Lower School Newsletter Autumn Term 2021

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<strong>Newsletter</strong><br />

<strong>Autumn</strong> <strong>Term</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

Interview with...<br />

Mr Gillespie, Headmaster<br />

William and Mustafa, First Form<br />

Welcome<br />

On Wednesday 3 November, William and Mustafa interviewed the<br />

Headmaster, Mr Gillespie, in his office at the <strong>School</strong><br />

Our first question was: ‘What would<br />

be your number one piece of advice for<br />

thriving at St Albans <strong>School</strong>?’ Mr Gillespie<br />

explained that we need to get stuck in and<br />

make the most of all the opportunities that<br />

are on offer and give everything a go. When<br />

he was at Bedford Modern <strong>School</strong>, he sang<br />

in the <strong>School</strong> choir. If this had not been<br />

mandatory, he would never have taken part,<br />

but found it a beneficial experience. Mr<br />

Gillespie also played the French horn!<br />

When we asked the Headmaster what cocurricular<br />

activities he would have chosen<br />

if he was in the <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong>, he explained<br />

how much he would have enjoyed Fun Fit<br />

Friday where you can participate in a wide<br />

range of sports. He would have divided his<br />

time between sport and music. Mr Gillespie<br />

would have liked Computer Science, noting<br />

that computers had only just been invented<br />

when he was at school!<br />

Surprisingly, Mr Gillespie thought about<br />

joining the army. However, he followed in<br />

his parents’ footsteps by taking up teaching.<br />

He taught French and German, which were<br />

also his favourite subjects. He was inspired<br />

by teachers that had a passion for their<br />

subject and an interest in him as a person.<br />

Although, he slightly preferred French if he<br />

had to make a choice. Mr Gillespie never<br />

planned on being a headmaster but has no<br />

regrets about his life choices. The army’s<br />

loss is St Albans <strong>School</strong>’s gain.<br />

In terms of figures in public life who Mr<br />

Gillespie finds inspirational, it is those<br />

who model the values he aspires to - the<br />

Queen for her service to the nation, Nelson<br />

Mandela for his tenacity and resilience and<br />

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (who he once<br />

had the privilege of meeting). He doesn’t<br />

really support a football team, but one of<br />

his sons supports Chelsea. So, Mr Gillespie<br />

tends to keep up with Chelsea results to see<br />

what mood his son might be in.<br />

With masks being reintroduced, we asked<br />

Mr Gillespie what positive impacts the<br />

pandemic has had on the <strong>School</strong>. In his<br />

view, we have come to appreciate even more<br />

the importance of human relationships - the<br />

little and many social interactions every<br />

day which before COVID we took for<br />

granted. His greatest motivation is leading<br />

a happy school and making the most of<br />

the opportunity to serve other people in<br />

fulfilling that role. It’s about looking after<br />

everyone in our school and follows our<br />

motto, non nobis nati.<br />

Welcome to the <strong>Autumn</strong> <strong>Term</strong> <strong>Lower</strong><br />

<strong>School</strong> <strong>Newsletter</strong>. I am so proud that<br />

in spite of the changing nature of the<br />

world outside, life has been as busy as<br />

ever for all members of the <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

community. In the past 12 weeks, new<br />

friendships have been forged, existing<br />

friendships have been rekindled, Joseph<br />

songs have been performed, the tale of<br />

Arabian Nights has been remodelled for<br />

younger minds, <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong> PSHEE<br />

Assemblies have been delivered, the<br />

Choir has sung with gusto, individual<br />

form Assemblies have been presented,<br />

<strong>School</strong> Council meetings have discussed<br />

fresh ideas, the Green Council have<br />

initiated Meat-free Mondays, Rugby<br />

matches have been won and lost, Hockey<br />

matches played, Debates have been<br />

held, Classics myths acted, Warhammer<br />

Games played, Lego built, the Orchard<br />

has seen games of football, Manhunt,<br />

deep conversations have been shared,<br />

Chess matches have been sweated<br />

over, individual successes have been<br />

applauded, trumpets have been blown,<br />

guitars have been strummed, drums<br />

have been played and as the backdrop to<br />

all these events there has been laughter,<br />

smiles and adventure! I hope you enjoy<br />

reading these accounts and special<br />

thanks to the editing fairy Rijkje for her<br />

flair and to Iris for her photos.<br />

Happy reading!<br />

Mrs Victoria Ginsburg<br />

Deputy Head of <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong>

LS NEWSLETTER AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong><br />

AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong> LS NEWSLETTER<br />

Interview with the<br />

Head of <strong>School</strong><br />

Interview with the<br />

Head of Catering<br />

A Day in the Life of...<br />

I had the pleasure of interviewing<br />

the Head of <strong>School</strong>, Robert Heaney<br />

and asked him some questions<br />

about what it is like being the Head<br />

of <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Firstly, I asked him about what he<br />

would change in the <strong>School</strong>; he<br />

responded that he would not like<br />

to change anything but rather to be<br />

able to adapt back to pre-pandemic<br />

social life of students with co-curricular activities and be able<br />

to meet with other years by the time he leaves the <strong>School</strong>.<br />

