FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 178

Headmaster's Welcome

We hope you have enjoyed a productive week. You can see what has been on offer at Epsom since Monday by clicking on our Epsom Events document.

One of the recent  highlights has undoubtedly been our celebration to welcome in the New Lunar Year. It was wonderful to see so many from such diverse backgrounds come together to celebrate this important annual event. The rich cultural diversity of Epsom is something to cherish and that contributes extensively to developing a global and open mindset in our learners. We look forward to celebrating another important event in our Epsom calendar soon - namely Culture Day.

In today's rapidly evolving world, education involves more than acquiring academic knowledge; it's about nurturing well-rounded individuals equipped with the essential tools for success in all aspects of life. One crucial aspect of this holistic education that we seek to provide at Epsom is the development of soft skills, which encompass a range of interpersonal and intrapersonal qualities essential for effective communication, collaboration, and leadership. 

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Recently, students attending a leadership conference embarked on a journey that not only enriched their understanding of leadership but also underscored the significance of soft skills in shaping their futures. The students themselves presented on what they learned at the conference during a whole school assembly and they shared their key takeaways - their presentations were engaging, informative and I was proud to see how confident they have become in front of a crowd!

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(Pictured above are the FOBISIA Leadership Conference Participants receiving their certification of participation after the assembly)

The students shared that the conference began with a poignant exploration of the town of Qaanaaq in Greenland, where attendees delved into the lives of its inhabitants and the challenges they face due to global warming. This eye-opening experience emphasised the importance of empathy, a foundational soft skill, as students realised the impact of their actions on distant communities. It served as a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of the world and the imperative for individuals to cultivate a sense of responsibility and compassion.

Independence and confidence emerged as pivotal themes throughout the conference. Engaging with business mentors and witnessing diverse leadership styles instilled a belief in the attendees that anything is possible with the right mindset. An unexpected highlight was a session with beatboxer Justin Tan, whose unconventional approach underscored the importance of resilience and self-assurance. By embracing the freedom to make mistakes and persisting in the face of challenges, students learned that confidence is not just a trait but a skill that can be nurtured and strengthened over time.

Teamwork and communication took centre stage as students collaborated with peers from different backgrounds to tackle real-world challenges. Working in diverse groups fostered adaptability and a deeper appreciation for the value of varied perspectives. Effective communication, characterised by active listening and constructive feedback, became the cornerstone of their collective efforts. Each student's unique strengths were celebrated, highlighting the importance of recognising and leveraging individual talents within a team dynamic.

Beyond the conference sessions, students engaged in activities that reinforced their learning experiences. Watching "Bigger than Us," a documentary about a young activist combating plastic pollution, inspired reflection on the power of individual agency in effecting positive change. Participating in a beach clean-up further reinforced the importance of environmental stewardship and collective action.

As the conference drew to a close, students reflected on their transformative journey. They realised that leadership transcends mere authority; it is about embodying values such as empathy, adaptability, and resilience. The conference underscored the significance of helping others and instilled a sense of responsibility towards creating a better world.

There is no doubt that the leadership conference served as a microcosm of the broader educational experience, highlighting the importance of holistic development. Soft skills such as empathy, confidence, teamwork, and communication are not just supplementary; they are the bedrock upon which future success and fulfilment are built. By nurturing these skills alongside academic knowledge, we, at Epsom, seek to empower students to navigate the complexities of the modern world with resilience, empathy, and purpose.

We hope that you enjoy the articles to come and wish you Happy Reading and a very Happy Friday!

Best wishes,

Mr Matthew Brown,
Headmaster

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Epsom Celebrates the Lunar New Year 🐲🏮🍊

Epsom's Lunar New Year celebration was a vibrant tapestry of cultural experiences that united our community in joy and togetherness.

The day began with the dynamic dragon and lion dance, setting the stage for a feast of traditional flavors at our Lunar New Year lunch. From the savory Cantonese roast chicken to the sweet-sour sea bass, every dish was a tribute to Lunar New Year traditions.

