Monifieth High School

‘Princess of China’

EMMA Hargreaves, a Monifieth High School pupil, was one of a few individuals selected from many to go to China.

The competition for places was fierce, with only three out of 50 participants from the county of Angus. Fortunately for Emma, she was one of the lucky ones on the plane to Beijing.

In order to be eligible for such an exchange (a yearly occurrence organised by the HanBan), Emma had to write an essay on her previous language learning, why she wanted to go and how she felt it would improve her knowledge.

She saw it as a rare opportunity to experience an unusual country and culture. The experience gave Emma a useful insight into a new language. Finding herself truly immersed in the experience with no one she knew around her also helped her mature as a person. Emma claims she got to know herself really quite well during her time abroad.

Every day the group had three hour-long classes of Mandarin at the university. Emma found herself utilising her new found knowledge of the language to haggle down prices at the markets.

In China, Emma stayed in the Beijing Foreign Studies University. During this time she bonded with her Chinese teachers and helpers who she described as “really lovely” and “always happy”. Some of her more memorable moments were teaching Chinese primary students a bit of English, performing a tai-chi dance to ‘Princess of China’ by Coldplay and visiting the Great Wall of China, an incredible manmade spectacle.

She sampled bizarre cuisine such as raw eel (mistaking it for seaweed), toad meat and deep fried scorpion, a culinary range which, safe to say, is not often eaten in Scotland.

Emma gained the impression that, whilst Scotland is trying to become more modern, China really embraces its rich heritage. Also, there seemed to be less freedom of speech in China. Given the country’s political strength, you really had to watch what you said.

Even though she enjoyed her stay in the lovely city of Beijing, if Emma were to return to China, she would prefer to visit the less privileged areas, as she felt constrained in the more developed prestigious side of the country.

Emma picked up various techniques, methods and skills that will surely aid her in the future. She will now run a Mandarin club at Monifieth High School during Tuesday lunchtimes, enlightening others and teaching them about the culture and language of China.

Report by Christopher Harris.

Spotlight on Dance

WITHIN Monifieth High school, there are many opportunities to experience and try out a wide variety of dance styles, and many pupils are currently enjoying this fun method of exercise.

The school hosts a range of dance clubs, supported by PE teacher Mrs Buist, assisted by senior pupils, each heralding opportunities to showcase the talents of pupils. All pupils from S1 to S6 are encouraged to come along to the Dance Club on Wednesday lunchtimes in the Dance Studio.

This group focus on a variety of modern dancing and has proved to be a popular activity, currently having around 35 keen members. The Highland Dance Club takes place on Thursday lunchtimes and again, all keen dancers are encouraged to come along. Practise time is available to all pupils on a Wednesday after school in the Dance Studio.

This year, pupils from Monifieth High School will also be taking part in the Rock Challenge. This is a dance and drama show which promotes healthy life choices and aims to create an opportunity for pupils to be at their best without the need for tobacco, alcohol or drugs and provides a positive leisure time experience for all involved.

Rehearsals and training for this big event, which will take place in the Webster Memorial Theatre in Arbroath, will begin fully after the October holidays, but the team of choreographers, which is made up of senior pupils supported by Mrs Buist, is already working hard to ensure that the Rock Challenge is a great success.

Currently the Showcase the Street Foundation is working in partnership with the dance clubs in the school to raise awareness of the dance qualifications available to pupils. Three sessions have been held in school to give the young people a taste of what is available to them, and these have proved popular.

Swimmer’s success

AMY ROBERTSON, a third year pupil at Monifieth High School and a member of Menzieshill Whitehall Swimming Club, recently completed the Bridge to Bridge Challenge, a swim from the Dundee Rail Bridge to the Dundee Road Bridge in order to raise funds for her club.

It has been invited to take part in a training camp in Tenerife, so Amy and other team members competed in this swim in order to raise funds for their trip but also to finance more pool time and training equipment for the club.

The annual event was organised by Dundee’s Open Water Swimming Club, Ye Amphibious Ancients’ Bathing Association. The swim, which took place in open water, was self-navigated and the course was one mile long. As a result of Amy’s determination and dedication to her training, she completed the challenge in 20 minutes and 25 seconds. She came fourth overall and was awarded second place in the girls’ under-17 category.

Vocational experience

THIRD year pupils from Monifieth High School are currently taking part in taster sessions at Angus College to provide them with an insight into the range of vocational courses on offer and also give them the opportunity to experience a snapshot of life as a college student.

While in the past this has not been possible for all pupils, as a result of the excellent partnership working between Angus Council and Angus College, all S3 pupils will now have this exciting opportunity. Pupils attend college over a four-week block, on a Wednesday morning.

Transport is provided to and from the college, with pupils returning in time to have lunch in school.  The first group attended their first session last Wednesday and came back with positive feedback about their experience.

During their time at Angus College, S3 pupils will gain an insight into four different vocational areas which focus on a wide range of skills and qualities.

This will enable pupils to make more informed choices about the next stage of their education when they embark on their certificate courses in S4.