FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 87 - Epsom College in Malaysia

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FRIDAY FLYER-Issue 87

Headmaster’s Review

Dear Parents,

As Term One draws to a close, it is illuminating to highlight the magnitude of events that have taken place in the preceding fortnight. In addition to the triumph of the musical ‘Our House’, and sincere thanks to the joint efforts of the Drama and Music departments in that superb venture, we have also witnessed splendid occasions such as the Prep School Music Recital and the excellence of the Prep Drama Performances. In essence, therefore, recent days have involved a whole host of pupils, across all Key Stages, gaining confidence through the medium of performance and appearing on stage. This is enriching for all and clearly necessitates a large volume of preparation and expertise – very well done to the Heads of Drama & Music, their respective teams, and all in the Prep School too!

Furthermore, as all good schools should strive to do, we have remained purposeful and committed right up to the final day of Term One. In tandem with preparing pupils for the academic challenges ahead, such as the opportunities presented by Year 11 and Year 13 Mock examinations after the break, this last week has enjoyed the festivities of the delightful Christmas Concert and subsequent Christmas Dinner. These are always show-stopper highlights of the calendar, thoroughly enjoyed by pupils and staff alike. One should also note that this last week has benefitted from the great spectacle of the Prep School Fun Run, followed by the Christmas Lunch and the ‘Mingle’. The organisation and diligent preparation of our Prep School parents, and the Friends of Epsom, is to be truly commended. Indeed, our final Assembly this morning, focusing on a brief review of some of the key themes from this Term, allowed me to single out a number of these significant events and it served to emphasise how very busy, and productive, the whole school community has been.

Today’s Assembly also offered me a platform to signal how fortunate I am to be the Headmaster of such a talented cohort of pupils, surrounded by a superb array of committed colleagues. To this I must add my thanks to you, our Parents and Guardians, for the loyalty and support afforded to the College. It is a rare privilege to lead Epsom College and I, and my colleagues, are steadfast in our desire to create the best environment for your children and you too. We have collectively made much progression; however, we will keep striving in every arena and every facet, for those all-important developments in our educational and pastoral provision.

I wish you all a very restful and happy break.

With thanks,

Dr Murray Tod
Headmaster


End of Term Festivities

Traditions, around the holidays, are important. Families usually develop their own unique take on traditional celebrations. For instance, for Christmas when growing up we would always purchase some ‘Terry’s Chocolate Oranges’ and ‘After Eight’ mints. I still associate these classic confectionaries with family Christmas and, even though they are available all year round, we would only indulge in them over the festive period. Therefore, it is so pleasing to see that at ECiM and in the boarding community we have already established our own traditions to finish Term 1 in style.

 

It started with a Christmas Jumper Day where pupils and staff get to wear red, green, gold, and white – or a classic Santa jumper. The money donated goes directly to the Chin Student Organisation to provide educational support for the Chin Refugee children from Myanmar. It is certainly important to remember others less fortunate at times such as this and is very much a part of the festive tradition at ECiM.

Next, the Houses spent a little time dressing for the Christmas Concert and Dinner. A little time would not be accurate; the time varies from small to considerable and I would suggest some of our senior boys sit on the ‘considerable’ end of the scale. As the photos show, the pupils looked magnificent and the staff ‘scrub up’ well too. This takes no small effort and thus we hosted an annual trip to KLCC the weekend before the event to purchase the outfits and all the accessories needed to create such a glamour.

Once ready the pupils enjoyed the Christmas Concert which was a mix of fun and engaging acts and performances. This was followed by the traditional Christmas Dinner which was very much cooked in the classic UK style and where the pupils quickly learnt to either love or dislike brussel sprouts! To help digest the food the staff choir performed as tradition dictates. This year they sang, ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ and it would have been a contender for a top six finish in our House Choral Competition, if only there had been a little more movement! The end of the dinner finishes with the College rendition of ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ adapted for the Houses. It is always a rousing affair with over 380 participants raising the roof.

Whilst digesting turkey and mince pies the pupils and staff returned to Houses to complete the festivities. Each House has its own tradition. Crawfurd have always undertaken an awards ceremony. Whilst in Propert a Christmas song themed karaoke sing off ensued. The staff performed well, but were nudged out of first place by Year 11.

There is something comforting about tradition and in the Boarding Houses it is so pleasing to see pupils who have been with us for extended time guiding the new pupils through our own unique celebrations. Long may this continue!

Mr Ian Squires
Assistant Head (Boarding) & Propert Housemaster


AHMM Crawfurd Interview

The House Captain interviewed her to find out…

You are a new teacher at Epsom College this year – what do you think of the College so far?

