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Smashed it! Sixth-formers’ charity dinner raises more than double their target

Two Sixth Form pupils secured well over £11,000 when they organised their first-ever major charity event – easily beating their £5,000 target.

Year 13’s Parth Gosalia and Year 12 boy Rishi Shah put together a grand dinner, including entertainment, because both have roles as Youth Teachers at the Shri Chandana Vidyapeeth Jain School in Edgware and they were keen to demonstrate young people making a positive difference in society.

The dinner, which took place at the Shishukunj Community Centre in Edgware, was held in aid of two charities: Debra, which supports people suffering from a skin condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), and Veerayathan Nepal, which is raising money for children orphaned by the large Nepal earthquake of 2015.

Some 120 people attended the event, including committee members from the Jain School, charity representatives and local business people. Parth and Rishi worked with a third Youth Teacher, Shyam Shah, who is not a QE pupil.

The final total – not including Gift Aid – came to £11,434, which was amassed through sales, a raffle and pledges. The entertainment at the dinner included a guitarist and a magician.

Parth, who has an offer to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Christ Church, Oxford, and was a QE Vice-Captain last year, compered the event. “It was daunting at first and I was nervous to begin with, but in the end I really enjoyed the night,” he said.

“Organising the evening was a good experience for us as youth leaders: we got ‘tighter’ and learned much more about each other through the process. It was eye-opening and very rewarding.”

Rishi, who is a current Vice-Captain, delivered a 25-minute presentation on the charities’ work.

Two years ago, he visited a school run by Veerayathan, which is an Indian NGO operating internationally. The dinner was, however, raising money specifically towards its work in Nepal, where the organisation is building a centre close to Kathmandu to house and educate children orphaned in the earthquake. It will also offer adult education courses.

Jenny Jackson, Debra UK’s Business Development Manager, and Christo Kapourani, a sufferer from EB, both spoke at the dinner, and Mr Kapourani also announced the final total towards the end of the evening.

Rishi said: “I feel personally connected to these charities, therefore it was easy to present with passion. That, allied with the presentations from the Debra representatives, had a high emotional impact, which undoubtedly inspired the guests to be generous with their pledges.”

Rishi hopes to go to Nepal this summer to work as a volunteer and to present the money raised.

Another QE boy, Aaryan Sheth, of Year 11, also assisted on the day.

Out of sight but, please, not out of mind: old boy returns to School to give an update on the international refugee crisis

The international migrant crisis in southern Europe may have faded from the headlines in recent months, but the humanitarian challenge remains, Old Elizabethan Nicholas Millet reminded QE boys when he returned to his alma mater.

Nick (OE 2001–2008) co-founded Refugee Education Chios, which provides education, support and training for teenagers and young adults living on the Greek island of Chios, which became a de facto detention centre after the 2016 EU-Turkey agreement.

The project offers safe places – a youth centre and a learning centre – outside the Vial detention camp, reaching up to 250 children and youth aged up to 22 each week. Both centres tailor their work to the refugees’ particular needs, with, for example, the learning centre offering a trauma-sensitive curriculum and the youth centre helping teenagers develop trusting relationships and confidence in their own abilities and skills.

He spoke to boys in the middle years of QE about the charity’s work and about the migrant crisis in general, highlighting the ongoing nature of the problem, which, he said, was all too easily forgotten.

Thanking him for his visit, Head of Academic Enrichment Nisha Mayer said afterwards: “Nick provided an enormously insightful and, at times, emotional talk, which was a good reminder of the importance of being involved with humanitarian causes.”

Nick first got involved in the refugee relief work before the 2016 agreement came into force. Inspired to take action to help refugees by a weekend visit to the ‘Jungle’ camp at Calais, he put his successful career as a management consultant on hold and flew to Chios, which lies just 7km off the mainland of Turkey.

The island was the arrival point for the highest number of refugees after Lesbos, with up to 1,500 men, women and children making the journey across the Aegean Sea every night at that time. During his talk, Nick showed the boys photographs of refugees arriving on Chios, often in perilously overloaded rubber dinghies. Other images revealed the poor conditions in the camp.

