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GRYPHON SpRing/Summer 2017

YEAR 14 HOSPICE FUNDRAISER

On the 7th of February 2017, the Year 14 demonstrated an array of talents in a charity fundraiser to raise money for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice. With both raffle and entry tickets selling like hot cakes, it promised to be a night to remember.

Hosted by the dynamic duo of Kieran Will and Matthew Patton, the night opened with a theatrical extravaganza from Cabaret, sung by Mrs Payne accompanied with a troupe of backing dancers - namely Adam Parkinson, Callum Ferran, Chris Small, Chris Goldthorpe and Dan Beattie. After this wonderful opening, it was clear that this would be a night to remember.

Next up was David Torrens, who unveiled a series of hilariously accurate celebrity impressions. From Keith Lemon to Bear Grylls, from Paddy McGuinness to Chris Eubank, from Liam Neeson to David Attenborough, and more, David made everyone laugh with his self-written I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here skit.

Following him was Mrs Shaw and Mr Dickson, who stunned the room with a powerful duet in the vein of a classic opera.

After that, Cal Ritchie and Luke Ritchie sang and played She’s Electric by Oasis, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.

The next act was the Top Team act, which included Charlie Blair, Paddy Eves, Bertie Parkinson, Reece Simpson and Matthew Agnew, who performed some of Queen’s greatest hits through the medium of interpretative dance and white vests. This provoked a strong reaction in the audience, largely of shock and disgust.

Following this spectacle was a speech by the President of the Hospice, Paul Clarke, who spoke passionately about the work of the hospice and how grateful he was for our contribution.

A short interval allowed everyone to stock up on tea, coffee, juice, biscuits and popcorn, leaving them well refreshed and ready to be entertained by the second act.

Kicking off the second act was a lip-sync competition between the four houses. For Ward, Kieran Will and Thomas Boyd mouthed along to ‘Breaking Free’ from High School Musical. For Dufferin, Matthew Patton and Ross McCoey-Allen tackled the classic hit ‘Don't Go Breaking My Heart' by Elton John and Kiki Dee. For School House, Bryn Crawford and David Edge lip-synced along to ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’ by Marvin Gaye. Last up, for Crosby, Cal Ritchie and Chris Chesney performed an interpretative dance to the Matrix theme song. The audience was asked to decide a winner via the trustworthy applause-o-meter, which declared all four houses to be the winners, to the great annoyance of the House Prefects.

The next act was the Senior Band, comprising of Adam Warden, Adam Steele, Chris Mills and David Edge, who played Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, a classic anthem that was tremendously received by everyone there.

Taking the stage after them was the Charity Committee sketch act. Thomas Haddock, Karl Craig, Cameron Robinson and Matthew Beattie re-enacted the infamous ‘Argument Clinic’ sketch by Monty Python's Flying Circus, which gave rise to plenty of laughs.

With the last laugh echoing in their ears, the Charity Committee members left the stage, making way for the staff band to perform. Those involved were Mr Dickson (again), Mrs Steele, Mr Gray and Mr O’Reilly, who performed a funky rendition of Teenage Kicks by The Undertones, a song that wrapped up the acts of the night perfectly.

During the second act, we paused for a tribute to Peter Clarke. Mrs Will spoke about the impact of the loss of Peter on his year group; how the Upper Sixth had banded together to organise the fundraiser, from the rehearsing of the acts to the selling of the tickets, in order to raise money for the Children’s Hospice that had looked after him. She was followed by Helga Clarke, Peter’s mother, who talked about how grateful she was for the school's support and how encouraged the Clarke family were by the actions of the whole Year 14. After that, a tribute video was shown. This video powerfully conveyed the emotional impact that Peter had made, showing members of the school community reminiscing about what Peter had meant to them and the memories they had of him.

To close the night the raffle prizes were drawn. A comprehensive list of the prizes and winners can be found in the link below:

Preparations for the raffle began in October 2016, with meetings of the Charity Committee, deciding that we wanted to hold a fundraiser for the wonderful work of the NI Children’s Hospice. The Committee met regularly, writing letters to local, Northern Irish businesses. Donations began to flow in, exceeding our expectations and we finished with around 65 prizes. We also received a new trophy, donated by Domino’s Pizza – who had been touched by our cause – in memory of Peter for the winner of the BGS Senior Talent Show for the years to come. The two £100 cash donations and the top five prizes were drawn on the night, with the remaining prizes being drawn in school the next day.

In the end we raised a grand total of £7,804.62. Many thanks to all who donated and took part in one way or another!

-Thomas Haddock & Karl Craig, Year 14

ABAANA NEW LIFE CHOIR

On Tuesday 28th March, the Abaana New Life Choir came into school to spend the day with us. They spent time in lessons, played musical instruments in Music and took part in games organised by the Uganda 2015 team. They also came into the Atrium at lunchtime and sang a few songs for the boys.

That evening, the choir put on a very energetic performance in front of an audience of over 250 people singing in different languages and dancing through each song. Their enthusiasm was infectious and they soon had the audience transfixed and clapping along. Abaana showed a video of the school BGS funded and helped to build in Coo Rom in Gulu Northern Uganda showing the school before we helped and after the building work had been completed. It was very moving to hear the whole school at the end of the video shout out a big thank you to us for helping to build the school. Two of the choir members from Coo Rom Bangor Grammar School were interviewed by Scott Baxter, the founder of Abaana, and offered a warm thank you to the school for all our help.

Their energy, their smiles and their love of singing made it a fantastic evening and one that will not be forgotten in a hurry!

CHARITY REPORT 2016/17

Never before has the Year 14 Charity Committee been faced with such a difficult year than the 2016/17 academic year. With the loss of two of our own boys, Peter Clarke (Year 14) and Josh Martin (Year 12), as well as the sudden loss of Mrs Claire Greenaway, the Charity Committee decided to focus on and help the fantastic work that is performed by many of our local Northern Irish Cancer Charities.

The year was kick-started with a Coffee Morning for the staff and a bun sale for the boys in the Atrium. Raising £483.08 in aid of MacMillan Cancer, the morning was enjoyed by staff and pupils alike and the buns were gone within ten minutes! The first non-uniform day of the year was in aid of Alastair Bull, a Year 10 pupil, to help support him through his rehabilitation from a spinal stroke that left him paralysed after a family holiday that summer. Collectively, we raised over £1,800 to help Alistair with his treatment.

Next was our annual Children In Need Festivities which, thankfully, did not entail leg waxing for the Year 14. We did not manage escape lightly, however, as the Year 8 and 9 pupils were able to throw wet sponges at their mentors in the courtyard. The uniform theme for this years Children In Need was ‘Spot-tacular’ and it was a joy to see all the Year 8 - 13 pupils who got behind the cause and swapped one item of their uniform for a spotty item of clothing. The Year 14s enjoyed their annual dressing up day and a competition for best costume was awarded that morning. There were some unnerving characters walking around the school that day including Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Laurel and Hardy and the Teletubbies. The day was thoroughly enjoyed by all and we raised £1,705.81. This was not our final total however, as Lloyds Bank matched our donation to Children In Need because we as a school had been supporting the charity for so long. Therefore, our final total was £3,411.62 to help children and young adults across the UK be supported by BBC Children In Need. December and the Christmas period saw a variety of charity events in the school including the Action Cancer Christmas Card Sale, the Annual BGS Carol Service (in aid this year of Action Cancer and Abaana), the Christmas Jumper Non-Uniform Day supporting the work of Abaana in Coo-Rom Bangor Grammar School and a few of our BGS pupils taking part in the Abaana ‘Sleep-Out’ at the McKee Clock in Bangor.

