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
Finding My Voice at Concord
It is no surprise Concord holds a diverse and enjoyable selection of extracurricular activities available for students with a range of interests. Besides education, our hobbies shouldn’t be underestimated due to its contribution to our personal growth and character development.
An activity particularly popular amongst the community are the endless performance opportunities created by the school. Personally, my favourite non-academic extracurricular activity would be performing arts, specifically singing. These performances can be in front of a large audience such as at Theatre Severn, or a smaller and more intimate venue like the West End. It seems that over the year, the barrier of fear preventing students from showcasing their talent has diminished, after realising the audience has never been your enemy – but a pillar of support and encouragement. Especially in Concord, where positivity and kindness are such eminent qualities of the student body, every performance is welcomed with open arms. Even after many appearances on stage, my heart still beats out of its chest and my voice still quavers at the sight of a full theatre, yet the feeling of accomplishment outshines any discomfort brought on by nerves. Across the spectrum of interest, from computer science to arts, is an invaluable experience awaiting your presence. All that is required is a little time, passion, and trust in yourself.
Mia Nguyen – 6.1
Culture at its Finest
Being in a cultural society such as African Society is truly a blessing. My home is about a 10 hours and 45 minute flight away (South Africa), which is very far away. It’s hard being away from home; some find it easy and others find it quite difficult, and it’s important to have some sort of connection with your “roots” when you feel disconnected (physically and perhaps emotionally) from your home.
African Society has shown me that home isn’t so far away. Although my home is far from all the other Africans in our society, we share so many interests and traditions which enables me to learn so much about the different cultures in the one culture we all share of being an African. We have celebrated Nigerian Independence Day (1st October; 1960) together which is where I tried Nigerian food for the first time in my life, which is truly incredible. I have also been able to see and learn different traditional dances in all the African cultures we have within our society.
Benefits of being in African Society are knowledge, understanding, freedom and fun! Knowledge due to being able to learn so much about other people, which I believe is important in life – because that’s how people are able to live harmoniously. Understanding as we get to know one another in our society, which means that we are able to influence each other in a positive way and grow to be great people in the future, making great decisions. Freedom is a benefit too because we are able to be who we are without being judged in a negative way in our society, which is something I find special about the school in general… as no one will judge you.
Lastly, the most important benefit is having fun, which is truly what happens in African Society! We take care of each other, we laugh with each other and maybe at each other (as a joke) and we simply have fun in all we do, which is the most important part.
Natalie Rutagamirwa – 6.1
Changing the Face of Dance at Concord
Dance… a word that holds a lot of meaning for me. A word that I believe brings joy in most events. A word I have been in love with for 7 years. A word I wanted to make well-known in Concord College. Weeks after joining Concord in January 2017, the desire to dance and train magnified to the point where training once a week in town was not enough. My friend, Alua and I decided to finally form and lead a new dance club – one that could quench even my own thirst for dancing. I wanted to expose the people of Concord to the world of dancing, where anything is possible through discipline and resilience.
Every week, depending on popular demands and requests, we would teach students a variety of dances which included Street Dance, Latin American and Contemporary. A different but original choreography would be taught each week. Training together is not just for the enjoyment but also to emphasise the point of stepping outside of our comfort zone, and by giving performing opportunities to those who show dedication, ambition and improvement in the short amount of time we have been training. An upcoming opportunity, for example, would be the chance to perform at the Mayor’s Concert in Shrewsbury this November.
To me, dance is more than a sport or a hobby. It is a passion. Dance is something to work hard at, something worth sacrificing time for no matter how exhausted I get and something to show people who I am as a person. A dance studio is where I shed sweat and tears that have moulded me into who I am today. It is where people can build on their teamwork, flexibility, confidence and where I have learnt to never give up for what I desire most. Hence, the name of our club – “The Dance Studio.” I resolve to share my views and spread the love of dance, in hope that people see, especially in a place like Concord – where yes, exams are the top priority which can lead to careers and ambitions that keep us alive… but we need to take the time to appreciate and enjoy the things that we are alive for!
