Twinning Toilets for Girl’s Education

This past year we have welcomed a new organisation into the folds of the AKS community, adding a new layer to our values. Soroptomist International champions global gender equality and human rights, and is operational in 122 countries. Our Youth Group is now situated within a far reaching organisation. Our local body, Fylde Soroptomists, are celebrating their 80th anniversary and to commemorate this they are doing “80for80”, an initiative based around twinning toilets. We, as a group, are committed to helping them. Student led, we eagerly meet every week to discuss our agenda and collaborate with our trusty liaison, Hilary

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A Big Project in Vietnam

Sixth Form students, Molly and Owen, have recently returned from a 2 week Round Square project in Vietnam with students from all over the world.   Let’s find out what they have gained from the experience… Molly, why did you want to go on a Round Square service project? Since October 2016 when I attended the RS International Conference at Aiglon College, I have thrown myself into everything and anything Round Square. This includes founding and chairing our Round Square committee as well as leading the Bring Me Sunshine project which recently won a fantastic international award! I truly believe I

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My Reflections by Molly Turpie

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Good Morning, I hope you all have had a lovely summer break! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Molly Turpie and I’m in Upper Sixth. I’d like to welcome you to my presentation on the Round Square 50th Anniversary Challenge titled ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ and quite honestly the journey that made me me!

9 months ago, back in January, I stood up here and told you how much I LOVED my time at the Round Square International Conference in Switzerland, how I came back inspired and how we had an idea to mix generations in our community to make positive change. We split off into groups and asked for your help, from that day your feedback allowed us to form an action plan for our very first student led project. One thing that was really important to us was for everyone to have an equal voice and for everyone to be respected and listened to on the same level. For example, Mr Walton’s voice to be the same as Scarlett and Zara’s views in Year 6.

Like me, many of you probably watched Channel 4’s ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ where ten preschoolers welcomed 11 pensioners into their classroom over an 8-week period. Anyone who hasn’t seen it go and watch it tonight, it’ll make you cry, laugh and most importantly want to make change. The programme focuses on the physical and mental health of the older people and every single one of them improved in both aspects after the experiment. I think the reason I love this programme so much is because I and every other person who threw themselves in our project have seen the changes and the feelings exchanged first hand throughout this last year and it’s a feeling of warmth that you can’t explain or every forget.

We strongly believe that the project has been a two-way partnership where we, as students have benefited massively from the older generation.  As the project has gone on, we feel we have developed an ethos of volunteering across the whole school and we have spread the message to pupils about the power of a smile and the friendships it brings. The uptake has been really incredible, and at every event, pupils of all ages, alumni and staff have got involved. Through this project we realised that there is so much we can learn from one another; how important it is to actively listen and to be more emotionally aware. It is important that young people realise that we need to step away from the reliance and addiction of technology and appreciate this generation and all it can offer; before it’s too late.

I believe that this morning you had a session on the Round Square Discoveries, I can see a few nods! Although I could easily reflect on all 12 of the discoveries and where I found them within our project I would just like to talk about three, Inquisitiveness, Responsibility and Communication.

I would consider myself an inquisitive person and that really did help throughout our project. We tested the boundaries of social normalities by taking action on an issue that is unfortunately swept under the rug. For every 1 teenager in Lytham St Annes there are 3 pensioners and with a growing concern of loneliness, isolation and depression we sought action by asking and not assuming through a journey of discovery.

Responsibility is an easy one. In a community with an aging population it is my and your moral obligation to join society because if we don’t, who will? After you hear Bel’s speech you will realise how important giving back to the community is and how leading to serve can make such a difference.

Communication Skills were at the heart of the ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ project. Mr Golding, an ex teacher of this school gave our committee a workshop of ‘The Art of Listening’.  We then put our skills into practice for our ‘Share Your Stories’ event in the library where we invited older members of the community to talk about their life and their experiences. We really were amazed at the conversations we were having. We were lucky to meet people who had worked in the War, people who had worked in huge brands such as Cadbury’s and several alumni of the school. One man had given up his career in banking to fulfil his life ambition to become an artist; ‘seize the day’ certainly was his motto. This casual chat over a cup of tea and a biscuit allowed for easy conversations and for bonds to be made across generations.

One of my favourite and most memorable things throughout this project was our intergenerational dance. Alongside ‘Just Group Friends’, a group which aims to combat loneliness and isolation in our local community, we formed a dance crew with a performance of ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake. Performing this dance was a perfect way to express our feelings and to celebrate together a shared passion that we all have. As a ‘Dance Crew’ we proved it is never too late in life to do something you have always wanted to do. This was performed to an audience at Lytham Hall on Club Day and at the Summer Fair and Car Fest; it gave a real sense of achievement and built a sense of togetherness.

Our plans for the future consist of introducing a pen-pal system, where letters are written and exchanged between pupils and older members of our community on a regular basis. This will strengthen our links with the community and will allow us to communicate to the elderly that may find it difficult to leave their house for whatever reason. This will provide regular communication to those who may not have many visitors and hopefully create smiles to those who may be a little more in need of one. We hope the idea of eventually meeting their pen pal (one day) at a future event might be the catalyst to give them a little more purpose.

Personally, one of the best feelings about being part of this community project is the people that I have met. I’m lucky enough to be very close to all of my family including my grandparents but I know that isn’t true for everyone. Last week, I was invited to one of our partners, Just Good Friends Volunteer’s Afternoon, as soon as I walked into the room I saw their faces light up as they called me over to sit with them. That day, one of the members, said that joining with AKS has been one of the best things that’s happened as he has no family of his own.

