FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 176

Headmaster's Welcome

Welcome to issue 176 of our Epsom Friday Flyer, Dear Reader and we hope that you have enjoyed the Spring Festival celebrations.

As the examinations draw ever closer, our teachers are busy supporting our students to prepare. There is no doubt that the impact of teachers on the development and inspiration of young minds should be underestimated. Indeed, it is thanks to an inspirational teacher - Mr Clive Thomas that I was drawn to teaching as a career.

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At Epsom College in Malaysia, we seek to take this influence to new heights, with a commitment to understanding each student as an individual. The teachers at Epsom College recognise the diverse needs and passions of their students, fostering an environment that goes beyond conventional education. This approach sheds light on the multifaceted roles teachers play in shaping the lives of our students.

One of the prominent themes that emerge from the extensive research on teacher influence is the significance of relationships. Epsom College, recognising this, places a strong emphasis on building meaningful connections with each student. Research indicates that early relationships formed between teachers and students can have a profound impact on students' later adjustment and functioning in school. By getting to know students on a personal level, teachers at Epsom College lay the foundation for a supportive and encouraging learning environment.

Passion for teaching is another crucial factor highlighted in the research literature. The enthusiasm and dedication of teachers can be a driving force behind students' motivation. At Epsom College, the commitment to instill a passion for learning is evident. Teachers channel their enthusiasm into creating engaging and inspiring lessons, igniting the curiosity and motivation of their students. This connection between teacher passion and student motivation becomes a catalyst for academic success and personal growth.

Maintaining high standards is a demand that teachers at Epsom College consistently uphold. The research literature underscores the importance of setting and maintaining expectations for students. By establishing a culture of excellence, teachers at Epsom College guide their students towards achieving their full potential. The emphasis on high standards serves as a compass, directing students towards success and fostering a sense of achievement.

Modeling and mentoring are additional themes that emerge in the literature on teacher influence. At Epsom College, teachers not only impart knowledge but also serve as role models and mentors for their students. I recently read the story of Rana Begum, a renowned artist, who exemplifies the transformative impact of mentorship. Begum's journey, marked by the guidance and encouragement of her teachers, underscores the pivotal role teachers play in shaping the trajectory of a student's life.

Rana Begum's tribute to her teachers highlights the lasting impact of educators. Having grown up in St Albans, England, Begum recalls the moment her primary school teacher introduced her to drawing. This small gesture paved the way for her illustrious career as an artist. Begum acknowledges the crucial role her teachers played in recognizing her talent, encouraging her passion, and ultimately guiding her towards success.

The story of Rana Begum resonates with the ethos of Epsom College in Malaysia, where teachers are dedicated to identifying and nurturing the unique talents and interests of each student. The emphasis on individualized attention and encouragement creates a learning environment that goes beyond academics, fostering holistic development and a lifelong love for learning.

In conclusion, the importance of teachers in inspiring young minds cannot be overstated. At Epsom College in Malaysia, the commitment to understanding students as individuals sets the stage for a transformative educational experience. By recognizing and nurturing the passions of each student, teachers at Epsom College contribute significantly to the overall development of young minds, leaving an indelible mark on their academic and personal journeys.

I hope that you enjoy the articles that follow and wish you all the very best for a wonderful weekend.

Happy Reading and Happy Friday!

Mr Matthew Brown,
Headmaster

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A Message from our Leadership Team, Mrs Carden Brown

In the vibrant ecosystem of learning at Epsom, students undergo a process akin to natural selection, adapting and evolving to thrive in their academic environment. Natural selection, the mechanism through which populations of living organisms adapt and change, finds a parallel in the diverse traits exhibited by students.

Consider the remarkable giraffe, whose long neck evolved as a response to the need for reaching higher leaves, giving them a competitive advantage. Similarly, our students at Epsom possess unique traits that better suit them to the academic landscape. The Epsom Learning Characteristics—curiosity, resilience, creativity, reflectiveness, attention, collaborating, organisation, and thinking—are the key elements that foster success.

Students are encouraged to be curious, asking questions, exploring, experimenting, and engaging in independent research. Resilience is vital—perseverance, determination, and the willingness to practice lead to improvement and success. Creativity involves connecting and visualizing, transferring skills between topics, and thinking innovatively.

