The Abbey Michaelmas 2016, Edited by Laura bramall

Welcome to The Abbey newsletter for Michaelmas 2016. We are proud that everything in this publication has been created by the Abbey girls and edited by Laura Bramall (U6).

Unison success again

This term the Abbey girls lifted silverware once again in The House Unison competition. Their performance of Mika's We Are Golden was awarded the tophy for 'Highly Commended' girls house. The prize was fitting tribute to a superb performance by the girls.

The music was arranged by Lydia Johnson (U6) and she also accompanied the girls very professionally on the piano. The girls were also ably led by conductor Laura Bacon (U6).

Unison performance and celebrations

After Show Party

As ever the girls had put lots of effort into the rehearsals and the after show party was just reward for all of their efforts.

Pizza and dancing at the After Show Party

First term in B Block

B Block on the first day of term

The night of House Unison was great. For the first time, I felt part of Abbey. After enduring what seemed like thousands of rehearsals and being told countless times how amazing the night was I had high expectations. The dining room was frantic whilst everyone was preparing, people were desperately trying to tie the perfect bow on their heads with the dazzling golden threads, the sixth form looked bright to say the least. Everyone was taking pictures of each other and the atmosphere was ecstatic.

We were sitting at the top of Pears school watching the other houses and I was getting more nervous. As we waited to go on stage we could tell that a couple of performances weren't so good. We were waiting to go on to the stage when Cross sang and a few minutes later we were on the stage and the sixth form had just started their stomping, it was time for the embarrassing run, trying not to grin I strolled round the stage looking like an idiot. However, the night was amazing, even if we didn’t win the overall prize, we were so proud to take home the Girls' Highly Commended trophy.

In the hours before social, the B-block rooms were mayhem, outfits were being changed last minute and full-faces of makeup were being re-done. Just before the social started we went into the dining room to pose under the tree, the theme was Christmas morning and the A-block had stuck to it, going in their pyjamas but B-block ignored it, they went as glitzed up as the first social.

At the junior indoor hockey matches we gave it our best shot. Our first match was against Field and after beating them we were eager to go against Garden, with the A’s starting the match neither scoring nor conceding the B’s proved themselves and scored in the final minutes giving us the win. Mitre was our hardest match as their team was made of pure A team players however to the surprise of many we weren’t thrashed, the score was 3-1, with the B’s again scoring, which annoyed Mitre. At the end of it all we finished in 3rd place.

After the first term I feel very comfortable in Abbey and am excited for the rest of the year.

Zara Wedgwood (B Block)

Dress To Impress

A Block girls looking 'hip'

As a Reptonian the term ‘Dress to Impress’ has taken on a whole new meaning for me following my introduction to the annual Dress to Impress Day. In typical Abbey style the whole house got into the spirit of things and our costumes were the envy of all other houses!

All of us in B block looked super cute (if not a little warm) in our fluffy animal onesies. In complete contrast A block were very chilled. Hippie chic as never seen before. O block expressed their diversity in a colourful array of costumes ranging from Pink Ladies to lifeguards (Baywatch has nothing on the Abbey girls!). Lower Sixth, seemingly jaded by years of dressing to impress, just rolled out of bed and attended lessons in their pyjamas whereas the Upper Sixth cooked up a storm coming as their favourite celebrity chefs.

The inclusive and fun house spirit of Abbey ensured we all threw ourselves into the day and made it a day full of laughter.

Claudia Westwood (B Block)

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Girls enjoy 'Abbiza' night

A night in 'Abbiza'

On the second weekend of Michlemas term, despite the cool weather outside the Abbey’s walls, the Upper Sixth hosted an “Abbiza” night for the new arrivals. The dining room was expertly kitted out to Ciara’s vision with inflatable palm trees and individual Lei necklaces for everyone, and, with Hira on the music, it was hard to tell the difference from a real beach party.

