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Candle Conference Sheds Light on Religious Studies Topics

A level Religious Studies students debated matters of life and death during a day of university-style lectures on Wednesday 19 September.

The RS Department invited Professor Peter Vardy of Candle Conferences to deliver a series of lively, engaging and challenging presentations on topics including Who Was Jesus? The Life and Thought of Saint Augustine of Hippo and – aptly in final place on the schedule – Is There Life after Death?
After a good deal of respectful deliberation, arguing for different philosophical and theological positions, the students voted that life after death did exist.

Professor Vardy is a celebrated author and was previously the vice principal of Heythrop College, University of London. He praised the students for their levels of concentration and some excellent contributions.

Religious Studies teachers Mrs Herring and Mrs Coyle said: ‘This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience a published philosopher and university lecturer skilfully weave together previous learning with new and advanced insights. This will definitely have enhanced their A level studies.’

Candle Conference Sheds Light on Religious Studies Topics

A level Religious Studies students debated matters of life and death during a day of university-style lectures on Wednesday 19 September.

The RS Department invited Professor Peter Vardy of Candle Conferences to deliver a series of lively, engaging and challenging presentations on topics including Who Was Jesus? The Life and Thought of Saint Augustine of Hippo and – aptly in final place on the schedule – Is There Life after Death?
After a good deal of respectful deliberation, arguing for different philosophical and theological positions, the students voted that life after death did exist.

Professor Vardy is a celebrated author and was previously the vice principal of Heythrop College, University of London. He praised the students for their levels of concentration and some excellent contributions.

Religious Studies teachers Mrs Herring and Mrs Coyle said: ‘This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to experience a published philosopher and university lecturer skilfully weave together previous learning with new and advanced insights. This will definitely have enhanced their A level studies.’

(posted 21 September 2018)

Chemistry Students Demonstrate the Elements of Success

The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge is a national competition run annually for lower sixth students studying A level Chemistry. It’s set by the Chemistry Department of Cambridge University and aims to stretch and challenge students’ knowledge of the A level syllabus (and beyond!) by asking questions that encourage them to think the way they’d have to at university. In June 2018, 8000 students from 540 schools in the UK took the 90-minute paper. We had a bumper crop of 33 students who participated.

Any student who attained a certain mark in the paper achieved an award. The copper award was given for students achieving 14-22 marks, silver for 23-30, and gold for 31-49. This year, the paper was incredibly challenging. In spite of that, one of our students – Faris Abulula – achieved the highest mark ever awarded to a Notre Dame student in all the years we’ve taken part! He received a gold award for his efforts. In addition, four fantastic students achieved a silver award and five copper – all their names can be found below.

Head of Chemistry Ms Rachel Hodgetts said: ‘This was an amazing number of awards considering the difficulty of the paper. Our students demonstrated resilience and a have a go attitude which will stand them in good stead both for their A level studies and their future careers. They are a credit to the Chemistry Department.’

Congratulations to all the students who took part, and thanks to Dr Sykes for organising their entry to the Challenge.

The photo above shows all the students who took part in the challenge. Pictured below is Faris Abulula receiving his certificate from College Principal Justine Barlow.

Name Award High School
Faris Abulula Gold Carr Manor Community School
Feras Abulula Silver Carr Manor Community School
Justin Augustine Silver Overseas
Alex Kowalczyk Silver Bradford Girls’ Grammar School
Kyle Hussain Silver Ralph Thoresby School
Joy Bromley Copper Carr Manor Community School
Kornelija Devialtovskyte Copper Swallow Hill Community College
Rachel Forrester Copper Royds School
Scarlet Hannan-Webber Copper Prince Henry’s Grammar School Specialist Language College
Madeline Rose Copper Cardinal Heenan High School

(posted 21 September 2018)

Paid Placement with PwC Secured by Aspiring Student

Upper sixth student Abigail Lawton won a coveted place on a paid work experience placement with Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) this summer. PwC is a multinational professional services company working in areas such as tax and auditing. After Abigail’s placement with them ended, the company contacted her to pass on their congratulations and positive feedback.

Abigail is studying A level Accounting, Business, and Economics, and hopes to become an accountant after completing her qualifications at Notre Dame. She is currently part of an employment tutor group: an option for all upper sixth students whose post-18 focus is on employment, school leaver programmes or apprenticeships. These tutor groups are increasing in popularity, particularly with degree level apprenticeships becoming more common in a variety of sectors and offering students a wage while paying for their higher education studies. This means students can complete an undergraduate degree – or possibly even a master’s – without debt. PwC is one of the companies offering degree level apprenticeships, details of which can be found here.

