6.2 End of Year Interviews
By Rose, Winona and Cindy – 6.1
Looking forward to September
Without a doubt, it has been a tough year and I commend everyone’s hard work despite the less than perfect situation. As this academic year comes to an end, we are all looking forward to September, when we will all be united on campus once again.
We asked some of our friends from around the world to share with us what they are looking forward to in September.
Eben: Feeling part of a proper class community again
Nastya: Just simply returning to a sense of normality
Saratu: No longer having many time differences amongst all my friends; it’s been too much of a strain on my mental maths!
Anna: Not having to heavily rely on technology and my bad WiFi at home! Also getting to see people in person again
Tom: Being set free from quarantine so I can be my social self again
Hazel: Returning to a normal and more fulfilling school timetable and routine
I’m sure these thoughts and feelings resonate with us all, helping us remember that in a way we are still connected despite being physically apart. This time away from Concord has also clearly created an opportunity to reflect upon things we appreciate, but may’ve previously taken for granted. I think this will make the return back extra special. We look forward to seeing you all on a buzzing campus once again!
Holly, Winona and Rose – 6.1
A day in my life during lockdown
Created by Cindy – 6.1
COVID-19 in Shropshire: A student perspective
Our names are Rose, Holly, and Cindy and we are currently in 6.1 at Concord College as ‘Day Students’ living very near the school in Shropshire. We are going to be writing a few blogs about the realities of the coronavirus here in the UK, as we feel it differs greatly from media portrayals. We seek to reassure overseas parents and students that are starting/returning to college in September.
Rose: It is understandable that the UK having the highest death rate in Europe is making overseas families anxious and everyone is entitled to their own viewpoint, but I would like to put these figures that the media constantly flashes into context. The majority of deaths occurring in the UK occur either in care homes or in hospitals. Care homes are a hub of elderly and therefore vulnerable people, whilst in the hospital patients tend to be also elderly or have a pre-existing health condition such as asthma, making them vulnerable to the virus. Studies show teenagers are not vulnerable to the virus, as the deaths for people aged 15-44 has not increased.
Of course, the virus should still be a cause for concern for teenagers and that’s why myself and everyone I know in the UK are continuing to socially distance, whereby we stay at least 2 metres away from people outside our own household.
Another significant point to highlight is that here in Shropshire, the death rate is below the average of other counties. We are in the countryside, sparsely populated with plenty of open space, making interaction with others infrequent. Therefore, the virus here is not the mad, wipe-out wave that the media portrays, but rather a gentle tide that just needs to be watched.
Holly: With the government’s position changing weekly and the decreasing number of deaths, it is important that we continue to implement the government’s set rules into our day-to-day lives.
Across the country, supermarkets and pharmacies remained open during the nation-wide lockdown. Shopping for essential goods was and is to be kept to a minimum. Non-essential shops will be starting to open up again on 15th June (provided they meet the government’s standards) after being closed since the 23rd March.
We are now allowed to meet up with up to five other people in the outdoors but must remain 2m apart to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. This is a drastic change when compared to the previous rule of not being allowed to meet with any more than two people outside of those in your household.
Aside from essential workers (for example NHS staff), employers are looking at how to safely bring employees back into the workplace. Some employers even thinking of implementing shifts to minimise contact between employees and thus any further spread of the virus.
Cindy: Whilst COVID-19 has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and created worldwide panic, as a Concord student, my life has been relatively different – much quieter and peaceful.
The world outside Concord has also changed drastically, as customers in essential shops such as supermarkets, must keep a 2-meter distance from each other; people are also frequently utilising face masks. Only one member of a family/household is allowed to be in the store at a time to avoid crowding but to ensure accessibility. Customers were advised to only touch items they intend to purchase and adopt cashless payments whenever they can to avoid any unnecessary contact. There are multiple cleaning stations, hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes installed in front of the stores for the use of every customer that is queueing to make their purchases. Currently, people are no longer panic-buying, as we once again are seeing fully stocked shelves. For those who do not want to make the trip to the supermarket, contactless home delivery options have become very popular, as whatever you need is brought to you right at your front door. Everything is being processed in a very orderly manner.
One thing I have really enjoyed during the lockdown is walking my dog every day, as I can appreciate the peace and quietness in nature. On the other hand, I have also been keeping myself very productive as I have been having online lessons daily. I am able to FaceTime my friends all over the world to catch up with them. Quarantine life is not too stressful here in the UK, though I do wish life could get back to normal in the near future.
My Concord journey so far…
A short video by 6.1 student Panaree.
