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GRYPHON SPRING/SUMMER 19

Shared Education Success

Bangor Academy, Bangor Grammar and St Columbanus’ schools, whilst working within the Shared Education Signature Project, have achieved The UNICEF Rights Respecting School Silver Award.

In a Rights Respecting School, young people and the school community learn about children’s rights and put them into practice every day. The Award is not just about what children do but also, importantly, what adults do. The award is based on principals of equality, dignity, respect, non-discrimination and participation. The award recognises the achievement of putting the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child at the heart of the school’s practice. This is done to improve child wellbeing and help all children to realise their full potential.

A Rights Respecting School is a community where children’s rights are learnt, taught, practised and respected, protected and promoted. Adults and children work towards this goal together. Schools involved in the award have reported a positive impact on behaviour, relationships and wellbeing, leading to better learning, improved academic standards and a reduction in bullying.

The three schools have been working closely together through the Shared Education Signature Project to achieve the silver UNICEF Rights Respecting School award. This work has included various projects over the last two years, such as shared lessons, and an embedding of the United Nations Rights of the Child in school policies.

Shared Education is defined as schools from different sectors working in partnership to provide opportunities for pupils, staff and the community to engage in collaborative and meaningful learning experiences. This was achieved both through lessons in the classroom and team building events.

Hospice Fundraiser

After months of diligent preparation, the joint Bangor Grammar School and Glenlola Collegiate NI Children’s Hospice fundraiser took place on Thursday night at Bangor Elim Church. Organised by the Year 14 of both schools, it promised to be a night of celebration and fun, all in memory of their friends Josh Martin and Megan Ogle who both sadly passed away after battling with cancer.

The event was well attended; as hundreds of friends, loved ones and many more came to show their support. The event began poignantly with an ensemble from both schools singing ‘Lean on Me’, a clear display of the friendships that hold the year groups together. Indeed, music was a central theme of the evening, with Lauren Clarke of Glenlola following up the joint choir with a solo performance of song, beautifully commanding the auditorium. Then came the ‘Rhythm Rats’, an ensemble of Bangor Grammar pupils and one of their teachers, combining musical skill with their instruments and a broadway-like stage presence from their vocalist Euan Watson.

It was then the turn of the Glenlola Staff choir, who gave the Grammar boys a close run for best choir of the night. This was followed up with another Bangor Grammar School act, with ‘The Drama Boys’ changing the tone after a series of musical performances. The boys produced a Laurel and Hardy-esque slapstick performance, a comical display of calamities which caused much laughter amongst the audience. The first half of the show concluded with a special appearance from the renowned local mentalist and BGS old boy, Joel Mawhinney. He certainly succeeded in baffling the audience, with tricks involving both students and teachers alike. His final reveal left the crowd speechless, as their gasps heralded the beginning of the interval.

After a short break, the show returned with a bang, with an exciting dance off between the two schools. Glenlola won the audience vote, despite earnest protests from the Grammar boys. Tommy Bell followed this up with a comical individual performance of musical theatre, before the Glenlola girls returned to the stage as an ensemble. They moved the audience with an emotional performance of ‘You Will Be Found’, hardly leaving a dry eye in the building. The acts finished with an enthusiastic and upbeat Bangor Grammar teachers’ band, ‘Frank’s Weather Watchers’, who brought the audience to life with their performance of ‘I Feel Good’. Indeed, after a presentation from a Children’s Hospice representative and an auction, all of the acts of the night returned to the stage for a final feelgood rendition of ‘I Feel Good’, at which the whole audience rose to their feet to dance, the acts mixing with them on the floor. The night was a huge success raising nearly £13,500 for the NI Children’s Hospice.

The Year 14s would like to thank all the local businesses who sponsored and supported the evening as well as everyone who donated and attended the show. It was an incredible night and we could not have done it without you.

Charity Committee

So far this school year, the Charity Committee have organised and been involved with 10 fundraising events, raising a tremendous £26,733 as of April. We started the year on a high, raising £1,709.50 for Children in Need with Upper Sixth enjoying a day in fancy dress and the whole school taking part in a penalty shootout competition at lunchtime, with teacher’s in the net, as well as senior pupils getting drenched in the sponge throwing event.