The second question I asked him was how he felt, and what<br />

it was like being the Head of <strong>School</strong> in this first half term. He<br />

responded that it was very stressful starting with all the events<br />

he had to organise and attend but most importantly, about<br />

adapting to the public speaking aspect of the role which shows<br />

that speeches are only part of his role, and how he enjoys<br />

having a more widespread role in the <strong>School</strong>.<br />

The third question that was asked was what message he wished<br />

to convey to the <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong> and the type of advice he<br />

would give. He responded to this by saying that he hoped that<br />

everyone was settling in, especially after the unpredictability of<br />

last year and for the students to have fun and make memories<br />

with their friends as their time at St Albans <strong>School</strong> will fly by<br />

and soon, they will find themselves in their final year of school.<br />

The fourth question I asked was if he thought he was a<br />

good Head of <strong>School</strong> and how he felt that he was doing in<br />

his role. He answered that he can't say whether he is a good<br />

Head of <strong>School</strong> as it isn't his judgement. But he said that his<br />

communication skills and leadership are his best asset to the<br />

role and advises us to listen to the messages in his speeches.<br />

The final question I asked was why he wanted to be the Head of<br />

<strong>School</strong> and what drove him to apply. His final answer was that<br />

his brother was the Head of <strong>School</strong> previously and he always<br />

wanted to be like his brother because he admired him. He also<br />

has a desire to make a good name for himself in the <strong>School</strong><br />

throughout his journey. Overall, his message was that his wish<br />

has become his reality and it is possible for anyone to be the<br />

Head of <strong>School</strong> if they want to be.<br />

Neeam, Second Form<br />

For pupils and teaching staff, we may not consider the work and<br />

planning that goes into one day’s worth of food and feeding the<br />

entire school. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the<br />

Head of Catering, Mr Agnelo Louis, to look at his background in<br />

food and catering and to see how he and his team manage to feed<br />

all of us every single day.<br />

Firstly, I asked him how he got into the catering industry. He<br />

replied, “I started my catering career unknowingly in 2005. I<br />

took a part time job at Costa Coffee to support myself financially<br />

as I studied. I enjoyed what I was doing and decided to pursue<br />

it as a full-time career. Since then, I have worked for Café Nero,<br />

YO! Sushi, JP Morgan, Cancer Research UK, The University of<br />

Law, Computacenter, The University of Bedfordshire and now St<br />

Albans <strong>School</strong>.”<br />

Then I asked him what he enjoyed about his job. He responded,<br />

“Food! A big part of my job revolves around food. I am<br />

constantly looking for new ideas and trying to implement current<br />

food trends into our catering such as plant-based dishes, vegan<br />

and other popular food trends. It’s a challenging but enjoyable<br />

experience.”<br />

Next, I asked about the planning that goes into one day’s<br />

worth of meals for all the pupils and teachers? He said, “We<br />

write our menus months in advance, keeping in mind current<br />

seasonal vegetables to incorporate into the menu. It takes a<br />

week, sometimes a bit more, to order ingredients and have them<br />

delivered to our kitchen. One day’s worth of meals takes about a<br />

week, a week of planning and a day of preparing. We cook food<br />

fresh on the day.”<br />

I then asked him how the catering staff decide on the menu. He<br />

said, “Our head chef, Gavin, produces the menu and I review it<br />

and make tweaks if necessary. We work to a three-week menu<br />

cycle, which changes every season. We also try to have themed<br />

days at least once a week, like Bonfire night on 5 November.”<br />

Finally, I asked him what gave him an interest in food. He replied,<br />

"There are so many different cuisines and so many variations of<br />

those cuisines available these days to try. St Albans street market<br />

is a good example of this. There is so much to explore.”<br />

I am grateful to have the answers to these questions and now<br />

understand the amount of work that goes into one day’s worth of<br />

food preparation at St Albans <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Daniyal, Second Form<br />