These events raised incredible amounts of money with each event receiving, £180, £690, £1,015 and £1,381 respectively. Next on the Charity agenda was the Hospice Fundraiser, which had begun planning back in October. We are pleased to report that our ‘Extravaganza’ raised £7,804.82 for the NI Children’s Hospice. The Hospice were so grateful for our donation that they nominated Bangor Grammar School for a Partnership Award at the Institute of Fundraising Northern Ireland where we received the only Special Mention of the afternoon. It was a privilege to have attended the event in Riddel Hall, Belfast and see the wonderful works of other organisations raising money for various charities. March 2017 saw the close of the second term and we concluded the term with our annual Sponsored Walk. This year the sponsorship money amounted to, a staggering £10,184 which went to a variety of charities chosen by each year group in the school.

Other events arranged by the Charity Committee included the Toy Drop in December in aid of St Vincent De Paul and The Salvation Army as well as the annual Action Cancer bag drop. Furthermore, members of the Charity Committee and the Uganda 2018 Team helped to organise the visit of the Abaana New Life Choir which raised £931.55, helping street children in regions of Africa such as Uganda and those who have already been rescued off the streets into the New Life Homes established by Abaana. This year has been a record breaking year for the Charity Committee and, on behalf of the Year 14, I would like to thank the parents, pupils and supporters of the school who donated to any of our events. I would like to offer our special thanks to our Sixth Form Supervisor, Kerry Will - the Charity Committee could not operate without her. We have raised a total of £31,599.19 this yea. My final thanks go to my fellow members of the Charity Committee for their hard work over this difficult academic year. Floreat Bangoria!

-Thomas Haddock, Year 14

POLAND TRIP 2017

'The soul of Poland is indestructible… she will rise again like a rock, which may for a spell be submerged by a tidal wave, but which remains a rock.'

Sir Winston Churchill’s quotation sums up Poland quite aptly. A country, scarred with political divide multiple times but able to rebuild and prosper by its continuous advancement. This trip enabled me to see Poland in a completely different light. I did not know much about the country, but nothing matched the experience of going there and experiencing the sights. It also made me realise on how little we know about this extraordinary country.

Our tour began on a dark February night at 1:00am, as we set off on our journey to Dublin Airport. This set the theme of not getting enough sleep on the trip… partly due to the hours of travel. After reaching Dublin Airport, we embarked on the plane and flew to Gdansk. We lost no time and decided to head straight to the Lenin Shipyards and the Solidarity Museum. We learnt about the Solidarity Movement which swept and revolutionised Poland; becoming the first trade union not to be run by communists, but led by the Polish President at the time, Lech Walesa. It is an incredible reminder of the power of people determined to be free. We also visited Westerplatte where the first bullets of WWII were fired.

We then visited the ‘Wolf’s Lair’, Hitler’s war-time base. After a hearty rendition of the School Song at Hitler’s Bunker, we left for the Polish capital – Warsaw. Here, we explored the Uprising Museum, absorbing the fascinating history of the Polish Resistance and the lengths they went to bring an end to the tyranny of Nazism in their beloved country. After a quick tour of the beautiful Old City, we left for the ancient capital – Krakow.

When we arrived at Krakow, we took a trip to Aushwitz-Birkenhau which was one of the most chilling experiences I have ever encountered. The scale of the mass genocide of innocent people was truly heart-breaking. We then took a tour around Krakow city. The houses and infrastructure were strikingly picturesque, having survived World War II largely unscathed. Finally, we had a tour around the Wielczka Salt Mines.

This marked the end of our tour and we left for Krakow Airport, for the flight back to Dublin. Poland was an eye-opening tour and spending it with my fellow schoolmates and teachers made it even better. Whilst touring around this amazing country, we picked up on the great sense of patriotism and national pride that the Polish feel for their country. We experienced a resilient country which has had to rebuild itself time and again. It is definitely saddening that many people nowadays fail to realise how important and how incredible Poland actually is. I feel fortunate and am grateful to all the teachers, especially Mr Wolfenden, who made this trip possible - allowing forty schoolboys to experience a trip of a lifetime around this beautiful country.

-Aqeel Mohamed, Year 11

GERMAN EXCHANGE TRIP TO LACHENDORF

In the final week of the summer term, twelve boys and two members of staff, Mr Nicholl and Mrs Nicholl, took part in the annual German Exchange with the Immanuel-Kant Gymansium in Lachendorf, Northern Germany. The BGS boys enjoyed a fascinating week experiencing life in Germany first hand through living with host families and attending school classes with their German exchange partners.

Several excursions were planned during our time in Germany, including sightseeing trips to Celle, the nearest large town to the school and very well regarded for its over 250 half timbered buildings. We also spent a day in in the city of Hamburg where we visited the “Miniatur Wunderland”, the biggest model railway exhibition in the world. Quite a bit of pocket money was spent in one of the many shops around Hamburg in the afternoon.

The highlight of the trip for most of the boys proved to be the day spent at the vast headquarters of Volkswagen in Wolfsburg, where we went on a fascinating factory tour to see how various car models were built. Our host families also arranged a varied programme for the boys including visits to the “Heidepark”, a theme park which boosts the biggest wooden rollercoaster in the world. We finished the week with a traditional German barbecue which was kindly organised by the German parents, where everyone enjoyed some Bratwurst and a round of football in the back garden.

It was, with undoubted sadness, that our stay in Germany was over all too soon. However, the return visit of the German group to BGS in the autumn meant that friendships between the boys were renewed and strengthened still further.

Mrs K Nicholl, Teacher in Charge

MUSIC REPORT 2016/17

Overall, this year has been a great one for the BGS Music Department. Many extra performances, such as the Choral Festival and Raise the Roof Concert, were added to the schedule, increasing our musical presence across Bangor. The Spring Concert was a huge success on its own, with many bands and ensembles spanning all of the school’s year groups getting involved to make an unforgettable evening of music!

In December, all of the school’s various musical groups combined forces to put on a fantastic Carol Service. Many hours of preparation in the lead-up to the concert paid off with excellent performances from choirs, the Concert Band, Traditional Group and smaller groups such as the ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Silent Night’ ensembles. All in attendance went into the Christmas break fully in the spirit of the holiday!

Pictured above is the Jazz Band, after our annual trek to the Black Box in Belfast. They were kind enough to invite us back for another year to perform in a night of jazz, continuing a relatively new tradition that is well-loved by the Music Department. Our performances have hopefully secured us a spot in next year’s programme...

