Tuesday 06 March 2018

We celebrated this year’s LitFest with a whirlwind week of literary events, culminating in World Book Day!

Here’s a roundup-

We kicked off with ‘Around the world in 60 minutes’, featuring performances by 10 acts ranging from year 7 to year 12, and ably compared by year 10 superstars, Bipanshu Shah and Latoya Cardoza.

Our inspirational students and staff sang songs, and performed poems in their native languages, which included Greek, Somalian, Ukrainian, French, Spanish, Punjabi and Urdu, German and English, to name but a few. Thank you so much to Ms Lantza, Mr Asif, Ms Figueroa and Ms Searle and Mr Robinson, to everyone who took part, and to all staff who came to watch, alongside around 70 students.

We were privileged to welcome award-winning slam poet, Harry Baker, to Ark. With huge numbers of students having already familiarised themselves with his works, there was a palpable buzz around school all day. He led workshops for years 7, 8 and 9, inspiring students to write and share their creative thoughts. He gave a brilliant assembly to year 9, talking about how he started writing poetry, and showcasing his work with them, which then encouraged more than 100 students to come and watch his incredible lunchtime performance in the library.

The afternoon was an inspirational treat of 3 poetry slams for years 6 and 7, year 8 and years 9-13. Each student who competed performed an original composition and all were a credit to themselves, and the audience were treated to some unbelievable acts. Highlights from year 7 included Jarrell Mulimbi’s hilarious performance of ‘Edible food’, Sarra Sghaier and Hela Basheer’s ‘Once upon a time’, and Hana Abdelatti’s ‘You’, talking about how you have the power to decide your life choices; highlights from year 8 included Da’jon Jones’s very honest and courageous poem about knife crime, an impressively confident Maksim Kobyashev discussing many topical issues in ‘Open for debate’, and Archie Mccrea’s beautifully composed ‘Clean slate’.

The bar was raised yet again during period 7, with years 9-13 competing for the crown of ‘slam champion’. Standouts included Bathseba Fesehazion-Mahray’s (year 10) empowering performance, packing a serious feminist punch, Stacey Mulua Neto’s (year 9) moving poem embracing the issue of mental health, and a brand new composition from seasoned spoken word artist Milola Adelekan (year 13). The after-school Slam featured an impressive array of first-time performers, including Nour Antypa’s (year 12) heartfelt poem on belonging, and Ms Clark’s ‘When I Grow Up’ – highlighting how we could all aspire to be as persistent and adaptable as a river!

The competitiveness continued with World Book Day Games. Over 30 students took part in 3 rounds of activities; the first, a ‘Bookalikes’ round – in which students had to find the common link between 5 books – tested their literary knowledge (one very clever round had 5 books written by authors who had surnames as teachers in the school). They then completed a literary Spelling Bee, and finally had the run of the library in a bid to hunt down and identify as many book characters and titles as possible. It was a closely fought competition with the following results:

1.Simran, Nitya, Misha and Priyansha (year 7)

2. Hela, Zina, Susain, Sarra and Saha (year 7)

3. Nora, Azka, Hana and Amir (year 7)

World Book Day itself saw teachers across all departments transformed into an array of book characters in ‘Book Bingo’. It was the task of students to ‘collect’ as many characters as possible – by trying to establish which book each teacher has escaped from. Thanks to the 80+ teachers who participated – including Mr. ‘Tinkerbell’ Chandler, Ms. ‘Trunchbull’ Barton and Fantastic Mr. ‘Fox-by’, to name just a few.

This year’s World Book Day theme was ‘share a story’, so it seemed only fitting to round off the week with the return of Real People Read – with twelve extremely civitas souls giving up their lunch breaks to treat year 7 to a storytelling session. Favourites included Mr. Chandler’s retelling of the classic, ‘A Monster Calls’, Miss Johnstone’s foray into the Wonderful World of Henry Sugar, and Mr. Edmondson’s introduction to the mysterious vacuum cleaner God in Terry Pratchett’s ‘The Carpet People’. Meanwhile, Mr. Wanklyn, Mr. Bingham and Mr. Cheetham entertained with lively renditions of some of Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes. Thank you also to Ms Boyd, Ms Oyeniran, Ms Clark, Ms Shah, Ms Mariner and Mr Oxby, and to all who came to watch and support!