Our very own Lunar New Year bazaar awaited, offering a delightful assortment of delicacies and delights from various cultures. Students had the opportunity to savor tang hu lu, Korean rice cake, dumplings, hwachae, and an array of other mouthwatering treats. Beyond the culinary delights, the bazaar buzzed with excitement, offering games, handicrafts, and cultural activities such as dough figurine making, handmade little lion crafts, fortune telling, jegi chagi, and much more.

The festivities culminated in mesmerizing performances, featuring traditional dances, Chinese instrumentals, and live calligraphy demonstrations, showcasing the diversity and talent within our community.

Overall the day was not just about celebration; it was about forging bonds and fostering a sense of belonging. Through these festivities, Epsom's community came together in a spirit of unity, leaving us with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for the richness of our cultural heritage.

A Message from our Leadership Team SLT ,Richard Lord, Head of Computer Science

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‘Resilience’ is a commonly used word in schools. Its meaning is broadly understood, but the methods that schools choose to attempt to develop students’ resilience can often be misguided.

When the notion of ‘resilience’ and the need to develop students’ resilience became popular in schools in the United Kingdom in the early 2000s, it came hand-in-hand in many schools with attempts to show students that failing was ‘OK’. A top girls' school in the UK made the headlines in 2012 when it planned a ‘failure week’  to teach students to embrace risk, build resilience and learn from their mistakes. Mistakes are vastly different from failure. Whilst the emphasis on trying, rather than playing it safe is unquestionably valuable, the implication that ‘failure’ is acceptable is questionable at best. Resilience cannot be taught, it must be earned through experience and hardship, and is an outcome of setting ambitious goals that one must strive to meet.

Hugh Glass was born in Pennsylvania, America in 1783. He was an American frontiersman, fur trapper and trader, hunter and explorer, but started life as a sailor in the years 1817 - 1820.

As a sailor, he was captured by pirates and forced into piracy himself. Glass and a companion on the pirate ship eventually escaped and got themselves back to land, but were swiftly captured by native Americans (the Wolf Pawnee tribe). Somehow,  Glass was adopted into the Wolf Pawnee tribe and lived with them until the summer of 1822. Unfortunately,  his companion that he escaped piracy with was sacrificed by the Wolf Pawnee tribe.

Glass left the Wolf Pawnee tribe and traveled to St. Louis. It was in St. Louis that he joined an expedition. In 1823, the expedition group, whilst traveling America, tried to trade with the Arikara tribe but a battle broke out. Fifteen men were killed during the battle at the Arikara villages; Glass was wounded, but survived the battle. The Arikara tribe were fierce and skilled warriors, and so to survive a battle with them would show exceptional grit and determination.

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In August of 1823 the expedition was attacked by the Mandan tribe on the Grand River. Two men were killed. Glass survived yet another battle but he was to be tested further when he unexpectedly disturbed a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs near the banks of the Grand River. A large female grizzly bear can weigh anywhere from 110 to 160 kilograms (about 250 to 350 pounds) and reach almost 9 feet (2.7 m) tall when standing on her legs. If a mother bear perceives her cubs to be in danger, then she will attack. In this instance, she may have thought Glass was a threat to her cubs, and therefore attacked him. The mother bear seriously wounded Glass, puncturing his throat, breaking his leg, and leaving him with numerous deep wounds.

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After the attack, the bears moved on and left Glass critically injured. His expedition companions found him, but due to the severity of his injuries, considered him dead. So they buried him and took his equipment and supplies. Despite his injuries, Glass regained consciousness, but found himself abandoned and without weapons or equipment. He had terrible wounds, a broken leg, and deep cuts on his back that exposed his bare ribs. He lay injured and alone, more than 200 miles from the nearest American settlement, at Fort Kiowa, on the Missouri River. Refusing to accept his fate, he set the bone of his own leg, wrapped himself in the bear hide his companions had placed over him as a shroud, and began crawling back to Fort Kiowa.

