PODCAST – Catch up with the Head Prefects
Meet and catch up with Concord’s Head Prefects, Barney and Chloe-Nicole, in this fun and insightful podcast with 6.2 host, Ecaterina.
Returning to normal
As the first half term is coming to a close, we thought that a nice way to sum up our progress during this time would be to look at what people missed before arriving, compared with all the measures we have taken to keep everyone safe whilst trying to return our school life back to normal:
“I really missed seeing students back on campus and everybody having fun together offline. I love seeing people walking between buildings in breaks and between lessons”
“What have I missed most about Concord? Definitely not Saturday tests and UCAS applications! But other than that, seeing my friends again is definitely an upside, and I’m looking forward to actually meeting people from other year groups – it still seems illegal…”
“Joining Concord in Form 4, I have missed greatly the many trips that we had to Birmingham along with my friends. I look forward to being able to do that again this following term.”
“The things I miss the most are the big trees, the students and my colleagues… (That’s pretty much everything really!) I look forward to meeting all my new classes and helping young people learn more about our incredible world.”
– Mr Cale
A wonderful thing about these little interviews is that we can proudly say that all of these goals have been achieved.
We have finally been able to interact with one another without the worries of the virus. To keep everyone safe, we wear masks in public spaces, maintain good hand hygiene and we socially distance when necessary.
This group effort to help keep the community safe has always been appreciated at Concord but I think this is now more apparent than ever. And so, we were able to return back to blissful normality.
Ecaterina – 6.2
What else can highlight the start of such a long-lost ordinary school year apart from the first few weeks of student induction? After being away for a year, Concord’s student induction finally makes a comeback with great blasts of fun for both returning and new students here.
Prepared by our head boy and head girl Barney and Chloe-Nicole way before the academic year had even started, a few online Q&A sessions followed by some ice-breaking games were organized by our school prefects to familiarise returners and newcomers altogether. As many were still in quarantine, we were only able to communicate through the screen for a while, which was a shame until the long-awaited Prefect Games were held in Concord’s Sport hall for a consecutive two nights.
The ice-breaking games are always the highlight of the programme, where new students come together and build friendships that last for the entirety of their time here at Concord. We played physical games like dodgeball, but also things like handcrafts and games requiring teamwork. The two-night induction games sessions truly embodied the Concord values of rigour, kindness and creativity, giving newcomers a taste of the school life they will enjoy in the next few years.
“Friendship groups were being made and it’s good to bring ideas to life through this induction. We get to gain friendship with students not only from our year but across different year groups as well!” – Audrey 6.2
The last night of the induction games ended with the Concord tradition called “the high five game”, which required all of us to sit heel to hell in a pair and people run through the gaps of our legs and high fiving us at the same time. This brought the atmosphere of the whole event to its pinnacle and we have never seen so many smiles and laughter in one single room. As the organisers of the event, we feel super proud.
These game nights are truly amazing and we still remember the game nights from the time when we were form 4 or 6.1. We hope all the newcomers will have a wonderful year ahead, and remember these induction game nights just like we do.
Kenneth and Tiffany – 6.2
Lateral Flow Testing – Let’s Get Tested!
A video by Chester in 6.1, reminding and encouraging all participating students to regularly self-test and the importance of self-testing. Chester is helping weekly with the NHS self-testing lateral flow tests here at Concord, assisting students to register when they turn up at the test centre. Thank you, Chester!
A Life Lesson
With my return after Easter break as disorienting as any other, it started off with me plugging my feet into my shoes, sealing my mouth with a shawl and setting out on my odyssey to catch the morning bus – 10 minutes late. It was the first Thursday back after all. But as I sat breathless on the bus, listening to the ever-repeating playlist of music, it felt vitalising to be back. Eventually, as the rough roads rocked the bus up and down, darkness encompassed me in my cradle (I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have a sleep-schedule). Nevertheless, my eyes instinctively opened as we approached our final destination, or maybe it was the fact everyone was shouting. Either way, I was awake (kind-of).
Well, as the sun progressed in its path, skies bellowed and shadows shrieked, and we got reminded of our impending doom: exams. Exams that would decide our AS-Level grade, our A-Level predictions, our university choices and basically our future. Oh, but you know, that’s later’s problem (I’m not a procrastinator, I swear). Anyhow, the day continued, and we shifted from math to chemistry to physics to biology – definitely a packed day, but all we did was ‘revision’; of course, I spent my time wisely. But out of all these lessons, one really was significant: biology. With rays of dissonant light accelerating through icy vapour, I was left pondering with fellow skeletons and hares whilst beakers clanked with revision of mass transport and hypothesis testing.
