A 'classic' trip to Italy

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Our Classics Department ran a highly successful trip to Italy and below are two accounts by students on the trip, along with an impressive collection of photographs from Mr Sweatman, Trip Leader...

 

A Year 11 student's perspective

 

It’s a well-documented fact that the dream of every airline passenger is to see a group of schoolchildren boarding their flight. All eager, bright eyed – and ready to sing.

At 3am on a Thursday morning, forty-four members of the WKGS community set off for Rome, armed with matching hoodies and sun cream. First and foremost an educational trip for Latin students to learn more about Roman history and culture, it was as yet unknown to us that the following week would leave the party with a better grasp of the Australian accent, new South African acquaintances, and the understanding that almost every meal in Italy is preceded with pasta.

Day One. Rome. After landing and facing a temporary wait at the Hotel Capitol, it was time to face the Metro. The fear of the Merseyrail during rush hour is seemingly unparalleled, until, that is, one is presented with the Rome Metro. They are, in theory, very similar phenomena, but a middle-aged woman crooning karaoke into a microphone with a wheel-along amp may be the defining distinction between the two. Perhaps the Northern Line is missing a trick. Perhaps not.

Caterwauling aside, the impressiveness of Rome’s monuments was not to be underestimated. The first day’s visits included iconic antiquities such as the Pantheon (a former Roman temple), the Spanish Steps (a stairway linking the House of Bourbon to the Spanish embassy), and the Trevi Fountain (fairly self-explanatory, located in the Trevi district).

Day Two was also spent in Rome. A ten mile all-day hike to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Vatican meant it was the wrong day to choose to wear platform shoes. Nevertheless, a poor footwear selection did not diminish the awe that is felt upon viewing the artwork that adorns the Sistine Chapel. Good job, Michelangelo.

Travelling from Rome to Sorrento was the main focus of the third day, with a stop to see Monte Cassino Abbey, the site of an iconic battle during World War Two. With an equally stunning interior and exterior, the building oozes history and atmosphere. Peace is an important tenet here, and many monks residing within the Abbey take a vow of silence to preserve it.

A hike up Mount Vesuvius on day four could be perceived as a challenge (even if a bus drives three quarters of the way up). The weather was bracing to say the least, but there’s nothing quite like climbing up onto a crag to seek a view over the wide sea. This task was followed by a tour of Herculaneum, an ancient Roman town destroyed by volcanic pyroclastic flows following the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79.

Pompeii was the attraction of the penultimate day, an archaeological site that offers a frozen snapshot of Roman life during the first century. With 2.5 million visitors a year, highlights include Temple of Jupiter, Caecilius’ house, and a café that serves a fantastic latte macchiato. And yes, Molly, your VideoStar of Pompeii (the city) to ‘Pompeii’ (the song) is very good.

A morning of volleyball on Sorrento harbour rounded off the trip delightfully. All participants left the country slightly exhausted, but nevertheless enlightened, and with a developed affinity for sherbet lemons. All that can be given now is a clear recommendation to visit Italy, and huge gratitude to those who organised the trip. Thank you!

Robyn (Year 11)

 

Diary of a Year 9 Student

 

Day 1 - It all began by meeting at school at a ridiculous time of the day! Parents stood yawning, whilst students were talking and gossiping about the fun which lay ahead. The time in Manchester airport flew by and before we knew it, we had landed at Rome Fiumicino airport. We boarded our coach and drove to our accommodation. Before our evening meal in a nearby restaurant, we took a wander through the gorgeous streets of Rome, admiring the beautiful Trevi fountain and the Piazza Navona where we grabbed a proper Italian gelato. We were able to make our way through the crowds and entered the Pantheon. The Pantheon used to be a Roman temple which is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings. We slowly made our way back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to eat our dinner in an Italian restaurant just around the corner.

Day 2 - The 31st of March is the day which marked the visit to the Vatican City. We travelled by metro to the Cipro station from which we walked briskly to enter the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums were a sight you could only dream of. It housed impressive Roman statues and gold-plated, hand-painted ceilings that took your breath away. We then lingered for a while in the Sistine Chapel so we had a chance to take it all in. We then slowly meandered to the St Peter’s Square where we relaxed in the sun, eating our lunch, and admired the breathtaking surroundings.

At about 2pm, we all made our way to the Piazza del Colosseo where we were able to walk around and cherish the impressive Colosseum and the Roman Forum. At these sites, we were able to recognize many things which we had learnt about in stories from our Latin lessons! After studying all of the preserved items, we climbed to the Campidoglio from where we could see the whole of the forum and the city of Rome from above.