After dinner the girls had the chance to mix their own mocktails-complete with sparkly straws and decorative sugar. There’s no doubt that the quantity of e-numbers consumed had something to do with the hyperactive dancing which was led by Haskell and Catherine and consisted mainly of dropping and dabbing.

With noise complaints coming from New House we were forced to continue the party in the garden where a competitive game of volleyball took place alongside an equally ruthless fight for the assortment of cocktail sausages and crisps. When the snacks were gone the match continued to the soundtrack of Steps and S Club 7 performed by a select number of elite singers from all years and directed by Lj.

The night was a great success and everyone agreed that the evening was just what the new girls needed to help them settle in, it’s obvious that the upcoming events the upper sixth have planned for the house will be very popular and we hope the girls are looking forward to them

Ella Clowes (U6)

B Block impressions of Abbiza

On Saturday 10th we had Abbiza night and it was to get to know everyone in the house and to have lots of fun. First, we had some Abbiza food which went with the theme. Then we stayed in house before the party which we had with mixed mocktails. Everyone was dancing for most of the night, so when everyone got tired we all went outside and played volleyball which was really enjoyable. During volleyball people were chatting and eating chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks while listening to music on the picnic blanket, Abbiza night was a good night for all the Abbey!

Abbie Leverton (B Block)

Abbey full of Christmas Spirit

Throughout the newsletter you will see entries showing how The Abbey girls entered the spirit of Christmas. It was kicked off by the 'O Block' decorating our Dining Room, followed by a celebration for everyone at the big 'switch-on' of the lights. There were Junior and Senior Christmas Socials and the U6 also set up a chocolate fountain as a treat for when they had finished packing on the last night. Most importantly however, there was the annual room decorating competition - this year judged by former Tutor and Abbey legend, Mr Plowright

Room Decorating Competition

Our winners!
A Stunning Lighting Display

It was very good to be back in the Abbey to judge the Christmas room decorations. After popping into the Dining Room to admire the Christmas tree dressed by O Block and to cast a glance at the piano which has backed so many Unison wins I accompanied Mrs Wilbraham to the competing rooms.

First we admired Room 18 or, to be precise, we first admired the tree outside Room 18 before revelling in the room’s contents which included everything from mulled ‘wine’ to Santa’s legs protruding from a makeshift chimney, looking a little like he'd had a terrible accident. Pausing only to adapt the lyrics of Lennon and McCartney’s ‘Yesterday’ (Amputee – he’s just half the man he used to be), we moved on to Room 21 and the invigorating rigours of a two-minute timed Christmas-themed quiz. I proved myself incapable of remembering all the reindeers’ names (despite Mrs Wilbraham’s help) but took cheer from scoring well on ‘A Christmas Carol’. The room exuded a generosity of spirit which took particularly welcome material form in the shape of chocolate Santas.

I felt at first on entering Room 22 that I was engaged in a drugs raid but quickly realized that what initially appeared to be a superabundance of ‘blow’ on one of the desks was in reality a very liberal sprinkling of ersatz snow. So instead of artificial highs Mrs Wilbraham and myself drank in the invention and high spirits of the room’s occupants.

Room 1d was an inventively immersive experience, with Santa’s grotto itself decked out like an enormous wrapped present. Hospitality was again present, with hot chocolate this time accompanying the edibles.

Last but not least was a trip to Room 4 where a reindeer stood guard at the door, tinsel and fairy lights complemented a bauble-bedecked pink Christmas tree and a representative sampling of the latest generation of Abbey girls lit up the room.

Sadly, not everyone can be a winner but all those who took part should be commended on their ingenious efforts which brightened their rooms and my evening.

