Enrichment Week successes at SGGS
'Last week, Stratford Girls' Grammar School students took part in the National Enterprise Challenge and Author Day celebrations, as part of the school’s ongoing commitment to developing students during the annual Enrichment Week.
In our latest blog, we hear from Year 9 students Aditi and Anna to find out which team qualified for the final of the National Enterprise Challenge and Year 7’s Isabel and Rosanna reflect on the fantastic experiences and activities that took place during Friday’s Author Day.
Over to Aditi Murthy and Anna Chater…
Every year, SGGS hosts the National Enterprise Challenge for students to hone their entrepreneurial, leadership, communication and teamwork skills.
Last week, Year 9 harnessed their creative energy with the opportunity to represent our school. For this year’s competition, high-street lender, NatWest, challenged students across the UK to create our own social enterprise to solve common issues affecting our daily life, school, family or local community. We teamed up in groups of six and quickly got to the tasks at hand, starting with appointing a Team Leader, designing a logo, slogan and advert, and brainstorming ideas – all factors that would contribute to a successful enterprise.
Channelling our entrepreneurial spirit
Over the course of the day, a team of mentors guided us through the process of creating our enterprises and gave us advice on how to further develop our ideas. By the end of the day, the eight most successful groups were selected to present their work to the rest of the year and the judging panel. Some of these included:
- Plant Ping’ - an informative app that helps you take care of your plant by giving you frequent reminders of your plant’s health levels. Additionally, it served as a platform where you could share your favourite types of plants, to spur reforestation. Their enterprise was presented enthusiastically; they came across deeply passionate about their subject…or it may just have been they were fantastic actors – kudos to Emily O’Dell for being an awesome plant mascot.
- ‘PERIOD.’ - a charity whose aim was to break the stigma around periods. They confidently presented their solution, and their speech was concise and detailed. Their brand is also a very clever play on words!
- ‘HabiHomes’ - a charity that sought to create caring homes for endangered or lost animals. Their poster work and social media campaigns were bold and captivating, and their presentation was highly informative. Clearly, they had spent a good amount of time fully developing each step of their idea to build a conceivable product.
- ‘Love to Sign’ - a learning app that helps people learn sign language. Their advert was of a deaf person being unable to order at a coffee shop due to the barista not knowing sign language until someone who was using the ‘Love to Sign’ app intervened and quickly resolved the issue. Their advert was effective, showing the real problems that people in the hard of hearing community face and producing a realistic solution to overcome the said problem.
Our Heads of House, Mr Giles, Mrs Stringer and Miss Dent worked together to make the difficult decision of selecting an overall winning team who will represent the school and compete (virtually, of course!) in the Grand Finals later this week..
And the winner is…
All eight groups who presented gave exceptional performances in front of the entire Year 9but unfortunately only one group could win - as it is with all competitions. The winner of this year's National Enterprise Challenge and who will represent SGGS in the final is... Love to Sign! They will go on to compete against 200 students across the UK to be crowned The National Enterprise Challenge Champions at the virtual 2021 Grand Finals.
Throughout the day, we improved our teamwork skills by working with people we might not necessarily work with during our day-to-day lessons. This encouraged us to work harder to learn everyone's strengths and attributes so we could find a role in the team best suited to them. Some people spent the day focusing on improving their leadership skills, and others their time management and creative thinking, but either way, we all gained something from the day and came out with a better understanding of entrepreneurship.
Over the last few months, the whole school has been extremely busy with end-of-year exams and assessments. This event gave us all the much-needed relief to think out of the box, express our creativity and at the same time think about the good of our society.
Next up, Isabell Bates and Rosanna Radomski details the events of Friday’s Author Day...
The National Enterprise Challenge was just one of many exciting events to take place at SGGS recently.
On Friday 9th July, Year 7 also participated in the school’s annual Author Day where we enjoyed a creative writing workshop with the incredible Catherine Bruton, the author of the award-winning novel ‘No Ballet Shoes in Syria’.
During the morning workshop, she answered our questions about being a successful author and kindly signed our own copies of her book. She explained her inspiration behind the story and giving us a brief synopsis of it. We were extremely curious to know how she managed to achieve such an accurate voice for the main character in her book - a refugee named Aya. Ms Bruton explained that she had met several refugee families and was able to gain the right sort of character for Aya, along with the necessary details for her backstory. It was somewhat shocking to us when she revealed that it had taken approximately a year for the book to be completed and many of us wondered if we would have enough patience to write a novel. Ms Bruton assured us however, that there were writers in amongst us in the room and we are eagerly waiting to see, in the next few years, whether her prediction will be true. Ms Bruton talked us through different points in stories and insisted that most plots follow the same pattern.
Reflecting afterwards, we were amazed and impressed to discover she was right and that made storytelling a lot clearer in our minds. We then attempted to write our own short stories using the five different objects and the key ingredients for a story to create a personal and interesting novel.
After break, we explored one of her most recent books ‘Another Twist in the Tale’, a spin-off from ‘Oliver Twist’. The main character, Oliver Twist’s twin sister doesn’t appear in the original book, so it was an excellent idea for her to be revealed to us. Writing spin-offs, we soon discovered, is a lot easier than starting from scratch, because we are able to use characters and plots from original tales and just tell it from a different perspective.
Finally, we were asked to write our own spin-off to a popular book or TV show featuring lesser-known characters as the main part. This was our favourite part of the morning as we were able to broaden our creativity, create a short story and let our imagination run wild. She took us through the separate stages of writing a story and how to tackle the larger, more challenging sections.
Throughout the day, we learned much from Ms Bruton, and about the key ingredients/pattern she uses to write her books. This motivated us to draw inspiration from our individual life experiences to write our own interesting novels, which aspiring writers within the Year Group especially enjoyed. We gained a great deal from this unique experience; it broadened our creativity and we hope that there will be more like it in the future.