Reflectiveness plays a crucial role, as students evaluate situations and self-evaluate, incorporating feedback for continuous improvement. Attention, the ability to notice, concentrate, and immerse, contributes to active participation in class discussions and tasks. Collaboration, being social, accepting, and empathetic, prepares students for teamwork and leadership.

Organization, the skill to plan and be resourceful, ensures timely completion of tasks, including homework. Finally, thinking critically—deducing, analyzing, critiquing, and intuiting—reveals an understanding of deeper meanings and significance.

For our English as an Additional Language (EAL) students, the journey to success involves using English skills to reach B1 proficiency. Reading extensively beyond the curriculum, acting on teacher comments, and setting targets accelerates progress.

In the pursuit of university aspirations, students emulate the process of natural selection—only the top performers secure spots at prestigious institutions. Successful students at Epsom embody the Epsom Learning Characteristics, plan ahead, set goals, and read widely and critically. Nurturing these traits ensures students not only adapt but thrive in their academic journey, becoming the fittest for success.

Holman House Initiatives

Keevaan writes

What is #HolmanBDD?

The #HolmanBDD is a book donation drive to collect children’s books in English from the Epsom College in Malaysia community to impact our peer community at the ElShaddai Refugee Learning Centre (ERLC), a non-governmental organisation supported by UNICEF, based in Klang. You can read the introduction of ERLC and our visit to their centre in FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 175.

Holman House boys led by Sean and I with Luis Goncalves assisting under the guidance of our AHM, Mr. Leo Baloyo, will run the Holman House Book Donation Drive from February 19 till March 17, 2024. The Interact Club of ECIM will support to make this project school wide.

Our primary aim is to collect books to support the education of children who fall into the categories of stateless, refugees and asylum seekers.

Sean writes

Why books?

We want to do a book donation drive because we believe that books are one of the most important tools a child needs in their developmental years. Many skills can be acquired through reading and this too will help them grow well, both socially and education-wise. 

Reading is one of the main sources of help when it comes to developing cognitive thinking, which is the mental process that takes place in the brain, anything from memory, perception, thinking or attention is classified as cognitive thinking.

In terms of sociability, books give children a better understanding of the world and people around them, making it easier to form connections and network with others. Children can gain a good awareness of issues and emotions of others, especially the people who are close to them. Reading is one of the effective ways to introduce children to emotions and self-control, which is a very important skill one must have when entering adulthood.

Reading also increases concentration levels, a very much needed skill in education, and exposes us to different schools of thought and writing styles to help improve writing and communication skills. This doesn't end at formal schooling but is very heavily needed and used in the work environments.

Why only new or gently used books?

Refugees land in other countries often without much or no belongings. Most have to flee their land of birth overnight and can’t pack even their most precious things. Landing in a country like Malaysia makes it hard for adult refugees finding good jobs. Though it may sound strange, refugees who are doctors end up doing cleaning, cooking, hard labour or driving taxis to earn wages. They often make barely enough money and find it hard to keep food on the table.

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For the underprivileged like refugees, books are luxury items. They often rely on hand-me-downs for clothes and furnishing for their homes. As someone who lived his early years in shelters, I can relate to getting hand-me-downs for clothes, toys and books. Hand-me-downs are never new or even gently used. There were books at the shelters but all of them were worn out with frayed book covers and spines.

My first experience with new books was when I visited my then future adopters and stayed with them for a week. They prepared five new books for me. At almost three, I could not read or understand the English language but listening to my now dad read to me every moment he had some free time and at bed time made me happy and gave me a warm bubbly feeling inside. I will never forget the stories Baba Yaga, Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Tortoise and the Hare, The Gingerbread Man and The Magic Porridge Pot or the shiny book covers with colourful pictures. Along with the new book smell on each page, I would ask my dad to read over and over again.

By giving the children at ERLC new or gently used books, we are telling them they matter to us and that we care about them, and this gives them a sense of being valued, lifting their self-worth and build their confidence. They will know we care and want to give them the best.

This is the best kind of gift we can give a fellow human being from a peer community. 

