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Notre Dame Newsletter

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Fair Enough

Since returning from their Christmas break both L6 and U6 students have been planning the events of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight. This year’s events were just as exciting and well attended as last years and did a great job of raising awareness of Fairtrade issues and the rapidly expanding range of goods available.

Things kicked off with assemblies led by students and dedicated to Fairtrade and these were followed up by a tutorial quiz with a fabulous prize won in the end by U6A HP.

This was followed by the college Banana Hunt, where Students had to find the hidden letters around the college and unscramble them to make the phrase ‘stick with Foncho’. [Foncho is a Colombian banana farmer and the face of Fairtrade] All entries received a bar of Fairtrade chocolate.

The main event of the fortnight though, was the Fairtrade carnival. This was a magnificent affair held in the main hall.

Attractions included: Face painting, Tin alley and other games, a bake sale, a Fairtrade chocolate fountain with fresh fruit and marshmallows, a Fairtrade candy floss stall, a raffle for an amazing cake made by the catering department, [see photo] and free Fairtrade goodies such as stickers and teabags.

A big draw was a smoothie maker bike where students could select their own fresh fruit and blend it in to a smoothie through pedal power and College principal Mr Coen was particularly keen to have a go.

Representatives from Cadbury’s came in and students had the opportunity to give them reasons why Fairtrade was important, in exchange for a chocolate bar.

Even the canteen joined in selling Fairtrade toffee apples and popcorn, all homemade.

Miss Case and her team were very grateful to Liam Parkinson and his team at the Co-operative food store on New York Street, Leeds for providing the food for the carnival.

All the events were hugely successful and once again Notre Dame Students have proved that having a social conscience can also be fun.

Leeds is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade City and, as an added extra, on Friday 7th March students were invited to Leeds Civic Hall to share in the celebrations. Students joined other schools and colleges from Leeds to share ideas and listen to Aimeth Angulo, a banana farmer from Columbia talk about the importance of Fairtrade.

Congratulations to everyone on the Fairtrade team and to everyone who supported the events.

(posted 20 March 2014)

Them Dry Bones

At the end of last month Dr Beaumont took some of her Classics students to Bradford University for a ‘People in the Past’ workshop.

The University of Bradford has an international reputation for teaching and research into human skeletal remains, and this Human Osteology (bone) workshop gave our students the opportunity to gain hands on experience in their Archaeology laboratories examining real skeletons from the medieval period.

The workshop focused on the analysis of human bones, showing how we can construct the human profiles of people who lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

Staff in the department showed students how to determine such things as whether the skeleton was male or female and how tall the person was in life by examining the femur and tibia bones. They also got to observe the effects of injuries and illnesses on the human body.

Student Sophie Calder –Jones said ‘The trip was very useful for my Classics work. It was a unique opportunity handling real human bones and I learnt a lot.’

(posted 20 March 2014)

Mock Interview Day

At the beginning of March the careers department organised a mock interview day for U6 students in Miss Case’s tutor group who are looking for full time employment next year.
This was an opportunity for students to face the rigours of a real job interview conducted by representatives from a range of local and national employers
Students had to choose a post from a field of three and then fill out an application. They then had to deliver a presentation selling themselves and their skills and finally, face an interview from a panel of employers. They were also filmed throughout the process so they could watch their interview and analyse their performance.

The employers Involved were: The Marriot Hotel, The Army and RAF, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Met, Bradford University, Office Angels, Yorkshire Bank and Leeds City College.
This experience gave the students a chance to develop some key skills required for gaining employment such as how to prepare, how to dress for the occasion and how to adopt an appropriately professional approach.
The event was a great success with one student Cavan Loftus being head hunted by Yorkshire Bank. All the employers are keen to get involved with this event next year and are also planning to attend the careers fair held in college on March 26th. Leeds City Council are going to come back and talk to students about School Leaver Programmes and Yorkshire Bank want to get involved in Enterprise events and have invited students to visit and look around their offices.

Employers described the event as ‘really enjoyable and extremely worthwhile’ and were impressed with our, ‘very professional and well organised students’. They were also impressed by the support from Notre Dame with helping student develop their employability skills. One commented “I felt this was really valuable and beneficial experience for students”.

Anna Geldart, Notre Dame’s Careers officer said “The event has been organised to help students prepare better for the world of work. Competition is fierce for employment and apprenticeships and for some students this is the first time they have had to complete a job application and have a panel interview. All employers involved were extremely impressed by the professionalism of the students involved and high standard of the answers given. Well done to all the students involved and a huge thank you to all the employers for giving up their time to support Notre Dame. We are already looking forward to next year’s event!”

(posted 18 March 2014)

The only way is Ethics

Over the past few weeks the Philosophy, Ethics and Religious Studies Department has been fortunate in attracting a number of interesting speakers to give talks to students who are interested in ethical issues.