-P O'Reilly, Head of Music

The Chamber Choir continues to go from strength to strength this year. After performing in St Anne’s Cathedral for an Action Cancer event in December, and singing at our own Carol Service, we made an entry to the BBC School Choir of the Year Competition. On Friday 27th January we travelled to Friends’ School Lisburn for the heats stage of the competition. We performed Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo and Sleep by Eric Whitacre. The boys sang beautifully, with attention to detail and a lovely blended sound. The feedback from the adjudicators was positive and encouraging, noting that we were the only all-boys school in the heat and that we have to work harder because our voices can change unexpectedly at times! I am very proud of these boys and am glad to have put the work in and had fun along the way.

-Mrs C Buchanan, Choral Director

JUNIOR DRAMA

On Wednesday 8th of March, the annual Junior Drama competition took place in the Assembly Hall, as the four houses battled it out in a night filled with fun and laughter. The theme for the performances this year was based around 'Grimm's Fairy Tales', which saw the Year 8 and Year 9 pupils perform their unusual version of a well known fairy tale, devised by the Year 13 Drama pupils.

School House went first and set a high standard for the evening as they gave their performance of 'Hansel and Gretel'. Due to one of the actors being sick, one of the Year 13 directors had to take on the role of Hansel for the evening. They performed extremely well and Ben Campbell was awarded the Best Actor Award for School House.

Just after School House had finished, Dufferin House came onto the stage and performed their interpretation of 'Cinderella'. It had comedy throughout, similar to all the performances, and was very entertaining to watch. A surprising moment in the evening came whenever Michael Lennox (the Director of Boogaloo, Graham and our esteemed guest judge for the night) issued not one, but three best actor awards for Dufferin House, they were Stellios Basakaropoulous, Oliver Greenway and Adam Purce.

The penultimate act was Ward House, who performed their version of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. Snow White, wearing a fetching red wig, captivated each audience member of the packed-out hall. The performance was very funny and a vast array of talents were shown on stage. The Best Actor award was given to Philip Acheson.

The final performance of the night was Crosby House. They performed a unique twist on Little Red Riding Hood, which closely stuck to the detail of the story, barring the inclusion of a protracted birth scene which I don't remember in the original tale... The performance was hilarious and included many jokes which were well received by the audience. The best actor award for Crosby went to Matthew Tool.

At the end of the night, Michael Lennox presented the awards; the winning House was Dufferin, with Crosby in close second. Finally, after congratulating all the boys who took part in this year's competition, the Best Actor award was awarded to Connor Smith from Crosby House - for the second year running! Connor is definitely a name to look out for in the future.

The audience experienced a thoroughly enjoyable night of drama from our younger pupils and their Year 13 Directors. The mark has once again been set high for the new actors and directors of next year.

-Jack Fry, Year 11

CCF REPORT2016/17

After a busy summer of camps and courses, the CCF hit the ground running as always with Seniors weekend and training which paid off with the team lead by RSM Sam Donaldson coming away with a plethora of medals and a third place overall in the team event. The shooting competition which we entered with two teams holding their own against more practiced “gravel belly’s” with Cpl Hull lifting a bronze medal in one of the categories.

The Brigade First Aid Competition in November saw us pick up a well-deserved second place, and the Brigade Cadet Orienteering Competition was our pinnacle again this year with us picking up medals in nearly all categories both team and individual events, if there was an overall best team BGS CCF would have lifted that shield as well.

In December was the Local Hero Event where our three cadet team took part in a presentation style event where they had researched one of our “Old Boys” who had made the” Ultimate Sacrifice” during the Great War, the judging panel made up of very senior Officers from our Brigade were very impressed by the level of research undertaken by these three young cadets. A copy was given to Col B Greenaway or school archivist who could not believe how much information they had found on young Lt Hewitt even more so that others had ever researched before.

Navy Section had their Junior Leader Cadre in October which was a great success, with all the BGS CCF performing well above par and taking part in the National Regatta. Army Section APCA had the largest numbers on their course this year out of all the CCF schools with nearly 30 cadets, all have all passed their syllabus and awaiting promotion to Corporal. As part of their course they also completed the National Navigation Award Scheme which ended with a day’s assessment at Tollymore contacted by the Cadet Training Team. Sgt Corey Irwin their instructor has been impressed with their dedication and hard work all year.

Easter Camp again this year was at Holton Training Camp Lancaster and the hosted by Borwick Hall Outdoor Centre, three days of hill walking, canoeing, a climbing, indoor caving and high/low ropes. The camp was finished with a very competitive evening of bowling at Morecombe - with curly chips of course. All who attended fully enjoyed it and many went out of their comfort zone to achieve some incredible personal achievements.

During this year we have had visits from the Army Bomb Disposal Unit and from the Regimental Mascot Brian Boru X, the Irish wolfhound “puppy” with his Regimental Handler and the team. Both teams were brilliant and showed other sides to the military our cadets might never see, more visits are being arranged during the year.

The CCF saw new members joining; Lt Chris Kent, an old boy from the school and ex-RSM, along with Lt Bethany Connaughton, also an ex-CSM cadet. For the Navy section, we welcome Lt Stephen Robinson, who is already a high ranking member of the school leadership team. All these officers have thrown themselves into CCF with courses and training to benefit our cadets.

This year saw the retirement of our Commanding Officer Commander Alan Mackie, who has given great service over the years; not only to the CCF within the school, but also to thousands of cadets through his work at Dartmouth. On the behalf of all CCFs in Northern Ireland, from all cadets and officers, we wish Commander Mackie a massive Bravo Zulu. His departure means that we now have a new CO in Major Cath Cardwell, ex OC Army Section and a new OC Army Section in Captain David Watkins.

So what for the rest of the year? 44 Army Section cadets are heading to Wathgill in North Yorkshire this summer for camp; Naval Section will be going to HMNB Clyde in Scotland to take part in all things nautical. BGS CCF will also be sending cadets away on a large number of varying courses, from boating to adventure training to military style courses and, as always, these cadets will do themselves proud and the Contingent of BGS CCF.

"Faugh A Ballagh"

-SSgt T Watkins. School Staff Instructor

CCF EASTER CAMP

The Combined Cadet Force has students from Bangor Grammar School and Glenlola Collegiate with two sections - army and navy - both totalling over 250 cadets including staff. Cadets can join from Year 10 and meet every Wednesday during the academic year. The cadets learn a number of skills taught by older cadets and other officers, which they can use in the CCF and in life. Aside from the lessons, there are training weekends throughout the year where all cadets, from both sections, can further enhance their skills. There are also fantastic opportunities to go on the Easter and Summer camps where the cadets can experience army life and adventure training. As the cadets move through the CCF, they can get promoted and go on courses across the country where they get opportunities to try activities such as sailing, raft building and kayaking.

This year’s Easter Camp was held in Lancashire, giving us the opportunity to go canoeing, hillwalking, bouldering and climbing and experience adventure training at its fullest. Facilities offered by the Halton Training Camp and the local council made our stay even better. Special thanks go to SSI Watkins, Major Cardwell and the other officers from both sections who were able to make the camp possible. Now, we all count down the days until Summer Camp.