Nick, of Stanmore, has a history of involvement in humanitarian projects. Shortly after leaving QE, he spent time at the Sri Sathya Sai School – a village school in Kerala, India, which QE has supported since 2002. And, while he was reading for the Politics, Psychology and Sociology Tripos at Cambridge, he undertook research for the Grameen Bank, the Nobel Prize-winning microfinance organisation based in Bangladesh which works to help the poor.

On his most recent visit to QE, Nick mentioned especially the desperate plight of lone child refugees, telling the boys: “Children are sent because their parents can’t afford for the whole family to escape.”

Christmas festivities and the season of goodwill at Queen Elizabeth’s School

Festive traditions taking in church, charity and Christmas lunch helped bring the Autumn Term to a suitably seasonal end.

The Service of Nine Lessons & Carols at Chipping Barnet Parish featured Christmas music spanning the centuries. Boys and staff raised money for local charities seeking to help the disadvantaged. And the penultimate day of term brought the ever-popular full Christmas lunch in the Dining Hall.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We had a busy, enjoyable end to the term, with boys also taking time among all the festivities to remember those less fortunate than themselves. As we begin the holidays, I extend my very best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.”

At the Carol Service, the congregational singing began with Once in royal David’s city and ended with Hark! The herald angels sing. Interspersed were musical offerings from the Chamber Choir and the School Choir, including their respective renditions of the modern A Child is born in Bethlehem by Malcolm Archer and John Rutter’s Christmas Lullaby, as well as an introit by 16th-century Renaissance composer Palestrina, performed by the Chamber Choir.

The ‘nine lessons’ (Bible readings) were read by a boy from each year, including School Captain Aashish Khimasia, and by staff, culminating in the Headmaster’s traditional Christmas contribution from the opening chapter of St John’s Gospel.

The service was preceded by a short reception for staff past and present, and for governors, members of The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s and alumni. The reception was held close to the parish church in Tudor Hall, Wood Street, the historic home of the School until it moved to its present location in 1932.

While charity work takes place throughout the year at QE, a special effort is made at Christmas, the traditional season of goodwill. This year, there was a collection for the local food bank and for a local homelessness charity. Boys and members of staff contributed over a week-long period, and a large volume of donations was made.

These charity efforts were organised by Head of Extra-Curricular Enrichment, Rebecca Grundy, with the assistance of prefects.

In addition, in line with recent QE tradition, boys from the School Choir went out carol-singing in aid of Cherry Lodge Cancer Care in Barnet.

Spirit of service: sixth-formers determined to help the homeless

A group of sixth-formers are working to set up a new charity in London after spending a day out on the streets helping the homeless.

Kieran Dhrona, Humzah Hameed and Kabishan Sivarasan, along with a non-QE friend, planned the event in which around a dozen of their friends from QE and a further 25 from other schools, spent a Saturday handing out essential provisions to homeless people in the heart of the West End.

The group, all in Year 12, gathered packs of water, non-perishable foods, clothes and toiletries from friends and families which they then distributed to those they encountered living on the street. On the day, 85 packs were given out and the volunteers engaged with more than 100 people. In certain cases, where additional needs were observed, they took other steps, such as bringing hot food.

Headmaster Neil Enright said “I sincerely commend the boys for taking the initiative and giving up their own time to organise and participate in this charitable event. It sets a fine example to their peers whilst embodying the QE spirit of service unto others.”

Throughout the day the boys had conversations with people living on the streets from Soho through Leicester Square and Embankment down to Southwark. They gently asked the homeless people they encountered how they came to be in their current position and made sure they were aware of the work of Centrepoint. Centrepoint is a leading homelessness charity which provided a room for the volunteers to use as a base for the day.

Kieran, Humzah and Kabishan are working to set up a new charity called youthconnectionlondon which will focus on helping the homeless in the capital. “The more we grow, the more people we can help,” said Kieran. They are also exploring whether they can work further with Centrepoint, looking for a base from which they could prepare hot food.

Kieran had previous experience of similar charitable activities with his family when younger. “I was touched by it and so thought I’d use my initiative to start this project. We all live in a wealthy city and have grown up in comfort, and often don’t see how others live – yet you have wealth and poverty in such proximity. We are the future generation and it is really important that we make a contribution as early as possible to keep this vital work going.”

They are establishing a social media presence and working on a website to draw in further volunteers.