Mr Plowright

The Competitors

Debating Final Again

It takes a certain type of person to enter the debatasphere, but when they do, and when they realise its virtues, they are invariably consumed within it forever. While three members of the Abbey debating team were regulars in the debataworld, Ella Clowes (U6) was the newbie, having successfully avoided it for almost her entire Repton career. A feigned reluctance (and pure terror) is a matter of course for anyone experiencing the sport of debating for the first time, but Ella unveiled her secret talent, and combined with Alice Earwicker (L6) to make a formidable duo. This pair was possibly the best thing to happen to Abbey this term, storming to (almost) victory in all three of their preliminary rounds and qualifying comfortably for the semi-finals. Alice, a stalwart of the debataverse, despite being forced (by Ella) to do all of the whip speeches, managed not only to deliver her own highly intellectual and cleverly structured speeches, but also to rein in Ella’s (too) personal anecdotes much to everyone’s relief. It was largely due to this team that Abbey was the only house to have two teams in the semi-final and is therefore the most successful debating contingent in the whole of history (ever).

At this point, I must not forget my own debatapartner, Sophie Palmer (O). Having been lost to the debatasphere years ago, Sophie will undoubtedly go down in debatahistory as a debataGod. I have had the privilege of competing with many a debatapartner, but none has, or will, surpass Sophie in her unrivalled winning-debates-with-no-points skills and pure debatakeeness. It is very much due to Sophie (a.k.a. Dop) that, as a pair, we stormed to (actual) victory in all three of our preliminary rounds and have qualified for the final next term, at which I hope the masses will turn out to appreciate Dop’s debataskills.

The house debating journey has by no means ended, and after the final next term, I know that the Abbey debatalegacy will continue, with keen new debaters Amber Harcus (A) and Shirley Yu (A) recently beginning their own debatajourneys and showing a great deal of debatapromise. Thanks to everyone involved, and well done for surviving to the end of this article, but shhhh…still no one’s found out about our secret team training.

Laura Bramall (U6)

Pop corn for sale

Sale of Work shows great teamwork

One of the privileges of being in the Lower Sixth is organising the Sale of Work stalls for the Abbey. This year we had all the usual stalls; Millie’s Cookies, Face Painting, Candy Floss and Popcorn as well as a game stall which the B Block ran. This year in our prime spot, the Candy Floss and Popcorn stall proved more popular than ever, especially before the fireworks display at the end of Sale of Work. The O Block in charge of the stall were inundated with orders! The whole house got involved and it was amazing to see the Abbey house spirit, even in those who had only just joined this year. As ever the Abbey girls were exceptional and despite the freezing conditions, everyone had a smile on their faces and worked really hard to raise as much money as possible. Well done girls!

Alice Earwicker (L6)

Sale of Work - Team effort

American Idols at Cabaret

Parents threw themselves into the spirit of our House Cabaret.

For our Abbey Cabaret this year the L6th came together to organise an 'American Heroes' night of fun and amazing performances.

It was great to see so many of our parents entering into the spirit of things by dressing up for the evening in the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Hillary Clinton and Pamela Anderson. After an American themed dinner of burgers and doughnuts (courtesy of Nigel and the rest of Abbey's fantastic catering team) the parents were treated to a number of acts. Each year group performed a song that fell in with the theme of America and there were also a number of incredible solo acts from Lauren Owen (L6), Alice McShane (O Block), Lucy Goodacre and Elli Henson (Both L6). The night came to an end with a performance from all the girls of our House Unison Song, 'We are Golden', in which we scored Highly Commended. Special mention should also be given to Izzy Hurren (L6) for providing an expert General Knowledge quiz which was greatly enjoyed.

The Abbey is renowned for being the house that will always give 100%, no matter the event, and this was evident in our cabaret. We are so lucky to have a house full of girls who put so much effort and enthusiasm into everything they do. The same can be said of our parents, who generously contributed £1,500 for our Sale of Work Charities. Thank you so much to the L6 for organising such a wonderful event and to everyone else involved!

Pippa Coombs (L6)

A Block hit the stage

Great Swimming displays

House Swimming Team come a close second to Mitre.

House Swimming so close!

The Abbey Girls have always been known for their spirit and enthusiasm for any house event, and despite it being one of the less popular ones, house swimming was no exception. The promise of the chocolate night that followed spurred the girls on to a solid second place, a big improvement from the 4th place in the relays earlier this term.