Arriving at Epsom College in Malaysia for the first time in August, I could see that the college has the “Wow Factor” – with beautiful buildings and amazing facilities, I was so excited to start calling Epsom my home. Next I met the staff, who are all such welcoming, friendly and interesting professionals who have taught all over the world. However, I saved the best until last…meeting you, the students! Outside the classroom, you are all so polite and always say “Hello!”, even if you don’t have a clue who I am! Then in lessons I see how creative and determined you are in your learning. It’s a privilege to be here.

Why did you apply for the role as Assistant Housemistress?

Since I started teaching 6 years ago, I’ve always wanted to work in the pastoral system, but up until now I’ve never had the opportunity. I’ve been working within Teaching and Learning, helping other teachers to improve their practice, and as a Head of Department working to improve the provision of languages. I have always worked really hard as a tutor, building relationships with students in my tutor group to support them in achieving the best possible grades, and have been keen to build on these skills. Here at Epsom, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with students in the boarding houses – it really feels like being part of a family and I have been able to get to know students so much better than I could have just in the classroom. I jumped at the opportunity to get more involved in what I believe is a hugely rewarding and important aspect of student life.

 

What differences do you want to make in Crawfurd?

I want to bring a lot of energy to Crawfurd life. When you’re feeling sleepy in the morning, I hope a jolly “Good morning” from me will help wake you up and give you a positive start to the day. I also want to run lots of short but fun House activities; simple activities or family competitions that will help bring you out of your room, spend time together, and reduce the stress of studying. It’s important to study, but too much stress could lead to burn out and lower grades. Mental wellbeing and balance is so important to academic success.

What has been your favourite Crawfurd moment so far?

It has to be the “Build A Snowman” family competition! Seeing the effort you put in to my first family activity was brilliant and made me feel so welcome. Also, I was amazed at your resourcefulness and creativity…who knew a snowman could be so chic? Or eco-friendly? I also really enjoyed my first weekend duty in the House, especially watching my favourite Christmas film Elf and eating popcorn with you on Saturday night and baking together on Sunday evening. I already feel like part of the Crawfurd family.

If you could describe yourself in three words, which words would you choose?

Positive, enthusiastic and kind. 

Pictures from the Crawfurd House Family “Build A Snowman” Competition


Crawfurd House

At this time of year in Crawfurd we aim to practise the art of gratitude and be more aware of the world and people around us. For this Friday Flyer, I have chosen to focus on this and share a few of the reasons we have to be cheerful.

We are grateful for the support of our peers

Within our House community, each student is allocated to a ‘family group’ which consists of girls from each year group. This helps to ensure each student is well supported and often results in spotting them helping each other out around the House. We are thankful for this supportive atmosphere.

We are grateful for the close friendships we form

Boarding life is hard to compare to anything else. Living in such close quarters, you form lifelong friends. This is never more clear than when a student leaves and this week we said a very tearful goodbye to Minami who is moving to a school closer to her home in Japan. Students from all Houses and all year groups gathered to see her off after nearly a full week of goodbye events organised by different groups who value her friendship. I am sure Minami will never forget her time here and we will never forget her.

We are grateful for our relative privilege and the opportunity to give back

We understand that in many ways we are lucky with the opportunities available to us and try to ensure we take regular opportunities to give back to society. This term has seen us wear pink-themed clothing in October and very fetching moustaches in November as part of a series of activities to raise awareness and funds for childrens’ charities. This week, the girls have been busy baking cookies for a charity bake sale raising funds for the Chin Student Organisation.

We are grateful for time to relax and be silly

Crawfurd has a reputation for the hard work of the students towards their academic studies but we understand the vital need to balance this with healthy sleep routines and intentional ‘switch off time’ to maximise our brains’ potential. When offered the chance for a twenty minute brain break to play Uno, chat with friends over a cup of tea or even dress up as a snowman, we grab it!

We are grateful for our House community

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful team of staff. Our tutors work hard to provide quality tutor time activities, deliver PSHE programmes and look out for our well-being. Our resident team help to make the House feel like a home where we know there is always someone to talk to. Recently, we are particularly thankful for the addition of Miss Townsend as our new Assistant Housemistress and to Miss Carol, our Matron and Resident Tutor, for organising our beautiful Thanksgiving event in which each of us shared our personal reasons to be grateful.

Mrs Sophie Hill
Housemistress


Propert House

At this time of the year we often play well known Christmas songs in the House. One song on heavy rotation is ‘All I want for Christmas is You’ which was written and performed by Mariah Carey. By all accounts it took 15 minutes to write in 1994 and she has netted over $60 million in royalties. A number of boys suggested that they should, perhaps, now focus their attention on writing a Christmas song as a long term career aspiration. However, the performing bit may well be the issue!

