This week’s student blog comes from the Head and Deputy Head Students of the school, sharing with us some of their experiences and advice to make the most of the learning opportunities at AKS.
Jeremy: School is a fantastic time to try out new clubs and activities – be they sports, music, theatre, dance, or even science and technology; so, whichever clubs you decide to get involved with, you are bound to make new long-lasting friendships across the whole school. I’ve definitely found that out myself in leading Bring Me Sunshine, a group in school dedicated to fostering inter-generational solidarity.
Antonia: I’ve found that getting involved is one of the best things you can do whilst at school. You get to learn about fun and interesting things, develop your character skills and make friends with people from other years you wouldn’t necessarily have met otherwise.
Jenny: I have been a very active member of the music department since Year 7. I took GCSE music in Years 10 and 11 and I am now doing it at A-level as well. I am involved in choir, swing band and the flute ensemble, and have played the lead female role in the past two musicals.
Curtis: I take biology, chemistry and geography; however, I’m a big fan of all sport: watching it, playing it, even refereeing from time to time. I also lead the Eco Club.
Zain: I’m involved with the school chess club, where I coach younger players and I’m also an ambassador for Science Club. For me, these clubs have been a great way to make new friends, right back from when I was in the lower school.
Georgie: I’m the President of the Young Soroptimist Youth Group in school, a keen member of AKS Action and part of a group of Sixth Formers who volunteer to help with the AKS Junior School reading programme.
Jeremy: Whether it is in Bring Me Sunshine and Round Square, AKS Action, music groups, Soroptimists, linguistics and languages clubs – there is an abundance of extracurricular activities in the co-curricular booklet that can complement, support and even further your academic studies. And if the club you wish to join doesn’t yet exist, then the teachers challenge you to set it up! You could start a band, campaign and champion the causes you care about in Bring Me Sunshine and AKS Action, beat your personal sporting records, but most importantly, have fun whilst you’re at it and cherish the friendships you make!
In Bring Me Sunshine, we really hope that everyone will be a leader at some point: all to spur an ethos of leadership, service and tenacity. Giving back to and forming stronger bonds with our local community is incredibly rewarding.
Antonia: Over my time at school, I’ve participated in Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards. Whilst they were all challenging, especially Gold, I don’t regret doing any of them because of everything I learnt in the process.
I’ve also been a part of two school musicals, and as a member of the chorus, there’s a strong sense of camaraderie formed. If you haven’t been a part of a school musical, I would absolutely recommend doing it at least once during your time at AKS.
Jenny: If you want to be fully involved in the AKS music department join in and perform in one of the Tea Time Concerts; they are a brilliant opportunity to improve your performing skills and boost your confidence before taking part in the larger concerts in the summer, autumn and at Christmas. I know I gained most of my confidence through music until I was finally ready to do my first solo in Year 9 for the autumn concert.
Thanks to the music department at AKS I have had the opportunity to perform in places like the Royal Albert Hall, York Minster and Manchester Cathedral. My advice is to get stuck in with music as soon as you can, because then you’ll have set yourself up really well for the rest of your time at AKS. Once the music staff get to know you and your talent, they can give you advice so you get more opportunities to perform as you go up the school, in bands such as Souled Out, Black and White or No Angels. You are even given the chance to sing solos in the choir or in Year 7 Singers, as well as perform in the various instrumental groups like swing band, the string ensemble, the flute ensemble and the brass ensemble.
Altogether, music is one of the best ways to form friendships with people in every year of the school. As well as becoming more assured in performing and speaking in front of people, you will become a more confident person all round.
Curtis: I enjoy golf the most and I’m the senior golf ambassador at school. I also love football and know about the upcoming football tour to Madrid for lower school students, which I’m really jealous about as it sounds amazing. I’m also the head of the Eco-committee where we aim to educate and implement ways that can make the school more environmentally friendly through a whole school approach. The biggest achievement last year was making the dining hall plastic free, however we aim to hit even bigger goals this year.
Zain: One of my most favourite memories from Science Club is back in Year 9: in teams, we were experimenting with high-pressure water rockets on the main school field, which were really explosive and exciting to watch. I’m still friends with all of my teammates many years later and these extracurricular activities definitely played a big part in that.
In fact, it’s been proven that sharing common interests with other people is one of the most effective ways of building new friendships and developing your existing ones. If there’s something in the co-curricular booklet that sparks your interest, you stand nothing to lose from checking that club out. So, I strongly recommend that students explore the extracurricular activities on offer, and you will end up meeting nice like-minded people and develop skills and values you never imagined you would ever learn at school.
Head and Deputy Head Students – Year 13