On Wednesday 16 May, Mrs Kuster left with her ‘out of this world’ delegation, Rose Griffiths, Annabelle Lane, Alex Hesp-Gollins, Enya Collier and Nadan Cox, to attend the European Round Square School Conference. This year’s conference for Year 7/8 was hosted by the Ermitage School in France. They hosted ten schools from around Europe.
Upon arrival, our pupils were split up into their space groups, which had them mixed up with pupils from other schools. They were led to their dorms to quickly unpack before heading back for some ice breakers and dinner. We were all amazed at the languages that many delegates were able to speak and how perfectly they could switch back and forth between English, French, German, Danish, Russian and Spanish. It made our pupils realize they want to continue to learn French and Spanish and did feel they were able to converse with some basic words in French.
Over the next four days, we had two fantastic guest speakers. The first was the French astronaunt, Jean Francois Clervoy. He gave an eye opening presentation on his three separate trips to space for six months at a time. His photographs were incredible and he inspired all to really think that dreams are possible and to work hard for what you want. Our second guest speaker was a father whose children attended the school. He decided along with his wife, to take their four children out of school for a year and to volunteer in remote places without a set plan. All they had was a one way ticket around the world. His experience also challenged the pupils to not do something because it is easy, but to challenge themselves to do something that is hard. So the conference theme really started to hit home for our pupils in thinking about '...to infinity and beyond'.
The next two days had the pupils navigating around Paris, on a treasure hunt in the Jardins de Versailles and bouldering in Fontainebleau. As always, the Abbotsholme delegation received numerous comments on their contribution to discussions, helpfulness, ease at making new friends and doing us all proud!
The pupils were so excited about what they gained that I volunteered us to host next year’s conference and all the way home; our delegates brainstormed what we would offer to the European’s next year!