead onHistory trip to Belgium

the dedications themselves. Pupils thenread out the names of the Micklehamwar dead and laid a wreath during aprivate memorial service for the school.

“The group also visited JoeStudwick, a Dorking boywho lied about his age andwas killed in battle at just 15years of age.

The pupils found plenty to interestthem in Ypres; in the museum theywere fascinated by used shell cases,uniforms and the cross section of a tree

that had grown before, during and afterthe war. The rings of that tree heldscars from the damage it endured inwartime. They walked through apreserved trench near the Hooge Crater- those who did not follow theinstruction to bring wellies regretted itas they squelched through the mud!They were able to read personalaccounts of those who were involved inwar from different sides of the conflictand from all walks of life.

A lighter moment of the trip was whenwe took the pupils to a chocolate shop,that classic Belgian treat. They stuffedthemselves full with the most deliciousarray of truffles, praline seashells andalmost everything else that the shophad to offer!

Everyone arrived home on Saturdayevening and there were many tiredfaces in the bus but the reports fromparents and pupils alike have beenoverwhelmingly positive about theexperience.

Miss Felicity MinnsHead of KS3 History

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New School UniformFrom September 2014 the new Box Hill School uniform will be available. Youcan see just from the photos that the new boys’ jacket, tie and jumper aremuch more fitted, subtle (with, for example, the small purple logo on thelapel) and smarter than the former boys’ outfit. The new girls’ skirt matchesthe boys’ tie, and the girls’ jacket is also a much better ‘fitted’ cut and weight,to give a much classier look.

All new pupils joining the school in the autumn term will have the new uniform.For those who are already part of the school community, the uniform is beingphased in over a period of 12 months. This means that by September 2015 allpupils will be representing the school in the new uniform. The new uniform iscurrently on view in Dalewood reception. Do come in and have a look.

A group of 53 IGCSE History pupils wenton a memorable school trip to Berlin overEaster. Arriving in a cold, wet Berlin late inthe evening, we were relieved to get toour rooms and have a decent night’ssleep. After all, this trip would bephysically and intellectually intensive, aswe traversed the city getting heavyweightlectures from Berlin Museum guides forthe next three days!

The pupils awoke to a continentalbreakfast during which they embracedseveral different versions of Germansausage and salami. At this point it beganto sink in that we were staying at a verynice hotel right in the middle of thefashionable Ku’Dam area of Berlin! We setoff for our first day in the city, well-nourished and highly impressed by theefficiency of the Berlin transport system.Pupils visited the Jewish Museum, wherethey learnt about the experiences ofBerlin Jews before, during and after theThird Reich.

This was followed by a visit to the‘Questions in German History’ exhibitionat the Deutscher Dom building wherepupils heard about modern Germanhistory. We finished the day by visiting theGerman Resistance Museum with itsparticular focus on the Valkyrie bomb plotand Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.

On Saturday we visited the SachenhausenPrison Camp museum and the WannseeConference House. Both sites werefundamental in the planning,implementation and execution ofGovernment organised terror towardsthose they considered to be political andracial enemies during the Third Reich.That evening we had dinner at atraditional German restaurant and weretreated to baked ham, potato andsauerkraut (it seemed terribly similar to afamous Irish dish of smoked ham andcabbage)! We finished off the evening bytaking in the amazing Reichstag buildingwith its incredible glass dome designedby the British architect Lord Foster. The

Ich bin ein Berliner!For a few days at least

pupils took the chance to ascend thedome on its internal walkway while alsotaking in spectacular views of the city.

On Sunday we awoke to another gloriousbreakfast with just about every type ofcold meat, cheese and bread roll onecould possibly imagine! We visited theCecilienhof Palace where the PotsdamTreaty was signed at the end of WorldWar Two. Here the pupils learnt about thefate of the captured Nazis, the division ofGermany and the relationships betweenChurchill, Stalin and Truman. We thenwent to the Berlin Wall memorial as thepupils were keen to see the mainsurviving piece of wall left standing in the

city and to remember those who diedwhile trying to escape from East to WestBerlin. We finished off our culinaryexperience by having our final meal at theHard Rock Café in Berlin! We were sad tohead home on Sunday evening, everyoneagreeing that Berlin is both historic and‘uber cool’!

