French Spelling Bee

French Spelling Bee

The final stages of the French Spelling Bee were held this term. For Stage 3 there were four girls competing: Karishma, Salma, Jasmin and Amelia. In preparation, these girls had been learning the meaning and spelling (using the French alphabet and including accents) of 150 words. Their aim was to say and spell, in French, as many words in one minute as they could from the random selection of words said by their teacher in English. It proved to be an exciting contest, as there was a tie between two girls, and so they were each given another minute. Eventually, our two winners emerged as Salma and Jasmin, who went on to  learn a further 50 words in preparation for the Grand Stage 4 Final just last week where Salma was crowned the winner! She spelled 11 words in one minute, which was very impressive! Jasmin was a close runner-up, spelling 8 words in one minute. They deserve huge congratulations for learning the meaning and spelling of 200 French words in preparation for this final. Next year the Languages Department hopes to extend the Spelling Bee into Year 8 Spanish and German!

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Paris Trip

Paris Trip 2015

A fantastic trip to Paris took place from 18 – 22 April 2015! A group of 14 girls from Y10/11/12, accompanied by Mrs Cannon & Miss Betteridge, travelled to the French capital by Eurostar from St Pancras, arriving mid afternoon at the Gare du Nord in Paris to most welcome warm sunshine and blue skies. This amazing weather lasted for the duration of the trip, and helped to make it a truly enjoyable experience.

We stayed at the FIAP Jean Monnet, which is a bright, modern international youth centre, similar to a university hall of residence, located in the 14th arrondissement and only 5 minutes walk from the nearest metro station. By the end of the trip, the girls were all experts in using the Paris metro system; we realised we had made almost 20 journeys in total, and never managed to leave anyone behind, on either a train or platform! Each day, the girls bought their lunch in a venue of their choice, using their French linguistic skills.

As regards the sights of Paris, we visited or saw practically everything: the Eiffel Tower (we went up to the second stage), Notre Dame & the Quartier Latin, Sacre Coeur & the Montmartre area, the Arc de Triomphe, Champs-Elysees and the most unusual Centre Pompidou. We walked through the Tuileries up to the Louvre, where we managed to see the Mona Lisa, (despite the crowds) and we visited the Musée d’Orsay to admire the Impressionist paintings. We also travelled by RER to Versailles, where we saw the Hall of Mirrors and the Royal Chambers in the Chateau as well as spent time in the beautiful gardens. One evening, we took a boat trip on the River Seine and saw the Eiffel Tower lit up and sparkling, which was a most memorable sight. We also crossed the Pont de l’Archevêché, which is laden down with padlocks from couples as an expression of their love.

Shopping was, of course, an important part of the trip, with a visit to the enormous Galeries Lafayette which is an enormous department store, the Lindt chocolate shop (which sells every flavour of chocolate you can imagine!), Sephora and many others. Our final visit was to the Musée Fragonard in the Place de l’Opéra. This is a perfume museum, where our French guide taught us about the history and art of making perfume, and we tested our sense of smell through various fragrances.

Mrs Cannon, Head of Languages

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Debating Matters!

Debating Matters!

Our congratulations go to the Sixth Form Debating Team on their success at the South Regional Final of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition 2015 on Friday 1 May. The St Mary’s team fought their way successfully through two very tough debates to reach the final of this round, debating against The Godolphin School on the timely motion ‘Voting should be made compulsory In the UK’.

In the competition overall, the six team members also debated the validity of libraries, membership of the EU, censorship of artistic expression and the liberalisation of the UK drugs policy. The judges included journalist Kunal Dutta of The Independent and Channel 4 News, Rebecca Newton, Chief Community & Safety Officer of Mind Candy and Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, Minister of Religion, Maidenhead Synagogue. Their praise for St Mary’s, who came from a pool of over 300 schools to reach the top 24 in the country, included their thorough research and understanding of the topics, confident presentation of their ideas and very good response to tough questioning from the judges.

Not only did our team perform outstandingly in their own debates, but they also contributed searching questions from the floor, stretching the other teams to the max. They also won the prize for making the best video on their experience of entering the competition, ‘My DM Journey’, which you can view on YouTube. Their prizes included books, cinema tickets, ice skating passes and, for the school, a year’s subscription to Hodder Education’s ‘Dynamic Learning’ online resource. We are so proud of the six students, Cheryce from Year 13 and Emma, Alicia, Heba, Maggie and Chloe from Year 12. Their performance in this national competition was outstanding, not forgetting that they coped with weeks of preparation and practice so close to their public examinations. Their response: “We’re already looking forward to taking part next year!”

Our thanks go to Mrs Hillier for preparing the girls so well and to all the staff who contributed and supported the students in their preparation for this event.

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Copyright © 2015 St Mary’s School | Website by Barley House Group