Another member said that joining social events led by AKS and Just Good Friends allowed him to leave the house for the first time in four years and it was also the first time he smiled in all that time.

The phrase ‘Success and Value’ is used around school a lot and I think this community project fits this perfectly. It has been a great success and to me, other pupils and staff, and the older people involved it really has been an invaluable experience to be part of. We have been updating Round Square of our progress through a thriving social media with tweets reaching up to 1385 people, as well as sending formal updates every few months just like the ones on your tables which contain everything you could possibly want to know.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you as many of you sitting here have been involved in various events such as Club Day, the Movie Afternoon, the Grandparents Afternoon, Bingo, the Summer Fair, the Parkinson’s Café, and many, many more and you can officially call yourself an agent of change. I’d like to give a special thank you to Mr Crouch, Mrs Marland and Mr McKeown for putting up with my constant questions, emails and big ideas as well as providing endless support with facilitating meetings, being a leader and working as an efficient team.

One last thing…

I have a glow inside me and I know exactly what it is; it’s the feeling of giving back to our community and it’s the feeling of being genuinely happy. If you take anything from this speech, let it be that the experience of giving back will allow you to receive something better than any gift, present or amount of money.

Thank you

Bring Me Sunshine

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Hello, my name is Molly Turpie and I’m currently the chair of our Round Square Working Party. We are currently taking part in the Round Square 50th Anniversary Challenge to make positive changes in our local area. ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ is all about forming bonds between the older and the younger generation, making our community closer. Each week we meet to discuss new ideas, plan events and work as a team. So far we have learnt a lot and our connections are growing and growing. Our group of students is of all ages throughout both the Junior, Senior and Sixth Form.

So, what we have done so far…

 

 

 

 

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Reflections from the Regional Conference in Romania

In January, we had the opportunity to go to the Round Square Regional Conference in Romania along with schools from the European and Mediterranean Region. We felt privileged to represent the school and felt very lucky to get the chance to experience all the conference had to offer, whilst being introduced to Romanian tradition and culture. The conference opened our eyes to Round Square as an organisation and allowed us to see how Transylvania College upholds the Round Square IDEALS. This allowed us to bring back ideas to Lizzie, our Head Girl, who is currently on a quest to find

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My Round Square Reflections

Like many of you reading this, Round Square was something I had heard about and was interested in but never did I understand its true power and true meaning until I experienced it for myself at the Round Square Global Conference at Aiglon College, Switzerland. I am so privileged to have been given the opportunity to attend, along with Molly and Sadie in Year 12 and Mr McKeown. The experience was unlike any other and I have thought long and hard about the reasoning behind this. I look back on it as a highlight of my career to date…why? Well, that

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And, so it began…

In October Sadie and I caught the Round Square bug! We were lucky enough to be chosen to attend the Round Square International Conference at Aiglon College in Switzerland. The conference was unbelievable. We met students and speakers from all around the world and 100 different countries, each of whom were driven by his or her individual passion. We left inspired. We left as agents of change.

What are the Round Square IDEALS?

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Idealist: “A person who cherishes or pursues high or noble principles, purposes, goals.”

The Round Square community is on a mission to appoint a body of champions whose life stories and achievements will provide a source of inspiration to Round Square students around the world, building their understanding of the Round Square IDEALS and the values they represent. Enlisted by Round Square President, His Majesty King Constantine, our Idealists have been nominated by Round Square’s student body and school membership around the world as individuals whose achievements epitomise the value and spirit of the Round Square IDEALS.

Round Square schools share a passion for experiential learning. Together they work hard to ensure that their pupils have every opportunity to achieve in ways and to levels beyond their perceived limits.

We also believe that in order to prepare for adult life, young people must be encouraged to discover and embrace the similarities and differences between cultures and nationalities in ways that promote meaningful and lasting understanding, tolerance and respect.

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RS Discovery Framework

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At first glance it would be easy to assume that the focus of Round Square takes place outside the classroom through extra- and co-curricular activities and, if truth be known, this was my first impression of the organisation, before attending the Global Conference at Aiglon College in October.

However, it is clear that Round Square is ever evolving and they want to take their key values and attitudes embodied within the IDEALS into the classroom. This is to be done by their newly developed Discovery Framework which aims:

“To construct a practical and useful framework that captures and communicates the unique spirit of a Round Square approach to teaching and learning”

During the conference, we heard from three schools who had piloted the use of the Discovery Framework in their own way to suit their own schools; it had proved to be effective to all three schools, in very different ways. You can view the Discovery Framework here: discovery roller banner

It soon became clear that the work we have been doing over the last two years regarding independent learning, student-led learning, active learning and growth mindset shared a number of the key values, skills and attitudes as the Discovery Framework which we are looking to develop in our pupils at AKS.

The beauty of the Discovery Framework is the fact that it is very much up to the individual school as to how they use it, depending on the key skill areas and attributes they want to focus on in their classrooms.

It will certainly be interesting to meet up with other Round Square schools at the Discovery Framework Conference in June to see how each school has used and interpreted the framework, and to share ideas and best practice, as we look to continually develop the character education of AKS pupils; surely this is the real ‘value-added’ of independent education?

A J McKeown

Read an article by the CEO of Round Square Rachael Westgarth ‘The Round Square Discovery Framework – A Trojan Horse for Character Education’ – here

 

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