Mr Owen AndersonHead of History

Pupils outside The Jewish Museum

Sachenhausen Prison Camp

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A group of business studies studentsenjoyed a sensational 10 day tour of thewest coast of America during Februaryhalf term with Miss Treacy (trip leader),Mr Gardner and Mr Mainiero.

San Francisco offered many highlights,a definite being Alcatraz, one of themost famous prisons in the USA forhousing notorious criminals. Studentsmet William Baker, a former prisoner ofAlcatraz, who was doing a book signingon the day. The tour of San Franciscooffered stunning views and incrediblephoto opportunities of Union Square,the Golden Gate Bridge andFisherman's Wharf.

Students enjoyed an educational visit tothe Tech Museum of Innovation, theIntel Museum and Stanford University.Silicon Valley provided students with aninsight into innovation anddevelopment which accounts for one-

California Business Trip third of all of the venture capitalinvestment in the USA. The groupenjoyed a ride on the world’s lastmanually operated cable car capturingthe sights of San Francisco. A visit to anational historic landmark, Hoover Dam,provided amazing views of the highestconcrete dam in the westernhemisphere, standing at more than 725feet above the Colorado River.

“A visit to Yosemite NationalPark provided students withbeautiful views of YosemiteFalls and Mirror Lake.

Las Vegas was hugely entertaining andstudents enjoyed the shows, streetexperiences and a meal at the HardRock Café. Another awe-inspiringsight was the Grand Canyon National

Park. This geological wonder, carvedover billions of years, providedstudents with breathtaking photoopportunities. Calico Ghost Townallowed students to step back in timeat the restored mining town,experiencing how people lived duringthe gold rush days and watch a re-enacted battle. The last stop was LAwhere students strolled through theWalk of Fame in Hollywood, RodeoDrive in Beverly Hills and enjoyed thethrill and excitement of UniversalStudios. On the final night studentsenjoyed a surprise NBA basketballgame at the Staple Centre where theLA Lakers took on the HoustonRockets. A magnificent trip enjoyedby all!

Miss Katie TreacyBusiness Studies Teacher

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This year’s Summer Concert took placeon Father’s Day in the McComish Hall.The concert opened with a world first –the playing of Year 11 pupil JoshBarnett’s Concert Overture. Josh is amusic scholar and had composed hisoverture as part of his GCSEcomposition portfolio. The piece builtup from a quiet beginning and thepassing of the principal melodybetween different instruments wasreminiscent of Ravel’s Bolero. Theaudience gave a rousing ovation at theend of what was a real triumph.

There followed two more orchestralpieces. The first, a beautiful Concertofor Flute, Harp and Orchestra, byMozart, was led by two more of ourmusic scholars – Year 10 pupil, Yasminon the flute and Year 9 pupil, Imogen.The second was Oblivion by theArgentine tango composer, AstorPiazzolla. The piece incorporated both

classical and jazz and was led by Josh Barnett, this time playing on his saxophone.

This year, local prep. school, Belmont, joined us for the concert and their choir sangtwo pieces to complete the first half of the concert, both by John Rutter. The firstwas For the Beauty of the Earth, the second The Lord Bless You and Keep You.Despite some difficult high notes and unfamiliar surroundings, the choir soundedgreat and were much appreciated by the audience listening.

The second half saw our choir joined by some professional musicians to singMozart’s Requiem Mass. Conducted by Director of Music, Adam Stanworth, therewere four adult soloists, soprano, Katharine Fuge, alto Liezel McCulloch (who is alsoBelmont’s Head of Music), tenor Peter Burton and bass Jamie Wright, whosupported the school choir and orchestra.

“From the first moment to the last, the entire piece wascaptivating with the powerful Rex tremendae and the softerLacrimosa both being played to perfection.