Lifeguard Training at Concord
Each year, 12 students are selected to partake in lifeguard training to earn their National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (NPLQ), so that they can lifeguard the school’s swimming pool for the next academic year. Training takes place from January to March.
Lifeguard trials were held in October. We all turned up in our swimming kit, ready and raring to go. After many lengths and several minutes of sculling, the trial was over, and a couple of weeks later, the twelve new trainee lifeguards were announced.
Training started in January. Many of us had not spoken to each other much beforehand so it was a great opportunity to make some new friends. The first session was a 2-hour stroke technique workshop where we learnt lifesaving backstroke and sidestroke – both being rather demanding on the legs. It was a somewhat rude awakening for those of us who had overindulged over the Christmas holiday!
There were two training sessions each week, which consisted of two hours of theory and one hour of practical training in the swimming pool. As the weeks progressed, there was an increasing emphasis on the practical skills involved in first aid. Despite having done a first-aid course in the past I was surprised to learn that the CPR technique varies depending on the circumstances. For example, CPR for an unconscious adult is different from an adult that has drowned.
At the beginning of the second last week of training, the college announced its latest position on COVID-19, swiftly reducing our team of twelve to seven, as people had to return home. Due to the training groups dramatic decrease in size, it meant that everyone had more opportunities to practice and get more comfortable with each other. This allowed us all to feel more relaxed about our upcoming exam.
In the final week of training, we had 9 hours of training from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Monday through to Wednesday, with the final exam on Thursday. As you can imagine we were all feeling rather tired by Thursday but knowing that the end was in sight kept us going.
The exam consisted of a multiple-choice paper and a practical paper. In the multiple-choice paper, we were tested on pool management, the law surrounding pools, health and safety, first aid, etc. The practical exam tested our first aid skills and lifesaving techniques in the pool. We were all especially nervous about the head-splint rescue in the pool as it requires a lot of control and stability whilst in deeper water. Thankfully, we all managed to complete the head-splint successfully – all of our hard work had paid off. After the exam had ended, our two examiners let us know that we had all passed – much to our relief!
All in all, I think lifeguard training is an amazing opportunity that is available to us as students at school. It has taught me many valuable skills that I think will serve me well going into university and jobs in the future. We all learned a lot about the importance of commitment and dedication, as well as communication and teamwork in high-pressure scenarios. Moreover, my time-management skills and planning have never been better due to the time-consuming nature of training.
Holly – 6.1
First day of the Easter break at Concord
The 11th of April marked our first day of the Easter holiday. With only around a hundred or so people left in school, our campus has been quieter than ever. The usual laughs from students were gone, and instead, I was surrounded by the sound of birds and cats.
My adventure began with this golden cat passing by my window. Being a huge cat-lover, I immediately put my shoes on, brought my camera, and off I went. Walking around with that cat, I found beauty in this campus that I had never noticed. Warmth from the sun, trees with birds that sing, flowers in every colour you can think of and – even mushrooms in a small area of lawn? Spring term had been demanding and challenging with the increasing amount of workload for students. Maybe that was why, even when we lived here, we could not always notice these blessings around us. My favourite saying goes: “a walk in nature walks the soul back home.” Now that I have walked home, hopefully you – no matter where you are – could free yourself from stress and enjoy our precious nature. Have a fruitful Easter Holiday!
Eunice – 6.1
Delectable Delicacies: The Concord Cuisine!
Roasted Beef with Yorkshire Pudding and Gravy, Chicken and Mushroom Pie (with gravy of course), Fish and Chips… No surprise there – we are a boarding school in England. But, what’s this? Malaysian Laksa with King Prawn, Five Spices Sichuan Beef Stew, Thai Green Curry with Vegetables, Steamed Bak Choy with Soy Sauce, garnished with sesame seeds. Odd to think that these dishes could be served side by side. They’re from completely different origins, made with totally different ingredients – just like how we are as a school.
Butter. A breakfast staple. Not only do we have it intricately packaged, ready to delicately peel open and smoothly spread across your toast – we have it enriched within the layers and folds of pastry: the marvellous croissant. What buttery goodness! I don’t have those for breakfast though, I usually ravage through the platter of sliced fruits. Sunny Rock Melons, Juicy Honeydew, Golden Pineapples, Voluminous branches of grape. Want the traditional option of cereal and milk? We have it. Unfortunately, American cereals such as Froot Loops, Lucky Charms, and Cinnamon Crunch are essentially non-existent. BUT, what we do have are Snow-covered Frosties, Covetous Cornflakes, Wacky Weetabix, Crunchy Nut and of course – who could forget? Special K – with a capital K. That’s just breakfast (and not all of it… Obviously we have the ‘full English breakfast’ as well!)