From August until October in 1823, using the landscape as navigational landmarks, Glass crawled overland south toward the Cheyenne River where he fashioned a crude raft and floated downstream to Fort Kiowa. This was a journey of over 200 miles. Despite his injuries, Glass arrived at Fort Kiowa in October 1823. Glass made a full recovery and lived a long and adventurous life.

There is no doubt Hugh Glass was an exceptionally resilient man, but was he ‘resilient’ or was he simply, and relentlessly, committed to his goals? Perhaps the word itself, ‘resilience’, is a red herring, and students would best be served by the words ambition, aspiration and commitment and, of course, ‘hard work’. Confucius, China's most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, wrote: “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential…these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” This is precisely the message Epsom College in Malaysia presents to its students every day to challenge them to succeed,  and earn the resilience they will need to navigate the rest of their lives successfully.

Best wishes for the weekend,
Mr Richard Lord, Head of Computer Science.

Rosebery House News Flash! 📰

Rosebery Rocks…

I thought it was about time you heard from a couple of Rosebery rocks, without whom the house would crumble.

Marcy (pictured above) joined us in September and quickly made herself indispensable. Super-sporty, Marcy is a cheerleader for participation and has inspired full teams since telling us quite what she thought of our woeful aquathon turn-out. Barely older than our Upper Sixth and from Blackpool, Marcy has a sense of self and confidence that belies her tender years - I often look on in awe/envy.

A sneak peek into life at Rosebery…

Marcy writes…

The hearts of Rosebery, Ms Orpwood and Ms Shanthi, always work hard to make sure every Rosebud maximises their time in the house. From early morning run club to late night debriefs, Rosebery is always full of life, laughter and, of course, a constant stream of baked goods.

Last Saturday, the school badminton team, which consists of five Rosebery girls, departed in the early morning to KLASS in preparation for a long day of badminton. With our secret weapon, Yunke, hidden in our back pocket, the girls team won 17 out of 20 matches and returned home with a 1st place trophy! The girls were thrilled and were championed once they arrived back at Rosebery.

Tuesday night welcomed so many wonderful performances at the Open Mic Night. A huge congratulations to all those Rosebuds who got up on stage and demonstrated some immense courage by performing in front of a crowd.

Marcy Jeffery
Rosebery Gappie

Aida has been with us a little over a year now. She is beloved not just by us but by the Drama Department for the gorgeous costumes she makes for productions - don’t miss next week’s We Will Rock You for the latest showcasing of her talent. In House, Aida has time for everyone, and on a weekend evening is often to be found cooking the most delicious treats with the juniors. Our favourites have included spicy potato patties that reminded me of Spanish ensaladilla rusa, and banana churros, but on a recent film night hosted by Rosebery she had the boys churning out homemade chips in her very own cottage industry. Warm and wise, Aida is calm, loving, and giving to a fault: for me, she embodies many of the admirable qualities of my Malaysian hosts.

Aida writes…

Working in a boarding house has been one of the greatest honours I've ever been given. Rosebery is a warm, friendly place where happiness and wellbeing come first. It’s a happy chilled out place and everyone here matters. Coming into work is a joy. I’m just living my best life at the moment. It’s almost chaotic in the best possible way and the most beautiful. Every day the girls surprise me. Each one is a story, and I watch them develop and grow in complexity and narrative even in the brief time of my service at Epsom. Each one a protagonist in their own epic adventure. I’m blessed to be witnessing 109 soap operas every day, and some of these storylines are wonderfully heartwarming.

The calibre of the boarding house mistress, Ms Kate Orpwood, Ms Shanthi Pillay and our team is excellent.

Their commitment, enthusiasm, motivation, morale and belief in the boarders are second to none. This means that the boarders receive exceptionally high quality care that significantly enhances their personal development and well-being. The boarding team put in place the support structures necessary to help the Rosebuds achieve their potential. Every parent has to choose their battles with their children, and it is no different for them and me. When the girls experience problems it is good to know we have each other for support, or a timely pat on the shoulder. They look at past experiences and unpick each situation to make sure they are fair and consistent in their response. Each day is an opportunity for me to gain insight into underlying issues.

