Welcome to the first blog of 2018. I hope that the winter break enabled you to have a good rest and some time with the family before the excitement and anticipation of the New Year.
Not everyone is a fan of New Year, but I, like many I am sure, see it as an opportunity to review the decisions made the year before, aiming to repeat what went well and learn from where things didn’t quite go as planned!
What is coming is better than what is gone
As you know, prior to the holidays, ten Year 12 students jetted off to Ghana with Mrs Shaw and Mr Webster, to immerse themselves in the community for ten days. You may already have a good understanding of the impact of their visit from the photos on the website or on Twitter for those of you who follow us. Despite the regular updates we received when they were there and the information already available, the students and staff thought that this blog was a perfect opportunity to share even more.
‘To put my experience into a short paragraph is impossible: Ghana was an absolutely incredible life changing experience. Initially, apprehensively acknowledging a whole new culture, then seeing the smiles and acceptance from everybody we met, each one so happy, yet having so little. I cannot express enough how privileged I was to go on this trip; it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to go out there and actually make a difference. It was incredible to compare Ghanaian lifestyle to ours: they have so little, yet they are so content, in comparison to us who have things handed to us but believe we have nothing - this was my personal experience. The life changing opportunity has given me a whole new insight in to the world and maybe a glimpse of what I’d like to do in the future; I’m speechless about the things we experienced and I can’t say that enough.’
‘To be able to witness and understand the differences between how people live their lives in Ghana in comparison to England was life changing. The trip has given me the opportunity to see my life from a completely different perspective and I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to go! From the trip I have seen significant differences in the way we live our lives as communities. There is such a vast contrast in comparison to Ghana; by 'evolving' in a modern western life, society in the UK has lost its community spirit.’
‘Going to Ghana allowed me to come to the conclusion that even if language barriers are present it doesn’t matter, a relationship can still be formed and you can really connect with an individual. It also enabled me to understand more about others’ lives and living standards; we must realise how lucky we truly are. Ghana was an amazing trip and I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to go!’
‘The trip to Ghana has been so eye opening and definitely an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. To see communities with so little, yet filled with so much happiness and selflessness to help others is something that puts our attitudes to shame and makes us realise the things we worry about are so minute compared to the people we were so lucky to meet over the ten days. I will never forget the beaming smiles of the school children and how welcoming and inviting everyone was; I would love to go back!’
‘The trip to Ghana has been such a life changing experience and definitely one I will never forget. It has helped me put everything in perspective and become so much more thankful and grateful for everything I have and receive. I will never forget how happy all the people in this beautiful country were, despite having daily struggles that I could never even imagine. It is the most humbling and eye-opening thing I have ever done and has changed me for life.’
‘Visiting Ghana has really impacted on my life and was a very inspiring experience. To be able to experience first-hand the communities and cultures of the country has helped me understand further the way that in the western world we take too much for granted and that even with their lives stripped back to almost the basics, the community spirit was always at a high, with everyone helping each other. It really was an opportunity of a life time and I would love to experience it again someday.’
‘The trip to Ghana was something that I could not pass up on and I’m glad that I got to experience such a different environment and culture. It was an eye-opening experience, especially meeting the people and communities that have so little but are content with their lives when we complain about the smallest things. It’s made me realise how privileged we all are and that it’s important not to forget that we’re not alone in this world and we need to be considerate of all the people we share our planet with.’
‘I am grateful for the opportunity I had to immerse myself in a completely different culture and be able to learn so much from the community about how people live and thrive in such harsh conditions and circumstances, especially those like Agbogbloshie. One thing I learnt in particular about the communities was how everyone supported each other through their strong community spirit - something we have lost as our country has developed.’
‘One thing I will never forget about this opportunity was the people's smiles, something which I began to look forward to each day we were there. In spite of the huge disadvantages that these people experience they are still able to live in these content and vibrant communities. I cannot put into words how happy I was for having the chance to do what I have always wanted and go to an entirely new world to make a difference. I couldn't wait to go get stuck in with the work in Kokrobite and Agbogbloshie. Rather than going to change their lives, they really changed mine and I can't wait to go out again!’
‘A trip of a lifetime, an experience I will never forget: to see a country and community with so little, but yet so much more than we have. With every person being so welcoming and happy to see us. The trip opened my eyes to how greedy many of us are, and really showed me the difference between what a want and a need actually is.’
As you can see, it was a truly life changing experience for all of the students, so much so that we are now looking forward to offering this opportunity again next year to our current Year 11 who will be staying with us for their post-16 studies. Recruitment will begin immediately so students should look out for more information.
Dates for your diary:
Year 13 PPEs 15 – 26 January 2018
Year 8 Parents’ Evening (x side of year) 8 January 2018
Year 10 Science Live Event 22 January 2018
Year 9 Immunisations (Tetanus, diphtheria, polio and Meningitis) 22 January 2018
Year 8 Parents’ Evening (y side of year) 25 January 2018
PTA Family Bingo 2 February 2018
Year 8 History visit to Ypres 2 February 2018
Mrs L Hillyard