Day 3 - The next morning, we drove down to Sorrento and the bay of Naples. The long bus ride was broken up by a visit to the Abbey of Monte Cassino. This monastery was perched on top of a mountain, which meant that it was very peaceful and calm, with birds chirping away. A couple of hours later, we finally arrived in Sorrento, and after dropping our bags off at our second hotel, we walked down to the tranquil beach. There, we ate ice-cream and played volleyball in the sand. Time flew by and it was soon time for us to eat dinner back at the hotel.

Day 4 - At 10:30, we drove down to the famous Mount Vesuvius. Our coach took us the majority of the way up, however we climbed the last section to the summit where we could see the crater and the magnificent views all around. We sat down and ate our lunch whilst admiring the beautiful scenery. Once we had eaten our fill, we made our way back down and headed to the ancient town of Herculaneum.

Herculaneum was a small town where we could see the real structure of Roman houses and clearly imagine the Roman way of living, since every building had been so well preserved following the eruption thousands of years ago. In the evening, we wandered through the adorable market streets of Sorrento before heading back to eat our dinner.

Day 5 - This entire day was dedicated to discovering the world-famous city of Pompeii. This allowed us plenty of time to examine every house, shop and café that is still standing, just as they were in 79AD at the moment of the eruption. We saw the house of a banker, Caecilius, whom we have all studied in our Latin textbooks. His house was as grand and impressive as described in many stories. A mosaic of his dog, Cerberus, was seen in the front entrance of his house. During our time in Pompeii, we saw the casts of pots, animals and even plaster casts of people whose bodies had been engulfed by ash and lava. We saw the theatres, the main square, and the famous baths. We returned to our hotel where we celebrated a special birthday and the fun time we had had. After dinner, we all headed out into the streets of Sorrento and enjoyed the best gelato in Italy!

Day 6 - HOME TIME! The Latin trip to Rome and the bay of Naples was an experience well worth living and all 40 of us would gladly live it all again.

Amelia (Year 9)


Ayesha

Ayesha joined WKGS from Leamington Community Primary School in Liverpool in September 2015. She is now in Year 8 and her favourite subjects are Biology, Mathematics and Religious Studies. Her proudest moment so far in life was winning an art competition and meeting the then Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Tony Concepcion. Outside of school she enjoys swimming and cycling. Ayesha hopes to become a doctor because she wants to help people to the best of her ability.

"I was really nervous coming to WKGS, especially because I was the only student from my primary school and leaving my friends behind was difficult. The induction day was really helpful and everyone was very welcoming. I found it easy to make new friends. I believe that life is not a race and the only things you should be chasing are your dreams. If you are willing to let West Kirby help you to achieve them, this is the place for you."

Kristen

Kristen is in Year 12 and joined WKGS from St Bridget's Primary School, West Kirby when she was in Year 7. She is studying four subjects in Year 12; Fine Art, Textiles, Psychology and Biology. She enjoys Art a lot, but Textiles is her passion and she hopes to work within the Fashion Industry. Her greatest achievement was securing an A* grade in both GCSE Art and Textiles.

I am very happy to be part of the Sixth Form at WKGS and in particular because of the breadth of A-level options available, including Fine Art, Art Textiles and Textiles Technology.

Sheila

Sheila McClennon is our Chair of Governors.

"I have such happy memories of my time at West Kirby and am still friends with the girls I met here. We were quite a lively group, did a lot of drama and I just remember lots of laughter; those uncontrollable giggles that come out of nowhere usually in assembly. But we all did well. I worked in Paris before studying English, Drama and American Studies at Manchester University. Since then I have worked in radio and television as a reporter and presenter mainly on BBC Radio 4 although I did have a lovely year with Terry Wogan taking famous people out to lunch before his chat show. I moved back to the Wirral when my daughter Rachel was born and was thrilled when she, too, started at West Kirby. And now after many years as a Parent Governor I have taken over as Chair. It’s a great honour - I owe the school a lot and it’s nice to be able to give something back."

Nicole

Nicole is in Year 9 and joined WKGS from Avalon School in September 2014. Year 9 girls have already begun their GCSE courses and Nicole enjoys GCSE PE, English and Maths lessons. Her other options are German, History, Business, Religious Studies and Triple Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). Nicole is a hugely talented Table Tennis player and has represented England at the European Mini Cadets & Ireland at the Slovakian Open. She aspires to play at the Commonwealth Games in Tokyo.

She writes: I like WKGS because the school gives me the best opportunities to be the best I can be.

Hannah

Hannah joined WKGS in September 2012 from Prenton Preparatory School. She is now in Year 11 and is studying Mathematics and Further Maths, English, English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Latin and Physical Education at GCSE. Hannah enjoys swimming and running competitively and competes in many triathlons. She also plays Netball and takes part in athletics and cross country fixtures for the School.

