A pupil remembers Stephen Hawking

Sixth-form pupil and aspiring astrophysicist Jaya C paid tribute to the late Prof Sir Stephen Hawking when she gave a presentation about him at the School Assembly. She met the great astrophysicist, who died in March (2018): “I was young and excited to talk to him. I began with my first question, ‘Are there aliens in the universe?’ a classic question to which he responded:  ‘Possibly but we have not found any yet.’ “However, being an avid Dora the Explorer viewer, ‘los estrellas’ were constantly at the back of my mind and I continued with a second question: “Are stars alive?” There was an extremely long silence, before he replied:  “No, they are not,” then he gave an explanation of what makes up a star: gas and dust.  “This encounter with arguably one of the greatest scientific minds of all times taught me to always question your understanding and be open to new ideas. Hawking himself did this when challenged the status quo that nothing can come out of black hole with his contribution of Hawking Radiation.”  Jaya, who plans to study astrophysics at university, then talked about Hawking Radiation.

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Photo: Prof Sir Stephen Hawking – an inspiring figure.

Celebrating international culture

Pupils with international links put on a showcase of World Culture at a special evening that was months in the planning. Their programme included music, dance, literature and even sport. Highlights included Alisya M (U6) donning traditional Japanese costume and mask to do A Dance to Senbonzakura (A Thousand Cherry Blossoms) and the Indonesian Tari Burung Enggang (Dance of the Hornbill); traditional Chinese music on the Guquin and the Guzheng; a recitation from the Epic of Ramayana, one of the most important poems in Hindu literature, and a display of Muay Thai, the Thai traditional martial art of kick-boxing. The evening concluded with a selection of finger food and drinks from around the world, specially prepared by the Catering Department. Sarah Byrne, International Support teacher, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for pupils to showcase their cultures. All the performers were very accomplished – it was lovely to be able to celebrate their skills in this way. We were particularly pleased by the level of support from the rest of the school, which was fantastic.”

Alisya in Japanese dance outfit

Photo: A pupil in Japanese costume prepares to dance.