Anyone who comes here is very lucky to be part of the journey. Whether its students, staff or parents. Rosebery is a place that’s a home away from home, in more ways than one.

Aida A Rahman
Rosebery Pastoral Assistant

Epsom Live Talk - Medical Careers with Prof David O'Regan

On Tuesday 20th February, Epsom hosted a Live Talk by Dr. David O’Regan; moderated by Khai Zhe (Y11), Young (Y12), and myself, Alistair. Dr. O’Regan was a cardiothoracic surgeon for most of his career and now passionately teaches surgery to the next generation of doctors.

Our live talk had an unusual arrangement. Rather than being lectured to, we (the audience, moderates, and Dr. O’Regan himself) converged on the round table in the Sixth form centre, like King Arther and the knights of the round table. Certainly, the talk had a more conversational format. This made the talk more relatable (excuse the pun - Dr O’Regan happens to be my father!), nonetheless by Dr O’Regan asking to be called by his first name – David.

David proved an engaging speaker, using statistics and anecdotes to shock and humour us. He engaged with his audience to challenge our thinking and extended our perception of ‘the real world’ not merely of Medicine.

Though the talk centred upon Medicine, with the audience aspiring to that, the discussion did not directly address the subject but enriched us in ways a school syllabus cannot. Here is a summary of our discussions:

The operative word in the NHS (National Health Service) is Service. We are all customers every day (Ee.g.: we students are customers of the education service) but few amongst the audience could recount the ‘good service’ they had experienced. ‘’Have you never had good service?’’ asked David ‘’Tell me then, what are the constituents of good service?’’. The obvious answers ensued: No delay, meets expectations, consistent, responsible… David however answered more shrewdly. A good service makes you feel good. The knack for making people feel good is compassion and kindness (amongst other things, I hope you can think of some other examples). These skills are not taught in any syllabus and exams don’t test them. Listening is just as important! A doctor will interrupt you, on average, after merely 15 seconds. Doctors must sign an oath before qualifying, to treat every patient equally regardless of their ethnicity, race, or sexuality. Even criminals receive the same quality of service.

Will AI take over medicine? This is a question Khai Zhe posed. Al may help spot patterns but it fails the Turing test (remember Alan Turing, the Enigma code?...), which is to show the attributes I just described. David gave examples of his experience undergoing operations, and the power of human touch, and how it made him feel. AI can not replicate this, hence poor service is provided. AI cannot take over medicine.

Health care has a long way to catch up with the airline industry, statistically, you are more likely to be killed by a medical professional (like David) than by flying, or indeed by many other services.

Young writes…

As a student aiming to become a doctor, the live talk by Dr. O’Regan was especially inspiring. Unlike the normal live talks, he interacted more with us by asking us questions that made us think deeply about being a good doctor. Moreover, his experiences as a surgeon made me realise the hardships and struggles that doctors face. The talk has also encouraged me to research the world's health issues and related ethical issues. The passion for his job I saw from him motivated me to work harder to study medicine eventually.

Khai Zhe writes…

What was interesting about the talk was that it wasn’t heavily focused on scripts and trying to pique the interest of the guest speaker, but rather that he wanted to engage in discussion with us as students, which in my opinion is far more effective in taking away something from the talk. I wanted to relate my dream career in IT to medical-related courses, and I can confidently say that I have gained a deeper insight into the connection through Dr. O’Regan’s concise and thoughtful responses to my proposed questions.

We eagerly anticipate David's return on Thursday, February 29th, when he will lead a session on heart dissections for Year 12 and 13 Biology students. In closing, David's words resonate with our own understanding: Medicine entails a commitment to lifelong learning and service.

Holman House News

By Sean Z and Luis G

Sean and Luis write:
The Holman Book Donation Drive officially opened last week and we have already raised around 200 books. We would like to thank all of the teachers and students who donated their books which are going to a good cause. We would like to show our deepest thanks to BookXcess for their generous sponsorship of our project. Their support has been immeasurable in helping us promote literacy and develop a love of reading within our peer community at ElShaddai.