Keevaan writes

You may be wondering, where can I buy books? In Malaysia, there is one book retailer that stands out from the rest: BookXcess. They are an exceptional book retailer with many stores in KL and Selangor. However, some people are not aware of their online store. You can purchase books of varying genres for different age groups at affordable prices. For shipping, any orders that sum up to 80 RM or above will enjoy free shipping. We encourage students to do group buys with their peers as it's an opportunity to work with friends so you can impact a peer community.

Sean writes

We are working with members of the Interact Club ECiM to set up boxes in every boarding house to make it easier for you to donate books. We will also have boxes set up around the school for you to drop off books you intend to donate. 

If you like, you can pen a short encouraging message and your name at an empty space inside the book. This would make your gift extra special impacting children who read the book in the many years to come.

Alternatively, you can email holmanbdd@gmail.com to arrange for collection.

Keevaan writes

#HolmanBDD is an equitable project through which we as a privileged community from Epsom College in Malaysia can all play an effective role to bring good quality fiction and non-fiction books in the English language to help our peer community in ElShaddai Refugee Learning Centre. If you have questions, do email us at holmanbdd@gmail.com or simply look out for our team of advocates and communicators from February 19 to March 17. 

We are really excited about #HolmanBDD and will write more on the progress of the project in the coming weeks! 

HOLMAN BOOK DONATION DRIVE:

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by Keevaan and Sean,
Holman House

Propert House Highlights

As we approach the conclusion of the first half of the spring term, it is that pivotal moment where we unveil our Propert Student of the Half Term!

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While the past two recipients of the esteemed Propert flag have been boarders, it is crucial to recognise that day students are an integral part of the fabric of our house. This half term, it is with great pleasure that I announce Adlan as the Student of the Half Term! 

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Well done Adlan!

Art Department News 🎨

The Year of the Green Dragon teaching creativity

Our submission this month for the Friday Flyer is dedicated to celebrating the Year of the Green Dragon as students from Years 7 to 13 have worked to collaborate in the 11ft Sculpture that can be seen on display on level 1. As a department, we wanted to mark this special occasion with something significant so that the students could create Art with a wow factor and at the same time allow students to collaborate and teach each other about Chinese traditions and symbolism.

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As presented by Bloom's Taxonomy, Creativity is regarded as one of the highest order thinking skills, the idea to question and develop new ways and innovation is what will progress the world into future success, so within Art we are developing our curriculum to really get the students' curiosity and thinking skills engaged. How is this made? What is the inspiration and meaning? What would happen if I used this material instead?... are just some of the questions we foster in our everyday ethos. The  World Economic Forum listed creativity as one of the ten essential skills needed to thrive in the fourth industrial revolution behind problem-solving and critical thinking, we aim within the Art department to promote all the qualities listed below and our Dragon Project was a real example of this.

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As a department, we sat and decided on how we could create a sculpture that students could collaborate with. We took time to research and observe how Dragon sculptures had traditionally been designed within schools and also for larger audiences in the shopping malls of KLCC and the Pavillion. We knew we wanted to develop our students' creativity and the idea of each pupil making their Dragon scale was planned across the key stage 3 lessons for the first week of February, but first, we needed a structure.

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Mr Helmi and his background in industrial design was able to use his expertise and create the flow of the Dragon's body using metal and wire, this was then covered with paper-mache to create a firm structure that could be later painted and embellished.

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Mr Yao and his artistic skills in paper sculpture designed and made the Dragon's head, careful consideration to not to use too much red with the green as “fire and wood should not mix” opting for pink hues instead.

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Assembling the Dragon and adding the final touches including paper flowers and the Dragon's tail is where Year 7 and Mofei from Year 13 came in. Year 7 were very good at quality assurance and active listening as they were able to complete the Dragon with careful precision and accuracy.

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Seeing a project through to the end and having pride in the process and exhibition of the craft is a key message for our students. In a world where everything can be instant and immediate, a sustained project like the design and making of this sculpture teaches students about planning and the steps involved but more importantly it teaches them resilience and hard work. The satisfaction and reward is often gained when students see their work admired and enjoyed by others in their community, we hope you enjoy our Green Dragon!

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Epsom English Department Communiqué

As the timeless works of William Shakespeare continue to captivate audiences worldwide, there is something special happening at Epsom this term. Three year groups have embarked on a journey through the enchanting world of Shakespeare, delving into his plays and unravelling the timeless themes that continue to resonate with modern audiences.