It was a real treat and a great privilege to hear such a complex and famous piecebeing played at the school and is a tremendous credit to the pupils and staff of theschool’s music department.

Orchestra performs a world first asBelmont joins us for Summer Concert

Yasmin playing the flute

The choir performing Mozart’s RequiemJosh playing the sax

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We departed very early on the morning of Friday 14th February for the port ofDover, stopping on the way to pick up our loyal piano accompanist, Mr JonathanHodgson. We were a little concerned by reports of storms in the channel but after arelatively smooth crossing and fortified by full English breakfasts we made our waydown to Paris and checked into our rather trendy hotel. On the night of arrival wewalked to the Tour Montparnasse and went up to the very top floor for somestunning views of the city.

In the morning, we set off for the Eiffel Tower and climbed all the way to the verytop for incredible views, this time in the daylight. After a quick stop-off for lunch at apopular fast-food restaurant we headed across town to a residence for elderlypeople for a rehearsal followed by a performance for the residents. Our firstperformance was warmly received by all, though the audience may have been moreentertained by my attempts to speak French. That evening we returned to the EiffelTower and embarked on a sight-seeing boat trip down the Seine.

On the Sunday, we travelled to Disneyland; this was where things got serious. TheDisneyland team were very professional, and we had to really up our game. It washard work but we were rewarded by an enthusiastic audience and very slickpresentation from the Disney crew who were responsible for our lighting, sound andappearance. They even taught us how to wave as we left the stage to the soaringorchestral sound of “When you wish upon a star”! The rest of the day was passedon the rides.

Monday morning, we went into the centre of Paris and explored the area around theCentre Pompidou and the Cathedral of Notre Dame on foot. In the afternoon webegan our long journey home. Everyone was pretty tired but there was already talkof where we should go next year…

Mr Adam Stanworth Director of Music

SoiréesAbout once every half term themusic department puts on amusical soirée. The idea behind thisevent is to provide a friendly andsupportive environment in whichpupils can get up and perform thepieces that they have beenlearning. A typical audience size isusually around 30/40 and theemphasis is very much onencouragement. If someone makesa mistake it’s no big deal!

“It is fantastic to see sucha wide range of skills ondisplay at soirées; fromstudents who havegrade 8 right down toyoung peopleperforming for the veryfirst time, all areencouraged and madeto feel welcome.

The soirées are very popular, theyusually last under an hour andeveryone is encouraged to stickaround at the end for a drink and achat. They usually occur in theRecital Room of the musicdepartment, but occasionally wemove up to St. Michael’s Church.This is usually the case with theYear 7 soirée which attracts anaudience of over 100. We alsosometimes use soirées as practiceopportunities for the choir whenthey have learned new material, forexample we always do one shortlybefore we go on our annual trip toEurope so that parents and friendscan see what we will beperforming.

Box Hill School Choirtrip to Paris

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Sports Round UpThere has been a great deal of sporting success over the previous two terms fromboth the boys and girls teams, with over 140 pupils representing the school on aweekly basis in rugby, cricket, netball, rounders, tennis and athletics. The level ofparticipation and standard of performances bodes very well for the future.

Boys’ Hockey had a very successful season with the U15 team only losing once, to astrong Reigate Grammar school side. Their goal difference of plus 14 was anexcellent achievement. Similarly in rugby, the U13 team also only lost once duringthe season, scoring 150 points and conceding only 67.

During the Summer Term we have seen a great deal of success on the cricket field,with the Senior XI and U15 XI yet to be beaten. Both teams had excellent winsagainst Christ’s Hospital, a school with a great deal of cricketing prowess.

The school has had a successful athletics season with over 60 boys and girlsrepresenting the school at two recent meetings. In the Years 9 and 10 meeting,against seven other schools, we had 11 first place finishes and 14 second places, withthe boys finishing second overall and the girls finishing fourth. The Years 7 and 8meeting saw the school competing against 13 schools, in which we gained two firstplaces and four second places. The boys’ teams both finished third overall. This isthe largest number of pupils involved in athletics the school has had and shows realpotential for the future.

