Latin Prayer

Latin Prayer Autumn Term 2017

Monday 18th September 2017

There were times on Saturday afternoon when I really thought we might be in the middle of a biblical disaster movie. Having spoken to you last week about the tradition behind the PB stones getting flooded, we probably would have qualified for that half-holiday on Saturday if anyone could have stayed out long enough to see whether the stones were flooded or not. I have to admire the grit and determination of all who played in the matches here on Saturday, as well as those away at Sherborne and Canford. I hope you have finally dried out.

Before we get on to the match reports, I wanted to thank the Year 7’s and the choir who performed so well yesterday in our Harvest festival service. It was a great occasion and thank you too to all those who decorated the house windows and brought produce in. All the proceeds will be going to the Churches Housing Action Trust, CHAT, with whom we have a strong connection, in Tiverton. They operate a very well used food bank and I know this will all be much appreciated.

Today we are perhaps a little thinner on the ground than usual as Year 9 are up on Exmoor taking part in the Williams Cup. At this moment, I think they are getting in to wetsuits to head off for a sailing activity.

That intrepid spirit is never far away, and I would like to congratulate a number of people who have completed their Duke of Edinburgh awards this morning. Both Tori Isaac and Louisa Kitson from last year’s U6th have now completed their Gold awards. Katie Martin, Emily Mettam, Cara Read, Charlotte Tait, Ellen Trigger and Kiera White all completed their Silver, and 17 members of Year 11 have completed Bronze. Well done to all of you, and I hope if you have not yet signed off the last elements, you will do that as soon as possible.

Ten Tors training also started this weekend with Year 10 students practising basic navigation and safety procedures at Castle Drogo National Trust Park. They all proved to be competent navigators and ready to take on the challenges of wild country navigation across Dartmoor later in the term. Mr Dawe and Mr Driver once again generously gave up their time to support those taking part.

We have enough Year 10 volunteers for the 35-mile teams but if any Year 12 students wish to take on the 45-mile challenge and any year 13 the 55-mile challenge, please e-mail Mr Dawe this week. Be aware that Ten Tors takes place Friday 11th – Sunday 13th May so you need to be free at that time.

In addition this morning, I would like to congratulate Redmond Sanders as the official ‘Captain of Music’ this year. I am sure we will all look forward to Redmond leading us in good voice as he always does. I would also like to present a prestigious LAMDA Acting Grade 8 Gold Medal – with Merit to Flic Charlesworth.

Sport

So moving on to the sport from this weekend, as we all know, it was busy with perhaps our most aspirational fixtures for both rugby and hockey.

On Wednesday the 1st team put in a very strong performance against Exeter School with the best score-line to date, a 6-1 win. One goal came from Betty Stone, two goals from Millie Attwell, and an impressive hat trick from Sparkle Menzies.

This Saturday the 1st team players had a fiercely contested match against Canford, with Millie Attwell away on England duty and Mantha Unsworth-White also unavailable, Johanna Conradi stepped up to strengthen the side. Going 1-0 down late on in the game, the girls had to show real determination and fortitude to even the scores, which was a great result.

The 2nd XI beat Exeter School 3-0, with goals from Polly Muirhead, Bird Wood and Johanna Conradi midweek. On Saturday, having gone a goal down very early on, the team fought back with goals from Johanna Conradi and Maddie Wright. Canford equalised in the second half before the apocalyptic rain hit with eight minutes to go. Canford scored with just a minute to go, but all in all it was a terrific match. The 3rds and 4ths played valiantly away this week. The U15A’s won, and whilst the U15B’s lost out this time, they showed great determination.

The U14A’s played hard and during the second half the girls played some fantastic passing hockey showing real determination, physicality and skill. The effort shown by Honor Huggett and Lydia Weston was noted. Although the team deserved more in the way of the score-line, many positives can be taken forward from the overall performance. Meg Sharp was the scorer for the U14B’s.

The U13A's had a great start to the season in the invitational tournament at home on Saturday. They came a close second to Danes Hill (a touring team from Surrey) with some skilful play. Scoring a total of 17 goals and conceding 6.

The U13B’s worked extremely hard to fight against all the strong teams. They made significant improvement throughout the tournament and they did not let the strong sides dampen their enthusiasm.

In recognition of her terrific commitment to Blundell’s hockey, I would like to say a few words about Millie Eaton-Jones. Millie has been in the 1st team for an impressive five years, something rarely achieved. She came into the team in Year 9 and since then has grown into an excellent player. She has always showed calmness and composure. Against the toughest opposition Millie has the ability to eliminate players in the tightest of spaces. She seldom loses possession of the ball and her tenacious attitude in defence is something the other players and spectators admire. Millie has many skills but she has spent considerable time perfecting her injections at penalty corners, a set piece skill that is the foundation for a successful corner routine that has led to many goals scored for Blundell's.