In the Army Section, Cadets learn leadership, teamwork and responsibility, along with basic skills like first aid, navigation and drill. We continue to develop all these skills regularly throughout the course of the year in an effort to instil them into us. Though these skills are important in the Cadet Force, they are also essential skills for life. With these skills, Cadets can further continue their army training or go into work with confidence with the skills they have developed. This makes the Cadet Force an important part of the school’s extra-curricular life. On training weekends, the army cadets develop their skills even further, including shooting! Most of the Training weekends happen at Palace Barracks in Holywood and the facilities are excellent to our needs.

The Navy section is similar to the Army as we also complete several activities that help us improve our teamwork and leadership skills. On a regular basis, we are taught different skills that are used throughout the navy, such as learning different knots, basic first aid and all the signs and signals you would encounter at sea.

Outside activities are crucial to the development of our skills. This year, some Cadets were blindfolded while others had to guide them through an obstacle course to collect objects. This helped us to work on and improve our general awareness skillset such as listening. Often, we work in teams to complete a task, such as building a submarine using Lego without instructions. This really helps us with our teamwork and leadership skills.

Throughout the year there are many opportunities to go away and try new things. For example, there are regattas a few times a year for those that can sail and courses for those who want to learn to sail or scuba dive. We all look forward to see what the CCF has in store in our coming years at BGS.

-Aqeel Mohamed and Jack Fry, Year 11

90 Years of Debating in Bangor Grammar School

I recall clearly the moment I first encountered the old minute books of the Bangor Grammar School Debating Society. I was relatively new to teaching and an even more recent arrival to debating. A battered bell arrived in my classroom (the gavel, it seems, had disappeared long before) and then, a few days later, a pile of old leather bound books. I was intrigued. Choosing one at random, I flicked it open to reveal page after page of neat cursive script. The paper had yellowed with age and the binding was so fragile that I feared the book would come apart in my hands, but the words that leapt off the page were still fresh and vivid. The story they told was remarkable.

The minutes record that the first Bangor Grammar School debate was held on Saturday, 5th February, 1927, in G Room of the Crosby building, at 7.20pm. Mr A L Hawtin, the society’s founding president took the chair, and, from the tally of votes, it would appear that a crowd of 34 boys had gathered. The motion was ‘that in the opinion of this House, Wireless is a blessing to Mankind’. The boys had little experience in debating. We are told that the first speaker spoke about the use of wireless radios in hospitals and the home, but that ‘there was then a long silence’. Mr Hawtin was clearly moved by the speakers plight: the minutes record that ‘he asked some questions of the proposer to which he received some quite irrelevant answers.’ The debate, however, continued and the motion was carried by ten votes.

The standard of debating may have been dubious, but every school debate since has shared certain characteristics with the first. For a start, it is impossible not be struck by the boys’ sense of humour. It seems that at almost every meeting, motions of censure were brought against the officers of the society. These often involved some tongue-in-cheek criticism of the Honorary Secretary for his failure to post adequate notice of the debate. The early minutes also record frequent demands for the Honorary Treasurer to provide a financial report. As the Society’s funds seemed to consist only of a single halfpenny donated by the first Hon Treasurer, J G Pyper, providing such a report was never especially onerous. It is interesting to note that at a special Ten Year Anniversary Debate, the same J G Pyper, now an Old Boy, ‘inquired if the Hon Treas. had any knowledge of the halfpenny… The Hon. Treas. replied that some former Treasurer had made suitable use of it.’

The wit and humour of Grammarians has been remarkably consistent over the years. By way of example, I provide an extended quote from the minutes of a debate held on the 11th November 1988. By this time, Mr Hawtin had been replaced by the redoubtable Maurice McCord, who succeeded as President in 1966. The minutes begin as follows:

‘It was 3.39, Friday afternoon and there were 55 members packed into Room 148: either the President had lost his wallet or it was time for another weekly session of the School Debating Society. (For those interested, the wallet made one of its rare public appearances when it swerved to avoid the on-coming price of a round later that evening.)’

The humour was perhaps a little more irreverent with the passage of 60 years, but not by much.

The BGS Debating Society has always, however, been about a great deal more than humour. Over the decades, the minutes record debates about the legacy of one World War and onset of another, about the rise of Communism and its fall. As Northern Ireland entered its 30 year nightmare in 1968, the debates also began to touch on themes much closer to home. It is impossible in the space of a short article to provide detail on all of these, but I would like to refer to one remarkable debate, held in March 1938. It was the last of the term, a term in which the boys of BGS had debated everything from the ‘growth of jazz’, to the League of Nations, via the Partition of Ireland. Now they turned their attention to the future. The motion, unusually sombre for an end-of-term debate, was that ‘Life was not worth living.’ Speaking that night were four boys whose names appear frequently in the minutes of debates held in the late 1930s: F E Gault, G Fidler, H Bowman and W E Parkes. They didn’t know it, but on the night they spoke, German troops were already pouring across the Austrian frontier, moving the world a step closer to war. All four boys spoke with eloquence that evening, and I still read their words to my classes every year on Armistice Day. Fidler spoke for the motion: ‘In old age’, he argued, ‘we will look back and wish we had not lived’. Bowman agreed, speaking of a ‘continual question mark ahead of us’. ‘We do not know’, he argued, in words that were to prove painfully poignant, ‘what will happen next’. They were challenged, however, by Frank Gault. He argued forcefully that ‘a good and happy life was a life of service. It is a pleasure to help others and do our duty to mankind.’ Frank Gault died three years later, serving his country in the Royal Air Force.

The Bangor Grammar School Debating Society continues to thrive. Today, we are the largest and most successful School Debating Society in Northern Ireland. We have won the Schools Cup on more occasions than any other school; indeed, the past academic year saw another triumph. Having won the Northern Ireland Schools Cup in 2016, our team (Jack Steen and Archie Arran) fought hard to reach the final and defend our title in 2017. They quickly established a reputation as a formidable team and made it to the final in April, where they opposed the motion that ‘This House would not worry if Stormont were not restored’. Jack and Archie deployed wit, aggression and intellectual prowess to defeat an extremely able BRA team, allowing us to retain the cup in our 90th year.

Mr S J Wolfenden with Archie Arran and Jack Steen, winners of the 2017 Schools Cup for Debating.

Today, boys continue to meet on Friday afternoons, now in Room U9, to argue, pontificate and debate. I am confident that Mr Hawtin, along with his successors, Maurice McCord, Rodney Jones and Philip Moore, not to mention their students, would not only approve but feel very much at home.

-Mr S J Wolfenden, Teacher in Charge

JUNIOR DEBATING SOCIETY

It is frightening how quickly this academic year has passed and I can scarcely believe that yet another debating ‘season’ is over. The junior debating society continues to attract pupils from across the junior school and motions still vary wildly from the serious to the relatively ludicrous. However, in appealing to teenagers, ludicrous can often be viewed as the norm. That being said, politics is still the key area up for discussion with the trust of our politicians, the ‘London’ of ‘Londonderry’ and the future of the Union all having faced intense scrutiny this year.

The standard of debating has been impressive all year and this high watermark was routinely displayed by several Year 10 pupils. The debating skills of pupils such as Conor Campbell, Thomas Noble, Oliver Rea, Benjamin Martin, Harry Gibson and Callum Beal have been of an exceptional standard throughout the year. I am in no doubt that some of these pupils will be gracing the floor at a future Northern Ireland Schools’ Debating final in the near future. Congratulations must also be extended to Crosby House, who have once again won the Junior House Competition in proposing the motion: ‘This House Believes that Northern Ireland Can Move on from the Legacy of the Troubles.’