Hannah is a very able mathematician and hopes to study a maths or science-related degree at university. She writes:

WKGS is very welcoming. There are a variety of different activities, which are suitable for everyone. The staff are friendly and helpfu and provide the best opportunities to help me achieve my goals.

Sienna

Sienna is in Year 7 and joined WKGS in September 2016. She was previously a pupil at Cornist Park Primary School in North Wales. Sienna has settled in well and loves Maths, French and Spanish lessons. She enjoys netball, ballet and tap, musical theatre and drama activities and raises money for the RNLI each summer. Sienna's proudest achievement to date was winning the Under 12s Welsh netball championship in Cardiff; she was part of the first team under the age of 16 to win this accolade. Sienna will remain at WKGS until Year 13 when she hopes to go on to become a brain or heart surgeon.

I feel proud and excited to be part of such a wonderful school. WKGS is worth more than getting up at 6 o'clock each morning! It is where I've always wanted to be. I love it!! 

Mr N Attwood

Neil Attwood is our IT Manager and since the early 1980’s, whilst a pupil at Calday Grammar School, he has been involved in computing. He is a Time Served Electrician and has a Degree in Software Engineering. He joined WKGS in 2007 as an IT Technician and has developed as the School’s IT Provision since. Over the past three years the school has installed an entirely new network and new virtualised servers and now has a solid foundation in for current and future technologies. From here on the possibilities of utilising new teaching and learning techniques are un-paralleled. Neil has recently become a member of the Health and Safety Committee and has embarked on as Master Course in Advanced Education Practice.

“I am honoured to have been given the opportunity to work at WKGS. The school's ethos is both traditional and modern with staff and leadership embracing the ever increasing uses of technology. We are now at the beginning of a whole new era of Mobile Technologies and I am looking forward to developing these for the benefit of both staff and students. Over the next few years I want to enhance the teaching and learning experience by introducing new methods of interactivity and collaboration which will allow our students to excel both during their schooling and in their onward journey into higher education and beyond”.

Mrs A Goodall

Mrs Audra Goodall joined WKGS as Head of Physical Education way back in 1994, having previously taught at Derby Moor Community School where she was Head of Year 9. She attended Worcester Girls’ Grammar School before progressing on to Bedford College of Physical Education where she graduated with a BEd(Hons) in Human Movement Studies. Audra has always had a passion for sport and as a teenager represented Worcestershire in netball, athletics and cross country. She then went on to represent Wales in the U21 and senior national netball squad for seven years.  She still enjoys keeping fit by playing netball for Vale Royal Netball Club in the Chester netball league as well as running whenever she can find the time!

‘I feel privileged to lead a team of highly motivated and committed colleagues in the PE department at WKGS who give so much of their time to provide additional opportunities for our students. It’s fantastic how sport for girls has progressed and there are now so many activities for them to get involved in, with so many positive role models to aspire to. The students at WKGS have a vast range of extra-curricular activities to choose from, covering all areas of the curriculum. I love our traditional school House system which allows them to take part in the 1500m on Sports Day, sing in the House Choir or try out their culinary skills in the House Bake-Off!’

Elizabeth

Elizabeth (Lizzie) is in Year 10. She joined us in September 2013 from Avalon School, West Kirby. She is enjoying the challenge of 10 GCSE subjects and in particular enjoys Music, Geography, French and Spanish. A keen clarinetist, Lizzie has completed her Grade 5 exam as well as Grade 6 in piano. She is a chorister at Liverpool Cathedral and plays in Wirral Schools' Concert Band.

Lizzie's greatest achievement to date is singing with the Liverpool Cathedral Choir in a concert which was televised on BBC1. She looks forward to reaching Grade 8 in both instruments and wishes to pursue a successful career in science.

West Kirby Grammar School has offered me many new opportunities that I would never have thought of doing alone. It has helped discover new talents and make memories that I will never forget.

 

Ryan

Ryan is in Year 12 and joined us from Birkenhead School for our Sixth Form. He is studying English Literature, PE, Physics and Economics. He particularly enjoys studying English Literature and Economics, which is housed in our newly refurbished Sixth Form Centre, Easedale. Outside of school, Ryan is a keen sportsman and plays tennis and football; a sport in which he has won over sixty trophies. Ryan's ambition is to set up a successful financial advertising company, which makes his A-level Economics a top priority!

I was extremely excited and happy to join WKGS as I knew it to be a very good school, which gets extremely strong results and could help me fulfil my potential in every aspect of life. "Everything was impossible, until someone actually did it...."