In the last three years Millie has been the linchpin of the team. First playing as an attacking half-back in the 2014 season and then as a central midfielder in the last two seasons. This year she has taken on the role of captain. With her quiet authority, she commands the respect of her teammates and peers. She sets an outstanding example that hard work and determination produces a player of high calibre. Millie also represents the 1st team in Netball and Athletics where her athleticism transfers across brilliantly.

Millie also plays for the Isca U16 and U18 sides in the club nationals’ competition and has gone as far as being selected for the Wessex Leopards training squad for Futures Cup last year. Having competed at the School Games for England Red team this summer, she has reached even national recognition. Millie continues to uphold what is important in school sport and does so with an excellent attitude. She is a superb role model to the younger years as a Head of House last year and School Monitor this year and for these reasons, I am delighted to award Millie Eaton-Jones Full Colours for Hockey.

On Saturday, we also played a block fixture of rugby. The 1st XV started their season with two excellent performances against Kirkham Grammar School and Sherborne. Despite having several players who had not experienced rugby at this level before and trailing 17-0 at half time in their first match, the side pulled together and managed to play some intelligent rugby and come out winners 24-17 in the end.

The second fixture against Sherborne showed what talent the side has, as they played with a perfect blend of physicality and thought. Mr Johnson reports that they seemed so comfortable in their control of the game at the end, that their focus was not affected even by the incredible downpour of hail at the end of the game.

The entire squad deserve a mention for their efforts, but, as Captain, Sam Maunder deserves a special mention this morning.

Sam, as I imagine most will know, has been an exceptional performer for Blundell’s sport, but in particular for the rugby club, throughout his time here. Sam has played for the 1st XV for two seasons in the pivotal role of scrum half. As an individual player, his passing is so good that he always buys the receiver a few extra yards or additional seconds. The pinpoint accuracy of his kicks allows his chasers to compete effectively, as he proved so obviously on Saturday as in so many other games. Sam sets a high standard of himself and helps to inspire his team mates to do likewise. He is utterly tireless in his efforts to ensure the team is successful and can always be heard offering encouragement and motivation to his fellow players. As Sam has matured, he has become an excellent communicator and he leads by example in every facet of the game, but especially when it comes to his defensive duties.

Sam has been involved in the Exeter Chiefs Academy for a number of years. It was no surprise that Sam was invited to play for the England U17 squad against France and Scotland last year and off the back of some excellent performances there, where he impressed the coaching and selection panel so much; he was selected to represent team England at the youth commonwealth games, where the side won a silver medal. Since returning from the commonwealth games, Sam has been included in the U18 England squad, as well as the International Sevens tournament where he spent last weekend.

Sam is a hard-working A level student and a talented cricketer too, but in recognition of everything Sam has done for Blundell’s rugby, I have no hesitation in awarding Sam Maunder his Full Colours for rugby.

There were some other terrific rugby results this Saturday and certainly some really determined performances too. Mr Menheneott’s ‘Extra 1sts’ really were that, as I met a number of people running down the road at the end of that game to be a part of the 1st XV too.

For the 2nds, their triangular match was a game of four halves! We won two of them and Sherborne 2nd XV and Queens 1st XV won the other two. However, there are lots of positives to be taken from these matches. Praise must be given to all the 15 players for a stoic Blundellian performance after a brief preparation period and more changes than a train ride to John O'Groats. Lots to look forward to.

The 16A's faced a tough challenge against a much larger Sherborne side, who spent much of the game on the front foot. Blundell's defended with discipline for large parts of the game. George Alvis chased down a superb chip from Jack Burnand, to provide Blundell's with something to show for their efforts. The final score finished 38-7 to Sherborne.

The U14A’s won their first game of the season 10-7. Josh Coe was the try scorer with Ben Alvis adding the conversion and a penalty in an excellent start to the season.

The U14B’s had a promising start to their season. Despite losing by one try they showed resilience and worked well as a team. Freddie Mercer and Euan Cragg both scored well worked tries but Sam Olive's interception and 50 metre weaving run was by far the play of the day.

It was a good start to the season for the U13 rugby team with 20 boys playing against Exeter Cathedral School on Wednesday and a squad of 15 playing in a triangular match against Exeter School and Queens Taunton on Saturday. Ben Fitzherbert is captaining the side with Zeb Winzer his deputy. All those involved have played some excellent free flowing rugby scoring more tries than the opposition!