“I wish them every success as they attempt to establish this charity and help more people as they progress,” said Mr Enright.

Back on top! Stapylton regain their title as QE’s leading House after a year of competition

Stapylton House are the winners of the 2017/18 House Cup – reclaiming the coveted trophy from last year’s champions, Underne.

Stapylton’s victory means this House has now won the trophy – formally the Eric Shearly Memorial Cup – for three of the last four years.

The triumph was announced at the end-of-year House assembly, where the cup was presented to House Captain Oliver Than-Lu and his Deputy, Omar Taymani, both from Year 12 (pictured above).

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My congratulations go to all Stapylton boys: this victory reflects their consistency of achievement in extra-curricular enrichment activities across the academic year, with the older boys’ efforts being boosted by a particularly strong Year 7 cohort. I trust that boys in other Houses will be inspired to redouble their efforts next year to challenge Stapylton for the crown.”

The assembly celebrated outstanding performances over a wide range of fields, including the performing arts, sport and charity work.

For this year’s House Drama competition, participants were challenged to produce original plays on the theme of a dystopian future: Leicester won the competition for the third consecutive year.

The House Music competition was won by Pearce.

In chess, the winners of various competitions were honoured, as were the boys chosen to receive junior, intermediate and senior colours.

Similarly, the assembly highlighted the names of boys who had won colours for music and sports.

There was a review of performances in sport throughout the year, including cricket, rugby, water polo, swimming and athletics. One innovation was the announcement of ‘teams of the year’ for cricket and rugby, which included leading performers from all year groups.

House charity fund-raising events during the year were celebrated, together with the work done to support the Sri Sathya Sai English Medium School in Kerala, India, with which QE has enjoyed a longstanding partnership.

Participation in The Duke of Edinburgh Award at QE remains strong: 100 boys from Year 10 enrolled for the bronze award in October and are due to complete their Qualifying Expedition in August, it was announced, while 34 Year 11 pupils signed up for the silver award and 18 Year 12 boys for the gold.

The assembly also recounted details of:

  • The various challenges run on a specially arranged House Afternoon
  • The QIQE quiz, which was by Stapylton
  • A number of House competitions run by the academic departments: these included, for example, a Languages competition to design a poster about a famous and influential linguist, which was won by Year 8 Stapylton pupil Jashwanth Parimi, and a photography competition for Years 7–9 run by the Geography department.
The poet and the prince

Old Elizabethan George ‘the Poet’ Mpanga was among the commentators turned to by the BBC for an insider’s perspective following the announcement of the royal engagement.

George is an ambassador for Sentebale, one of Prince Harry’s charitable foundations, which supports the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people affected by HIV in Lesotho and Botswana. Having observed the prince’s work there at first hand, he was interviewed for a primetime BBC1 documentary about the engagement, fronted by Kirsty Young.

“I have seen the kids react when Harry is around – they really take to him. Harry seems to have a way with the kids, man!” said George, who stated that the importance of the charity lies in the fact that there is still a stigma surrounding HIV.

Prince Harry’s motivation for being involved was clear, George added. “He cares. It bothers him that some people are just dealt a raw hand, and it’s important for people to know that someone in his position has that empathy.”

George (OE 2002–2009) has a growing national profile as a poet commenting on major issues of the day. Earlier this year, he released a video showing himself reading a poem on hate crime. The video was produced in collaboration with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to coincide with the anniversary of the murder of MP Jo Cox. He also performed in front of the Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May at the Service of Celebration for Commonwealth Day in Westminster Abbey.

""During the documentary, George spoke out about the fact that the ethnic background of Meghan Markle has attracted comment in some quarters: “Why should it be controversial that someone is mixed-race? What’s the issue?”

He even had his own tongue-in-cheek assessment of the prince’s fiancée: “I perceive Meghan to be an amazing talent – you know, she’s a catch!”

George was a well-received guest speaker at QE’s Year 12 formal Luncheon, as well as leading a poetry workshop for the whole of Year 9.

Bearing gifts: QE Christmas collection crowns a year of charity fund-raising

The School’s Christmas food and clothing collection has brought in a bumper amount, capping a successful year of support for local and international charities.