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Joseph Krawkowski for his attentive minute taking over the last two years in his role of secretary. We now have debating minutes from the last three years and these will be preserved as we move from our current ragged book to something a little more robust.

It is never too late to start debating and I would encourage any junior pupil to call into one of the society’s debates to see how they operate. By going one step further, taking a small leap of faith and nominating oneself as a speaker, there is every chance an untapped skill will be found. To that end, I look forward to another year of debating with new speakers particularly welcome.

-Mr M Dickson, Teacher in Charge

ANTI-BULLYING AMBASSADORS

As part of the Shared Education initiative, students from St Columbanus’ College, Bangor Academy and Bangor Grammar School have been working together for the past year towards becoming ‘Anti-Bullying Ambassadors’.

The program kicked off in September with students meeting up to undertake a day of training; discussing the origins of bullying and how best to prevent it. It also gave the students some very practical ideas on how to address bullying and negative behaviour. The ‘ambassadors’ from all three schools had lots of opportunities to work together in groups and see what their peers had to say about occurrences of bullying in their respective schools, before collaborating to devise useful strategies and activities they could take home with them.

Over the course of the next few months the BGS Ambassadors of Vincent Lee, Adam Bell, Rhys McLean, Andrew Laird and Lewis Orr worked hard to develop their own student-friendly version of the staff ‘Anti-Bullying Policy’ in order to allow each pupil in the school to better understand our ethos and approach to these situations. This was then very successfully communicated to Junior School pupils in a presentation delivered by the class mentors.

In March the students from all three schools came together to discuss their implementation of the anti-bullying strategies, with the students from Bangor Academy proudly displaying their ‘Ambassador' hoodies, which the Academy had purchased (to the envy of all). At the meeting, the students decided to make a more condensed version of the student-friendly policy they had created, coming up with five key words which summarised the ethos and approaches of all three schools towards the subject of bullying: Safe, Support, Intervention, Equality, Respect.

The ABAs then used these five words to create a ‘five-finger contract’. At BGS this was then ‘signed’ using an outline of their hand print by all of the boys in Junior School as evidence of their commitment to making our school ‘a safe place for all’. The contract helped to once again simplify some of the key issues which surround bullying, make it easier for students to understand and help them to take more autonomy when it comes to tackling bullying.

Needless to say, the BGS Ambassadors thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with the other schools and showed great maturity in dealing with what can be a very controversial and challenging topic; the Shared Education team wish them all the best. Let’s hope next year’s ambassadors are as committed and creative - we may get those hoodies yet!

-Ms A Crossthwaite, Teacher in Charge

BGS SCHOOL COUNCIL

The School Council continues to evolve in terms of its organisation and structure, with the aim to involve as many pupils in our work as we can. At the start of the academic year, elected class reps were provided with the mysterious blue envelopes, which were to act as the mechanism for any issues, queries or complaints to be brought to the council. However, the idea has yet to be embedded in all classes and so even more blueness will be present next year!

The council is purely a consultative body and we have been tasked to give our views on a range of issues this year, such as P.E. bibs, Year 14 access to be off site during lunchtimes, pupil parking and the possibility of a school stationary shop being set up.

This year has seen us begin to make links with staff and former pupil groups in order to communicate our views on particularly specific matters. A representative from the council has met with the working party on behaviour management. Benn Cudworth of Year 11 met with Mr Turner, Mr Gilmore, Mr Dickson and Mr Wilson and gave his views on how merits can be more fairly distributed by teachers. The council will also continue to build links with St. Colmbanus and Bangor Academy as part of the shared education programme and work with Mr Cartmill in achieving the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award. As the term ends, there is no let-up in the council seeking out opportunities for its voice to be heard. A meeting is being planned with the Grammarians, to discuss how current pupils’ needs and views can be adopted into the future work of our former pupils. One area which will be discussed is how best to recognise the achievements of notable past pupils within our new school building.

I conclude this update by bidding farewell to Reece Simpson and Glen Hughes, who have contributed enormously to the work of the council over the years. Their input has been invaluable and we hope that their experience of working with their peers, teachers and senior leadership team will be of great benefit to them as they embark on their university courses.

-Mr M Dickson, Teacher in Charge

CHESS CLUB

Chess has always been a strong club in BGS and this year has shown a growth in popularity. This has yielded even more success to the society this year, with numerous boys representing the school at the highest level. At the Ulster Senior Individuals, Samuel Todd (Yr 12) achieved a U1000 Grading Prize. Samuel and his brother, Pete (Yr 10), both participated in the Mark Hebden Grandmaster Simultaneous event, surviving 32 and 44 moves respectively. Adam Rushe (Yr 11) competed at the Junior Chess Championships in London, earning his place after a hard qualifying round. At the Ulster Schools Individual Chess Championship, Samuel Todd achieved 4th place at Under 19 level, with Adam Simmonite (Yr 11) taking 3rd place at Under 16 level. It is through participation and success in Ulster competitions that the following boys have been selected for the Children’s Chess Finals and Stormont: Pete Todd, Samuel Todd, Adam Rushe, Matthew Gray (Yr 14) and Scott Murray (Yr 14). The Ulster Schools Team Chess Championships, held at BGS in early 2017, saw our Under 19 team crowned champions. The team consisting of Pete Todd, Callum Houston (Yr 14), Samuel Todd, Adam Rushe, Matthew Gray, Ben Carrigan (Yr 11), Scott Murray and Jordan Keenan (Yr 14) beat Ballymena Academy to the title. At the same event, our Under 16 team came 3rd at this level, with the team of Adam Simmonite, Peter Bull (Yr 11), Tyler Dimaline (Yr 11), Ryan Leathem (Yr 8), Tom Loyal (Yr 8), Oliver Still (Yr 11), and Ben Irwin (Yr 10). Since the Chess Club is pupil-ran, a special mention must to go to Samuel Todd who has organised the smooth running of the club this year. Also, thanks are due to Mrs Cree, who kindly volunteered her room to be the centre of chess at BGS every lunchtime. After such an excellent year for the Society, we look forward to the successes of the future.

-Adam Simmonite, Year 11

TABLE TENNIS REPORT 2016/17

It was encouraging to see so many enthusiastic individuals turn out each Wednesday to play table tennis. The club regularly had between 40-45 members, with all ability levels and age groups being represented each week.

These regular practice sessions have resulted in excellent progress being made by a large number of boys. Mr Ramsey and Ms Garland continued to assist with our weekly practice sessions and we would wish to thank them for their support throughout the year.

The Under 19 Table tennis team were runners up in the Ulster Schools’ Cup Competition. The team of John Ewing, Kieran Will, Harry McCracken, Aqeel Mohamed, Adam Simmonite and Chris Goldthorpe battled their way through the rounds of the competition, surprising all by the quality of their play for such a young team. The Under 13 team also performed well on the day, being runners up in the plate competition. The team consisted of Max Skelton, Ross Fulton, Joel Smith, Matthew Thomas, Ryan Thompson and Ethan Mairs.