Bursting with a mixture of emotions, starting<br />

First Form was big for me. New school, new<br />

teachers, new friends and now I even had to<br />

remember where to get off my coach. I knew<br />

no one- it was all new!<br />

It was exciting, but I had lots of worries.<br />

Although, one thing I didn’t have to worry about was lockdowns,<br />

bubbles or wearing masks in class. So, I did count us lucky!<br />

Being a First Former can be challenging. My day starts much earlier,<br />

making sure I don’t miss my coach. Walking around the <strong>School</strong> to<br />

get to different lessons is completely new and it is very easy to get<br />

lost. Everyone is kind and helps you find your way. It's a good idea<br />

to leave enough time, as running never ends well!<br />

It wasn’t too hard to make friends, we all got to know each other<br />

quite quickly. As a First Former, everyone wants to try out all the<br />

fun clubs. A lot of subjects we learn are new to us and they are fun.<br />

The teachers are very helpful.<br />

Getting a Teacher’s Commendation is very exciting and a goal<br />

to work towards. If you get six TC’s you get a Headmaster’s<br />

Commendation which is great. Homework is substantially more<br />

than at primary school. It does feel a bit overwhelming some days<br />

but ‘Learning to Learn’ helps us to be more efficient. Lots of tests<br />

which make you strive and feel extremely proud when you ace it.<br />

Finishing off my first half term with a HC was very satisfying.<br />

Ethan, First Form<br />

I arrive at the bus stop at 07:15am and get onto<br />

the big, bright yellow coach, where I talk and<br />

have fun with my friends on the way to school.<br />

We arrive at 8:20am and I make my way to my<br />

form room in the math block. The form tutor<br />

arrives at 8:30am. We then have assembly or<br />

Abbey until 9:15am. After this, our lessons start.<br />

This year, we get to sit in new classrooms, learn<br />

new different, exciting things and even meet new teachers.<br />

At 11:00am we have break. This is a time to have snacks and have fun<br />

with your friends, as well as cool off from the first two lessons. After<br />

this we get back to lessons and then, at 12:10pm, we have lunch. We<br />

exit the refectory at 12:40pm after an amazing lunch and continue<br />

with our lessons. When 1:30pm comes around, we all go to the<br />

Orchard and runabout, playing football, rugby or just chasing each<br />

other in the leaves. This is half an hour of time to get fresh air and<br />

have fun.<br />

Football Club, Tuesday I do Science Club at lunchtime then after<br />

<strong>School</strong>, I enjoy Chamber Quartet and String Quartet, Wednesday is<br />

Rugby Training, Thursday I go to Swimming Squad and finally on<br />

Friday, I relax in the pool for some Fun Swimming. At 6pm, I finish<br />

my club and make my way back to the unmistakable St Albans<br />

<strong>School</strong> coaches. At 7pm, we arrive at my stop, and I head back<br />

home.<br />

I arrive home at 7:30pm and have dinner. Then it is time for,<br />

unfortunately, homework. Once I finish with my homework, I<br />

shower and go to bed to charge up for the next day.<br />

Nikolaj, Second Form<br />


At first, I was afraid<br />

But, how could I be brave?<br />

I entered through the gate<br />

Then they gave me a handshake<br />

Still shivering, I walked forward<br />

Thinking of the awkward<br />

Meeting new people<br />

Was I too feeble?<br />

They toured me around<br />

While I frowned<br />

Why was I frowning, I did not know?<br />

As my knowledge began to grow<br />

When my mood changed<br />

It began to rain<br />

But I stayed hopeful<br />

Because I did not want to be moanful<br />

I met a few teachers<br />

Spotting some interesting features<br />

This put a smile on my face<br />

As I began to race<br />

Then I walked out of the <strong>School</strong> gate with pride In Modern Times<br />