Shortly after, the entire school was involved in a non-uniform day to raise just short of a £1000 for Help for Hollie. For everyone on the Charity Committee, and most of the school, the highlight of the year was the joint BGS and Glenlola NI Children’s Hospice Fundraiser- a variety show held at the Bangor Elim Complex, showcasing the talents of both pupils and teachers from each of the schools, held in memory of BGS’s Joshua Martin and Glenlola’s Megan Ogle. The BGS teacher band, Frank’s Weather Watchers, stole the show along with our very own Joel Mawhinney, and the night raised a phenomenal grand total of £13,642 from ticket sales, donations and the auction held on the night.

To close out the spring term the entire school took part in our annual sponsored walk with money raised in each year group going to their chosen charity, with a total of £7,610 being raised. This year to date we have supported over 20 Charities and have also run a Toy Drop at Christmas for St Vincent de Paul and a Bag Drop for Action Cancer in April.

Abaana New Life Choir

The Abaana New Life Choir were in school performing on 5th March as part of their History Maker tour. Mr O’Reilly and the BGS Jazz band got us off to a fantastic start playing three numbers before the choir took to the stage. Their smiles, energy and enthusiasm was incredible and very infectious and it wasn’t long before they had the audience clapping along during the songs. The choir performances were interspersed with videos showing the difference that Abaana and child sponsorship has made to so many children’s lives, including Isaac, one of the choir members. Isaac ran away from home and lived on the streets selling plastic bottles until he got the chance, through child sponsorship, to move into the Abaana New Life Homes. He is now happy, healthy and attending school.

It was wonderful to have the choir here and even more special as two of the choir members are from Coo Rom Bangor Grammar Nursery and Primary School, the school that we fundraised for and built outside Gulu in Northern Uganda and which the Uganda 2015 and 2018 teams helped build.

mTech Academy Trip

Ten pupils from Year 10 were given the opportunity to see the future of technology in Barcelona in February 2019. The trip with mTech Academy was a wild experience that I would have regretted missing and am glad I went on. While the first day was almost 24 hours of travel the next two days more than made up for it. Soon after we arrived we went to see Camp Nou, the home stadium of FC Barcelona.

The second day was almost entirely spent at YoMo, the youth section of MWC (Mobile World Congress), which did provide entertainment and insight into industries like chips building, it gave an idea of what we might see at MWC.

The third day was spent at MWC, and that was easily the highlight of the trip. So much to do, so much to see, so many companies ranging from smaller businesses up to huge companies like Huawei and Microsoft. Even after a full day there we had only barely seen two of the ten halls. Whilst the trip home was exhausting, we were all sad to be leaving. It was a fantastic experience and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Reece Simmonite, Y10

LLW Event

On Tuesday 26th March, seventy Year 10 students from Bangor Grammar, St Columbanus and Bangor Academy met for their second leg of the ‘Shared Education: Learning for Life and Work’ project.

This second session involved mixed groups of the students participating in a range of outdoor activities at Colin Glen Forest Park. Boys and girls from all three schools were dangling at heights on the SkyTrek, testing their mettle as they leapt from the ‘Leap of Faith’ and putting their brains together to solve a series of team challenges.

The day allowed them to build on some of the key concepts raised at the initial Shared Education meet, such as resilience, diversity, inclusion and empathy, and recognising the importance of these in our daily lives. The next session which will recap on the learning from the day and how to transfer this learning will be held at Bangor Academy in May.

Amanda Crossthwaite, Teacher in Charge

COZ Club

The Chill Out Zone is a lunch time club in the learning support room where pupils can chat, draw, play games like chess or just take time out to relax. It is open to pupils with special educational needs, those of us that struggle with social interactions or have other disabilities but we also welcome pupils who respect the members of the club.

The club’s origins go back to October 2012 when four pupils started the first group to meet in the old Bangor Grammar school building, including us. When the new school opened in January we took up residence in the learning support room which brought in new members and the club began to take shape. The club continued to grow in numbers and in strength as we became friends and we became the close-knit group we are today.

Highlights of the club include the visit from Lady Sylvia Hermon, and the various party events we have held. The club are very proud of our members and how we help each other cope with the stresses and strains of school life. We particularly enjoyed the “Bon Voyage” Pizza Party organised by the club members for our leaving party this year.

