Speech Day on Saturday was a day of many ‘firsts’: first Speech Day to be held in July, first time the OWBA were challenged to a basketball match and the first time the pupils, parents, OWBA and governors of West Buckland School had the privilege of listening to the inspiring and moving words of Mr James Shone, our guest speaker.
James, a former school master, suffered a life-changing brain tumour at just 43. Refusing to give in to it and after numerous hours of brain surgery and two strokes, James set up the charity ‘I Can and I Am’, raising awareness of mental health in young people. In his speech he described the effect that his diagnosis had on his family and his own emotions but went on to say how he had embraced his new found status using his faith and his family as his inspiration.
After prize-giving and a great rendition of the ‘cup song’ by Anson Tai, Ella Clifton, Jake Davies and Issy Fincher, and following an excellent lunch, the focus turned to outdoor activities, namely the Summer Fete and a number of hotly contested OWBA v WBS events. And here we enjoyed the second of our ‘firsts’ when our ‘in form’ basketball team took on a wily and well-tuned OWBA team. An exciting match ensued with the youngsters winning by just two goals!
Equally closely contested were the cricket, shooting and tennis competitions and many thanks to all the staff who organised them all.
The Summer Fete was extremely well attended and many thanks to Pru Maskell and her PA team for providing such a good array of stalls and activities. Later in the afternoon, the focus moved from the bouncy castles to the cricket pavilion and the OWBA BBQ and bar.
Some of our Year 11 and 12 students have been up in Oxford this week for the third of our Open Day visits to universities, the first two being to Bath and Bristol. The trip included a visit to Somerville College, the alma mater of the late Margaret Thatcher amongst others, as well as a trip to the world famous Ashmolean museum.
As part of the work of our excellent HE and Careers department, pupils are encouraged to go to as many university Open Days as possible before they embark on their A level studies. It is felt that, as well as giving clarity on their career path, it raises their aspirations for the future.
Pupils from the Prep School raised a staggering £360 though a charity cake sale last week. Prep 6’s Megan Brown and Daisy Watts, with support from their friends raised the money for two charities close to their hearts, one local, one global.
Daisy wanted to raise money to ease the plight of children in Africa and Megan raised money for the Joel Prince Starlight Fund.
Joel was the son of Megan’s family friends. He was diagnosed with an atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumour on his spine on July 10 2014. It was just two months after his second birthday. Sadly, Joel lost his battle and passed away on Sunday 25 January 2015 at home. All funds raised for the Joel Prince Starlight Fund will support atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumour research through CCLG. Megan and her friends gave a very moving presentation about Joel in an assembly ensuring the whole prep school community was on board.
There were a fantastic number of cakes of all shapes and sizes sold on the day. Thank you to all those who contributed.
Year 8 pupils took part in a House debating competition as an introduction to the art of formal debate. Each of the four Houses had a first, second and summary speaker, as well as a time-keeper. Those who are not speaking formally, formed part of the floor debate. The debate took place in front of an independent judge with points going towards the House.
The motions were: “This house believes that computers should replace teachers” and “This house would introduce school on Saturdays”. Both produced lively and engaging discussion and some excellent responses however, in the end, both motions were rejected (producing some relief amongst the attending staff…)
The pupils seemed to really enjoy the experience which is excellent preparation for more formal speech and presentation making as well as the GCSE Spoken Language study.