Every December, QE gathers food and clothing for the Chipping Barnet Food Bank and for Homeless Action in Barnet respectively. In 2017, this was overseen by Vice-Captains Abbas Adejonwo and Adam Chong, of Year 13, in the final weeks of their term of office, and by Physics teacher Georgina Garfield.

The December collections are only one part of QE’s wider charity activities. These include fundraising for the long-established Sai School Appeal in support of a village school in south-west India – which made some £3,000 this year – as well as the House charity events, which together have raised about £350 for the QE charity of the year, Orbis.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “In the festive season – a season characterised by goodwill on the one hand and by excess on the other – it is important to remember those less fortunate than ourselves and to do what we can to help those in need. ‘Service unto others’ is a key part of the School’s ethos, and it is good to see this in action through student-led charitable activities at Christmas and throughout the School year.”

Pupils had a key role in establishing the food bank collection, which has been running for a number of years. Boys continue to play an important part in promoting and organising it. The collection fulfils a dual function, supporting those in need through providing them with essential items, while also raising awareness of their plight.

This year, Abbas and Adam delivered a poster campaign and used form ‘reps’ and assemblies to help spread the message. Considerably more was donated to the two December collections this year than last, with clothing making up the bulk of the donations.

Adam said that his involvement in charity work through the year has been very rewarding. He found his work in the selection process through which Orbis became QE charity of the year especially enlightening. He was involved in choosing a shortlist of thee charities, which were then voted on by the whole School population. “We had to look in great detail at a range of charities. We wanted to focus on those that might otherwise not get so much attention and support. Orbis does important work providing access to eye-care procedures across the globe, particularly in the developing world.”

The House events in support of Orbis included a Guess the number of sweets in the jar competition and events based around being blind or partially-sighted such as Blind penalty kicks and Blind Pictionary.

QE’s support for the Sri Sathya Sai English Medium School in Kerala dates back to 2002. Its main target is to secure sufficient sponsorship to support the equivalent of a Queen Elizabeth’s form of 30 pupils throughout their full-time education in Kerala.

QE pupil Senthuran Jeevan’s fund-raising team have been named the overall winners in an international children’s charity’s annual awards.

 

Team Oak, compr ising Year 9 pupil Senthuran and three teammates from other schools, raised a total of £7,106.12 for The Wings of Hope between October 2016 and March 2017 through a series of activities ranging from car boot sales to a special concert.

 

Having successfully progressed through the semi-finals of The Wings of Hope Achievement Award (WOHAA) at the Houses of Parliament, the team were kept in suspense in the finals at the Royal College of Surgeons until the very end of the evening: since category prizes were announced first and category winners could not also be the overall winner, Senthuran feared they might have won nothing.

 

""“We were really happy and relieved when the overall prize was announced – I am proud of our achievement and glad we put in all the hard work and that we were able to learn some new skills in the process, such as how to get people together and how to manage events,” he said. “I believe life is not just about having a good time and looking after yourself; it’s important to contribute to society and help those who have less than yourself.”

 

WOHAA is a social enterprise programme for pupils in Years 9-13, requiring participants to work in teams of not more than six. It is designed to develop skills such as leadership and project management, while also raising money for the charity.

 

""The Wings of Hope’s work includes the support of children in India and in Malawi. In India, it provides a free education to children whose families could not otherwise afford to send them to school, as wel l as arranging tuition evenings in North Chennai for some children living in slums. In Malawi, its work involves not only education but also providing poor and orphaned children with the basics of life – food and clothing – and with the stationery they need to attend classes.

 

The four teammates’ fund-raising activities included selling food and flowers at temples, Halloween sales, cake sales and door-to-door collecting to raise money for the North London-based charity.

 

""During the spring, Team Oak was behind a concert at Rickmansworth’s Watersmeet Theatre, for which they spent several months raising sponsorship and selling programme advertisements. QE Headmaster Neil Enright was invited as Chief Guest at the concert in recognition of the fact that QE boys have now been involved in fundraising for The Wings of Hope for several years.

 

As part of their prize, Team Oak will be going to India on an expenses-paid trip to teach primary-age children at the Chennai school which The Wings of Hope supports.

 

Congratulating the four teammates, The Wings of Hope’s founder, Mrs Rajni Sriram, praised “this amazing team”.