Starting with the Juniors: taking the Clowes sisters’ place, our new timekeeper, Kate, put herself up to the position, demonstrating the usual classic Abbey Girl spirit with her willingness to contribute. This attitude prevailed throughout the age group with all the girls swimming excellently. A special mention goes to Millie, who epitomized an Abbey Girl, when pulled from the spectator’s seats, she stepped up to swim in the final relay just seconds before the start of the race.

The O block maintained their high standard of performance from last year, performing well in both the individuals and the relays.

Finally, in the seniors Clauds proved that her sporting talent reaches beyond tennis and hockey with her impressive second in the 100m freestyle, and the age group won the medley relay thanks to Pippa’s breastroke and LJ’s new found talent for butterfly. For most of us, it’s our final year of the relays, and having come last pretty much every year, it was amazing to do so well, and hopefully our success will carry on for the rest of the year.

Catherine McEwan (U6)

Caroline Tyler Relays

Despite the Caroline Tyler relays being possibly the least popular house event of the year, nothing dampens the Abbey girls house spirit, and we ended up with plenty of willing volunteers for swimming, timekeeping and the crowd was jam-packed with Abbey supporters.

We had a great start with the B Block coming in second, with an excellent performance from the year . The sixth form team also came in a close second place. The final, and main event was the whole house relay, which proved to be an exciting photo-finish between three of the houses. Sadly, we just missed out and came fourth, but the cheering and effort put in by the team shows our strong house spirit. Despite a disappointing overall fourth place, we still managed to cheer the loudest, and hopefully our efforts will pay off in house swimming later this term.

Spirited House Hockey

Senior Hockey Team

Tuesday the 6th December saw the Abbey Girls wander down to the Astro in sub-zero temperatures. Leggings had been adorned by many, however, arriving slightly late and then being told they no longer qualified as school kit meant we started a man down. This did not deter us as we fought hard against Garden with them only scoring one, and Sophie Earp the other, just in our own goal. We were pretty pleased with the 2-0 loss, although to us we were counting it as a victory. Next were Mitre, against whom Sophie Richards (O) had her best game in goal, saving many of the England players’ shots. Just a few slipped in which meant we couldn’t quite scrape a victory there either. The term ‘rabbit in headlights’ is a good way to describe our defence in our last match against Field. Many of the Abbey girls decided their faces were more valuable than perhaps the loss of the match. However, all of the girls carried their house spirit with them and were able to keep the score line ‘relatively’ low (less than 10).

Indoor Hockey Team

Indoor house hockey was marginally more successful! Field were up first this time, and we were ready, with 3-1 more than respectable. Confidence was on a high and as we watched from on high we were learning all the time. A slight dip in performance against Garden only spurred us to produce our best performance against Mitre. Losing 3-2 to the overall winners and giving Mitre their closest game was certainly impressive from our fairly novice side, lead well by indoor specialist Emily (L6) who scored all of our goals.

Claudia Johnson (U6)

Our Junior League team came 3rd in a very enjoyable competition.
Senior Hockey League Team also came 3rd and even had some special (Junior) guests in their final match.

Life On The Top Corridor

An irreverent look at life in the Upper 6th

Halloween on the top corridor

Throughout our entire time at Repton, we’ve been told that in Upper Sixth, you need to work hard. The majority of us, excluding Catherine (Catherine was wise from a young age), thought that we had been working hard. A couple of hours of revision here and there, all our prep in on time and more importantly, staying out of trouble; the last one didn't always work so well last year. The shocking realisation that working hard meant less grubber trips and less time to watch TV on netflix surprised us. Catherine was not surprised. Yet, despite our best efforts to work hard, Hattie still has ‘no’ prep, Gan has too much photography but has time for toast and, all of the girls taking sciences are still to be found on a regular basis in the link discussing Doc I in his Smi-Pri, how much work they have and how they really should be doing it. As a fully fledged Abbey girl, it would be rude not to mention how much we love not doing what we should be doing and procrastinating to the point of napping instead. I’m a strong believer that a good four to six hour nap every afternoon will set you up with enough energy to get through prep; sometimes this theory is disproved by Loll Bacon who will continue to nap though to the following morning.