Now that we are leaving we hope that the membership continue to support each other, to grow in numbers and in strength and that it continues to be a warm and welcoming place for all pupils that need it. It has been a pleasure to be a part of it and to watch it change and improve over the years. It will always remain a special part of our time in Bangor Grammar.

David and Christopher Howard, Y14

Sponsored Walk

The school’s annual sponsored walk took place on Monday 18th March 2019. All year groups took part in the event. Nearly 900 boys and staff met at Bangor First Presbyterian Church and made their way down to the Marina and then onwards to Crawfordsburn Country Park via the coastal route. We were once again lucky with the weather and managed to avoid the rain showers.

The boy’s efforts raised over £7,500 for charity. The money will be split between the charities of Epilepsy Action NI & Cancer Research, Assisi Animal Sanctuary & Autism NI, Coo-Rom Tekoo Nursery Building Project, RNLI, Alzheimer’s Society & NI Association for Mental Health, MacMillan Cancer and The Children’s Cancer unit (RVH), CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), Clifton Special School.

Thank you once again for your support.

Author Visit

On Tuesday 9th April Bangor Grammar School were delighted to have author Dave Rudden in to give a talk to the year 9s about his life, his novels, and what it’s like to be an author.

Rudden studied teaching in St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra and taught for a year his local school in Cavan before packing up to go to Egypt for a year. When he returned he got involved in Dublin’s literary scene and began indulging his penchant for writing fan fiction. He jokes how the idea for his first novel only came about after his computer crashed and he lost 80,000 words of Warhammer fan fiction.

His debut novel, ‘Knights of the Borrowed Dark’ is a supernatural-themed teen fiction which is popular with fans of the Eoin Colfer and Harry Potter book series. More recently, the BBC enlisted him to compose “12 Angels Weeping”, a Dr Who themed compilation of short stories featuring twelve of the infamous villains.

Dave regaled the year 9s with humorous (and frequently dramatic) tales from his childhood which influenced his writing. He spoke to them about how to develop a narrative, posing stimulus questions and encouraging the boys to develop them. Finally, he offered some sage advice to those considering a career in writing. Bangor Grammar School would like to sincerely thank Mr Rudden on his vivacious and engaging author visit.

Spanish Debating Competition

The team feels as though our experience in the Spanish debate was an extremely positive one. Having never debated before, even in English, we were all sceptical of our ability to debate in a foreign language. However, we were better than we thought. Debating against the motion ‘The compromises of work are increasingly breaking family unity’, we came away victorious against Wallace High School as well as one of our members, Louis Gault-Reid being awarded best speaker.

Although we did not win the overall competition, we relished the opportunity to represent the school and feel that we were very successful, especially since our school had never won anything at this event before. It was a great experience and we would happily do it all over again.

Chamber Choir

The final performance of the year for Chamber choir was at Bangor International Choral Festival.

All the hard work paid off when we were awarded first prize in the Grammar School class, narrowly defeating Sullivan Upper. We then went on to compete for the George Best Belfast City Airport trophy for overall best post primary choir, which we were also delighted to win.

During the awards ceremony on the Saturday evening at the close of the 4 day long festival, it was announced that our performance of 'Over the Rainbow' was the best overall performance of the entire festival. We were thrilled to be awarded with the Marine Court Shield, which is now proudly on display in the trophy cabinets in the atrium. Thank you to all 25 boys who have made Chamber Choir fun, challenging and rewarding for yet another year.

Spring Concert

Salamanca Trip

A group of year 10 and 11 boys along with Mrs Henry and Mr Gilmore spent five glorious days in beautiful Salamanca at the start of June. On arrival we were met by our host families which was certainly a shock to the system as it was immediate Spanish with no reprieve. Despite the initial trepidation, we quickly became accustomed to our new family and eventually got to grips with what they were saying! That evening, we met up again as a group for a tour of the city.

Salamanca was even more impressive than I had thought, with its many historical buildings taking up most of the city centre. There was beauty in every part of the city from the uniform colour of the stone to the wide avenues lined with floral balconies. The next morning we began our Spanish lessons in the language school. I really wasn't looking forward to these but after a few hours I was pleasantly surprised by how much I understood and also by the friendly teachers. I also really enjoyed the pausa when we got to socialise with other pupils from other countries. That evening we went on a tapas tour around the city centre with Rebe from ISLA where got to try some of the local delicacies.