And from then I was a St Albans <strong>School</strong> pupil<br />

There were tough times last year, with online<br />

learning and getting used to wearing masks<br />

everywhere but that’s just <strong>School</strong> and you have<br />

do what you’ve been told. Also, the teachers<br />

are fantastic so if you have a problem, go and<br />

ask them.<br />

What does that old phrase say: ‘You reap what<br />

you sow’. Meaning that whatever you put in<br />

you will get something out of it. It will work. So have a brilliant<br />

year in the First Form.<br />

After a day full of lessons, I look forward to the club that<br />

I have next. From such a wide selection to choose from,<br />

it’s quite hard not to choose one for each day, whether it<br />

be during lunch break or after school. On Monday I have<br />

Rishabh, Second Form

LS NEWSLETTER AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong><br />

AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong> LS NEWSLETTER<br />

PSHEE<br />

Interview with Dr Gray, Head of PSHEE<br />

PSHEE is a very important subject that teaches us<br />

the skills and attributes we need to manage our<br />

lives. PSHEE is not simply a subject but something<br />

we learn life lessons from. The subject takes a step<br />

away from the academic side of school and teaches<br />

us about health and safety, and generally prepares<br />

us for the future. Here is my interview with Dr<br />

Gray, the head of PSHEE:<br />

Why did you decide to do PSHEE?<br />

I've always been interested in PSHEE: I used to run lots of<br />

youth groups, I saw the need for young people to understand<br />

drugs, alcohol and relationships.<br />

What is PSHEE about?<br />

I think that PSHEE is about teaching students how to live<br />

their life, not just for now, but in the future, preparing them<br />

for future life. I think PSHEE should be incorporated more<br />

into the <strong>School</strong>'s curriculum.<br />

Why do we learn PSHEE?<br />

Well, I think it helps us build character, it helps us understand<br />

the world around us and ourselves. It also helps us to make<br />

wise choices.<br />

Do you think PSHEE is the most important subject?<br />

I don't think PSHEE is an academic subject, but it teaches us a<br />

different set of skills that will help us in our future careers and<br />

studies, so I think it is very important.<br />

From this, I think that we can tell how important a subject<br />

PSHEE is. It is something that we all can learn from and is<br />

something that will undoubtedly help us in our lives.<br />

The day started with us gathering in the Hall ready to learn<br />

about some new study techniques. A very experienced<br />

lady from a company called Positively You was in charge of<br />

helping us with learning strategies. She introduced herself<br />

and told us that she had been working for Positively You for<br />

Second Form PSHEE Day<br />

20 years. As we got settled, the presenter explained to us how<br />

important it is to revise in the right way otherwise you will get<br />

overwhelmed and that makes for pointless revision.<br />

We were shown several techniques to help us remember<br />

crucial information that can also be fun. We were shown<br />

ways to revise by including the right and left side of the<br />

brain. The right side responds to colour and is responsible for<br />

daydreaming and more creative aspects, the left side responds<br />

to words and helps us to read and write. As I said before, this<br />

can make revision both thorough and exciting. These methods<br />

can help you to remember facts and information for a long<br />

time instead of just for a test.<br />

After break, we learned a bit about goals and targets. The<br />

speaker explained that you need to know what you are<br />

working towards. We were told that it can be far in the future<br />

such as a particular career you want to have or getting a<br />

certain score on your next test. We were told that our goals<br />

need to be specific and have a time limit.<br />

Personally, I found this extremely helpful, and I think in the<br />

future I will be able to incorporate these techniques into my<br />

revision and will start making goal maps, so I have a clear idea<br />

of what I want to achieve.<br />

Daniyal, Second Form<br />

Zaid, Second Form<br />

First Form PSHEE Day<br />

Prizegiving<br />

Alex, Second Form<br />

PSHEE Day for First Formers started very early, a few days<br />

after the students had settled at the <strong>School</strong>. Cheerfully, the<br />

new Albanians thronged into the assembly room (having<br />

no regular lessons) to begin one of the most fun filled and<br />

informative of days. The students learned everything in fun<br />

activities and sat down in the Hall to listen to presentations by<br />

specific teachers. These presentations depicted what we would<br />

be doing in our new life as Albanians and what would be<br />

expected of us during our time at the <strong>School</strong>.<br />

Furthermore, we got to participate in fun activities on PSHEE<br />

Day, which helped us learn useful life skills. Ecstatically,<br />

after break and lunch on that day, we poured into the Hall,<br />

eager to absorb the wisdom, as well as anticipating the<br />

exciting activities the teachers had prepared for us. Some<br />

of the activities gave us the opportunity to cook our own<br />

scrumptious dishes. In one of the activities, the students used<br />

bottles and pans to make music. Everyone had the time of<br />

their lives! For me, the most enjoyable part was being allowed<br />

to make the loudest noises we could, on school property and<br />

get away with it, whilst the teachers cheered us on! We had<br />

a ball. Moreover, we also learned about crucial CPR which<br />

could help us to save people in emergencies.<br />

Gratefully, PSHEE Day has helped us fit into the <strong>School</strong> and<br />