Somehow, whilst slightly unbelievable, we’ve all successfully managed to finish off the term relatively unscathed and with our teachers blissfully unaware that there are other subjects besides their own. Thank you Mr Swanston for the holiday work. In the last few weeks of term, I took a tally of how many times the phrases, ‘I’m tired’, ‘I’m going for a nap’ and ‘Shall I go to my next lesson?’ have been said and I’ve come to the conclusion that we do deserve this Christmas holiday.

Rebecca Trafford (U6)

New to our Team

Our New Matron - Philippa Cripps

1. What is your favourite thing about Abbey so far? Friendly girls and staff!

2. Describe Abbey in 3 words. Welcoming, happy, polite.

3. Describe yourself in 3 words. 3 ‘M’s- Mum, Matron, Musical.

4. What did you find the strangest/weirdest thing in Abbey when you first came here? Why are B, A, O blockers called that? (Non-specific to Abbey!).

5. What would you do if you won the lottery? Help my daughters onto the property ladder and buy a horse if anything left over.

6. What are your hobbies outside of Repton? Walking (ha ha!), horse riding, theatre, opera, going to exhibitions, galleries and concerts.

7. Do you have a lifelong dream, if so, what is it? To realise my plans and design for a new kitchen extension.

8. What’s one thing would you put on your bucket list? To do the pilgrimage walk El Caminio de Santiago de Campestela (Spain).

Tutor - Mrs Wheeldon

1. What is your favourite thing about Abbey so far? The fab, friendly atmosphere.

2. Describe Abbey in 3 words. Bright, enthusiastic and lively.

3. Describe yourself in 3 words. Creative, curious, easy-going.

4. What did you find the strangest/weirdest thing in Abbey when you first came here? The idea of a special night just for cheese eating!

5. What would you do if you won the lottery? Open a chain of shops that sell affordable art-subsidised for young people, or those with a passion.

6. What are your hobbies outside of Repton? Family, friends and cooking.

7. Do you have a lifelong dream, if so, what is it? I would love to have trained to be a vet, or perhaps run some kind of animal sanctuary.

8. What’s one thing would you put on your bucket list? Banger car racing.

Tutor - Ms Perrierre

1. What is your favourite thing about Abbey so far? My tutees, of course ! The A block!

2. Describe Abbey in 3 words. Welcoming, independent, Gold!

3. Describe yourself in 3 words. Perfectionist, caring, passionate.

4. What did you find the strangest/weirdest thing in Abbey when you first came? Girls were not needy at all! The Abbey is a very ‘independent’ house….the girls take care of themselves.

5. What would you do if you won the lottery? Travel the world on a boat to experience new cultures and meet different people.

6. What are your hobbies outside of Repton? EATING! (Love a big cheese board with red wine!). Watching films/Netflix and Travelling.

7. Do you have a lifelong dream, if so, what is it? To win the lottery! More seriously, to be able to speak other languages (other than French and English).

8. What’s one thing would you put on your bucket list? To see the Northern Lights! Hopefully that should be for February 2018!

Lauren as Estella

Abbey Girls in the School Plays

This year we welcomed the new drama teacher Mrs Bardsley into the Repton community and the dramatic term started at force.

The first production held was ‘Out of the Box’, a trio of twisted fairy tales that both amused and startled the audience. This featured Three classic fairy tales; Beauty and the Beast, Blue beard and The Emperor’s new clothes had gruesome, shocking twists which inevitably ended in the ‘happily ever after.’ Ellie Henson (L6) was excellent in her first acting performance at the school.

This year’s main school play was ‘Great Expectations’ written by Charles Dickens. Many Abbey girls participated in this great production that engaged all types of actors. The show, which ran for three nights in the 400 Hall Theatre was a great success and enjoyed by all who participated and watched.