Narissa Hanim – 6.2
The Concord Talent Show 2017
MY TALENT SHOW EXPERIENCE
It was with a nervous explosion of butterflies that I stepped out of the wings onto the stage on Thursday night. With each step across the stage I felt my heart beating louder and louder and LOUDER. It was only when I opened my eyes and looked at the sea of familiar and unfamiliar faces that I felt myself breathe again. There was not one unfriendly or unsupportive smile beaming back at me. With a smile at Alisar, we began our spoken word, ‘Gratitude’ by Natalie Patterson.
The talent show was an incredible experience from start to finish. From the auditions and crazy nights spent rehearsing over and OVER, to the backstage laughter and nervous jokes. From running around trying to find the next person due on stage, to performing and being congratulated – it was a night I will never forget. I will especially never forget the winner, Rui Chong’s performance of ‘Vanilla Ice’ – words really do fail me.
I am so grateful to have been given the chance to perform with such a great friend to such a great audience. If the talent show is anything to go by, my first year of Sixth Form is going to be incredible.
Chloe Young – 6.1
A Day in the Life: ‘A Typical Wednesday’
A Day in the Life: ‘A Typical Wednesday’
So far in the term, I have either an assembly or a PSHE session on Wednesday mornings. Class then commences as usual.
I have all my classes on Wednesday, except for Physics. I start off with Applied Maths in Evergreen Oaks, followed by two Art periods, which requires me to take a nice, relatively long walk out to the art block (but I get to see dogs on the way so it’s not that bad).
Come break-time, I only have one more class for the day. From the art block, I head towards Horse Chestnut for Pure Maths.
I am free for the day! I usually do not eat lunch in school on Wednesdays, as I like to go to town and get food there. I’m sure a lot of you would do the same!
(Probably in town by now)… Off to get lunch at either one of my go-to places. I would get some groceries with my friend, wander around shops. I find this to be a nice time to release mid-week stress amid university applications and admission tests preparation.
For first prep, I attend band coaching. Again, another time to relax and destress.
Second prep – time to do work again! And when that ends, I would spend time with friends and just relax for the rest of the night.
I would consider Wednesday as my most laid-back day. In addition to Wednesday being a half-day, I also have some extracurricular activities. When the day comes to an end, the last two days before Saturday tests arrive – and hence more studying commences.
– Tiffany Lim 6.2
Concord Life 2
Hope the last entry has helped you know more about the life in an international boarding school. This entry is about boarding students.
Q: When is the next Open Day?
A: Every day is our Open Day. You can pay the campus a visit any time during term time, we are always more than welcome to have you as a guest.
Q: What is the food like?
A: In the dining room we have usually five entrees, four deserts, two soups. We have a cold deli bar and three salad bars aside from the usual selections. Grab-and-go is also available. For those have special dietary requirements, you can tell the dining room staff.
Q: Where does a boarding student need to go to get his/her laundry done?
Each student will get his/her own laundry bag from the school in the beginning of the school year. You can then put your dirty clothes in it and pop in the common room/foyer of his/her boarding house on the laundry day. Cleaning staff will collect and wash them. Just before lessons end, they will return the bag with clothes folded (A really nice touch indeed).
Q: As the campus is quite big, how does the school do to ensure that a student is in or not?
A: Student ID cards. We have student card readers equipped in every classroom, Main Hall, the dining room, Old Chapel Common Room, West End, Acton Pigot and Burnell House.
Q: Do you have societies representing my own country?
A: Yes. We take pride ourselves as an international boarding school, but none us forget our own roots. As the school is more diversified than ever, there are more societies than ever participating the forthcoming Spring Concert, bringing their home cultures to Acton Burnell. (See above for the photo of some of them in their costumes for the concert.)
Hope you find the above information useful. See you for the next installment.
Yanshing Cheung 6.1