The next day was Spanish class again followed by a cooking lesson. I made guacamole for the first time and it was actually edible and muy rico! We also did a Salsa lesson in the same space which was actually really fun. That evening we took part in the photo rally competition in which the aim was to take the most original photo of the group to win a prize. We didn't win but it was a good way to see the city and explore parts we hadn't visited before. We also did the busca de tesoro which involved asking local various questions to discover the answer to the next clue. It was a great way to practise Spanish albeit a little nerve racking at the time! On the final night we all had dinner together and were lucky enough to catch a light show in the Plaza Mayor. There was something different to do every day and the exposure to Spanish has really benefited me this year. I can safely say that I will be back to Salamanca some day and I would encourage any junior boys to jump at the chance to go on the trip.

Eco Schools Taskmaster Challenge

This was an inter-house competition to clean up our school environment, both inside and outside.

In fourth place was Ward with 180 points.

In third place was Crosby with 224 points.

In second place was Dufferin with 225 points.

In First place was School with 307 points.

35 bags off rubbish was collected and all recycled. All classroom doors were cleaned and black marks removed from walls. Everyone was enthusiastic and fun was had by all.

Diane Richardson, Eco Schools Coordinator

House Reports

Crosby

Taking over from last year’s success as well as from the quality leadership of Matthew Rice and Zach McKee was definitely a hard task but we tried to maintain the high standards of Crosby house in attempt to defend the House trophy for the second year in a row.

Our first few weeks in charge were much more successful than anticipated as many junior school pupils, as well as senior school pupils, became more active and volunteered more regularly for house activities than that from previous years. Although finishing 3rd respectively in both The Junior and Senior House Quizzes, it was our first actual competition as a House for the 2018/19 school year and the results definitely didn’t reflect the enthusiasm shown by all involved.

Everyone’s favourite activity of Cross Country was up next; it was amazing to see the numbers of those who took part as well as all year groups finishing second or above. By the end of the first term Crosby and Dufferin were in joint 1st on 20 Points. This was the beginning of the title race as well as a competitive rivalry between the two power houses of the 2018/19 year.

The second term for the Red Army saw us pull away from the other Houses, the master debaters in Senior School succeeding against Ward house and consistent 2nd and 3rd places for the Junior and Senior school in Hockey and Badminton meant that we were in a good position to lift the House trophy. Our biggest successes of the 2nd term were a 1st place finish for the Senior School in Football as well as a win for the Year 8 rugby players. Although the good run of victories meant we were well ahead of two houses, Dufferin kept the pressure on. This rivalry made the House competitions more enjoyable and engaged more pupils who wanted to beat their mates in the rival Houses; as a result, more pupils volunteered, especially in Junior School, which was great to see, the whole atmosphere of our House Assembly changed and we noticed that more pupils were greeting us in the corridors signalling their pride for Crosby House- something which was absent over the past few years.

This year it was our goal to use Social media more as a House as a way to advertise events as well as allow the public to know the success within our House; we wanted to put our best performers on show for everyone to see and give examples for those to look up to. Social media also allowed us to maintain the rivalry between all the other Houses and meant we could poke fun at one another and this was of great benefit as the banter used in our tweets was relevant to both year groups and allowed them to engage in the jokes in school.

Overall this year in Crosby House has been amazing as there were more volunteers than in previous years, there has been more success in competitions as well as an overall enjoyment and a sense of pride that has returned to our House. It is our honour to pass the mantle onto the next Heads and Deputies and hope that they can carry on from where we left off and hopefully win the House Trophy for Crosby House again, something we thoroughly deserve for all the work we’ve put in as a House in general.

Cody Walker

Dufferin

Upon succeeding Zach and Daniel, myself and Darren wanted to address the grievances of last year’s 2nd place. The first inter house competition was whole school cross country where we experienced a variety of results. A strong performance from the year 8s securing an important 4 points, leads me to believe that the Dufferin of tomorrow is in good hands. Year 9s secured 2nd place, the years 10s 4th and the year 11s 3rd. A valuable 6 points in the fight against the 4 inferiors. Senior cross country was a performance of Olympic standard by the boys in gold with years 12,13 and 14 combining to establish Dufferin as the house with the best cardio vascular ability, as we achieved the top spot and precious 4 points. The annual house quiz followed with both junior and senior teams adopting a policy of consistency as both teams secured 2nd place, this meant that overall we secured the most points. Whoever the illusive first place did make mine and Mr Cunningham’s blood boil. This concluded the 1st term with Crosby and Dufferin again emerging as the dominant houses.