In December a serving member of the British army gave a talk about the ethics of warfare. His recent experiences on the ground in different theatres of war, combined with a review of how ethics are addressed via rules of engagement, were explored.

In January Monsignor Philip Holroyd, once Vice Rector of the English College in Rome gave a talk on conscience – what is it and how does it work. His presentation explored the different religious and secular views of conscience.

In February Angela Hobbs, Professor of Public Understanding of Philosophy from Sheffield University and a well known media commentator, gave a talk at the end of the College day to students and staff on the topic of Ethics and Money. Professor Hobbs’ main thesis was that philosophers have a role in assessing the place of money in our society, especially in the light of the banking crisis of 2008. Professor Hobbs believes we have to recognise that desires expressed in monetary terms are not always necessary for our happiness. Money, she said was a means to something else not an end in itself. At the end of the talk Professor Hobbs took a number of challenging questions about the role of money in our society, such as the profit motive, the relative wealth of the Western countries and the gap between rich and poor.

All these talks were well attended and received by students who impressed all the speakers with their commitment and interest.
Notre Dame continues to provide a wide and varied programme of speaker for its students.

(posted 7 March 2014)

Close shave for U6 Student

Last Friday U6 student Harriet Dakin took the incredibly brave decision to have her entire head shaved in full view of the student body in order to raise money for the Sue Ryder Trust.
The lower common room at break was thronged with students and staff cheering her on and making donations. When she had recovered from the shock Harriet said
‘I decided to shave my head because I actually volunteer at the Sue Ryder charity shop in Headingley and I’ve seen first-hand how much work they do. So far I’ve managed to raise an amazing £540 of which £160 came from staff and students in college, and people are still donating. It was amazing and the support I got from college was incredible’.
The Sue Ryder Foundation (later changed to Sue Ryder) was established in 1953. The charity provides nursing care for the elderly and disabled and operates more than 80 homes worldwide. It has about 500 high street charity shops and more than 8,000 volunteers. There is a Sue Ryder charity shop as far as the Ascension Islands.
The Foundation’s work also includes providing accommodation in Lourdes for handicapped pilgrims and their Carers.
Congratulations Harriet for bravery above and beyond, and just for the record we think the new hair style is pretty cool!

(posted 13 February 2014)

Westminster comes to Notre Dame

Notre Dame’s Politics Society hit the ground running last month with three high profile political speakers in as many weeks.
The first guest was Mr Alec Shelbrooke, the Conservative MP for Elmet and Rothwell. He fielded tricky questions about Britain’s relationship with the European Union and the government’s controversial welfare reforms.

Alec Shelbrooke visits Notre Dame

He was followed by was Mr Stuart Andrew, the Conservative MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough. Student David Aldwinkle asked Mr Andrew why he had left the Conservatives for Labour in the late 1990s, only to rejoin the Tories again a few years later. Mr Andrew said that it was his response, as a gay man, to the more illiberal stances of the Conservatives at that time – this was described by Mr Warnes, teacher of Government and Politics, as “The most fascinating answer” he had ever heard from a visiting speaker at Notre Dame.

Stuart Andrew after his talk with Notre Dame students

The third visitor to the department was Mr George Galloway, the MP for Bradford West. Speaking on the eve of his Respect Party’s tenth birthday celebrations, Mr Galloway spoke about the inequities of British society. He took questions ranging from Iraq to Syria to his high profile expulsion from the Labour Party and stayed behind to greet individual students afterwards. Mr Galloway was even kind enough to pose for a ‘selfie’ with one student.

George Galloway speaking at Notre Dame

Mr Allan Clifford, Notre Dame’s Head of Government and Politics, described the January visits as a “colourful contrast in political style and substance”. He added that more sessions are in the pipeline, culminating in a European Elections Question Time event in May chaired by Mr Warnes that will bring the five leading party candidates together in the lecture theatre for a “good grilling by our brilliant students”.

(posted 7 February 2014)

Oxbridge success for Notre Dame.

The photograph shows (left to right): Kieran Bull, Andrew Truong, Katy Allen, Richard Compton, Michael Hobley, and Bethany Beck

A record number of students from Notre Dame have been offered places to study at Oxford and Cambridge Universities next September. The Oxbridge support team, led by teachers Mrs Graham and Dr Beaumont, have done an excellent job in helping these, and other students gain places at top universities.
Oxford colleges will see seven of our students taking up places to read: Kieran Bull Physics, Andrew Truong Maths, Richard Compton History, Michael Hobley, Engineering, Beth Beck Chemistry, Katy Allen Archeology and Anthropology and Henry Theakston Mathematics. Lisa Jinn will be going to Cambridge to study Natural Sciences.
College Principal, Terry Coen said “We are proud of the achievements of all of our students at whatever level, but it is particularly pleasing to see that we can compare so favourably at the highest level with many selective schools and colleges. These students are a credit to Notre Dame.”