has taught us some core information, as well as skills that<br />

could help us in the future. The day was an informative, fun<br />

day where we made memories that we will remember for a<br />

long time. Whoever thinks that learning isn’t fun, well they<br />

haven’t been to St Albans <strong>School</strong>!<br />

Matthew, First Form<br />

The experience of Prizegiving, in the Abbey, was one which<br />

has been a defining feature of this year. For this event, I was<br />

very lucky to be given an opportunity to give a speech about<br />

the importance of <strong>School</strong> values, which I took with both<br />

hands because an opportunity such as this may not come<br />

around again. Before this event, I hoped that my preparation<br />

would be sufficient, because speeches are not always my<br />

forte, especially without enough practice. Thinking about it<br />

now, I can say that I am quite happy with how the delivery<br />

of my speech turned out although, by the time I arrived at<br />

Prizegiving, it was very nerve-racking for me, especially as<br />

I waited during the Headmaster’s speech. Much of what I<br />

thought during that time was about the audience’s reception<br />

to my speech that I was about to give, but looking back now,<br />

I think there was not much to worry about, as there was a<br />

full range of students in all years who would go on to give<br />

fantastic speeches after me. Giving the speech, however, was<br />

something I shall not forget because it has helped to better<br />

myself as a pupil – in progressing my public speaking and<br />

giving me more to draw on during future performances. The<br />

experience will continue to be a special one from my time<br />

here, and though in time much of the audience will probably<br />

remember little about me, the event will be something that I<br />

will keep close to me as I continue my journey through the<br />


LS NEWSLETTER AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong><br />

AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong> LS NEWSLETTER<br />

Art Club<br />

I enjoy Art Club as it has freedom but also guidance. I have<br />

a passion for nature watching and photography, and Art<br />

Club allows me to incorporate some of my pleasures into the<br />

artwork I do. At Art Club there is a wide variety of media you<br />

can work in, and this makes every session enjoyable. Recently<br />

I have been on a holiday to RSBP Minsmere in Suffolk, which<br />

has made me appreciate how Art can change your view of the<br />

world and can bring you great pleasure. Whilst I was looking<br />

for wildlife to photograph, I saw some incredible creatures<br />

such as the very apparent red deer, the elusive reed dwelling<br />

bittern and a pair of hobbies, who were doing aerial acrobats<br />

Liam, First Form<br />

Chess Club<br />

Chess Club takes<br />

place on a Monday<br />

and Wednesday<br />

lunchtime. The<br />

Monday session is for<br />

the more experienced<br />

and competitive<br />

players, whereas the<br />

Wednesday session<br />

is for players who<br />

want to learn and have fun. You can choose whether to play a<br />

match, or you can ask someone for tips with your strategies.<br />

On average, we are able to play two matches per session so<br />

not only is it a place where you can socialise and meet other<br />

people, it is also a great place to improve your chess abilities<br />

whilst also having fun. Chess Club accepts anyone no matter<br />

what their level of skill is. It has helped me develop strategies<br />

and techniques.<br />

Erind, Second Form<br />

Co-Curricular Clubs<br />

Fun Fit Friday<br />

Fun Fit Friday takes place after school on a Friday. There are a<br />

range of different sports for you to try out such as swimming,<br />

badminton, table tennis and rock climbing. It is an amazing<br />

opportunity to hang out with your friends and relax.<br />

During Swimming, we play underwater games and have<br />

swimming races. Underwater volleyball is particularly fun,<br />

especially when you dive forward to hit the ball. We also<br />

practise diving and perform gigantic jumps. Landing in the<br />

water is very refreshing. It is extremely fun!<br />

It is also a good way to compete with your friends in some<br />

of the sports. Table Tennis is a good activity for this. Some of<br />

the teachers stay late and participate in the sports with us. We<br />

have a great time and it is an amazing and fun experience. I<br />

choose to attend every week, so I never miss out.<br />

Ethan, First Form<br />

The <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong> Hub<br />

The <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong> Hub is a place to relax and have fun away<br />

from the busy school day. Everyone from the <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

is welcome to pop in and have fun. There are a variety of<br />

board games that you can play such as Monopoly Deal and<br />

Battleships.<br />

The Hub takes place at lunch time on a Monday. You can pop<br />

along to have a break from the noise and chat of your form<br />

room and instead spend some time quietly playing a game or<br />

designing some Jenga constructions. When you arrive, the<br />

atmosphere is welcoming and unjudgmental. You can talk to<br />

boys from other forms, and as a bonus you can also play your<br />

own music as long as it’s not too loud.<br />

I have personally found it a useful tool for making new<br />

friends in the <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong>. I have made friends with a First<br />

Former, as I remember how I felt when I was new and how I<br />

appreciated other boys talking to me and helping me to settle<br />

into a new environment. It is a great place to connect with<br />

people who you wouldn’t connect with normally and just have<br />

fun.<br />

Neeam, Second Form<br />

Brass Ensemble<br />

Every Tuesday at 1:30pm, students from the <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong><br />

who play a brass instrument can go to the Brass Ensemble. It<br />

is run by Mr Bentley, and currently there are four members:<br />

two trumpets, one cornet (me) and a euphonium. We<br />

are keen for anyone who plays a brass instrument and is<br />

interested in playing in an ensemble to join us. We meet up<br />

in the Hall, so if you want to join, email Mr Bentley and then<br />

come along!<br />

We play a large variety of pieces, from slow and peaceful<br />

pieces like the main theme from Titanic to happier pieces like<br />

Super Trouper. They are all very fun to play and are not too<br />

hard either. Everyone is very friendly, and it doesn’t matter if<br />

you make mistakes. So come to <strong>Lower</strong> <strong>School</strong> Brass Ensemble,<br />