Three teams were entered for the Ulster schools league competition, U19, U14 and U12 age groups. The U 12 team of James Skelton, Max Skelton, Ross Fulton and Joel Smith defeated every other team in this competition.

Seven table tennis players were entered into the Ulster Schools’ Individual Table Tennis Championships. Elite players attended from all parts of Northern Ireland, Monaghan and Cavan. The entry being the highest since the competition started. Harry McCracken and Adam Simmonite both reached the quarter finals of the Under 14 age group, Joel Smith came third in the Under 12s. John Ewing, Ross Fulton and Max Skelton all played in the finals, coming second in Ulster in the Under 16, 14 and 12 age groups respectively and finally, James Skelton narrowly defeated his brother to win the Ulster Under 12 competition.

Throughout the year both individuals and teams displayed great enthusiasm and sportsmanship during their competitions. They have proudly represented their school and club in each arena. Very well done!

Finally a report on the club’s season would not be complete without mention of the regular club members. Faithfully attending, each one was keen to progress up the competitive ladder, vying for a place on a team. New friends were made, much fun was had and social skills were developed throughout the year. I would like to thank all those club members for their enthusiastic contribution and particularly those who acted as reserves for each team. Their willingness to be available and prepared to support their team if necessary was greatly appreciated. Hopefully the experience gained this season will lead to continued success next year.

-Dr M Faulkner, Teacher in Charge

SWIMMING REPORT 2016/17

This year we were delighted to welcome three Year 8 pupils onto the team – Ciaran McKee, Ben Riddell and Luke Swann. They swam well in the face of strong opposition at the biggest schools’ gala of the year in at Aurora, the Swim Ulster Schools Cup and Championships 2016-17, and we will follow their development with interest. Their performances certainly bode well for the future of the team.

Overall, Bangor Grammar School finished third in the competition. Ben Escott, Rhys Green, Ewan Nicholson and Daniel Thompson took bronze in the Group 6 Medley Relay, which was a super achievement. Jack Angus took gold in the 100m Breast stroke and 200 Individual Medley and Mark Stoops, despite injury, took silver in the 100m Breast stroke. Both boys were selected for the Ulster Schools’ Squad and Ulster went on the win the Interprovincial Championships.

As the squad continues to grow, we look forward to more successes in the future.

Mrs M Cree and Mrs C McGilton, Teachers in Charge

U13 HOCKEY REPORT 2016/17

Initially the U13 squad struggled to find rhythm and confidence and suffered a series of defeats against strong opposition. As a result of this individual expectations and confidence among the squad was very low.

Halfway through the season Mr Robinson decided to experiment with a change in formation. This had an immediate impact and the team began to see more positive results, which then improved the confidence within the squad. The team began to enjoy the matches more and started to put the skills they learned in training into the games.

With the team now playing a more attractive style of hockey, hopes were high for a good run in the cup. After a number of wins in the early rounds, the team narrowly lost in the quarter-final to Regent House. The fact that it took a replay to finally decide the match shows how far the team had come from the start of the season when they lost heavily to the same Regent side.

The second half of the season gives the team a solid platform on which they can build upon with a lot of hard work and determination in pre-season.

The team would like to thank Mr Robinson for all his patience and determination with the team. Thanks also to everyone else who helped organize and umpire the matches.

-Owen Stranaghan, U13 Captain

U14 HOCKEY REPORT 2016/17

The U14s Hockey Team had a great year, working well as a team and having a number of memorable moments.

Tensions were high the day the team competed again Belfast Royal Academy who had been tough competition in the previous season—many members were relieved after the game that they had managed to keep a ‘clean sheet’ on that score board!

Sullivan proved to be a challenging team and demanded a lot of our U14s players. Although they did lose the game, they proved to Sullivan that the BGS players should not be taken lightly and are a team which will keep trying until the end.

Highlights of the year included beating the U14s Campbell College team, as well as an impressive win against Banbridge. Team Captain Cohen Boyd made a particularly spectacular goal which he fondly remembers as his personal highlight of the year.

The team have all thoroughly enjoyed the season and look forward to meeting some of our rivals again in the U15s Hockey next year.

-Ms A Crossthwaite, Teacher in Charge

1st XV RUGBY BOWL SUCCESS

On Wednesday 1st March, Bangor Grammar 1st XV ventured into their final match in what has been a hard fought season. Playing against Regent House, at Pirrie Park, the rain held off and the pitches were in fine condition for a game of rugby. Both sides respected a minutes silence before the start of play in honour of Josh Martin. This touching tribute would surely push the BGS team to show their worth. The game had an even start with both sides eager to make their impression felt with some rough tackling and solid rucking in the centre of the pitch. Our forward pack did well to maintain composure in this area and ensured that the ball was easily played out the back line.

Good defensive work and a scrum turnover allowed Bangor to gain control of the game early on. Strong carries from Martin Withers and Thomas Boyd allowed BGS to make a push for a try. However, disciplined defence from Regent forced a turnover, giving them a penalty which fell short. This failed attempt kept the score at 0-0. Strong defence and solid attacking play allowed Bangor to post the first points on the scoreboard. Zach Kerr slotted the subsequent penalty between the posts to make the score 3-0 to BGS. Good play by Cameron Webb and a turnover by BGS allowed Zach Kerr to break the Regent line and score to the left of the posts, the following conversion unfortunately hit the posts making the score 8-0 to Bangor.

Regent made slow progress in Bangor’s half, but their hard work gave them an opportunity to score a try. However, great defensive work by Callum Ferran allowed Bangor to turn over the ball and clear their lines with a far-reaching kick by Aaron Sexton. Some effective attacking play by Regent made Bangor give away a penalty which slid between the posts to bring the score to 8-3. Bangor reacted tenaciously to the Regent penalty with bull-like carries being by a number of players, most notably Zach Kerr who beat 3 defenders with a barnstorming run. This attacking play was sustained for a number of minutes and resulted in Charlie Blair scoring a try beneath Regent’s post and the conversion was easily made by Zach Kerr, pushing the score to 15-3. This marked half time and BGS were dominating the game.

Re-hydration and a motivating team talk by Messrs Morgan, Cartmill and Nicholl would ensure BGS re-entered the second half with the same determination and tenacity shown in the first. A great steal by Ethan Murray after kick-off allowed Bangor to build a platform to initiate attacking play. The game proceeded into Regent’s half and a number of offences by Bangor gave Regent penalties. Nevertheless, this Regent possession was short lived with poor carrying allowing Bangor to re-capture the ball. This change in possession gave Bangor another try with Lewis Bret setting up Charlie Blair to run the ball over Regent’s try line and the conversion was confidently made by the ever present Zach Kerr. The score was now 22-3.

From kick-off, Regent made an attept for the BGS try line and a score by them was prevented by a great interception from Paddy Eves. Bangor cleared their lines following this close call and were able to regain possession after a crunching tackle by Joe McLarnon. The following sequence of passing allowed Zach Kerr to score beneath the posts and he followed up with a successful conversion to make the score 29-3 to BGS. Again poor ball retention by Regent gave BGS an opportunity to show their attacking style and flair. An offence by Regent allowed BGS another opportunity to attack, making it possible for Aaron Sexton to plant the ball behind Regent’s try line, with the conversion being missed. The score was now at 34-3.