(posted 6 February 2014)

Triumph in University competition for Notre Dame Biologists.

As most of you will be aware, the Tour De France comes to Yorkshire this year. This is going to be an incredibly important event for the area, and many businesses and institutions are using it as an opportunity to celebrate or initiate projects based on the race. One such is the University of Leeds STEM Challenge. This was a competition which asked students to research into the Biology of Endurance and then design an interactive model to demonstrate key effects on the body.
A team from Notre Dame consisting of Kreigh Williams, Luke Andrews, Rebecca Connor, Isobel Rycroft and Rania Benameur entered the national competition and won first prize!
Work on the project involved students from Biology, PE and DT working together to create a model that demonstrates how the heart and lungs are affected by endurance cycling. The Biologists did the research; the PE students demonstrated the effects and the DT department created the actual model.
As part of the prize, the university plan to develop the prototype into a real display to be found on campus and the Notre Dame team will have the opportunity to work with the university in developing the prototype into its final display. It’s hoped that when the model is developed it will be fully interactive with LED lights along the route. The model will be displayed in the University of Leeds to commemorate the Tour de France Grand Depart 2014.
As first place winners, the team also can choose between up to two iPad minis or a trip to the University in July to see the Grand Depart of the Tour De France.
The judges from STEM commented ‘Please thank your group for all the effort they put in. We received some brilliant entries but your group’s stood out as the best! It is impressive to have entered such a project outside of their own work.’

Competition winner Luke Andrews said ‘I’m really looking forward to it being built and to working with the design team at the university’
This is a tremendous achievement by our students and we congratulate everyone involved.

(posted 22 January 2014)

Advent @ Notre Dame

As always at Notre Dame, Advent was celebrated in style with a number of events and activities both religious and secular organised by Chaplain Andrew Sullivan.

On December the 8th we celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception [Notre Dame’s patronal feast day], with a cake sale. Students and staff brought in their best bakes and £102 was raised for the developing world charity ‘Mary’s Meals’.
On December 12th the annual Pensioners party took place with the usual good cheer. Over 70 guests enjoyed a delicious buffet and enjoyed a wealth of entertainment provided by students. Miscendi Morris were in attendance as was Notre Dame’s own Derren Brown Michael Hobly who astounded the audience with his magic tricks. The afternoon ended with a Bingo session and a visit from Santa.

On Dec 18th there was an advent service in the college chapel where staff joined in with carols sung by the college choir and took a moment to reflect on the term behind them.
The term finished with four advent services where traditional carols such as ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Silent Night’ were interspersed with some contemporary dance and a rendition of ‘Love has come’ a modern advent song. Performers were Sarah Moriarty, Joanna Ukpabio, Derya Bafa and Karolina Slawski. There was a creation of the nativity tableau and the address was given by our Principal Mr Coen.

The Advent Services were also the finale to our charity giving. As always students had been preparing presents and food parcels for; Catholic Care Food Parcels, The Woman’s Sector, St Nicholas’ Hampers, and St Anne’s Homeless Shelter, and these were brought up during the service.

Term ended on Dec 20th with many good wishes for a well-earned, happy and peaceful Christmas.

(posted 14 January 2014)

Success story

Last term saw another fantastic production from the Theatre Studies department. This year they gave us ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’, an adaptation by Tim Supple of Salman Rushdie’s children’s’ book.

The evocative and colourful set hung with exotic silks was designed by production manager Paul Graham and created by Sarah Moriarty.

It conjured up a magical world peopled with strange and exotic creatures including a comical water genii played by Fran Golding and Dominic Leonard’s wonderfully eccentric Hoopoe bird.

Emma Judson was a tremendously engaging Haroun, drawing the audience into the world of the play and taking them on a journey to clean up the sea of stories and rescue the not so fair princess Batcheat.

The ensemble cast of 25 students all worked together playing a variety of roles to create a fantastic evening.
As the play is about the power of stories there was a competition to identify a number of literary quotations projected on to the set throughout the evening. The lucky winner was our own Miss Stapylton who received a book voucher.

Lights and sound were designed and executed by Evie Merrit McDaid and Amandeep Dhari and presiding over cast and crew, stage manager Sheree Webster made sure every aspect of the show ran smoothly.
Friends, colleagues, college staff and family braved the December weather to be entertained and according to college principal Mr Coen, Haroun was ‘Funny entertaining and visually stunning.’

Not only was the show a huge success but the interval refreshments raised £85 or flood relief in the Phillipines.
Congratulations to everyone involved and we look forward to the department’s February production which will be ‘Antigone’’ by Sophocles directed by Maud Haddon and Mollie Stockhill

(posted 13 January 2014)