Year 8 students have stepped into the whimsical and magical realm of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Embracing the spirit of the play, they have wholeheartedly embraced the art of performance, bringing to life the beloved characters and enthralling the audience with their talents. Through this experience, they not only gain a deeper understanding of the play, but also develop their confidence and creativity through the exploration of theatrical expression.

Meanwhile, the Year 9 cohort has been delving into the timeless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. As they grapple with the profound questions surrounding masculinity and its portrayal in the play, they are engaging in thought-provoking discussions that are not only relevant to the themes of the play but also resonate with contemporary societal dialogues. This exploration enables the students to critically analyse and understand the complex intertwining of gender, love, and societal expectations.

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In Year 10, the dark and ominous world of Macbeth has enraptured the students' attention. As they navigate the treacherous path filled with ambition and the supernatural, they are learning about the darker aspects of human nature, exploring the corrupting nature of ambition and the ruthlessness of power. Most excitingly, the cohort has been offered the rare and exciting opportunity to watch a performance in March, as UK Theatre Company HandleBards bring their production to South East Asia and is hosted by Alice Smith School.

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Whilst not all students will take English Literature as an iGCSE and studying Shakespeare does pose a challenge, the English Department firmly believe that studying the Bard is a central component of any English curriculum, as his plays provide insight into the human condition, deliver audiences complex characters and explore timeless themes, such as love, power, jealousy and revenge. Besides, as Shakespeare himself espoused in Measure for Measure, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”

Mrs Georgie Prestidge,
Head of Epsom English Department.

FOBISIA Leadership Conference in Penang

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From February 1st to 4th, ten students from Epsom College attended a leadership conference in Penang.

During these four days, renowned humanitarians and organizations shared their experiences and strategies for effective leadership. The students engaged in various activities, such as devising a plan to aid a small Arctic village and exploring the challenges faced by those in need. Collaborating with 18 peers from over 20 schools enabled them to form new friendships and work with students from different backgrounds. Despite the time constraints, the students fully immersed themselves in the tasks, presenting their ideas to a panel of judges for evaluation.

The subsequent days were filled with discussions on leadership strategies, self-confidence, and impactful initiatives, including inspiring stories of young leaders effecting change. These discussions covered a range of perspectives on leadership, including effective communication and persuasion techniques.

The connection with the Arctic village further underscored the importance of the students' efforts, as they expressed gratitude for the support received. One team's project garnered recognition for its innovative approach to raising awareness and effecting change for the village by establishing a sustainable revenue and food source.

A special thank you is extended to Ms. Suhada Seti and Mr. Baloyo for accompanying the students on this trip and ensuring their well-being.

Below are some student quotes from their lived experiences. It is evident from these quotes that enrichment opportunities and experiences are important for developing our students' character, confidence, and skills.

Yusi Cheng Y9 (CARR): “I think that the trip was a very eye opening experience, as I got to see how people from greenland live, and how much they needed our help. I also felt very good about myself for being able to help people in need. Another plus was that I made a lot of new friends, and I got the chance to improve my communication and leadership skills in the teamwork activities.”

Nexus Khoo Y9 (CARR): “Reflecting on the experience, I felt satisfied with myself, not just from completing the task and getting praise but from the priceless lessons learned on leadership and societal impact. “

Mrs Dominique Perrang,
Teacher of Economics and Business Studies

Round Square News

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The significance of mental health among teens cannot be overstated. Adolescence marks a critical period of development, characterized by numerous physical, emotional, and social changes. Mental health profoundly influences teenagers' overall well-being and success across various aspects of life.

Recently, another enlightening webinar on mental health among teens was attended. Hosted by Palmer Trinity School in Miami, Florida, the session proved to be thought-provoking. Students from the RS network had the chance to participate in discussions on mental health via breakout rooms. The research and statistics presented during the webinar were alarming, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue. It was particularly fascinating to learn about the initiatives other schools are undertaking to enhance student well-being. This discussion motivated us to consider how we can bolster our efforts in this domain as well. Such webinars provide us with opportunities to reflect and engage with like-minded students worldwide, facilitating meaningful conversations on crucial topics.

Thank you to our hosts and the RS network for organizing this enlightening event. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to host a webinar in the future. Stay tuned for updates!