With glory, vengeance and house points on the line, the second term was showered with controversy. The first occasion was junior drama where one judges past house commitments saw the Shakespeare’s of Dufferin come in 4th place. The sporting events then ensued with both chess and badminton taking centre stage. Due to mismanagement of time the powerhouse that is the Dufferin house senior chess team was only able to achieve a 4th place in what could have been a historic victory. Junior house chess followed a similar trend with again players prioritising a lunchtime feast over chess success. Badminton. A sport of high reflexes and fine margins became Dufferins greatest performance. The junior team achieved god like status achieving first place and a 4 points that would be most significant in the fight against Crosby, as School and Ward where now in the wake of yellow and red. The senior seeing the heart and determination of their younger peers, put in the performance of a lifetime to again secure first place and 4 points. With Ronaldo, Messi and the great Jack Tyrrell all swearing allegiance to Dufferin our football team was a force to be reckoned with. However, like Liverpool in the champions league final we just could not get the job done and came home second best with Crosby in first. However, the loss of 1 point to our devilish rivals would again prove impactful in the long run. Rugby and hockey became the focal point towards the end of the 2nd term, and again the was no lack of controversy. To begin with, the junior house rugby teams all put in fine performances, year 8 despite powerful displays were saw 4th a joint year 10/11 team proved capable mustering a strong 2nd place and valuable 3 points. Crosby had managed to gain points as they put together strong performances in the junior school. However, when it came to senior house rugby the men bearing yellow were able to put establish Dufferin's alpha status over Crosby. Whilst not achieving first a 2nd place compared to Crosby’s 4th levelled out the points achieved from rugby, with some questionable referring preventing men in gold taking the win. House hockey again saw Dufferin give a consistent performance. With year 8 and 9 playing with flair and creativity only matched by Leonardo da Vinci 1st place was secured. This was treasured 8 points and again fills me with confidence for the future. Year 10 also put in a fine performance coming 2nd but again beating rivals Crosby securing 3 points. However, Crosby got a slight edge in senior house hockey achieving 2nd to Dufferin's 3rd. despite this setback, the junior years had done enough to secure the main wealth of points. Finally, I come to the events of house debating. The first heat saw Crosby edge out victorious over ward, with house head Cody walker employing ghost writers to aid with the writing of his debate. The second heat was School vs Dufferin. Despite starting on a high as I delivered a strong speech providing a mix of both arguments and humour what followed saw the occasion turn foul. Poor debates from both members of School house saw the debate dismissed and the favourites, Dufferin, out. This saw Crosby take and undeserved first place that rightfully belonged to the fellows in yellow.

Due to an array of strong performances across all events by both senior and junior Dufferinites we finished the 2nd term with a narrow 2-point lead of 55 to 53 over Crosby. But a lead it is. The torch now passes to fine replacements Patrick Dobie as head and Harry McDonough as deputy. I trust these men will finish what myself and Darren have started and again bring the house trophy back to its rightful owners. The spelling Bee, house tennis, sports day, attendance and academics are all to follow, but my time as leader has come to an end. Therefore, I wish those in yellow the best and I hope as a house we achieve greatness. Up the Duff.

Gareth Wells

School

The school year 2018/19 has been a very progressive year for School House. The aim for Charles and I was to get as much support from the junior ranks of the House as we could and get as many of them involved in all the house events. As a result of this we could see a rise in House spirit and a stronger rivalry form between the four houses.

Term 1 was a relaxed start to the year with only 3 events taking place. The first of these was House Cross Country and in this School achieved first place in year 11 and three third places in years 8 – 10. I went to watch each of these races and saw everyone put in so much effort with some very impressive times recorded. The next two events were the Senior and Junior House Quiz which proved to be quite humorous with some questions like ‘’ How long did Dr Smith spend in university to get his doctorate?’’. We came away with a grand victory in the Junior but unfortunately last place in the Senior.