But really, why am I telling you about all of this? I mean, to be honest, I was bored (just kidding; maybe). But yes, what’s so special about my day and biology? It’s definitely not the content. What I wanted to bring to your attention was that one should reflect on their biology: we are irreducible, complex and sophisticated. And reflection on self is something one should regularly do in order to reach a state of equilibrium, but really, for many, we’re too dishevelled to understand ourselves. Balancing reality with aspirations and goals with expectations, life for most is tough. And as we all aim for the top, aim for the best, it is important to give your neck some rest: try looking around rather than up and see how far you have come.
We have all been given many opportunities and chances, and as the year comes to a close with this final term, acknowledge the development in the last year; there’s been something for everyone. And even if you think you’ve achieved nothing, there’s still more time; all you need is a slight push – just as the ventricles contract to supply your body with oxygenated blood, take a step forward and let the wind put you in motion (it quite literally can at this point in time). And even more-so, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people, keeping yourself with those living off of negativity disposes you towards those habits; whereas saturating your life with people who can acknowledge growth, displaces you towards that virtue.
And really, one might say, why bother surrounding yourself with anyone? Though trudging through the snow alone is admirable, I was told by my respected friend – one who once walked down the path alone; experiencing an episode of belief possibly denounced delusion – sometimes it’s better to open up to someone else. Because just as lone pairs of electrons remain in constant fight, you will remain in constant deprivation of a basic necessity. We as human being are social creatures after all, and to deny that is to handicap yourself. For it’s the companion cells that keep the phloem alive, and it’s the bonds that water molecules form with each other that keep them going through the xylem; we need people to move forward.
And as I have told my friends before, focus on the facts, leave assumptions behind and look in a mirror – for you are living for yourself; living for others is not living at all. And though you may have time, you may use time to change: make sure you don’t run out of time.
Shaz – 6.1
The Pieced Moments
A Sixth Form ‘Marketing Prefect’ application video by 6.1 student Shirley, which combines a series of photos taken at different dates and times around the college, which have been condensed into a complete working day with their corresponding time labelled.
10 things I will miss about Concord when I leave for summer
Yes Concordians, it is that time of the year again.
We are in the midst of Term 3,
and while exam season is in full swing, one is tempted to drift off and dream of the
day in which we are free of the stress of exams, and the only thing on our
timetables are outings, holidays and results. And that day IS fast approaching, with
mere weeks until we take the plane (or car, if you’re a day student) back home, to
days of warm weather and reconciling with family members.
But we must pay homage to the school that connected us in the past year (whether
digitally or face-to face). And I find myself in the uniquely rare situation in that I am
one of the rare students who haven’t left Concord since September, giving me a full
perspective of the year as a whole. With that in mind, I’ll be counting down my 10
things I will miss about Concord, from certain desserts in the Dining Hall (’cause let’s
be honest, some of those desserts just hit different) to memorable events like
lighting the log on Christmas, to a whole fireworks display in honour of Chinese
10. The “turning on” of the Christmas lights in the marquee
Starting off strong on our list, we have this fun little event marking the start of the
Christmas holidays. For many of the boarders staying over for Christmas this year,
it was a particularly sombre and demure affair. Boarders were either unable or
unwilling to return home for Christmas due to the pandemic’s severity around the
world, and Christmas dinners and presents were mostly replaced with revision for
January exams. So when Mr Hawkins unveiled the lights display decorating the
Marquee, complete with scenes of snowmen and reindeer, the gesture no doubt
helped to brighten an unusual Christmas for many “stay-cationers”.
The cookies and hot chocolate was a sweet little bonus too.
9. House events
Next on our list is not one event in particular, but rather an appreciation for the
various House events that have happened this term. Of course, many of these
events ended up cancelled, for obvious reasons (such as House Performing Arts,
which saddened me greatly), but the ones that did end up happening, which
include events like House Cross Country at the start of the year, to the upcoming
House Triathlon, were all fun distractions from the pressures of academic life, as
well as an opportunity to get to know the House better and work up a bit of a
sweat. With an opportunity to glimpse the energy in these rare events, I wait in
anticipation for the next year, with hopefully many more of the same events!
8. The bread and butter pudding in the Dining Hall
I could literally write an AS English length essay on the sublime genius of this
dessert, but most people at Concord probably know just HOW amazing this is. All I
can say is, if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. Big time.
7. The “Chinese New Year” fireworks display
If there was one word in which I could describe this event, it would be this- chaotic.
From the abrupt departure from the Dining Hall while many people were still on
their second round of the Chinese New Year buffet, to the crazed singing of Katy
Perry’s “Firework” to keep our minds off the -5 celsius weather, the entire event had
a comedic chaos to it. But all that changed when scenes of gold, green and red
littered the night sky, the highly anticipated fireworks display finally beginning. The
display lasted all of 20 minutes, and was a dramatic and wild celebration of the new
year, personifying the very spirit of 2021 itself.