Finally, the equestrians will be busy next weekend with our own Blundell’s One Day Event and thank you to all who are helping next Sunday. At the Bicton NSEA SJ qualifier last week, Blundell's fielded teams in every class and proved very effective gaining prizes across all heights! The 70cm team started the day well winning their class, with the 1m team also winning theirs with Rachel Brown as the individual winner. Georgia Wood secured a very impressive win in the elite 1.10m class. I am pleased to say there were numerous additional qualifications for the UK final at Addington to add to our list.

Notices

From Miss Grant: The Charities committee helps to raise thousands of pounds for various charities locally and across the world. Last year we raised money for Tiverton Adventure Playground, Force Cancer Charity and the Laos project among many others. If you are in Year 12 and interested in joining the charities committee please come to the Music Foyer on Friday at 1p.m. to discuss the various events planned for this coming year.

From Ms Lewis: There is the opportunity for four students in years 9-11 to attend a free beginner’s public speaking workshop. If you would like to be considered, please send Ms Lewis an email explaining why you would like to be chosen.

From Mrs Taylor-Ross: PSHE for both year 10 and 11 will be in Ondaatje today, and both session will start slightly early. Please can Year 10 be seated in Ondaatje for 11.00 a.m.; Year 11 be seated at 1.30 pm.

From Mr Johnson: Please can all members of the U15A rugby squad attend Mr Yapp's lunch time session today. Change into games kit at break. The session is at 12.40-1.10 p.m. They will need to have tracksuits to go into lunch after the session.

From Mr Baily: A reminder to all new Year 12 students they have a meeting with him today at 1 p.m. in Biology lab – upstairs.

A few thoughts on...

I imagine some of you will have waited with anticipation to hear what features Apple’s new iPhone was going to include. I am not the technophile that many of my era are, I know. I could perhaps be accused of being a bit of a dinosaur, though even I still have two phones and a laptop. My lack of intense interest in phone technology does hold me back sometimes, I admit, but sometimes too it frees up some time to do other things. However, even I was secretly quite interested last week in what the new iPhone might be all about, and it certainly had to be about something with a price tag of almost £1,000.

In the end of course, at the worldwide launch event, it was revealed (though embarrassingly not demonstrated) that the new iPhone will read our faces to unlock the home screen amongst other things. We will just be able to look at the phone, rather than pressing our thumbprint to the home button. Is that an incredible breakthrough?

Perhaps yes, though it does promise to bring all sorts of dilemmas in its wake, not least the many issues of privacy that are hotly debated when it comes to technology these days.

We should of course all be aware that companies and governments around the world already hold records of facial recognition. In Britain, CCTV cameras are placed in most city centres now, as we will all recognise from news reports on the last whereabouts of missing people or criminals that are shown. This year, Welsh police used facial recognition to arrest a suspect outside a football stadium. In America, apparently many churches use it to track attendance at services. I understand in China it is used to recognise specific people who have booked taxis or who have paid to enter a particular event. All these are surely positive uses for this application.

In many ways, this shouldn’t be something we worry about. Our faces are inevitably much less private than our fingerprints. Our faces are all different and so surely that is a more secure way of allowing access to our phones. I read a rather alarming statistic that whilst there is a one in 50,000 chance that someone else will be able to use your touch ID to unlock your phone, the odds of someone tricking your face ID is one in a million. That means there are about 7,499 people in the world whose face could unlock your phone, but hopefully it is quite a slim chance that you will run into them, or that they will come across your phone and want to walk off with it.

I do worry that our faces will become a way of discriminating against us. Apparently, there are already programmes that can recognise genetic illnesses from facial recognition. Just as we as a society move away from the obvious forms of visible discrimination on the grounds of colour, gender or race, are we going to end up being denied access to things because a camera thinks we might be capable of a violent act, or of stealing something by reading our faces? Do we actually want to be read so closely? Is it better for a computer to be able to read our minds or should we be able to put on a brave face about something, even if deep down we are thinking the opposite. I think it would be tricky to go about your daily life without being able to at least keep your inner most thoughts to yourself when you wanted to.         

So, should we get really excited about the identity recognition that will perhaps be in all our phones by the end of the decade if not sooner? Or should we be able to keep control of what messages we give out to others. You may well think the former and perhaps I will stay a dinosaur. But for now, I think I will go on remembering that talking to people face to face and reading their expressions myself gives the truer picture of how they might be feeling rather than what the artificial intelligence in my pocket might tell me. Please apple, can we have a screen that is unbreakable instead?

Nicola Huggett
The Head