Archive for Month: July 2017

Calvert Trust Expedition

On the morning of Friday 15th July, Club members and partners visited the Griffiths Centre (GC) building at Frank Wise School.  This kind invitation had been extended in acknowledgement of Club having sponsored two GC students each year since 2012 to attend the Calvert Trust, Exmoor.  After serving refreshments, students Tim and James gave a short presentation on their recent experience at their activity weekend with the Calvert Trust. There, participants with physical, sensory and learning disabilities can experience exciting, challenging and enjoyable outdoor activity adventures such as archery, canoeing, zip wire and abseiling, and assisting other less capable participants in organised and social group activities.

The immediate challenge that Tim and James faced was that, although the course was fully accommodated and catered, they had to be individually independent outside their carefully supervised activities.  This was the first time that either student had been away from their regular home and school comforts and support of familiar staff or family, or having to organise themselves to such an extent without prompting.  Truth be told, James found it quite difficult to cope with his newfound independence and had some behavioural difficulties initially.  However, after encouragement with GC staff over the phone, and with Tim’s support, James recovered to take full advantage of the weekend.  This experience will prove invaluable in the near-term as James is about to leave Frank Wise to take a three year placement at a further education establishment in Cornwall that will train him in the hotel trade.  Tim has another year at GC after which he hopes to take a place at Banbury & Bicester College.

It has always been very satisfying for Members to hear direct personal feedback from this project, normally during a routine Friday talk.  Club is extremely proud to have worked with students and teachers from the Griffiths Centre at the Frank Wise School, and the Calvert Trust, Exmoor, and the Youth Services committee has recently recommended to Council that this sponsorship should continue in 2018.

The West End comes to Banbury

Last Saturday, to celebrate the start of a new Rotary year, 200 people packed the theatre at Tudor Hall School, and witnessed a “West End” concert. Simon Adkins (originally from Banbury and currently the resident choreographer of 42nd St in the West End), Alison Dormer & Clare Rickard accompanied by Rob Cousins performed a wide and varied range of songs from the Musicals, many of which the three have performed in during their time as Musical Theatre professionals.

Newly installed President of Banbury Rotary Club, Alan Wolstencroft, who was instrumental (pardon the pun) in setting the concert up stole a line from Jersey Boys (Simon was in the original West End cast) and said “Oh What a Night”!

All four performers donated their time, appearance fee and expenses to support Banbury Rotary Club’s concert which was raising funds for Alan’s Africa Sierra Leone schools projects and Rotary’s End Polio Now campaign. Simon said “it was great to be back in Banbury, seeing family and friends, performing with three great people and helping Alan & Rotary raise funds for two great causes”.

Alan said “Rotary’s theme this year is “Rotary – Making A Difference”. The concert was a great way to start my year as President and I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the four professionals for putting on such a great show, and giving freely of their time, and I must also acknowledge the wonderful support we received from Tudor Hall School and the local businesses who donated items for the raffle and auction”.

PHOTO: From left to right: Alan Wolstencroft, Clare Rickard, Alison Dormer, Simon Adkins and seated Rob Cousins

Warriner Practice Interviews 2017

The final part of the Practice Interview Programme (PIP) conducted by Club this year was concluded on Wednesdays 5th July when 5 students from the Warriner School were interviewed for a second time as part of the competition to find the student who most impressed.  All 5 students were worthy of their second interview, and each performed well.

In the end the 3 interviewers (Ashley and Rosemary Bedding, and Nigel Randall) easily agreed that Bethany Parish came across as the most impressive student, mainly because she showed that she was able to take full part in her school education whilst following her love of both stage and technical aspects of the theatre in school and AmDram productions, girl guiding and maintaining a social life whilst at the same time juggling her complex young carer duties for her single mum (who had mental and physical difficulties) and younger brother. In addition, she was already discussing with Oxford Brookes how she could study for a future career in the theatre whilst fulfilling her carer responsibilities. It was a very humbling experience speaking to her, more especially as she was only 15 years old.

My thanks go to all Rotarians and Friends of Club who volunteer to conduct the PIP interviews at BGN and the Warriner each year, and without whom this scheme would not be possible.  Older Club members may recall that the late Rotarian John Meeres imported PIP from his previous Club ‘up North’ over 12 years ago. Below is a recent email from the Careers Leader at the Warriner that will hopefully endorse why the programme remains so important:

Nigel,

I would like to formally thank you and your colleagues for your valuable contribution to the careers education of our new Year 11 students. The interviews are the final careers activity of the year, following work experience and an enrichment day, and I have received a resounding positive feedback from all students which I would like to pass on to you. 

Students commented that your team made them feel at ease and that they have developed a greater understanding about the purpose of an interview. This education is invaluable in terms of developing the confidence of young people to progress in the big wide world. Many students admitted to feeling very proud of themselves at have conducted themselves well and really appreciated the verbal and written feedback that was sensitively given. The certificates were well received and I don’t think we should underestimate their value either as there was a palpable sense of pride as students received them.

I framed the certificates for the finalists and these students gained a lot of respect from their peers who were pleasantly surprised that it was not ‘the expected’ finalists and that the ultimate winner was perhaps in their eyes now someone who has risen significantly in the whole school’s estimation.  Bethany burst in to tears when accepting the news she had won and if you and your colleagues look on the Warriner Facebook page for will see (as well as pictures) that the comments from her relatives are a pleasure to read. Her personal confidence will no doubt have received a significant boost. She no doubt has a fantastic future awaiting her.

Finally, my apologies for the Mock exams inconvenience: no one was more disappointed than myself at the problems it caused but thank you for the flexibility and patience demonstrated by your magnificent team. Your work is much appreciated by students, the wider Warriner community and myself. 

Yours sincerely, Nigel Smith, Careers Leader