Welcome to STAHS student news
From Maths competitions to Drama productions, Student News is the place to read – in pupils’ and teachers’ own words – about the varied things STAHS students have been up to both in and out of the classroom.
Love Food Tour of London - September 2023
Year 11 Food Preparation and Nutrition students took a tasty tour of some of London’s foodie hotspots on 12 September, led by Love Food Tour guide, Eddie. Here staff and students share details of the day …
‘We went to London by train and participated in the Love Food Tour in and around the Shoreditch area, visiting restaurants from different cultures and tasting foods from around the world.
‘First stop was a family-run Bangladeshi sweet shop where the students sampled savoury Indian pastries and the traditional Bangladeshi treat, gulab jamun. Secondly, we visited Dark Sugars a chocolate truffle shop that uses chocolate from Ghana. Next we stopped at the famous Beigel Bake on Brick Lane, a Jewish-run bakery, where they tried salt beef bagels and were shown photographs of the Prince and Princess of Wales eating there in 2020.
‘We then stopped and learnt about the history of London while enjoying artisanal vegan donut bites. For the last stop on the tour the students sampled peach and strawberry bubble tea from Taiwan.
‘We enjoyed stopping for some free time in both Spitalfields Market and Eataly (the world’s largest Italian food market and restaurant concept) before returning to school.’
Below are students’ thoughts on the day:
‘The description of the areas we visited along with its history was very interesting. The tour guide was very engaging and occasionally used humour to interest us more. The quiz at the end really proved how much we learnt from the trip.’ Elena P
‘The tour part of the trip was really interesting and engaging, and going to Eataly and Spitalfields Market afterwards was nice.’ Isabel A
‘I loved Eddie because he was really enthusiastic and interesting. The food was really nice and Eddie involved everyone in the tour. I really enjoyed it.’ Eve H
‘The tour guide was very inclusive, got us answering all sorts of questions and really kept us engaged.’ Jemima H
House Maths - June 2023
On Friday, Year 9 took part in House Maths! We were split into House teams and given lots of problems and a crossword to solve. The competition between Houses was very close so we all tried our hardest to help our House come out on top.
Personally, I really enjoyed House Maths because I loved working with my teammates to solve interesting and challenging problems. In the end my team was able to solve the crossword and most of the other questions. Amazingly, Mandeville came out on top!
Overall I think that House Maths was so much fun and a nice change from normal lessons.
By Maryam D, Year 9
Working on Wendy & Peter Pan - March 2023
Thoughts from the cast
I was super happy when I found out that I was cast as Wendy in our Lower School Production of Wendy & Peter Pan. I was even more excited when I found out I would be flying in the air! At first, I thought this was just an idea, but when the scaffolding went up I knew it was real.
I remember the first flying rehearsal: we were there for four-and-a-half hours learning how to fly in the air with harnesses. It was scary at first, but once I got used to it it was amazing.
During the rehearsal process I made so many new friends across all the years, and even the extra commitment of weekend rehearsals was exciting and fun. The nerves before both show nights were very real, but as soon as the show started, we soon forgot about them. The audience, the lights, the sound, the flying and of course the acting really brought the show to life.
I’m so lucky to have been in a company with such amazing people. I would definitely recommend auditioning for school productions, and I can’t wait to try out for next year’s.
By Tamara L, Year 8
When I first opened the cast list to see if I had a part, I was really nervous. I literally went down grid by grid to see if my name had come up – and the third one was my name, and then ‘Peter Pan’! I was really excited, especially when in the first rehearsal I was told that I would be flying – in the air in an actual harness!
When we first practised flying, I went first. For the first few seconds it was terrifying, but then I realised how much fun it was going to be. The first time I somersaulted it was actually an accident, because I was just leaning forwards a bit too far – but once I had done it I found out how exciting and fun it really was.
I had an amazing time, not only learning how to fly (not I sentence I thought I would ever say), but also rehearsing and making new friends across the years – something I’d never really had much of a chance to do. I would definitely recommend taking part in the Lower School Production; I have had so much fun and I can’t wait to take part in more drama at STAHS.
By Emily W, Year 9
Working on Wendy & Peter Pan was such an amazing and surreal experience. It required a lot of work, and wouldn’t have been possible without such fabulous company. By the end we really got to know each other. Although the audition process was slightly nerve-racking, it all paid off when the cast list came out. I was so excited and frantically started calling and texting all my friends that had made it into the cast with me.
A few days later it was time for the first rehearsal – Act One, Scene One. The room was filled with great actors with great ideas. Mr Bhantoa was telling us about all the plans he had for this show – we all thought they were slightly crazy as we had never done a show of this size with so much tech, but in the end it all seemed to fall into place. After weeks of rehearsals, it was finally time to start flying. Flying was a surprisingly physically demanding experience and although it was fun, it was challenging at times. Nevertheless, it was all worth it for the joy and excitement of the show days and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!