In netball the U14 Girls had a good season playing consistently to win four out oftheir eight matches and record a positive goal difference. Tilly Mitchison wasawarded the Junior Netball Prize. The U12/U13 squad had a tremendous start withwins against Wimbledon High School and Therfield. They also finished on a highnote with a victory against Priory.

In rounders, all teams had some close encounters with a single rounder oftenseparating the two sides. The U14B squad are the only team to remain unbeatenwith wins against Duke of Kent and Greenacre and a draw against Rosebery.Annabelle Douse received the Junior Rounders Prize.

Mr Antony McAlister Director of Sport

Sixth Form studentpicked for SurreyYear 12 student, Will Pereira, hasbeen picked three times to datethis summer to play for the Surrey2nd XI!

The young fast bowler, who hasbeen at Box Hill School since Year 8and is currently studying for his Alevels, has been playing alongsidethe likes of England fast bowler,Chris Tremlett and was unlucky tohave an LBW appeal againstanother England star, Luke Wright,turned down when he playedagainst Sussex. Will did capture hisfirst wicket for Surrey however in agame against Warwickshire atEdgbaston.

At the time of going to press he isplaying in his third match for Surrey2nds, against Hampshire at theAegeas Bowl. Will has been part ofthe England DevelopmentProgramme for the last twelvemonths and hopes to get aprofessional contract with a countyafter university. He’s hoping to studyeither Psychology or Sports Scienceat Loughborough or Durham.

Congratulations to Ed Wilkinson, a Year 9 pupil who, despite onlyhaving had four practice outings with his crew mates, came ninthout of the country’s top 40 crews at the National Junior ScullingHead with his home club, Walton Rowing Club.

The Walton quad, in which Ed was the stroke, finished ahead ofsome top rowing schools including Windsor Boys, Canford,Kingston Grammar, Dulwich College and London Oratory. Theyalso beat top club crews from Tideway Scullers and Walbrookrowing clubs. Ed then went on to get a bronze medal with hiscoxed quad in the National Schools’ Regatta in Nottingham inMay. Rowing in the Junior Under 14 class, he missed out on silverby just four tenths of a second

Rowing success for Ed

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All of the images of the week can be found on the Box Hill School websitewww.boxhillschool.com

The summer term featured work by Rosie Eagers, Francesca Mottola Di Amato, Tatjana Spanger, Reuben Lowde,

Olivia Jones and Mary Kidd.

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Images of the week

Elijah Hadley – Year 12, IB Visual Art student Reuben Lowde – prep work for the final GCSE exam Mary Kidd – prep work for the final GCSE exam

Rosie Eagers – Year 12, IB Visual Art student Tatjana Spanger – Year 12, IB Visual Art student

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The Peoples’ War Summer School ProductionIt was an honour to write and direct thisyear’s Summer Production 'ThePeoples’ War.' The two performancestook place in the McComish Hall on the25th and the 26th June and they werefollowed by a vintage style ‘street party’where the audience stayed and enjoyedsome refreshments with us.

“The play marked theCentenary of the beginningof World War One andcelebrated the bravery andcommitment of the youngmen and women who werecalled to defend theircountry.

Within the play, I also recognised thehardship and suffering of the families,women and children who were leftbehind.

The audience saw lovely performancesfrom Ed Wilkinson, who with AnnaGibbs as the Telegram Boy and Girl,took us on a journey to reveal thehorror, loss and hardship of war. Wealso enjoyed a fleeting moment ofcomedy from the soldiers in training,performed excellently by Joel Herron,Guy Butler-Manuel, Callum Kay andShea Salvi. The characters of theWomen in the Munitions factory (IsobelGoudie, Ana Popovic, Jenny Walpoleand Kate Batcheler) took us back in-time as they sang with spirit, the well-known world war song of 'Pack up yourTroubles'. Every single cast member

performed with focus and dedication tocreate a moving and powerful piece oftheatre that wove powerful memorieswith fictional stories.