Sean writes:
BookXcess has agreed to give a 20% discount on all purchases of a minimum of 20 children's books. All you have to do is email marketing@bookxcess.com to receive a promo code. 

We just wanted to show you in more detail what we have been up to this past week. It has been a very enjoyable experience, from putting the boxes on a late Sunday night to collecting all of the boxes and spending time together as a house to go through and sort all of them. We would like to thank our very hardworking #HolmanBDD team: Enxi, Garry, Gerald, Ray, Michael, Michiya, Monty, Arif, Paxton, Ruitian, Taiyoh, Yinjie, Peter and Eric.

Luis writes:
The day before our project started we had to put the last touch. We built card boxes, decorated them with quotes and drawings and placed them across the school, hung posters on the walls. It was a lot of fun! 

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Sean writes:
Every Tuesday and Thursday, our members would advertise the BDD outside and inside the dining hall and various parts of the school. Our bright, charismatic members handed out flyers to our fellow students and spread the word about the #HolmanBDD. It was a very fun time to see people come and ask and enquire about the BDD and to see many of our EAL students start using more English in their conversations. 

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Luis Writes:
BDD members would visit each station at the end of the week to gather books that had been given throughout time. We got to meet some House Masters who have been actively involved in spreading the word about this and we found it a very positive experience.

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Sean writes:
After collecting all the books, our members split out to either label books and write short sentences for the children or document lists of books on our internal document.

Each book was handled with love and care by our dedicated team!

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Luis writes:
Imagine the joy a kid experiences when they discover a new world through a book for the first time.

By donating books to #HolmanBDD, you'll help bring this joy to children in our community who may not otherwise have access to books. Your generosity will not only promote literacy, but also inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning. Join us in making a meaningful impact on young minds by donating new or gently used children's books at your respective houses before the end of the term.

Every book counts, and your donation will make a whole world of difference to these children. Let's make a collective effort, give a book and boost a mind!

Science Squads Release

In today's rapidly advancing world, nurturing the curiosity and interests of students goes beyond traditional classroom teaching. There is scope for providing avenues for exploration, encouraging critical thinking, and fostering a passion for subjects that extend beyond textbooks. Here at Epsom College, in the Chemistry department, we are proud to introduce an enriching co-curricular activity (CCA) that does just that – the Chemistry Society-from Term 2 onwards.

The Chemistry Society CCA is a dynamic platform where students delve deeper into the fascinating world of chemistry. This initiative empowers students to explore their interests beyond the curriculum and engage in activities that challenge their intellect and creativity.

One of the primary benefits of the Chemistry Society is the opportunity it offers for students to engage in debates. These debates not only sharpen their communication skills but also encourage them to think critically about various chemical concepts and their real-world applications. From discussing ethical dilemmas in chemical research to debating the impact of certain chemical processes (such as the manufacture of plastic) on the environment, students are encouraged to voice their opinions and engage in meaningful discussions.

Moreover, the society provides a platform for students to plan and conduct experiments outside the confines of regular laboratory sessions. This hands-on approach not only reinforces theoretical knowledge but also nurtures a spirit of inquiry and experimentation. Whether it involves the use of surfactants in mile to create colourful patterns, exploring densities of liquids to prepare sequential colours mirroring those of a rainbow, or investigating the use of catalysts in chemical kinetics, students have the freedom to design experiments that pique their interest and curiosity.

Additionally, the Chemistry Society structures its activities around the activities suggested in weekly newsletters provided by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the UK. These newsletters serve as valuable resources, offering insights into the latest developments in the field, showcasing cutting-edge research, and highlighting innovative experiments. By aligning their activities with these newsletters, students gain exposure to real-world applications of chemistry and stay updated with the current trends and advancements in the field.

Participating in the Chemistry Society is also about fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among students from different year groups who share a passion for chemistry. Through collaborative projects, group discussions, and peer-to-peer learning, students develop teamwork skills and forge lasting friendships with like-minded individuals.