Regent’s following kick-off was caught by Cameron Webb, whose fast hands sent BGS storming down the left flank and the sequence was ended with a try by Chris Connolly and the conversion scored by Zach Kerr. This made the score 41-3. The final whistle was followed by triumphant celebrations from the BGS players and fans, with many tears being shed by parents and teachers alike.

This season has seen many ups and downs; however, the level of rugby shown at the Bowl Final showed the hard work and determination by both the players and coaches. This performance shows Bangor Grammar’s ability to move on and push for greater things.

-Adam Parkinson, Year 14

MEDALLION SQUAD MAKE BGS HISTORY

On Saturday 11th February, a cold chilly morning, the Medallion Squad made BGS history. This match was the first time since 1985 that a Medallion Squad from BGS reached the semi-finals of the Shield beating a strong INST line up to a narrow yet none the less, impressive victory of 14-12.

Beforehand the game began with a coin toss between the two Captains. INST won the toss and started the game off with a kick into Bangor territory. Both sides started the match with a ferocious intensity and the game was in INST’s favour after the first twenty minutes. The team went through a number of phases to have their number eight carry the ball over after some intense defending on the try line from the Bangor squad. The first try of the game was scored. INST converted the kick and the score was 7-0.

The interplay of exchange of possession dominated the later of the first half with INST taking advantage and ending the first half 12-0. There was much outrage among the INST fans as a try was scored but disallowed by the referee, which would have been crucial to winning the match. The Bangor squad still had the support of the fans with the chanting getting ever louder. The first half was witness to the excellent scrumming and high intensity of the group as well as some superb performances from a number of the team including Riley Westwood, Connor Lusty and Alistair McConnell who were a key players in the constant defence of the Bangor posts and carrying the ball forward towards victory, throughout the match.

The Medallion squad had to perform a considerable feat to overturn the 12 point deficit and the start of the second half set the tone for the rest of the match; a constant bombardment of the INST defence and some passing from wing to wing effectually lead to William Simpson breaking through the INST defence and scored the first BGS try. William then converted the try through a spot kick and the score was 12-7. The comeback was on. Through some excellent scrums and turnovers, halfway through the second half a horrible tackle was made by INST and, after a minute of deliberation, the referee sent off INST’s number 14 much to the delight of the Bangor fans. Bangor took advantage of this as Riley Westwood sprinted through numerous INST players pushing them outside, he triumphantly ran over the try line and planted the ball. William Simpson converted the ball and Bangor was now winning 14-12.

A strong, defensive display throughout the rest of the half assured the BGS Medallions of their victory. However, INST had one last trick up their sleeve. With the number 8 and 14 back on the INST squad through a couple of strong phases and a strong push they reached the Bangor try line in the 75th minute. For a tense last five minutes the ball was passed up and down the try line between the INST squad, much to the horror of the Bangor fans the ball was seen to be planted over the line but the referee ruled that it had been held up by the INST team and with that rocky finish, the curtains closed on a breathtaking match.

Crowds of Bangor fans flooded the pitch for a truly heroic performance. As the INST squad looked on in dismay, the players and fans all with beaming faces sang the school song. The players had put in their all and it showed. The squad had made history, ending INST’s winning streak of four years.

-Adam Crothers, Year 11

THE MEDALLION SQUAD JOURNEY

This academic year, the Medallion Squad made history. For the first time in twenty eight years a Medallion team from Bangor Grammar School made the semi-finals, producing great team performances throughout the competition to make it to the semis and then lose to an excellent Armagh squad.

Their cup run got off to a shaky start with a narrow victory against Ballymena with the match score being 16-12 to Bangor. The Medallions produced an impressive team display with the build-up play and execution of moves which were fluid and entertaining. However, there were a few dropped balls and missed passes in the Bangor team and Ballymena were able to capitalise on this, scoring a try and converting a penalty. But, when the Medallion squad was not at their best, they were still able to maintain their lead in the first half with the score being 10-7. After an inspiring team talk led by the excellent coaches and the captain Connor Lusty, the game was back on, with the Bangor team responding with some excellent play from kick off, leading to a try and a converted kick making the score 16-7. The Bangor team maintained their lead throughout the half but made some errors which led to a late try. However, the kick was not converted by Ballymena and the game finished at 16-12. A close call for the Medallions, but they progressed to the next round to play Limavady.

Learning from the previous match, the Medallion Squad produced an amazing display, beating Limavady 53-0. The Bangor team dominated the whole match from the first to the last, an awe inspiring display of rugby. The team was superb as a whole, each player responding with each other. The Medallions progressed to the quarter finals where they drew the previous winners of the shield, Inst.

The first try of the match came three quarters into the game with Inst slowly making ground up the pitch, managing to break through the Bangor defensive line. The half continued with both sides pushing for dominance and the Medallions showing some excellent scrumming. However play continued, with the Medallions stopping an Inst advance, until eventually, the left hand side winger for Inst made a break and ran through to score a try. The Medallions were down 12-0 at half time.

The second half started off with equal possession by both sides. However, as the half progressed, the Medallions found a foothold in winning the match. This led to more possession by Bangor with Riley Westwood scoring the first try for Bangor. The Bangor fans erupted into a wild cheer, needing only 8 points for a victory. The kick was converted by Angus Christy to make the score 12-7; 6 points to victory. Excellent play and a stunning solo run by Connor Lusty led to the second try for Bangor. The ball was passed down the right hand side of the pitch, slowly reaching the wings. Mass tackling by Inst couldn’t stop the Medallions advancing to the try line. The ball was eventually passed to William Simpson, the right hand side winger, who skillfully ran through the Inst defence and scored the second try. The kick was converted and Bangor at last had the lead.

Bangor held firm for the remainder of the match, heroically stopping Inst from scoring. However, there was controversy as the try scorers for Inst were sent off and an Inst try was disallowed. The game seemed to be all wrapped up a historic win for Bangor, but, in the dying minutes of the game, Inst pushed back. They reached as far as the Medallion try line. All seemed lost, Inst seemed to have scored in the dying minutes of the game. Thankfully the ball was declared to be held up and the try was disallowed once again. Bangor had made it to the semi-finals.

Bangor drew a tricky match against Armagh in the semi-finals, a team which they had previously lost to. Spirits weren’t dampened by this and the team was at an all-time high. They were determined to reach the Kingspan and ultimately, reach the finals. The teams met at Queen’s Rugby Pitch on a cold Saturday morning. The Medallions played well but mistakes such as dropped balls, caused by constant Armagh pressure, cost them the match with the Armagh team beating the Medallions 29-0.

All the Medallion players, parents and coaches should be extremely proud of their impressive 2017 Medallion Shield Campaign. This victory shows the resilience and determination of an exceptional Medallion Squad who are a testament to themselves and to their coaches. We wish them all the best for their futures in rugby.