Lunch and dinner vary daily. Yet there’s always the recurrent options of poultry, fish (both garnished in some tasty curry or sauce), and the vegetarian option. By the way, the vegetarian lasagna is sinfully delightful. Want a carbohydrate staple? You have a choice of the beloved potato, or the ideal Asian meal that is white rice. The meal structure is a nutritionist’s dream… Protein? Check. Vitamins? Check. Carbohydrates? Check. Fat? Check. Desserts? Double Check. From a massive bowl of fresh fruit to tiramisu or strawberry cheesecakes, carrot cakes, banana loaves, mousse pots, fruit tarts – the list is endless!
Honestly, I have not listed half of our menu but I am sure by now you can tell that Concord has the best to offer when it comes to food. A lot of thought goes into our school food and I am grateful to be in a school that takes food as seriously as I do! Sure, sometimes the experiments don’t turn out as well as planned, but the food here is ‘tip top’. Finally, what do I love most about the food? The fact that it reflects how diverse, how interesting and how amazing we are as a school!
Xin – 6.1
Once a Concordian…
‘Home’ is such a simple, yet satisfying word. The noun itself is associated with comfort, ‘a state of physical ease’, which is precisely how I felt during the ‘Recent Leavers Reunion’ on the 10th of February. It was a rush of the familiar: the Head Girl of 2014/15 who had welcomed me into the embracing walls of Concord, the squad of 2016 who taught me that confidence was everything, the boy – now man? – who never seemed to leave the stage throughout my form 4 and who I aspired to be like. I walked round the sports hall – which had been transformed into an astonishing disco (imagine a regular disco, then add more disco balls, a stage which lights up, elegant couches and cotton candy… Yes, cotton candy) – and hugged everyone I could remember, and then anyone I couldn’t. When I finally got on the stage to dance, it was exhilarating; it felt as though we were all extensions of one body, simultaneously pulsating to the beat. Except, of course, it was more like a mass of energetic, although mostly off-beat, moves accompanied by elated smiles and constant uproars of laughter.
However, despite all the familiarity, change was apparent. For one, the number of unusual hairstyles was incredible; once long, brown, straight hair was now a wavy bob of peach. I heard hilarious stories about the benefits and drawbacks of university, the affordances and constraints of a gap year and unsurprisingly frequent reiterations of ‘I miss Concord’, and ‘enjoy it while it lasts’. I saw couples who had begun their relationship in Concord, and new ones who ended up in the same university, and the – in some cases, only – connection which we all shared, the constant of it all was of Concord itself. Although ever-changing in size and technology, the Concord community is still as welcoming as ever, and the joy is nearly palpable.
Sometimes clichés say it best: home is where the heart is, and once a Concordian, always a Concordian.
Alisar Tabet – 6.1
How to be successful at Concord!
It’s no news to us how exhausting the routine 9-4 school day can be. Well, fret no more! Here are 5 tips that will certainly make your ‘Concord Life’ more enjoyable, and successful too.
1. Be organised
Going for classes, handing prep in, attending clubs and societies… It may seem like just too much! Truth be told, the chances of remembering all you have to do are unlikely therefore, it is advisable to get a planner. This way, you can organise your thoughts as well as make notes of important meetings and deadlines. Without a doubt, successful planning ensures you live each day purposefully.
2. Be inquisitive
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you are unsure about anything- school work, the location of an activity or even how to get around school, it’s easy; ask someone! We are surrounded by lovely, like-minded students and amazing staff who will be more than willing to help in any way.
3. Get involved!
Concord College provides us with vast opportunities and it is left to us to make good use of them. Actively trying out a range of sports, extracurricular activities and participating in ‘house’ events enable you to discover your strengths and interests while exploring an array of activities; there is simply something for everyone. Most importantly, taking part in extracurricular activities helps to take your mind off school work and have fun!
4. Eat right
As corny as it may sound, “Don’t avoid those greens on your plate, they are good for you!” Remember to stay hydrated and make it a habit to have at least a fruit a day. Endeavouring to maintain a balanced diet keeps you healthy, gives you energy to carry out daily tasks and keeps your skin glowing. I mean, what more could you possibly need?
5. Rest, relax and repeat!
Work hard but do not forget to create time to give yourself some rest. You could do this by observing a siesta, listening to relaxing music to unwind or perhaps watching your favourite TV show with some popcorn by your side.
Adebola Osuntoki – 6.1