The lighting and sound team andbackstage crew did a superb job ofkeeping the show running smoothly as,of course, every production relies on afocused backstage team. Thank you toDonna Walton who handed over theproduction mantle and supported meand all of the cast and production teamevery step of the way.

Sally I’Anson Drama Teacher

This term the Drama department invited Splendid Productions to performtheir dynamic version of Sophocles’ Antigone in the Drama Studio followedby a three practical exploration of the play’s themes and characters.

Drama workshops were also run by the department for Chinthurst pupils on thetheme of Shakespearean characters; these were a great success with pupilsusing a physical approach to characterisation of Macbeth, Malvolio and Caliban.

We say farewell to Mrs Wooldridge and wish her all the best in her new postand welcome Mrs I’Anson to the department.

Mrs Donna Walton, Director of Theatre Arts

Drama Round Up

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Valedictory Dinner Senior AcademicSociety –Alastair HignellEarlier in the term the SeniorAcademic Society and the SixthForm students welcomed AlastairHignell, a former England rugbyand cricket player, commentatorand broadcaster, a writer and aspeaker to Box Hill School.

How does one cope when lifethrows at you unexpectedly anincurable and disabling disease? MrHignell’s talk ‘When the GoalpostsShift’ took our students through hisexperience on the journey of coping,surviving and fighting. Hignell’sfamous ‘I have MS, MS doesn’t haveme’ is a fine example of thespeaker’s way of dealing with hisillness. We did not see any anger orbitterness in Mr Hignell, we saw aperson who enjoys life and stayspositive, whose motto is ‘Why not?’.Having accepted that broadcastingwas too much physically for him, hestarted writing and now is trying hispen in a new genre; ‘a new project’as Mr Hignell calls it.

Perhaps the best advice given is toembrace the present, to forgive thepast, try to control the controllableand ‘don’t die wondering’. Youcannot win everything in life, you canonly try your best. At the end therewas a feeling of calmness andpositive energy.

Sixth Form Centre to open in September At the time of going to press, the new Sixth Form Centre and Classroom Block isjust a few weeks away from staff being able to move in, in preparation for anopening in September. Contractors TE Harris have currently got all the trades onsite, busily sorting out the miles of electrics, decorating walls and adding fittings inthe ‘second fix’ stage of the build.

On a wonderfully warm evening onFriday 16th May 2014, our SixthFormers put on their finest clothing forour blue riband event of the year, theValedictory Dinner.

“As the name implies, this isour traditional farewell toour Year 13 students who arelauded and celebrated inspeeches amongst otherthings across the evening.

Former Girl Guardian Zoé Gross andBoy Guardian James Swallow wererightly recognised and applauded for allthey have done with their team ofSyndics to lead the student body in theprevious twelve months.

For several years, Denbies Wine Estatehas provided a fitting venue for thisprestigious event in the school calendar.

The students enjoyed a four-coursedinner followed by dancing in theadjacent Garden Room. With exclusiveaccess to the cloisters area, thestudents posed for group andindividual photos and enjoyed thecompany of all Year 12 students too.Many Year 13s commented how quicklythe last twelve months had passedwhen they had been bidding theirpredecessors goodbye. This group ofYear 13 students have been highlyinvolved in school life whetheracademic, sporting, performing arts orsocially and we are sad to see them go.

That said, we say goodbye safe in theknowledge that through the alumnisystem they will be back to see us soon.

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This year’s Box Hill Day walk,normally in February, waspostponed until 1st April, due tothe monsoon like conditions overthe UK at the beginning of theyear!

The wait was worthwhile as wewere blessed with a fantasticafternoon of Spring sunshine as theentire school made its annualpilgrimage up the hill. Once at thetop pupils took the opportunityhave a drink and relax in the sun!

This year’s excellent weather hasprompted a re-think as to thefuture date of the Box Hill Walk –watch this space…!Box H

ill W


At the beginning of the SummerTerm pupils were invited to take partin an Easter egg hunt around school.