every Tuesday at 1:30pm in the Hall.<br />

Nicholas, Second Form<br />

Drama Club<br />

This club is brilliant because it is just so relaxed. Don’t get me<br />

wrong, sometimes it is utterly chaotic, but a lot of the time<br />

it’s just joking around and having a laugh. Yes, there’s the<br />

parts you don’t want to do, like learning a script or getting<br />

an accent right, but if you work hard enough, you really<br />

do get rewarded. Last year, the First Form all watched our<br />

performance from their form rooms, and it was strangely<br />

satisfying to see that people were actually enjoying and<br />

laughing at it when you had put all of that hard work into it.<br />

When I was self-isolating, I felt as if I missed all my clubs,<br />

but in particular this one, and I am grateful to carry on with<br />

it now. This year Mr. Wass and Mrs. Drucker are running the<br />

club and they are doing just as good of a job as any movie<br />

director. You even get a day off school to rehearse and to<br />

film, so it’s a win-win! You don’t really need to be any good at<br />

Drama, because you will learn and become even better at it.<br />

James, Second Form<br />

Debating Society<br />

Debating Society is a co-curricular club running from 1:15pm<br />

to 1:50pm on a Tuesday in the BLR. This club is a great<br />

opportunity to express your opinions and use many persuasive<br />

skills that could be helpful in other subjects. It can also be a<br />

great time to learn new facts that you never knew before.<br />

Debating Society covers many topics which you might find<br />

interesting. These include; "Who would make a better leader<br />

a man or a woman? Should English be spoken nationally?<br />

Should we deactivate our nuclear weapons or not?" If you are<br />

not sure which side you should vote for, there is always the<br />

choice to abstain. The Society is a great way to teach you how<br />

to present and articulate your words and how to express your<br />

opinions in persuasive ways.<br />

Mustafa, First Form<br />

Orchestra<br />

Orchestra is not only a great activity but it includes the entire<br />

<strong>School</strong> from First Form to Sixth Form. This means that there<br />

are many different skill levels, which helps you to improve<br />

your playing of an instrument. There are two groups in this<br />

club, string group, (violin, cello and a lot of others) and brass<br />

group (trumpets, saxophones, oboes and many others). On<br />

top of that, there is a percussion group which accompany the<br />

brass and strings sections! I am in the Second Form and play<br />

the trumpet. I have found Orchestra great fun and an amazing<br />

learning experience. So far, we have played quite a few pieces<br />

together. The last half-term was quite hard, due to Covid,<br />

however that didn’t stop us from having a great time! All the<br />

older boys are very friendly and kind, helping with anything<br />

you’re struggling with, and if you haven’t already, you can<br />

find loads of people who play the same instrument as you.<br />

We also play in concerts and events throughout the year, for<br />

other people to come and watch. Overall, Orchestra is a very<br />

exciting, fun learning experience for any instrument that you<br />

play!<br />

Stanley, Second Form<br />

Warhammer Club<br />

I had no knowledge a hobby such as Warhammer existed.<br />

My interest was piqued when Mr Wass exhibited some of the<br />

figures used to replicate fantasy battle scenes. Immediately I<br />

was intrigued.<br />

Warhammer is described as a popular miniature board war<br />

game, often accompanied by an extensive book of rules<br />

that is used during a battle. There are many versions of the<br />

games with different rules, themes, and miniature figures,<br />

all with their own unique play style. It’s based on creativity,<br />

strategy, and a vivid imagination. Meticulous precision is<br />

required when painting, moulding, cutting, and assembling<br />

the miniature figures, then placing them in the designated<br />

spots ready for battle to commence! It’s enjoyed by adults and<br />

children alike. All over the world there are specialised groups<br />

exclusively for Warhammer enthusiasts.<br />

I really enjoy attending the club every Monday. Everyone has<br />

their own figures and scenery to work on. Sometimes, we<br />

work as a group, cutting out pieces and sanding them. I find<br />

this procedure very therapeutic.<br />

Once completed, the real game begins, and it’s time to play.<br />

It can get very competitive with even the teachers joining in!<br />

We once observed a very interesting match between Mr Wass<br />

and Mr Phillips, the latter who became victor! We’ve even had<br />

completed scenes displayed inside the D&T building for all to<br />

admire!<br />

Ismael, Second Form


AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong><br />

Football is one of the co-curricular sports that you can play<br />

after school and most people chose football in my year, so I<br />

assumed that it was quite a popular sport. Football is played<br />

on one of the many big football pitches at Woollams. I find<br />

football a very fun and enjoyable sport and it is an exciting<br />

co-curricular activity to try after school with friends. We<br />

play matches every week and we also do some drills, which<br />

everyone finds fun. The teachers for football after school are<br />

very motivated and dedicated to make football entertaining<br />

for everyone who plays. Although this year we sadly could not<br />

play the last two weeks of football, I enjoyed every moment of<br />

it with my friends.<br />

Hockey is a co-curricular club and also a games option. At<br />

the start of every Hockey session, we do stretches and warmup<br />

drills. I have found it quite fun because the teachers are<br />

Pre-season rugby training gave many of the First Form an<br />

opportunity to visit the <strong>School</strong> site for the first time since the<br />