Assistant Director, Ana Man (O Block) worked tirelessly to ensure the play was a success and she can be very proud of her efforts. Sophie Richards (O Block) and Lucy Richards (B Block) also performed well. Liv Mitchell (U6) also worked well back stage on hair and make up.

Lauren Owen

Socials 'Up Their Game'

B Block before the Junior Christmas Social

Repton has always been proud of its entertainment, and the school socials have really upped their game this year- they’ve turned into an evening of laughter, fun and dancing that everyone can enjoy. And thanks to Aaron Hibell on the music, there is never a quiet moment inside the studio theatre.

The hours leading up to 7pm are filled with preparations of every kind; there are final outfit changes and choices, makeup disasters- quickly fixed by a skilled hand, hair curling and straightening hot seats on the go in every room and most importantly: pictures.

The Junior Socials are always famous for their outgoing fancy dress costumes and the competitive streak in everyone really begins to shine as everyone is eager to be best dressed. Without fail, there are always two types of girls in Abbey: those whose highlight from the night was the lashings of Domino’s pizza they consumed, and those who have come away with thirty photo booth pictures of them and their friends. Either way, everyone finds something they enjoy.

Senior socials have addressed so many requests that pupils have been putting forward and it seems that everything we have asked for has been provided for us by the Social Committee and the staff behind it all. The year grouped dinner beforehand gives everyone a chance to have a drink and some food with their friends before the party begins over in the studio theatre.

Once it’s all over and done with on a Saturday night, and everyone is sat in the link with a bowl of cereal and a cup of tea, it becomes clear from all the stories and tales that there is never anyone who didn’t have a great night. Most come back with a story to tell and new gossip to spread but every Abbey girl comes away from the socials with a smile on their face.

Immy Clowes (L6)

Junior and Senior Social pictures from the term.

Message from Mrs Wilbraham

A brief glance through this amazing newsletter shows what a busy and eventful term the Abbey girls have had, and to have made it to the end with smiles on their faces and a wonderful rendition of 'Twelve Days of Christmas' was joyous, and a relief! Congratulations to the girls, from 'Abbiza' night, to Sale of Work and House Cabaret, House Hockey and of course Unison, they have organised and involved themselves enthusiastically and with tremendous self-motivation and independence of spirit. This strength epitomises what I love about the Abbey and it is always a pleasure to tot up the Colours points and to award House badges at House Supper. This term, congratulations must go to Amber Harcus (A), and Sophie Richards, Charlotte Abell and Eliza Benson (all O Block) for achieving their Junior House Colours, and Laura Bramall, Claudia Johnson, and our own Head of House, Catherine McEwan, who all gained their Senior Colours. Well done indeed!

We welcomed new staff to the Abbey family this term. New tutors in the form of Marie Perriere and Jude Wheeldon, and Philippa Cripps who joined us as Matron. Sadly, Philippa suffered a broken ankle, which turned out to be more complicated than we at first thought, but she has done a sterling job to recover and get back into the swing of things. Thanks to the welcome of the girls and all the house staff, Jude, Marie and Philippa have all settled in well and it is lovely to read their Q & As in this newsletter.

I hope that the Sixth Form have taken heed of all of the uniform discussions and the new guidelines set out from January, and that everyone returns in a positive, caring and supportive frame of mind text term. There have been some ups and downs with friendships in the Abbey this term, so perhaps to reflect on those unkind words you have said, or that thoughtless act, might lead to a New Year Resolution to say sorry and to show greater compassion and empathy. The Abbey is and should be a friendly sanctuary from all the challenges that school life sometimes places in our way.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and generous gifts, and on behalf of Tim, Sophie and Charlie, I hope that everyone has a restful holiday, and a very Merry Christmas.

Happy Christmas!

Images taken by the girls at our House Supper

Happy Christmas! Mr and Mrs Wilbraham at our House Supper with guest Mrs Tenant and Laura Bramall and Lydia Johnson (both U6).

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