The event was organised and run bythe girls in Polesden House, initiatedby Year 8 pupil Elena Bayk-Mohammadi. The money raised wasin aid of Cancer Research UK, acharity that is very important tomany of our pupils and staff at BoxHill School.

Everyone who was lucky enough tofind an egg shaped token walkedaway with enough chocolate to keepthem going over the Easter holidays!

Easter EggHunt ForCancerResearch

Charity Round-upIt has been another busy year for theCharity Committee, with many eventsbeing arranged, such as mufti days,raffles, tombola stalls and Easter Egghunts (see right). Pupils from every yeargroup have been active in raising fundsfor our chosen charities.

The last issue of Focus was printed justafter we had the main charity event ofthe year, Box Hill Day. The highlight ofthe day was the Variety Show, whichraised money for Round Square andThe Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.Throughout the rest of the year, pupilshave mostly been raising money forfour selected charities: The RainbowTrust, which funds and providessupport for the families of terminally illchildren; the Spinal Injuries Association,the leading national user-led charity forspinal cord injured (SCI) people; TheLifetrain Trust, which helps thousandsof young people reach their potential

through work in youth centres, schoolsand the local community; and finally,Teenage Cancer Trust, which providesspecialist care and services forteenagers with cancer. There was also avery successful Macmillan CoffeeMorning, which raised over £300. Weare proud to announce that well over£5,000 was raised on Box Hill Day andthrough other charity events during theyear. Thank you to all who helped raisesuch a fantastic amount of money.

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This term all Year 7 pupils have beenlearning about Map Skills, Rivers andGlaciation in geography. One of theprojects they worked on was makingeducational posters based on whatthey have learnt for children in Thailand.

David Sawyers, a pupil in Year 7 hasbeen visiting a school in Thailand for afew years with his family and he waskeen to get his classmates involved. MrsBarai came up with ideas and, with theclass, agreed the poster project wouldmost suitable and perfect time wise.The children loved seeing photos of

Thailand School CharityDavid in Thailand and are really eagerto see their poster up on the walls ofthe school in Thailand. The pupils weretold not to write too many words onthe poster as the children in Thailandare young and English is not their firstlanguage – their solution? Googletranslate keywords from English to Thai!So on some of the posters the childrenhave actually written in Thai.

The posters arrived safely thanks to theSawyers family and we hope that wecan continue to support the school inthe coming years.

Concert pianist, Alexander Ardakov, wowsaudience after a Master Class with pupils

Alexander Ardakov, the Russian concert pianist, wowed an audience ofpupils, parents and guests with an exhibition of extraordinary skill onthe piano that will live long in the memory, when he played inMcComish Hall at the beginning of the Summer Term.

Mr Ardakov opened the recital with some beautiful, atmospheric piecesfrom little known English composer, John Skiba. It was then followed bysome heavier pieces – a Bach chaconne and Scriabin’s Sonata no 3 in Fsharp minor op 23. Alexander Ardakov saved his best for after theinterval, when he played Grieg’s Wedding Day, then three Etudes byChopin before finishing with a rousing, spectacular Consolation by Liszt.

The audience were blown away by the speed and dexterity of hishands over the keyboard and a rousing ovation lead to an encore bythe maestro. Everyone left the Hall agreeing that they had witnessedsomething very special and rarely seen outside the major London

concert venues. The concert was a ‘dress rehearsal’ for a performance he was putting on at the South Bank Centre thefollowing week.

Earlier in the day, Mr Ardakov had given a special Master Class to a small selected group of music scholars. This took place in StMichael’s Church in Mickleham. Three accomplished pianists each played a piece that they were currently working on. Mr Ardakovthen gave each some constructive criticism of their playing and offered careful instruction on how to refine their technique. Thepupils afterwards were visibly thrilled to have had such an accomplished pianist spend time with them to talk about their playing.The admiration was mutual, with Mr Ardakov genuinely impressed with their playing and describing them as ‘gifted’!