entrance exam. Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, we<br />

were able to meet new people and learn how to play Rugby.<br />

The first three weeks were at school, and the final week was at<br />

Woollams. The pitches were amazing!<br />

Within our year group, before we touched a Rugby ball, we<br />

played some classic games to help with our speed and fitness.<br />

These included Ultimate Tag, Stuck in the Mud, Rugby,<br />

Netball and Bulldog. However, without a doubt the Pancake<br />

The swim team has performed phenomenally for the <strong>School</strong><br />

this half-term. Although we didn’t qualify for the relay<br />

competition, all the swimmers in the team have showed great<br />

signs of improvement. I think that with a bit more training<br />

and preparation, we could become an extremely promising<br />

group. This year so far, every swimmer has given it their all<br />

and everyone is proud of their performance. I hope that in<br />

the coming few galas, we will improve our placing. Thanks to<br />

our coach, Mr Odgers, we have been able to train efficiently<br />

and effectively so that when it comes to competition time, we<br />

perform outstandingly. I think that if I were to pick the most<br />

impressive swimmer this half-term, I couldn’t because they<br />

Sports Clubs<br />

Football and Hockey<br />

friendly, and they help us when we struggle. The teachers<br />

give clear demonstrations, and they also explain clearly what<br />

we are going to do. We are very lucky to have Sixth Formers<br />

helping us and by watching them play, we have learnt a lot<br />

of new strategies and skills. They have also taught us tactics<br />

and very useful information to use in real life matches against<br />

other schools. Hockey is played at Woollams. There is a cage<br />

that includes a big pitch with six goals for Hockey on an Astro<br />

Turf pitch; the pitches are very smooth and easily accessible<br />

when dribbling around the hockey field.<br />

I have really enjoyed representing the <strong>School</strong> in both these<br />

sports and I would recommend them to new boys starting St<br />

Albans <strong>School</strong>, as a way to make new friends, learn new skills<br />

and feel part of the <strong>School</strong> community.<br />

Ivan, Second Form<br />

Pre-Season Rugby<br />

Swim Team<br />

game was the best. Pre-Season Rugby Training was brilliant<br />

as an introduction to playing Rugby, and meeting my new<br />

teammates and school friends, which meant I was comfortable<br />

on the first day of school.<br />

William, First Form<br />

I love Rugby because unlike just about every other team sport,<br />

Rugby is about all players having the same opportunity to run<br />

with the ball, pass the ball, and play defence. It's very difficult<br />

to dominate even a game with only one really good player.<br />

This year I wanted to achieve the A-team in Rugby. I am very<br />

enthusiastic about the sport, so when I heard that pre-season<br />

Rugby was on, I took the opportunity to participate. I found<br />

that pre-season was not only balanced training for each stage,<br />

but also a catch-up and the opportunity to see your friends<br />

before the start of the new school year. It also provided the<br />

opportunity to play some friendly fixtures and increased my<br />

familiarity with Rugby and contact.<br />

So far, I have played three matches with the A-team against<br />

Stamford, Bedford Modern and Robert Clack <strong>School</strong>, and it<br />

has made me love Rugby even more.<br />

Jasper, Second Form<br />

have all performed equally well. I am sure that every single<br />

swimmer on the team has been happy with their performance<br />

so far and will strive to be better in the coming school year.<br />

Although we did not place very high in our first gala, we will<br />

be prepared for the next. With more time and experience, our<br />

team can become a contender in the swimming league.<br />

Samuel, Second Form<br />

Only people who haven’t tried the wonderful language of<br />

Latin can ever say this isn't great to learn, fun to write in and<br />

intellectually astounding. I myself have tried this ancient language<br />

and recognized so many different etymologies, or word origins.<br />

The joy of finding out the English word ‘venue’ comes from ‘veno’,<br />

meaning ‘I walk’ is immense – it is incredible to finally know<br />

where words come from. An ambulance might amble up the<br />

street, or you might claim the clamorous people were exclaiming<br />

things. You might say learning a dead language is ridiculous, but<br />

that’s Latin for ‘laugh’. Even people who don’t like Latin can’t help<br />

speaking it!<br />

The grammar rules are simple to remember, and people who<br />

know French, Spanish or Italian will find this an excellent way<br />

to practice their skills and Latin is known, thanks to a US study,<br />

known to increase your grade in Maths, English, Science, etc.<br />

Over 60% of words in the English dictionary come from an<br />

Ancient Greek or Latin word - usually Latin.<br />

"I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you<br />

remember those of Seneca, another of those old Romans I met<br />

AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong><br />

Latin Lessons at St Albans <strong>School</strong><br />

On Thursday 14 October, the First Form performed Joseph and<br />

the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The First Form performed<br />