By Juliet H, Year 8
The Assistant Directors’ view
By Lois M, Erin F, Ava G, Isla M-F and Scarlett M
In December 2022 we signed up to become Assistant Directors for Mr Bhantoa’s production of Wendy & Peter Pan. We had some ideas of what to expect, but when we heard how huge of a project it was going to become, we realised it would be a lot more work! Luckily, there were 16 of us to even out the workload. Here is a glimpse of some of the roles and responsibilities we shared:
Costume and Makeup
The costume design was very different to a traditional production of Peter Pan. The theme of the pirate costumes was steam punk, so they wore green coats with skirts, with flashes of leather and heavy eyeliner, while the Lost Boys wore hospital robes to reflect the fact that Neverland represented the afterlife. All of the Darling children wore pyjamas, whilst Wendy changed into cargo trousers and a black top at the end to show that she could fight for herself. Tink wore Juicy Couture as her character was modern, sassy and funny. Makeup also played a huge part, as all the pirates had scars on their faces to show they were gruesome – they and Tiger Lily also wore tattoos on their arms and faces (which were fake!).
In Wendy & Peter Pan we used ‘dance combat’ to choreograph the fights between the Lost Boys and the pirates. We imagined the Lost Boys’ fighting style as being very light on their feet and doing a lot of jumping, whereas the pirates would have heavier movement and usually be lunging to catch up with them. We tried to capture this in our choreography as Hook, Wendy and Peter fought on the ship, and it was quite effective when everyone did it together around them. At the start of Act Two the Lost Boys also performed a Haka, which is a traditional war dance popularised by the New Zealand rugby team. This encapsulated their bravery, as well as their playful mood, and re-engaged the audience after the interval. Overall, this experience was really fun and enjoyable, and it enabled me to be a role model for the younger years and take a position of leadership which created a spectacular end result which I am very proud of.
As part of Wendy & Peter Pan, light-up LED wristbands were placed in the audience and lit up different colours depending on what was happening on the stage. There were four set colours that turned on throughout the show. Whenever Captain Hook entered the stage the wristbands would glow a subtle red to highlight to the audience that there was danger. When the characters were ‘flying’ using the amazing flying equipment, the wristbands would flash blue to complement the magical on-stage lighting. Finally, in the scene where Tink saved Peter’s life, Peter asked the audience to, ‘believe in fairies and clap their hands’ – and as the audience began to clap their hands the wristbands started flashing rainbow. I was operating the wristbands backstage and needed to ensure that the batteries were charged and the antenna was installed correctly. This experience helped me learn more about what happens backstage during a performance.
When I first heard about Wendy & Peter Pan, I was immediately very keen to get involved somehow. I ended up working as an Assistant Director, focusing on the charity work for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), along with helping out during rehearsals and backstage. I had several meetings with Mrs Briggs and Mr Bhantoa about GOSH and we collaborated on ideas about how we could raise money. On the show nights, I assisted front of house by setting up posters, collecting donations and greeting audience members. I also made a short speech at the beginning of each performance to introduce the audience to the charity, since I’ve had previous experience with GOSH. This experience has definitely made me more comfortable and familiar with public speaking and working with younger students, and I’ve learnt a lot about different aspects of putting a show together. I really enjoyed being part of this wonderful project, and I’m so grateful for this exciting opportunity. We raised £2,850 for GOSH!
Maths talk with Dr James Munro - February 2023
After watching various videos from the Oxford Online Maths Club and the MAT live streams, we invited Dr James Munro to do a talk targeted towards keen mathematicians in Years 10-13. Dr Munro is the Admissions and Outreach Coordinator for Maths at Oxford University and he also delivers tutorials at New College, Oxford.
Around 35 students turned up, along with lots of teachers, to hear Dr Munro speak about ‘Chaos and Repetition’. He was a very engaging speaker and made the talk accessible and interactive, as he explained an extremely abstract concept with only the use of simple quadratic equations.
We believe that there are many fascinating Maths topics which are not covered in the school curriculum, and we hope that this talk has inspired students to explore these concepts further.
By Annabel B and Maya K, Year 13 Further Maths
Year 9 Trigonometry Investigation - February 2023
On Friday 3 February, Mrs Major’s maths class went outside to complete a trigonometry investigation. Our aim was to estimate the heights of the buildings around school using the trigonometry we had learnt in our maths lessons. We took a tape measure and a clinometer and headed outside. We measured three metres from the base of the building and stood at the end of the tape measure looking through the clinometer to find the angle up to the top of the building. We repeated this for all of the buildings around the school, recording the angle and who measured each building. This was important as we had to add our heights on at the end to make sure that our measurements were accurate. We then came back inside and used our findings to calculate an estimate of each of the heights of the buildings. This was a really fun lesson as we were able to put our learning into a real life scenario.
By Alannah, Poppy and Izzy
STAHS PREP LEGO COMPETITION - FEBRUARY 2023
The girls put their robotics engineering skills into practice as they took part in the First Lego League Challenge tournament in Stevenage. Competing in a category that included children up to the age of 18, the girls more than held their own and made huge progress over the course of the day. The theme of the event was ‘Energy Journeys’ and the girls had to complete a set of challenges where they had to operate various models with their robot.
In addition to this, there was an ‘Innovation Project’ which involved the girls coming up with an original idea for generating energy, researching this, and presenting it to a panel of judges who would quiz them for half an hour. The girls performed admirably at this and came up with such innovative ideas as using the kinetic energy from children walking on the stairs to power the lights at school and harnessing the waste water from flushed toilets to generate hydro-electricity!
We were delighted to walk away with two trophies; the girls were awarded a judges’ award for teamwork and motivation and the Team Coach trophy went to Mr Clinch.
It was great to see such fantastic collaboration, resilience, problem-solving and ambition from the girls and they should be incredibly proud of their performance.
Special thanks to Mr Chandler and Mr Back for volunteering to accompany us and helping to make it a great day out.
By Mr Clinch