-Adam Crothers, Year 11

2ND XV RUGBY REPORT 2016/17

The 2016-17 season would ultimately prove to be one of missed opportunities, as an encouraging start to the season gave way to a series of disappointing defeats at the hands of physically more determined opponents in the two cup competitions. However, individual players continued to perform well over the course of the season, as typified by some very well taken tries despite the overall match score not always going in favour of the team.

The season opened with a very pleasing 33 points to 17 win at home against Royal School Armagh. Daniel Young, Morgan McCartney, Jamie Livingstone and Ben Cavan all crossed over for tries, as Armagh were only able to reply with a couple of consolation scores in the final stages of the game.

The disappointing underachievement of the side was, however, highlighted by two narrow defeats away at Portadown College and Ballymena Academy in late September. Despite dominating possession and territory for long periods of the game in the Portadown match, the team allowed itself to be hit twice on the counter attack and had only a solitary Tim Webb try to mark the side’s territorial dominance. Issues such as giving opponents too much time and respect in the opening minutes of games would reoccur in the cup competitions to hamper the overall success of the team.

A resounding win by 45 points to nil against Belfast High ably demonstrated the attacking flair of the side when the team racked up seven tries playing some impressively expansive rugby. A composed 33 points to 19 away win at Limavady Grammar again reinforced the talented nature of the side in attack with Oliver Ward’s well-taken hat trick of scores being one of the highlights of the season. The 39 points to nil destruction of local rivals Regent House was also a memorable experience for the players.A tough draw in the first round of the 2nd XV cup competition away at Wallace High School proved to be a very arduous challenge to the team. However, both the spirit and commitment of the team to achieve a consolation score through Tim Webb in the second half were commendable. As in the previous season, the team demonstrated that it could compete with any other large rugby playing school outside of the traditionally powerful Belfast sides. An agonisingly narrow defeat away at Dalriada in the plate competition brought the season to a premature close.

I wish all the players well, who represented the 2nd XV over the course of the season, as many now look to progress to the 1st XV team next season. Particular thanks should be paid to Szymon Rydzewski who captained the side with distinction and who was faultless in his drive and energy both in training and matches throughout the entirety of the season.

-Mr G Nicholl, Teacher in Charge

BGS PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION

We have had another very busy and successful year organising events and continuing to raise funds for much needed (but non-budgetary) items for the school.

Each year, the Parent Teacher Association sets itself a goal of providing assistance to the school, which will benefit as many pupils as possible. Over the last year, we focused on providing funding for a variety of items to various departments, including the Maths Department, Literacy Initiative, Art Department, SENCO, Hockey, Music Department, English Department, Bridge Club, History Department and the Horticultural Club

Even though we are in a new school, we must remember that there are still many areas where the school may require some additional support. Therefore, the PTA, with the support of all parents, needs to be ready to help meet these needs as they develop.

The Parent Teacher Association is helping to:

  • Promote co-operation between Parents and Teaching Staff.
  • Help improve the amenities of Bangor Grammar School.
  • Advance the prestige of the School and to help maintain a high standard of Grammar School education

This year we will achieve these goals by working directly with and supporting the teaching staff to identify areas of much needed support, providing funds to support the purchase of non-budgeted items, sponsorship of special ties for service to the school and presenting the Award for Good Citizenship, which will continue to promote community support and involvement by the pupils of Bangor Grammar School

To help achieve our goals, the Parent Teacher Association has organised a series of events throughout the last academic year - Wine and Gin Tasting Events, Years 8 and 9 Discos (joint with Glenlola Collegiate School), a Quiz Night and 3 second-hand uniform sales.

During the winter term 2017, we will be organising:

  • Gala Ball at Clandeboye Lodge Hotel on 7th October 2017
  • Year 8 Disco (Joint event with Glenlola Collegiate School) in October 2017
  • Wine and Cheese Tasting in November 2017
  • Second-hand uniform collection & sale

During the spring and summer terms 2018, we will be organising:

  • Craft Beer Tasting in January 2018
  • Year 9 Disco (Joint event with Glenlola Collegiate School) in February/March 2018
  • Table Quiz in March 2018
  • Gin Tasting in June 2018
  • Two second-hand uniform collections & sales

These events are successful for a number of reasons - from parents and friends attending, donation of raffle prizes and the support from local businesses. Therefore, the Parent Teacher Association would like to express its thanks to all the parents, friends and supporters that attended the events throughout the year.

As you know, a Parent Teacher Association for a Grammar School is quite different from the Parent Teacher Association you will know from a Primary School. At Primary School, a social network of parents will have been built up over many years, as parents will have met each other through dropping their children off at the school and made some firm friends. When your son moved to Bangor Grammar School, the link between parents will not be so apparent, as your sons will start to travel to school by themselves and the parents will not have the opportunity to stop and chat to each other at the school gates. Therefore, friendships between parents of new boys attending will be that little more difficult to make. The events held by the Parent Teacher Association are a great way to make contact with other parents of new boys, which will provide each of us with mutual support for your son’s journey through Bangor Grammar School.

The interest that all of you have shown over the years is very much appreciated, as the Parent Teacher Association strives to create a community of friends. The Committee can organise a host of events through the year, but it is only through the support of the community of parents and friends that we will all achieve our targets. Therefore, please continue to come along with your friends and families to our events, and please help to spread the word of the work that we do. Thank you.

-Janet Scott, Chair, Parent Teacher Association

Grammarians Report 2016/17

The committee of Bangor Grammarians, under the continuing chairmanship of Geoffrey Miller, met on 10 occasions during the year.

The Bangor Dinner was held in the Marine Court Hotel on Friday 18 November 2016, with former pupil Joel Mawhinney as guest of honour. Swiftly earning himself an excellent reputation as a mentalist, Joel kept some 80 Grammarians mesmerised by his talents.

The London Dinner took place on Friday 24 March 2017 at the Wesley Hotel. There were 26 Grammarians in attendance, comprising past pupils from the 1960s to the current decade. Joel Mawhinney again provided the evening’s entertainment.

The usual sporting events took place during the year, with the golf outing, held at Bangor Golf Club on Friday 16 September, attracting no fewer than 14 participants. The Boxing Day hockey fixtures took place at the school. Two matches were played, indicating that this continues to be a very popular event.

The Grammarian, under the editorship of Terence Bowman, is again an excellent magazine with articles on notable events at the school, the many and diverse activities of our old boys, and the work of the association. The magazine is supplied in electronic format to new schoolboy members and to overseas recipients, and is also available via the website.

The association continued to support the careers initiative in the school with Grammarians contributing to the interview skills day and the careers fair.

Grammarians also took part in the Living Memory Project on 15 September 2016. This event started at the school, continued at the Somme Centre near Conlig and then ended at the Newtownards Road Cemetery in Bangor. Thanks are due to Ken Best for the work he put into this excellent and very moving event.

The committee made Ian Henderson, former chairman of the Board of Governors, an Honorary Grammarian for all his work on behalf of the school over many years.

In conclusion, may I pass on the thanks of the Grammarians Committee to the Board of Governors for permission to use the school facilities for our meetings and activities. Thanks also to the school Principal and to the teaching and administrative staff for all their support over the past year.

-Peter Blair, Hon Secretary, Grammarians

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