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We were recently delighted to welcometwo tables of former pupils from the1960s and 1970s to the very successfulBHSA Copacabana Ball, followed thenext day by more than 50 former pupilsand their families, who joined currentand former staff for an Old Boxhillians’Picnic in glorious sunshine on the lawnbehind Dalewood House.

Any sore heads or sore feet from over-indulging at the Ball were instantlyforgotten as people took advantage ofthe fabulous weather and spent theafternoon relaxing on their picnic rugs,catching up with old classmates and

browsing over photographs andmemorabilia in the marquee.

Thank you to everyone who camealong to these two events, especially tothe former pupils who had travelledfrom Australia, Canada, Holland, andthe USA, to join in with the weekend’sfestivities.

We actively encourage former pupils tocome back and visit the school, eitheras part of our annual programme ofreunions, or just in passing, as it is agreat way to stay in touch.

This particular occasion was to mark

the 55th anniversary since the foundingof Box Hill School by the thenHeadmaster, Roy McComish, in 1959.By the end of that first year, there were54 pupils and 6 members of staff atBox Hill School – very different from the410+ pupils and 160 staff that we havetoday!

BHSA Copacabana Ball & Old Boxhillians’ Picnic

We received lots of positive feedbackfrom the weekend’s activities, so havedecided to make the Old Boxhillians’Picnic an annual event! Let’s hopethe weather will be as kind to us

again in 2015!

Without knowing it at the time,because I was too busy enjoying myself,my few short years at Box Hill Schoolmade me a confident, positive, well-networked global citizen. It was agenuine head start.

Our biggest asset is our education andhaving a network of international

friends is highly prized these days. I was so fortunate to live on the doorstep of yourwonderful, nurturing international school. I remember starting school at 11 years oldand being the only girl among 11 boys. I remember my friends' homes being inplaces like Spain, Ghana, Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, Nepal, Kenya, and Lebanon. Iremember begging my parents to become a boarder and I remember the shock ofmy first pre-breakfast morning run. Certainly the Syndic perk of not running thatevery morning and getting 5 minutes extra sleep was a big one.

Whilst I worked very hard and got my academic rewards, without realising I got awhole lot more from my Box Hill education and that could not be taught within theconfines of a classroom. I learnt that personal endeavour is important for the teamas well as myself, that true diversity is unconscious and natural, that givingsomething back feels better than just taking and that there's always somethingunexpected and probably surprising and exhilarating just around the corner.

Since leaving Box Hill my career path has been anything but linear. My Fairtradechocolate sculptures were used in an Anti Slavery Exhibition in London, I've livedand worked as a translator and teacher in Switzerland and Hungary after which Iworked for two international development organisations in the UK. I am nowmarried to my Israeli husband and we have bilingual children who were the catalystfor us to start our business ReLIKE (relike.co.uk) where parents buy and sell bundlesof preloved children's clothes. It is firmly based in the emerging sharing economyand has the concept of reuse at its heart, we donate to charity with every bundlebought and our new education pack has just been hugely endorsed by the EcoSchools Organisation. Our love of the natural world and respect for it are reflectedin our business aim of reducing waste and clothes dumping overseas.

Now that I am reflecting I see the hallmark of Box Hill School on many of thechoices I have made and I realise I am extremely grateful for it. My education mademe curious and courageous. It made going out into the world at 18, quite simply,easier. That you cannot learn in just any school.

Abbe Opher1986-1994 An education above andbeyond the classroom

(née Fawcett)

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It was January 1977 and very cold when I

became a pupil in Box Hill. I had just turned

15, and it was my first time abroad and alone.

I was one of the few Germans at the school

then and some pupils teased me by calling

me ‘Nazi’ because of my nationality. I found

that irritating, to say the least, and had no

idea how to respond.

Back then, I was rather shy and

overwhelmed by my new environment. I

struggled too, of course, with a language I

understood well but wasn’t yet in ready

command of.