Term 2 saw a constant barrage of house events starting with Junior Drama. I attended some of the rehearsal sessions and I was amazed not only by the enthusiasm and the team spirit from the younger lads but also with the effort but in by the Year 13s still buying into school life. All this hard work paid off during the night with star performances from all the members of the House which led to us coming away the victors. School came a respectable second place in the Senior Chess competition, through the helpful eye of Samuel Todd, who played a very tense game against Dufferin House, but showing his house spirit took the challenge head on and won the game. In Junior Hockey the Year 8s came in 2nd place and in the Senior Rugby School came in 1st place, demonstrating the wide range of abilities that School House has in its arsenal.

Unfortunately, not all the competitions were a success and we did come in last place in some but this did not dampen the House spirt and many of the members continued to soldier on through. But as the Head of House I have been able to take so much from this experience to help not only me to develop as a leader but most importantly to encourage the members of my House throughout the year. The knowledge I have gained from this will be passed on to my replacements when it’s sadly my time to depart but on a happier note I am confident in the abilities of the new Head of House Michael McCreary and his Deputy Ben Emerson, that they will be able to rally up even more support from the House and carry on the efforts that we put in.

I’d like to thank my Deputy Head of House, Charles MacKinnon. His support was vital to the house; without his help in planning the assemblies and events, they would not have gone as smoothly as they did.

Jacq Watton

Ward

The first House competition of the 2018/19 academic year was the House Quiz. This is one of the instances where we see which house has the most brains. The junior quiz was surrounded by controversy; School apparently introduced a rule which meant that the last round (video games) was worth double points which meant they won (a clear fix). More positively, unsurprisingly it was Ward who came out on top in the senior quiz.

The quiz was followed by Cross Country. This may be the most dreaded House competition of the year, but everyone who runs gets something beneficial from it, not least the support from the Heads of House. From a Ward perspective it was a mixed bag: we won the year 10 group but struggled in the other categories. We would have to claw back the lost ground in the next round of competitions.

Junior Drama was next on the cards. The Ward House performance was something to remember, most notably Nathaniel’s charismatic and confident performance which won him the title of Best Actor in Ward. Ward placed second in this competition which was well deserved, with School sneaking first place.

Probably the most controversial chain of events happened in the Senior Debating competition. Ward faced Crosby in the first heat, with Dufferin facing School in the other. Ward were unluckily robbed in this heat which meant Crosby would face Dufferin or School in the final (theoretically). However, some enlightening speeches from the other heat meant that School and Dufferin were disqualified, meaning that Crosby came first and Ward (deservingly) placing second, with Dufferin in third and School fourth: a great result in the end.

House Chess was a competition to remember. The senior team triumphed over School in the final, with Adam Rushe defeating the chess-giant Sammy Todd to clinch the title: a well-earned victory.

The Ward House guys performed excellently in the House Hockey competition. We won the year 10 and 11 categories, and placed well in the other junior school age groups. House rugby was also on at the same time as the hockey. It was a disappointing result from the senior section with the boys placing third, and from year 10 where Ward placed fourth. The year 8s salvaged us somewhat by placing second.

Disappointingly, House Football didn’t go as we’d planned from a Ward Perspective. John Ewing and LGR were unable to translate that scintillating form while wearing a BGS jersey into representing Ward, and as a consequence we placed fourth.

The House Badminton competition was a great event for Ward. We placed second in both the junior and senior events which was a great effort for all involved. This has set us up well and hopefully we can carry this momentum into the remaining competitions where lots of points are up for grabs.

Harry Ellesmere

Rugby

A very successful rugby season at BGS was rounded off with a few notable events. The first XV played in the final of the subsidiary shield against a very strong Sullivan team. They played some fantastic rugby and showed grit and determination throughout the match but unfortunately could not bring the silverware home and lost 29-12. The Ulster schools 7 a side competition was held at Campbell College the following week and the boys, although tired from the final participated with gusto and enthusiasm and managed to make the quarter finals of the senior cup. Finally, the year 8 rugby squad ended off their season with a mini tour to Enniskillen. They took in the sights of Fermanagh with a trip to the Marble Arch caves followed by matches against Enniskillen Royal Grammar School and Omagh Academy. We are now in the throes of preparing for the tour to South Africa and the boys as well as their coaches are very excited and are looking forward to the trip.