Abigail had the following to say about PwC’s Business Insight Week:
‘The application process was quite difficult so I was ecstatic when I received an email informing me that I had passed and secured a place. As PwC is such a big accounting firm I was apprehensive before I started as I wasn’t sure how everyone would be and in my head I imagined it to be like many other corporate businesses – everyone in suits and very serious. However, it was nothing like I expected it to be. Everyone there was so kind and welcoming, even the partners of the business would be sat with us just chatting casually.
This work experience gave me the opportunity to see what all the different departments of a large accounting firm are like and has provided me with invaluable experience which I’m sure will be extremely beneficial for me in the future. It has helped me to decide what career I would like to pursue and I’m fortunate enough to have been asked to go for an interview for an apprenticeship in the Assurance Department, to start in September 2019. For anyone wanting to pursue a career in business/finance or if you are just wanting to gain experience in different sectors I would definitely recommend the PwC Insight Week.’

This is what staff from PwC had to say about our excellent student:
‘Firstly, I wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate you on securing a place and taking part in PwC’s 2018 Business Insight Week this summer! The recruitment process can be challenging, and out of 1800 applicants you did really well and secured one of the 320 paid work experience places on the programme across the country.
We have received positive feedback from PwC colleagues who met you during the week, who were impressed with how you performed. We are really proud of you.’

Here at Notre Dame, we are also very proud of Abigail and will be doing all we can to support her career aspirations.

If any current lower sixth students are interested in PwC’s next Business Insight Week, applications open soon and more information can be found here.

(posted 21 September 2018)

Fair-ly Brilliant Enrichment Opportunities for Students

This year’s annual Notre Dame Enrichment Fair took place on Wednesday 12 September in our Sports Hall. It was our biggest event yet, with stands promoting 25 different enrichment activities, and ambassadors from local universities, church groups, and charitable organisations in attendance.

Students were able to pick from a plethora of cultural delights, signing up to learn Greek, Korean or German, and learning about planned visits to Italy, Berlin, China, Lourdes – and even Peru – during Enrichment Week in July 2019.

For those with an interest in sport and outdoor activities, options included netball, basketball, volleyball, and a mountaineering trip. Students keen on performance could join dance and drama groups. For the more politically minded, the Model United Nations or Social Justice Group could be chosen.

Notre Dame’s Lay Chaplain Mr Andrew Sullivan was on hand to promote an upcoming event which the Social Justice Group have organised: a one-night outdoor ‘sleepover’ on Notre Dame’s premises to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness in our society, particularly involving young people. Students who didn’t express an interest in this at the fair can still pick up a letter from Andrew.

One of the external organisations there on the day was Camps International, who took some of our students to Kenya in the summer of 2018, and hope to take more to Cambodia for a four-week project in the summer of 2020. This trip would involve excursions and wildlife conservation. More information about this opportunity will be circulated to students in the coming months.

Activities represented at other stands included Ukulele Club, knitting and crochet, chess, sign language, and work experience. With such a diverse range of clubs and trips available, our community really will be enriched!

(posted 17 September 2018)

Cold Head, Warm Heart: Double Donation Planned by Student

Upper sixth student Abbie Weaver is hoping to make valuable contributions to two charities when she shaves her head on Friday 5 October. Not only will Abbie be donating her hair to The Little Princess Trust (a charity that provides free, real hair wigs to children and young people who’ve lost their own through illness) but she will also be raising funds for St Gemma’s Hospice in memory of her grandmother, who was looked after there before – sadly – passing away in June 2018.

St Gemma’s Hospice cares for terminally ill people towards the end of their life. ‘They looked after my Grandma in a loving, caring environment and I want to give something back to them.’ Abbie said.
A former student of Corpus Christi Catholic College, she’s keen to raise as much as she can and has set up a Just Giving page here.

Abbie has received a lot of support from students and staff, and will be taking a friend with her on the day. ‘My mum’s still coming round to the idea of me shaving my head! My hair will grow back though and I’m lucky I can choose whether I lose it – many people with cancer don’t get that choice.’

Abbie is pictured above and has kindly agreed to share photos of herself after the event.

(posted 14 September 2018)

Mountainous Charity Challenge for Trekking Teacher

At the start of the autumn term, law teacher Ms Jayne Fry visited Vietnam, trekking from Sapa through the surrounding area to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Once she arrived in Vietnam, Ms Fry took the overnight train from Hanoi, travelling around 350 kilometres to the small mountain town of Sapa. The trek took place in the surrounding mountains, starting in Ta Van, a village bordered by striking terraced fields. The entire journey took four days and covered 52 kilometres, mainly following picturesque but challenging bamboo trails up the mountainside.

The most difficult aspect of the trek was the incredible heat and humidity but Ms Fry was motivated by the wish to raise as much money as possible and also by the incredible support of the local women who guided the team. So far, Ms Fry has raised £700.

Notre Dame’s Principal, Mrs Justine Barlow, was keen to encourage Ms Fry’s charitable adventure as it fits so completely with our college ethos, which is inspired by the Christian tradition. Our staff and students are always encouraged to carry the values at the centre of our teaching out into the wider community and beyond.