While adapting to the social side of life was

a bit of a challenge for me in the beginning, I

quite easily slipped into the schooling part.

Considering I had never been a good pupil

back at home, it was a surprise for me to

discover that lessons in Box Hill seemed to

be tailored for me. In fact, I started taking an

interest in quite a number of subjects. For

my history prep I wrote a poem about war –

and I was really uplifted when my teacher

recited my little piece of art in class!

That man was David Wright, and his

enthusiasm for my rather clumsily phrased

poem against violence and destruction was

an important encouragement. Most of all it

was, however, his constant psychological

support and intellectual engagement with

his students, coupled with his kindness and a

genuine interest in us that made him my

favourite teacher – ever! I learned English

quickly after that, and passed my O-levels

after less than half a year in Box Hill.

In Leatherhead I blossomed slowly but

steadily and perceptibly. English literature

became my favourite, and as I was preparing

for A-levels I was engrossed in Shakespeare,

Chaucer, Dickens and D.H. Lawrence. To this

day I can and do quote from all of them.

One of my English teachers wasn’t quite

able to engage me as much as Mr Wright

was, so I cheekily jumped out of the

classroom window each time before she

appeared, skipping her lesson. I wonder why

she never reported me.

Another highlight of Box Hill were my violin

lessons with our school director’s wife, Mrs

McComish. I’ll never forget that we took a

fag break together during one of my private

tutorings – had her husband found out, we

might have both been in trouble!

Rest assured, I gave up smoking long ago.

And smoking was certainly not what Box Hill

school taught me. We had occasionally

unrelenting strictness and discipline (how I

hated morning runs in rain or snow!), yet a

liberal spirit still allowed for individualism

within the collective. I passed my A-levels

and an S-level easily. In English literature I

even managed an A – bunking off lessons

occasionally obviously did little harm.

I came out of Box Hill feeling proud and

strong enough to face the world and start a

career. Life hasn’t been dull since then: I

studied Middle Eastern Studies, worked as

an academic aide in the German parliament,

as observer for the UN in the Israeli-

occupied West Bank and as UN-press officer

in the Gaza Strip, as TV-journalist and

consultant. Since 1994 I have been a

freelance writer and journalist for the main

domestic newspapers and other

international publications.

When my well-received book about the Nazi

past of my mother’s parents came out in

2007, parts of a chapter were dedicated to

my three years in Box Hill. I noted that some

kids hassled me about my nationality and

reduced it to their images of Nazis. I was, of

course, an innocent – but at that time also

oblivious to my family’s past.

David Wright features as my star teacher in

this chapter, and I am more than glad that I

managed to trace him after publication and

let him know that I hadn’t forgotten him –

and had in fact preserved a fond memory of

him. We exchanged some e-mails and

planned to meet for a cup of tea. Fate had it

that my timing was plumb lucky, because

soon my favourite former teacher died of an

evil illness. We never got to meet again, but I

remain deeply grateful to him.

Recently I spoke at a public event at the

University College of London, and to some

extent, I owe my capacity to do things like

this to Box Hill School. It laid the foundation

for my command of English (which was by

far better then!), and helped me develop the

facility to express philosophical and political

thoughts cogently in written and oral forms.

Alexandra Senfft specializes in the Middle

East and the aftermath of the Holocaust in

Germany. She writes for diverse German

newspapers like DIE ZEIT, die tageszeitung

or Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as well as

for German and international political and

other journals. She has written several books

and often speaks publically. In 2008 she

received the first prize for German

biographies. Alexandra has two children and

lives with her husband, their dogs, cat and

horses near Munich and part-time in Greece.

We love to keep in touch with alumni and hear your news. You can keep in touch with us in several different ways:

http://alumni.boxhillschool.com (members only website)Facebook: www.facebook.com/OldBoxhillians - Twitter: @OldBoxhillians - LinkedIn: Old Boxhillians Group

[email protected] or call +44 (0)1372 373382

Alexandra Senfft1977-1980

Photo: © Judah Passow

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