Ms Dominique Perrang,
Head of Enrichment and Teacher of Business Studies and Economcis

Business Studies and Economics Society Presents

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Sofia's Soccer Success

On the 4th of February I played for my football club Mota Cyberjaya Lions FC with whom I train every Sunday.

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This club is part of the FAM (Football Association Malaysia) Grassroots programme. My team competed with other local grassroots football clubs in the Gilaliga soccer tournament held at the German-Malaysian institute in Bangi. My football team won, we played 6 matches of 30 minutes with 7 players on each side.

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We played for 6 hours (8am-2pm). For the first 3 matches I was an attacker and the last 3 I played defender. The weather was so hot that by the 2nd match I was drenched in sweat, on the 3rd game I got hit in the chest and it squeezed all the air out of me like a balloon and I couldn’t tell if it was tears or sweat coming down my face. Despite all this I didn’t want to let my team down, so I left all my feelings behind and we carried on to win the tournament.

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I feel so happy and proud that we won our first gold medal and trophy, so our journey carries on…

Sofia, Year 4.

Splashing News from FOBISIA Swimming Invitational 2024, Phuket, Thailand 02-02-24 to 04-02-24! 🏊‍♀️

The Epsom College in Malaysia senior swim team travelled to Phuket, Thailand recently to compete at the 2024 FOBISIA Swimming Invitational, which was held at the Thanyapura Resort in Thailand.

A total of 900 swimmers representing 38 schools from across Asia took part in the three day event. This was the biggest sports event that has ever been held by FOBISIA and the standard was extremely high with many teams bringing state or national level swimmers.

Our group of swimmers have been training hard since the start of September to improve their technique and conditioning during early morning swims and CCA’s thanks to Coach Intan and the Epsom PE department.

For several swimmers, this was their first time at a FOBISIA event. The goal for the group was to focus on areas that they, as individuals, were able to control in terms of preparation and performance in order to improve their personal best times.

Highlights were beating KTJ in mixed relay events and seeing Kimora win her 100m breaststroke heat.

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Sophie had the highest ranked time in the team, finishing in 15th place in the Over 15 Girls 50m Freestyle (1 second off a place in the finals!) All swimmers managed to record personal best times in at least one of their events. Kaelem managed to take 2 seconds off of his 100m freestyle time which is a great achievement.

I am extremely proud of our swimmers as their behaviour and commitment was exemplary at all times. The conditions were very challenging due to high temperatures and a busy competition venue. Our team really pulled together and helped each other to be organised and maintain a positive atmosphere. It was great to see the strong level of support for one and other and kindness that was ever present throughout the trip.

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I hope that this event can be a catalyst to those who want to develop their swimming further and return stronger next year. A big thank you to Coach Intan for her dedication to our students and for keeping everyone on track on event days. Looking forward to 2025!

Guthrie Miller
Director of Sport

Boys Inter House Hockey in Pictures

Epsom Senior Strings Ensemble Performs at The Dewan Philarmonic KJC Arts Festival

Our talented young musicians were delighted to be invited to perform recently in KL as part of the Dewan Philharmonic KJC Arts Festival where guests had a glimpse into the vibrant musical community at Epsom.

We are excited soon to be launching our state-of-the-art Music Academy, promising musical experiences for our students and the wider community. Setting a new standard in Malaysia's educational landscape, Epsom’s Music Academy boasts world class facilities, including 20 Private Practice rooms, 5 ensemble rooms, and a magnificent 600-seater Performing Arts hall, providing the perfect stage for students to both practice and showcase their talents.

With the prestigious English Youth Orchestra residential courses on the horizon, our will students have a clear pathway towards pursuing degrees in Music and nurturing their careers in orchestral excellence.

Recognising the importance of fostering a competitive spirit, Epsom is committed to amplifying opportunities for our students to participate in competitions and performances. Plans are underway to host esteemed competitions at our Performing Arts Theatre, with aspirations to welcome segments of the English Schools Orchestra and culminate in a grand gala performance at the renowned Dewan Philharmonic, featuring members of the esteemed MPO Youth Orchestra.

Watch this space!

Girls Inter House Badminton in Pictures

So, Dear Reader,

Thank you for reading our Epsom Friday Flyer and we wish you all the very best for a restful weekend.

Happy Friday from us all at Epsom.

🙂

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