6. Ghost stories with Mr Hawkins / lighting the Christmas Log
With such a historical, unprecedented year happening, it was time to go back to the
rich history of Concord itself for a source of comfort and entertainment. And this
was exactly what happened on Christmas night, where “stay-cationers” were
treated to a rare sight: the brief revival of 2 of Concord’s old traditions. The lighting
of the Christmas Log in Main Hall, not done for at least a decade, and the re-telling
of some of Concord’s famed ghost stories. Mr Hawkins even brought in the famed
Concord Bell, notorious for allegedly being involved in the deaths of 2 students. In the end,
many people were more than a little spooked by the tales, but it was also a day in
celebration of the rich history of Concord and the surrounding area.
5. A large pizza and a milkshake when my residence was under lockdown
Was this a major event in Concord? No. But did it slightly lessen the pain of
spending half term stuck in my room? Well, kind of. To date this is still one of my
happiest memories of my year here. Call me a glutton, but food truly is the way to my heart.
4. Every free period ever
We are close to the top 3, and I’m sure everyone will agree with me that the
presence of free periods in Concord is an absolute lifesaver. They literally solve
everything. Feeling worn out from that Triple Math lesson you just had? Free period.
Have some last minute essay to finish off before the deadline today? Free period.
Need to catch up on the 2 hours of sleep you had last night? Free period. (but don’t
forget to make it in time for the next lesson.) It is a universal fact that free periods
probably sustain half of Sixth Form here in college, and the library has literally
become my habitat for the past year.
3. The veeeeeerrryyyyy rare town trips to Shrewsbury
Yes, the pandemic has made these trips rarer than diamonds in this school. I myself
have probably gone for less than 5 in the course of the school year. But as every
economics teacher will tell you, less supply makes the value of the good increase,
and indeed every trip to the wonderful town of Shrewsbury has been a much
needed getaway from the school, and an opportunity to catch up with friends
outside the school setting. With the new academic year coming up, more town trips is definitely
a priority on my wishlist, especially as the pandemic meant that I apparently missed
out on many attractions within Shrewsbury itself, but also potentially even trips to
other parts of the UK.
2. The Christmas Formal
Ok I PROMISE this is the last of my Christmas events, but the Christmas Formal was
probably the best event planned by Concord the entire year. Everything, from the
unlimited supply of wood fired pizzas (a welcome break from Dining Hall food) to
the pulsing dance music and casino games, were a strong reminder of the fun spirit
of Concord and a purely fun event that was both simultaneously enjoyable and
nostalgic. And if any of the formals in the future are anything like the one in the
Christmas holidays, all I can say is: sign me up!
1. My friends
And we finally come to the end of this list. Although much of this list has been a bit
of a joke, all things aside, it is truly the people I have met in Concord that have really
defined my experience here. It has been a long and arduous year in the UK, I cannot
lie, but having people to talk to and connect with has definitely alleviated some of
that burden. The shared experience of such a wild year definitely bonds people fast,
with people coming and going in a blink of an eye and many of the friends I have
made here I have met from time as short as 2 weeks to a whole year. But all of
them have shaped my experience in Concord in one way or another, and with this
being my first time boarding, and overseas at that, I would just like to give a shout
out to all of you guys, who have somehow collectively acted as therapists, coaches
and teachers in the 3 terms I spent here.
And yes, although I will see many of my friends back in Malaysia, to the many going
off to other countries, have a great summer, good luck for exams, and here’s to a
better, pandemic-free year!
- Ethan, 6.1
Lockdown 2 and Life at Concord
The UK is experiencing its second lockdown, but with a more lenient, human and flexible approach to ensure proper care for the underage and those in need. The second lockdown in the UK is better than the first one, as firstly, it takes into account the need for children, and students. While in March, people taking care of young children would be prohibited from meeting other people due to the two-person limit, during this lockdown, they no longer need to find a babysitter, etc. in order to contact another as the pre-school age child will be excluded from the two-person limit. The headache of looking for childsitter would also be avoided as schools, childcare and nurseries remain open, that working parents would not need to worry about how to settle their children should schools are closed.
On the other hand, more support is available for the vulnerable ones during the second lockdown. To name a few, the support bubble allows childcare being provided by another household, and single parent family can mix with other nominated household. The government has taken into account the need of many, and the leniency allows a more efficient and caring approach, while maximally minimizing spread of the virus.