on their own as the Second Form were affected by multiple<br />

positive Covid Tests.<br />

The performance itself went amazingly and everybody involved<br />

had a great time. It was fantastic that the performance went<br />

ahead, as many in the last few years have not due to the<br />

pandemic.<br />

The practice and effort that everyone put into this was<br />

astonishing and definitely something that everyone will<br />

continue to put into future performances.<br />

We did not have long to practice, which meant that it would<br />

be really hard for most people to remember all of the words.<br />

However, there was a solution around this, practise! This is<br />

something that everybody did a lot of and definitely just before<br />


when I fled down the Classics corridor, in retreat from career<br />

ladders, in search of ancient wisdom," quoted JK Rowling after<br />

receiving her honorary degree.<br />

As you can see, there is no reason not to love Latin. The teachers<br />

are great, and the language is engrossing - from Latin grossus<br />

meaning large in Latin. We get grocer - someone who sells large<br />

amounts of things - and French gros, meaning large from it. The<br />

word is related to grease.<br />

I end with some Latin<br />

words: ico 'vale' ad omnes<br />

homines qui in futuro<br />

Latinorum amatores<br />

erunt. spero te bene esse.<br />

In other words, bye!<br />

Parth, First Form<br />

First Form Performance of<br />

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat<br />

the performance as we went through the whole thing a few<br />

times.<br />

Just before the actual performance we were treated with<br />

sausages and chips and then a film of some of the actors from<br />

various different Joseph performances, singing what we were<br />

about to sing. After this, everyone was really excited and ready<br />

to do their best.<br />

When we went in and took our positions, we didn’t realise how<br />

many people were watching us until we heard how loud it was<br />

at the end when they clapped.<br />

It was an amazing experience that would have never happened<br />

if it wasn’t for all of the adults involved who organised it.<br />

Daniel, First Form


AUTUMN TERM <strong>2021</strong><br />

Personal Achievements<br />

Boxing League<br />

I attend a boxing league for<br />

teenagers from the ages of 11<br />

(of a certain height and body<br />

weight) to 15. We compete in<br />

different matches against other<br />

participants. The matches are<br />

four rounds long with each<br />

round consisting of about two<br />

and a half minutes; however<br />

sometimes the rounds can<br />

be even longer than this. The<br />

training is brutal and gets very<br />

tiring however if you are able to persevere with it can help<br />

you to keep fit which will help you to win the matches.<br />

I train with my personal trainer at a gym near where I live.<br />

We do not only do boxing, but we also do cardio work which<br />

helps mid-match because it improves the circulation in the<br />

body. At the end of each round, both participants go to their<br />

designated corners for about a minute where their trainer will<br />

give them tips and encouragement for the next round. Then<br />

we drink some water and wait for the bell that rings to starts<br />

the next round.<br />

Christos, Second Form<br />

Karate Blackbelt<br />

On the 13th of November <strong>2021</strong>, I took my blackbelt grading.<br />

It was a three-hour examination on my own, in front of 9 of<br />

the highest senseis in the association, ESKA. ESKA stands<br />

for the English Shotokan Karate Association. Shotokan is<br />

the style of karate that we practise. I had to demonstrate the<br />

basics, which are the fundamentals of karate, kumite, and<br />

sparring, which is a set of controlled fights<br />

and 3 katas, which are a pattern of moves,<br />

purely for demonstration that show control,<br />

timing, and speed. I also had to pass an<br />

exam for which I learnt karate terminology,<br />

in Japanese, and also explanations of<br />

techniques. I then had to talk about my<br />

achievements and my trophies. Thankfully,<br />

I passed so all my hours of teaching,<br />

practising and learning were worth it.<br />

Oliver, Second Form<br />

My Bar Mitzvah<br />

To a Jewish person a Bar<br />

Mitzvah is a huge milestone<br />

that marks the end of<br />

childhood in the religion<br />

and gives the person<br />

independence on their path<br />

of faith. This also means<br />

that after your Bar Mitzvah<br />

you have to fast on certain<br />

Jewish holy days. It is meant<br />

to be a great honour and is<br />

one of the most important<br />

events in a Jewish person’s<br />

life. When I was studying for<br />

my Bar Mitzvah, I had to learn how to read Hebrew so that I<br />

could lead a service in this language and sing my piece from<br />

the Torah (the Jewish holy book). It took a lot of practice as I<br />

had to attend a zoom lesson every Monday and Thursday for<br />

the entirety of year seven and practise for thirty minutes on<br />

most days during the <strong>School</strong> holidays. As it got closer to the<br />

event, though I was invited into the synagogue on Thursdays<br />

to perform on the bimah (a raised platform) what I had been<br />

practising, it was a bit scary but something I knew I had to do<br />

to get the necessary skills to do it on the big day. When the<br />

day finally came, I did my piece almost perfectly in front of<br />

my grandparents, their friends, a few of my uncles, aunties,<br />

a friend, as well as a few members of the congregation.<br />

Afterwards I was able to relax and have a nice lunch with my<br />

family to mark the beginning of my Jewish adulthood.<br />

Sam, Second Form<br />

St Albans <strong>School</strong><br />

Abbey Gateway, St Albans, AL3 4HB<br />


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