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
New Year.

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.

The UK

Eben: Feeling part of a proper class community again

Ukraine

Nastya: Just simply returning to a sense of normality 

Nigeria 

Saratu: No longer having many time differences amongst all my friends; it’s been too much of a strain on my mental maths! 

China 

Anna: Not having to heavily rely on technology and my bad WiFi at home! Also getting to see people in person again

Hong Kong 

Tom: Being set free from quarantine so I can be my social self again

Malaysia 

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