Last but not least, more services are open during the second lockdown, from essential healthcare services including dental and optical pratices, to product collection services. Delayed treatments and misdiagnoses would be avoided, and those who are in need would be able to order products without going through massive procedures. To sum, the second lockdown would definitely minimize inconvenience to maintain daily life, and households with elderly or children would greatly benefit from the more humane approach.
Concord College is not only following suite with government guidelines, but is also going above and beyond to ensure the school campus remains a fully functioning and safe place.
During the lockdown, trips to town are temporality called off, filtering students to the new Concord online shop where a range of necessity and luxury items are available for purchase. As always, Concord is still organising an abundance of fun, on-campus activities to get involved in. These are taking place in year group bubbles, adhering to the government regulations. Different coloured lanyards have been adopted by our school, ensuring this rule is followed. One activity that my friends and I have loved challenging ourselves with is the “Pedal4Lalibela” project whereby the whole school is trying to generate enough mileage to travel from the U.K to Ethiopia by exercising such as on spin bikes. This project raises money for a school in Ethiopia that we have links with. I also enjoyed pyjama day last Friday where the whole school got to wake up, roll out of bed and go straight to lessons, because we wore our pyjamas in honour of Children in Need day. Everyone who wore pyjamas donated a pound to the British charity.
Cindy and Rose – 6.2
Online Learning in the New Term
While school has reopened and many of our classmates have gone back to campus, there are still some of us who chose to stay behind in our home country. Teachers need to cater for this by conducting hybrid teaching. Those of us still at home would have to attend lessons online using Teams whilst the others attend in person with social distancing measures in place. Being one of those who are not at school, I would like to share my experience of hybrid learning…
Interestingly, I found that when teachers have students attending classes in person, lessons go more smoothly, and they convey concepts more effectively as compared to last term when it was fully remote, understandably. What this means is that for this term, studying online may not be as disadvantageous as what many would first imagine. However, equally, when the lesson is better delivered, it is tough for me to stay focused throughout the whole school day. This is especially so in the evenings after a few hours of lessons, I would find my eyes extremely tired from staring at the screen which would lead to a struggle to concentrate. This is mitigated on the days when I have more free periods to take breaks in between lessons. Online classes from afternoon into the night also means no evening preparation for classes the next day. The adjustment of having to finish up my homework in the morning is challenging as I sometimes fail to allocate enough time to do so. This is now even more important since Saturday tests have resumed.
From school events like cross-country to silly insider jokes made by classmates, we are definitely missing out on some of the fun. As a Prefect, I am also unable to fulfil some of my duties since I am away. The pandemic has shortened our high school experience, making teenagers from all over the world lose out on many opportunities to grow and socialise in the ‘normal’ environment we know. However, our safety is most important, and we should make use of whatever tools we have to minimise any disruption to our studies until the pandemic threat subsides. This pandemic has brought many negative impacts to our world but also good learnings and innovations to the way we conduct our lives and adaptations to this new normal.
Amber – 6.2
‘A Day of Life’ – Concord College (COVID-19 Edition)
Watch the Sixth Form students’ (lighthearted) perspective on COVID-19 and life at Concord…
By Anson and Nico.
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
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
Concord Life 1
As quite a lot of the web traffic of this blog is not from Concord, we have decided to write a series of blog entries regarding on different aspects of the life in Concord, in order to allow everyone to taste a slice of Concord school life. This series will be conducted in form of a Q&A format.
Q: Where is Concord College?
A: Concord is situated in Acton Burnell, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. Shropshire is a part of the West Midlands and close to the England-Wales border. Shrewsbury is the largest town in Shropshire. Acton Burnell is a small village with a population less than 300. Acton Burnell had been strategically important to England as it was both next to the main road to London and on the border with Wales.
Q: How big is Concord College?
A: In terms of the actual area, it is larger than 80 acres. In terms of the students, we have more than 500 students.
Q: How can I visit Concord College?
A: Depends on where you are from. There is a bus running between Church Stretton and Shrewsbury which stops via Acton Burnell Post Office, which is 2 minutes’ walk from the main campus. If you are from other places, a taxi is recommended.
Q: Is the life in Concord College boring?
A: NO! Although we are an academic school, we are fun people. The campus has plenty to offer, we have two state-of-art sports halls, many different varieties of activities, from horse-riding to chess, or archery to bee-keeping, there is more than one for you for sure.
Q: I’m a city dweller, can I survive?
A: We are city dwellers too. Living in a village isn’t necessarily a bad thing, given that there are fewer distractions. However, there are coaches to town every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, every Sunday morning and an evening coach to cinema every Saturday evening. Day trips to the UK are held during the weekends and half term.
We hope this would help you to know Concord College more. See you next week.
Yanshing Cheung 6.1