Hockey 2018-19

The 1st XI produced another silverware winning season, with their Burney Plate final success a fitting way to conclude the season.

The 2018/19 season began well with qualification for the Irish Schools hockey tournament secured by the start of October. The McCullough Cup campaign also began well with wins against Grosvenor, RBAI, and Regent. We lost to group toppers Friends, but a poor performance in a must win game against Methody cost us a semi-final spot.

The 1st XI qualified again for the Irish Schools which was played in Belfast just before the October Half Term. We produced some great hockey and pushed eventual finalists Banbridge all the way in our opening game, losing by the closest of margins. Then against a much favoured Wesley College, we conceded with the last hit of the game to deny us a well-earned point. 2 further good performances followed, but progress to the semi-final was no longer possible

Further wins against Cookstown, Campbell and notably McCullough and Burney Cup winners, Wallace High School, ended the term on a high.

January and early February delivered some inconsistent performances. This climaxed in a heavy defeat to an outstanding Wallace side in the first round of the Burney Cup. As the Plate competition began we started to regain our level of focus and confidence. Excellent performances against Cookstown and Friends saw BGS advance to the Plate Final against Royal and Prior, Raphoe. In a nervy performance we started poorly and were fortunate to go in at half time only 1-0 down. A fantastic 2nd half performance saw us draw level and dominate territory, but a winning goal couldn’t be found. After a scoreless period of extra time the match was decided on run ins. In a tense conclusion Bangor Grammar held their nerve to retain the Burney Plate.

The 2nds have had a fair season to date. They did not get out of their group in the Prior Shield but they have shown real signs of improvement as this young squad begins to develop. They have been drawn away to Friends in the Dowdall Cup.

In the Junior school the Under 15s remain the weakest of the squads but continue to surprise us with some pleasing improvements being made. They have a tough draw away to Wallace in the Richardson Cup.

The Under 14s are a competitive team and can go toe to toe with all of the big hockey schools out there. They have defeated Grosvenor already in the 1st round of the Cup but have been drawn away to Banbridge (who are arguably the best side in the province at this age group) in the next round.

Similarly, the 13s are a very keen and competitive squad and they are progressing well under Miss Morris’ tutelage. They have defeated Inst ‘B’ team and now face Inst ‘A’ in the next round of the Bannister Bowl.

Year 8 have slightly fewer numbers than last year. We have a lot of boys who have never played hockey before but I see potential in many of them.

Athletics

Cross Country

District A Cross Country Championships

On the 30th of January, Bangor Grammar Schools Cross-Country team travelled to Billy Neil’s Playing Fields to take part in the District A Cross Country Championships. Known for being a challenging and very hilly course, Bangor Grammar School performed outstandingly well in what would be one of the most successful district cross-country championships for the school. In the Mini Section (Year 8) JJ Holley won Silver in the individual event, having led for the majority of the race until losing his shoe in the muddy conditions. Joshua Ritchie also performed very well finishing 14th and qualifying for the Ulster Schools Cross Country Championships. Overall the Mini Team finished 5th Overall. In the Minor (Year 9) event the team of Callum Slagter, Josh Bunting, Callum Duncan and Robbie Brown won Silver in the Team event with Callum Duncan qualifying in 9th in the individual race. The Junior (Year 10) Team consisting of Daniel Playfair, Nathan Semple, Ryan Lynas, Jack DeLargy, Nathan Belshaw and Felix Arran won Silver in the Team Event with every member of the team finishing in the top 35. Daniel Playfair and Nathan Semple qualified for the individual event. The Inter Team (Year 11+12) consisting of Jakob Swann, Mark Carberry, Rory Wood, Adam Skelly, Ben Jenkins and Lewis Mackinnon won Bronze in the team event. In the Senior Race both John Ewing and Cameron Jenkins qualified for the individual event. This was an excellent medal haul for the school with 19 Athletes qualifying for the Ulster Schools Cross Country Championships.

Sports Day

This year's Sports Day was held under a glorious blue sky, with perfect weather conditions at Bangor Sportsplex. As usual, there was an excellent turn out for all events and the behaviour of the boys was exemplary. Many thanks to all staff involved in manning events and ensuring the smooth running of this highlight of the school year.