The fieldwork trip has been a definite high point of the geography course. We spent a glorious morning exploring the sand dunes at Benone Beach. It was warm and sunny, and collecting the data barely felt like work! Applying the knowledge that we learnt in class, we traversed the dunes with all the appropriate equipment and set out to investigate the plant succession. When we returned to school, we got together in the labs for lab data analysis which was super interesting. It was pleasing to see how what we learned in the classroom linked up with the world around us. Oh, and the cheeky McDonald’s on the way home definitely made it more enjoyable!
A large team from Years 8-10 travelled to the University of Ulster at Coleraine to take part in the NEBSSA cross-country competition on Tuesday 24th November. The weather meant that the ground conditions were far from perfect but this did not deter the runners who braved the mud and the showers and performed to their best. Highlights of the day included the performances of Saskia Love, James Wright and Andrew Symmington who were all well placed in their respective age groups.
Renowned local Chef and journalist Paula McIntyre paid a visit to her old school in October to deliver a talk and demonstration to the Year 12 GCSE Home Economics pupils. In line with the pupils’ GCSE practical examination, she showed a creative use of fruit and vegetables. A great advocate of local produce and use of seasonal ingredients, Paula prepared Gnocchi cooked in chestnut oil, leeks, black garlic and smoked black pepper; Pumpkin wedges roasted with local rapeseed oil, flavoured with Sumac and served with her own fermented tomatoes. This was followed by indulgent Brownies with local caramelised plums, raspberries, orange blossom flowers and honeycomb shards. The pupils were enchanted by the skills she showed and the new ingredients she introduced.
2014-2015 proved to be a very successful and rewarding year for Dalriada’s Debating Society! Under the instruction of Miss Turner and Thomas Hancock, the society continued to meet at lunchtime – every other Friday – to examine, discuss and contest important (and sometimes not so important!) ideas.
Some of the motions this year included: This House believes men are the weaker sex, This House would censor the internet and This House believes sportspeople should not be seen as role models. And, of course, one of the highlights of the year was the Staff-Pupil debate which saw Chris McLean and Mr Gamble take on – and beat – the mighty Dr Hunter and Thomas Hancock!
Year 11 Dalriada pupil Cara Dorrans will be going on the trip of a lifetime this summer as a Best Buddies ambassador to attend a leadership conference in Indiana. Cara is the current President of the Dalriada Best Buddies group and she will leave with the Best Buddies delegates on Tuesday 14 July for the two week trip.
Dalriada Headmaster Tom Skelton commented ‘We are extremely proud and delighted that Cara has been chosen to attend this international event. Cara is President of the growing Best Buddies group in Dalriada. She is an excellent role model and fully deserves this recognition’.
Dalriada recently held a fundraising event at The American Car Wash where the Best Buddies group sold refreshments and raised the commendable figure of £250 for Best Buddy funds. The school are indebted to Rachel Hall, owner of The American Car Wash for sponsoring the event which also raised £300 for the Nepal Appeal.
Three pupils from 8R, representing Calvert House, won a hard-fought competition on Monday, 15th June in the 5th annual Year 8 Spelling Competition. Over the course of the year, all Year 8 pupils have been learning new words from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which they have been studying in their English classes. The pupils spent a lot of time learning these spellings, along with their meanings and had been tasked with attempting to use some of this very ambitious vocabulary in their own writing. Pupils spent most of the spring term committing these words to memory and being tested on how well they could remember them. The top three spellers in each class were selected by their English teachers to compete against each other. Congratulations are due to the following pupils who were entered as the top spellers in their year:
Thomas came to Dalriada in September 2008. From the minute he stepped into my class I knew he had a special Mathematical understanding. The questions he asked were well above the level associated with Year 8 and I was excited to see what this young student would achieve. I was certainly not disappointed. Thomas gained everything I hoped he would and more. However, the thing that surprised and delighted me most was watching Thomas grow into a confident, well-rounded individual with so many talents outside the classroom.
In Year 8 Thomas was quietly confident. By Year 14 that confidence was more visible and he had obtained an incredible array of goals – most of us would have been proud to gain any one of these achievements! He studied five A Levels including Maths and Further Maths and he achieved five A*s. He was joint second in Northern Ireland in ‘A’ Level Maths and First in Music ‘A’ Level. Moreover he had taught himself Further Maths as well as studying his four other A Levels. To do all this and achieve the best grade possible is remarkable. It takes determination and really good time management. He planned carefully, setting targets that he met with determination and industry. Not only did he manage to do this but he also took part in the UKMT Maths Challenge and was awarded a gold certificate.
A group of Year 12 and 13 pupils left Dalriada on Saturday 27th June to spend 7 days in the land of Israel.
Throughout the week they visited many Biblical sites they had encountered in their studies. They spent time in Joppa, Caesarea, the Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum before taking a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee.
Nazareth Village proved to be a highlight for many of the pupils and staff as it provided a real insight into what life was like in Palestine in the time of Jesus. A walking tour of Jerusalem allowed the group to visit the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Pupils and staff also visited the River Jordan, enjoyed the Sound and Light Show against the walls of Jerusalem, had the opportunity to float in the Dead Sea and experienced a camel ride at Genesis Land.
This trip was a busy one, however it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for our pupils and a fantastic way to begin the summer holidays!
Wednesday 14th October saw forty Year 11 pupils board a bus and travel to the University of Ulster, Coleraine. The UUC School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences had organised their annual ‘Chemistry at Work’ Exhibition. Exhibitors from different Global Pharmaceutical companies all based in Northern Ireland were represented (Almac, Nicobrand, Norbrook, Randox and Warner-Chilcott), the University’s Department of Environmental Studies and then the Pharmacy Department itself which has been voted top of the League Tables for the past two years. Each presenter outlined their area of work, a little bit about how they got there and explained different aspects of Chemistry within what they do. The students were impressed by the global nature of the companies represented and the large sums of money involved in the Pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmacy Department outlined some of the practical work that their undergraduate students complete in the laboratory e.g. how much water does a nappy hold? You might be surprised to know that it is an incredibly large volume…about one litre in fact. Following the exhibition the students enjoyed ‘Scientific Sue’ and her ‘Crazy Chemistry Show’. She explored lots of different aspects of chemistry and there were plenty of explosions in her show. She was accompanied by dragons of various sizes…all toys of course…which she made fly, breathe smoke and even fire. There was plenty of audience participation and it was great fun to see how the students reacted when there was a loud explosion or there was something messy happening! We would like to thank the University for organising the event and the school for facilitating attendance at it. The students came away with plenty of information regarding employment opportunities in this sector and how the Chemistry they study in class impacts on our everyday lives from nappies to Sudocrem!