In a special series of features over the summer break, we will be looking back at the prominent stories that made the headlines over the course of the academic year at Rydal Penrhos.
It has been another outstanding year of achievement across the board, and in our latest installment we look at part one of May’s big stories:
The special guest at this year’s Speech Day was Denise Hampson, a former Penrhos College pupil and British Cycling champion who is a behavioural economist and has worked on the British Aerospace Eurofighter Typhoon project.
The awards ranged from academic to music, with all departments also nominating a standout pupil for an award.
Some of the big winners included Head Boy Adam Sabri and Head Girl Charlotte Owen, while the gifted pair of Isabel Demel and Will Marston also picked up numerous prizes.
There were also speeches from Headmaster Simon Smith and newly appointed Chairman of Governors Julian Barnes, while there were musical performances from Zahra Shamsi and Rydal Penrhos’ Senior Choir.
Charlotte and Adam then gave their own address recalling some of their fondest memories of their time at the school, with everything including stage selfies to cricket mishaps featured in the highly entertaining speech.
Academic Scholars turned out in force to support a new learning scheme at the school.
As part of a new initiative, a large number of pupils took part in the first of four sessions on Monday, May 1, which have been designed to stimulate discussion and development beyond the main curriculum, and to allow those whose academic potential has been recognised to expand it further.
The session was language driven and based on the theme of 'curiosity', with the group discussing why the subject is essential for learning in order to discover new skills and gain information.
Julian Barnes was appointed the new Chairman of Governors at Rydal Penrhos, replacing Ian Morris who stepped down due to ill-health.
He said: “Much of my understanding of what is truly important in life has come from my happy days at school. Never much of a scholar and always a jack of all trades, I still regard my time in school as a life changer.
“It gave me a broad perspective and I learned to mix with people of many different backgrounds. Little did I know I would spend my working life using those skills all over the world.
“I will try to bring a strong sense of direction through a clear strategy that places the well-being and academic success of our pupils at the forefront of our aims.
Jack Sissons, together with twins Will and Katie Marston, travelled to Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, May 24, where they received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
The event was attended by HRH Prince Phillip in what is expected to be his final appearance at the Presentation before retiring from public duties.
The trio had the chance to speak with the Prince after receiving their award, and they also got the chance to speak to BBC Breakfast presenters Carol Kirkwood and Steph McGovern.
As part of the school’s Music Week initiative, department director Pete Williams and other staff performed an impromptu version of the James Bay smash hit Hold Back the River, which saw pupils also stand up and join in.
The ‘Flash Mob’ video has gathered a staggering amount of interest on social media, with almost 11,000 viewing the scene on Rydal Penrhos’ Facebook page, while it was also provoked an extremely positive response on Twitter.
It was the latest in an extremely busy day for music lovers at the school, with saxophone star Sam Jones performing a series of solo hits in the Memorial Quad during morning break.
Mike Phillips, who surpassed the record set by Dwayne Peel as the most capped scrum-half Wales’ history, was on hand to give out the prizes at our annual Sports Awards on Friday, May 5, just a few short hours before he played his final professional contest in Sale Sharks’ dramatic 27-24 success over Bath.
The 34-year-old, who earned a staggering 94 caps for his country, also took part in a special question and answer session with Director of Sport Allen Boyd following the presentations, where he spoke about his school days, his life as a professional and offered advice to the aspiring athletes in the room.
It has been another hugely successful year of sporting achievement at Rydal Penrhos, which was highlighted with the large number of pupils receiving the Headmaster’s Award given for international recognition.
Dan Owen headed the list after earning four Wales U18 rugby caps, while Martyna Ruszkowska (Swimming), Zac Blomeley and Ewan Luke (Sailing) and Josh Thomas and Jacob Heaton-Rue (Hockey) all received the honour after impressing on the national stage.
Head Boy and RGC U18 star Adam Sabri took home both the Morphy Cup and Director of Sport Award for his outstanding overall contribution, while the Derbyshire Cup went to Elinor Davies.