Please find below a few pictures depicting the activities conducted in the Chemistry CCA so far.

In conclusion, the Chemistry Society co-curricular activity at our school goes beyond conventional classroom learning, providing students with a platform to explore their interests, engage in debates, plan experiments, and stay connected with the latest developments in the field of chemistry. It has the aim of nurturing a lifelong love for learning and empowering the chemists of tomorrow to make meaningful contributions to society.

Mr Mahesh Warrier
Head of Chemistry

Siha's Ethiopian Travels - Part 2

In a coffee farm located at Sidama I met children aged approximately  six to fifteen learning and working side by side. Many couldn’t speak English but their efforts and determination to communicate and make eye contact warmed my heart. We couldn’t talk but we could understand each other a little. I asked where the school was in order to be able to donate something we had prepared and the children led us on the outskirts of the farm. On our way there, I spotted a foosball table and in an effort to become closer, I pointed towards it and beckoned them. Understanding my signals, one boy stood next to me while Erickum (our guide) and another boy stood on the other side. We played a ferocious game, not allowing the ball to linger too near the goal and striking with such force we sent the ball flying out of the foosball table. The air seemed to crackle with tension. Excited laughter and shouts surrounded the match and at last my team ended up winning. Hooray! I shook hands with my teammate whom I felt I’ve known for years and continued our trek towards the school with smiles plastered on our faces while our feet seemed to float towards our destination.

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The school was unlike any other I had seen in my life. The building was small and didn’t look like the kind of normal school you could imagine. We prepared some snacks and school supplies and gave each of the students one school supply. Pink for girls, blue for boys. Iconic, huh? Like a gender reveal party 🎉. However, when it came to the snacks… things went crazy. The bigger kids pushed past the little ones a tad too aggressively and took handfuls of chocolate cookies. I felt bad for the younger kids who hadn’t even gotten one. Thankfully we had some more snacks left and secretly handed them out while the teenagers feasted on the snacks they had snatched. We had thought there would be enough for everyone since we bought 300 cookies but I guess we learned our lesson for future reference. We had prepared money (for the development of education), school supplies, coloring books, and snacks. I purchased the coloring books with my own pocket money and I really hoped they would like it. The most popular of them were the treats. I couldn’t quite blame them though; how hard must have they worked to be so hungry? In Sidama many children weren’t eating enough for their age. I felt quite lucky to be able to have a full stomach every night and felt pity towards them. Although their clothes and shoes were ragged and old, their smiles were brighter than anyone I knew. In my heart they were no different from any of my closest friends and the bond I felt with them would forever stay in my memories. I’ve been writing a book about an African girl for some time now. The summary is about a girl called Kwami who meets a friend. She opens Kwami’s mind to a new world where dreams are possible. If it is finished I would like to hand them out the book I’ve written for them. Maybe they would be able to relate. I’m eternally grateful for them because they have shown me how happiness lies in the littlest things.

Siha Park, Year 8 Rosebery House

U15 Volleyball

Last Saturday saw the first competition of the season for our U15 Volleyballers which was held at Alice Smith School and they all did Epsom proud.  The boys, led by Gaia Y10 finished in 3rd place out of 6 teams; victories against BSKL, Setia Eco Hill and KLASS B were secured with some great team play.  A defeat against the champions Setia Eco Park was a good learning curve and we played Alice Smith A but lost in the final set by one point!  Agonising!

For most of the girls, it was their first taste of serious competition and captained by Adriana they fought gallantly against some strong competition and took some sets against their more experienced opponents. 

The competition served as a great warm-up for the FOBISIA U15 Volleyball in mid-March and both our squads now have a few weeks to train and make fine adjustments for that event.

Mr Dien Wooler
PE Teacher

Under 9 Boys and Girls KLSL Football Tournament in Pictures

Save the Date!

We Will Rock You Dress Rehearsal in Pictures

Celebrate the Power of Poetry with us!

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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