Ms Fry is pictured above, on the right wearing a pink cap. Pictured below are the terraced fields of Ta Van.

(posted 14 September 2018)

Students Make History as Part of 80th Lourdes Pilgrimage

This summer, Notre Dame’s charitable ethos reached as far as France, when thirteen students and two staff took part in the 80th Leeds Diocese pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Once they’d arrived in this small market town, our students supported elderly, infirm, and disabled pilgrims, working in shifts alongside a group of nurses and carers known as the Leeds Hospitality Team. The duties of students included accompanying pilgrims to services, assisting them during meals, playing board games with them, and taking them to see the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Grotto of Massabielle. Students also attended celebrations for the 80th Leeds Diocese pilgrimage, a historic anniversary that we are extremely proud to have been part of.

Our students travel to Lourdes every summer, a small number of the five million Catholics who visit each year. They make up a valued part of the Leeds Youth Group, instantly recognisable in their yellow T-shirts, which have earnt them the nickname ‘little canaries’ from locals. For our students, the trip to Lourdes provides a chance to develop their spirituality and reflect on the Catholic values of Faith, Hope, and Love. Miss Ashburn, a Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (PTE) tutor who accompanied our students, said: ‘I am very proud of how hard they worked throughout their week in Lourdes, and of the support they gave to pilgrims.’

If you’d like to find out more about this year’s pilgrimage, it was featured on Inside Out on Monday 3 September. You can view this programme here and try to spot our students.

(posted 6 September 2018)

Evacuee student visits Notre Dame after 74 years

On the 9th August, Notre Dame welcomed former student Mary Corr to the College after 74 years. Mary, who was evacuated to Leeds from London in January 1944 and enrolled for a term, was the niece of Sister Frances, one of the founding Sisters of Notre Dame.

Mary visited the College with her nieces, Ruth and Suzanne (pictured) whose mothers Kathleen & Monica also attended Notre Dame in the 1920s-30s.


Mary, a retired headteacher, said ‘Notre Dame was a memorable place that has stayed with me all my life- I remember the long Sunday walks and I was told the cherubs in the Chapel were based on my older sister’

Mary has kindly donated original College tuition invoices that were sent out to Mary’s parents by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1929 and 1930, which will now be displayed in College.

Thank you to Mary, Suzanne and Ruth for visiting Notre Dame and we hope it was a memorable visit.

(posted 4 September 2018)

Historical Tour of Berlin Brings A level to Life

Thanks to student Megan Hickes for this post.

It was midnight on 29 June at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College when the unforgettable Berlin trip began for lower sixth students. The accompanying staff had planned the trip in detail, and students had high expectations for this long-awaited excursion, which was finally becoming a reality.
They were certainly not disappointed.

Travelling around Berlin on the U-Bahn allowed students to develop an insight into the city’s lifestyle. A visit to the dome of the Reichstag building was followed by a tour of the Stasi Prison, revealing the activities of the East German secret police during the period of the division of Germany.

Other experiences included the harrowing starkness of Sachsenhausen concentration camp, museum visits, and a tour of Berlin’s nuclear bomb shelter. Places such as this, resonant with intimations of past human tragedy, brought the students very close to understanding the unimaginable fear and desperation inflicted by the menacing presence of the Berlin Wall.

One student commented that ‘the main reason the Berlin trip was great was because it brought the A level History course to life… it made me appreciate the significance of historical landmarks’. Seeing the physical remnants of a time period studied in class has made the words of an A-level textbook seem much more tangible. Without a doubt, the trip was one that the 2018 lower sixth students of Notre Dame will never forget.

 

(posted 30 August 2018)

Notre in the News

Last week Notre Dame’s Results Day has been the talk of the town with a news feature on Look North, a publication in the Yorkshire Post and over 100 likes across our Twitter.

Last Thursday, Look North documented our students’ success as they opened their envelopes to reveal fantastic results including Amy Kitchingman who gained four A*s and a place at University of Cambridge studying English. Jessica Tibbs, who restarted College after a close family bereavement and lives independently, was the main focus after gaining three As and a place at the University of Leeds to study Law.

Notre Dame was also featured in Saturday’s edition of the Yorkshire Post, which advertised our fantastic results and students’ success whilst encouraging prospective students to attend our Open Day on Saturday 13th October.

Our Twitter has also received a huge amount of attention with over 120 likes and 25 retweets with Diane Nettey’s results day tweet gaining 66 likes and 17 retweets. Diane gained three Bs and an A despite being diagnosed with aplastic anaemia causing her to take exams at home. Diane is now looking forward to studying medicine with a foundation year at the University of Southampton.

Congratulations to all our students and we look forward to meeting our new students in the coming weeks.

(posted 21 August 2018)