Kaya

Kaya joined WKGS in September 2016 in Year 12. She was formerly a student of Birkenhead High School Academy. She is studying A-levels in History, Spanish and Economics and a fourth AS subject, English Literature.

Kaya is a very keen rower and competes at Warrington Rowing Club. Her greatest acheivement to date is coming second in the British Junior Rowing Championships in July 2016 with her double partner. She also relishes being part of the Young Enterprise project in her enrichment periods.

I was really excited to join WKGS for the Sixth Form. It provided me with a fresh start and a chance to make new friends. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far as everyone has been so welcoming. I find all my A-level subjects really interesting.

Bethan

Bethan joined WKGS in Year 7 from St Peter's Church of England Primary School, Heswall. She is now in Year 12 and is studying Biology, Chemistry, English Literature and Spanish. She is working towards her Grade 5 piano examination and enjoys dance lessons in Modern and Musical Theatre. Bethan is looking forward to going to Uganda in the summer of 2017 with her Youth Group. Her proudest achievement to date has been getting the role of Maria in the school production of The Sound of Music in November 2016. She hopes to go to university, possibly to study medicine. However, she intends also to continue studying Spanish and it's something she really enjoys.

I honestly couldn't be happier at WKGS. Being here has given me so many amazing opportunities and I have formed great friendships, which I am sure will last for life.

Miss S Cliffe

Miss Sophie Cliffe joined WKGS as a newly qualified Psychology teacher in September 2016. Having completed her BSc Psychology and Criminology degree at Liverpool John Moores in 2014, she has since gone on to complete her PGCE at Glyndwr University in Wales. Sophie describes herself as a teacher who is passionate about her subject and someone who is devoted to becoming a subject specialist pedagogue. For this reason, she has recently enrolled to complete a Masters in Education run by WKGS alongside Liverpool John Moores University. 

 

I am privileged to be part of a fantastic department that runs extra curricular trips and excursions to enable students to apply psychology to real life situations. In December, we are taking students to London overnight so they have the opportunity to participate in a phobia workshop! We are also attending a Criminology conference in the latter part of the year. This will provide students with a unique insight into why people commit crime, which will assist them in their discussions when we cover forensic psychology as a module later on in the year. 

Tonia

Tonia joined WKGS in 2002 from Avalon School and left in 2009, with AAB A levels. This enabled her to go on to study at the University of Birmingham, where she achieved a First Class honours degree in Sport and Exercise Science. After university, she undertook the role of Sports Intern at Millfield in Somerset. She has since been working in as Outdoor Activities Co-ordinator and Assistant Houseparent in a girl’s boarding house. In the future, she plans to complete a PGCE and enter the teaching profession.

During her time at WKGS, Tonia was elected as Paton House Captain. This leadership role led to her most memorable moment from school; captaining Paton House to victory in the highly anticipated, annual House Music competition, with a medley of songs from ‘The Lion King’.

"WKGS opened my eyes to the importance of volunteering and giving back to the community. I was given the opportunity to travel to Inner Mongolia, rural China, as part of the ‘Making a Difference’ project in 2007, which is an extremely worthwhile cause. Additionally, I gained an appreciation of the value of team work and camaraderie, through group work, representing the School in sport and the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. I believe my strong educational background, teamed with making the most of every opportunity, provided me with many transferable skills and prepared me for life after leaving school with many happy memories and lifelong friends."

 

Mr J Young

Jon Young is in charge of Product Design. He grew up on the Wirral and attended South Wirral High School, where he was always involved in shows, productions, choirs, trips and house events. He was inspired by John Griffiths, an iconic, brown lab-coated CDT teacher who had a kind heart and an immense love for machinery and materials. Jon became Head Boy at South Wirral before embarking on a degree in Product Design with QTS at JMU. He then joined WKGS in 2002 in a time of transition from CDT and Electronics to industrial application, modern materials and manufacturing. Jon is a very active member of the Parents Association and also a School Governor on the Curriculum and Health & Safety Committee.

"I am very fortunate to work in a forward-thinking school with colleagues who all want the best for their students and strive to provide them with the best resources and enrichment opportunities to stretch beyond the school day. I also enjoy supporting the PA and organise the Junior School Disco. Recently, I have also been appointed as Enterprise Coordinator, a new and exciting challenge, which will involve me forging links with local businesses and running Enterprise Days. It is an exciting time in Technology at WKGS with a new computer suite, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, a new laser cutter and 3D printer, all of which enable our students to produce work of an industrial and commercial standard."

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Ayesha
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Kristen
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Sheila
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Nicole
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Hannah
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Sienna
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Mr N Attwood
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Mrs A Goodall
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Elizabeth
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Ryan
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Kaya
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Bethan
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Miss S Cliffe
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Tonia
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Mr J Young
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