All Propert want for Christmas is an active lifestyle. In some ways we have had an early Christmas present: House Basketball. A basketball for a Propert boy used to be like kryptonite for Superman but we returned to winning ways once again this term. Special thanks goes to Clement who organised our teams. The event demonstrated the importance of whole House participation; we fielded 4 teams and whilst our A team lost two games our B, C and D teams carried the House to victory. House Cross Country is on the horizon in the New Year so we have had some boys up and out on the Park Run in Putrajaya. It was pleasing to see Atiq, Loic and Manfred set personal bests. On a personal note, my ‘Movember’ moustache slowed me down; the air resistance was the barrier between an average PB and an even more average time. We also had a large number of boys playing in the Cobra Rugby tournament and ECiM football festival, which was the last set of games before the season ends. Hopefully all of this activity will be a preemptive strike on the mince pies and munching on other festive treats that, no doubt, will be consumed to excess over this festive time.

 

All Propert want for Christmas is the opportunity to be on stage. Again, we have been lucky to have had our wish granted with a significant presence in the College production of Our House, both on stage, behind the scenes and through the musical support. Well done to Kit, for his lead role, Ben and Marcus for being on stage. Loic for his work behind the scenes and to Daniel, Bryan and Hiro for their work in the band. With all this talent we will be looking strong for the House Drama in Term 2. We also had a strong presence in the Christmas Concert and even in the staff choir.

All Propert want for Christmas is to socialise. With a busy social calendar to finish the year the boys and House tutors looked resplendent at the formal College dinner. It is amazing what a suit and a little time in front of the mirror can do! We followed our dinner with some time in the House where we continued with our Christmas tradition of a festive karoke, classic British Christmas snacks (anyone for twiglets?) and Secret Santa. The competition was fierce, led by the staff and their rendition of a Ronettes classic. The winning group was Year 11 with a fine version of a Justin Bieber. Though I may suggest if a receipt was included many of these efforts may have been returned!

Mr Ian Squires
Housemaster


Rosebery House

I can’t believe I am writing the final Friday Flyer of this term and of 2019. What a busy and productive term it has been. Rosebery House has encountered so much change over the past 15 weeks, yet in some ways, it feels like the House has always had younger girls in it. The older girls naturally look out for and look after the younger girls and vice versa. I have seen such sweet moments, for instance, when a senior girl has taken the time to help a junior girl out and without prompting from any staff. The environment in which the girls are immersed has created a nurturing, loving, and caring place where everyone is valued and respected and that makes me feel incredibly proud as their Housemistress.

During November, Rosebery hosted Propert House in the first Senior House Social. The Rosebery girls spent a long time preparing for this event, selecting the theme of patterned shirts and organising food, games and entertainment. The evening got off to a flying start, our guests arrived on time and the Rosebery girls greeted them like the perfect hosts. Propert very kindly brought a beautiful cake as a thank you which was gratefully received. Everyone then sat down to eat their scrumptious meal provided to them by Soxedo. After the meal, the girls gathered everyone together to start the games night. There was a rotation of 5 different games and everyone was placed in mixed teams. It was the highlight of the night, both Houses cheering each other on, working together and trying their best to beat the other teams. I have to say the Oreo cookie game had me crying with laughter as I watched all the different facial expressions being pulled to try and get the cookie from their forehead to their mouth. The night concluded with some music, cake, snacks and we can safely say it was a huge success.

In Rosebery we started our Christmas preparations rather early this year by giving out the Secret Santa names in November and I decided to get the House involved in making their very own Christmas decorations from air-dry clay. We all headed to the art room after prep time one evening and with festive tunes, in the background it really did enhance the creative juices. The girls designed, constructed and painted the most beautiful decorations that will create a lasting memory of their time in Rosebery House. We also had a lot of fun putting up the Christmas tree and decorating the house, as you can see from the photos, it looks splendid.

We had more House success this month with Rosebery winning House Basketball. It was a nail-biting event from start to finish and the girls gave their all throughout each and every match. They never gave up even when they were exhausted and I witnessed some amazing team spirit and sportsmanship both on and off the court. A huge congratulations to the girls.

The big treat for the girls this term was a Christmas lunch at Ben’s restaurant in Suria Mall. We all thoroughly enjoyed a meal together followed by a photo by the huge Christmas tree by the fountains and then some much-anticipated shopping. The girls behaved impeccably and were a credit to their parents. I’m sure this is something that could become a Rosebery tradition.

Looking forward, we have the Rosebery girls from prep school visit before the holidays to take part in some House Christmas fun. We also have the Christmas concert and the Christmas dinner which the girls are really excited about. They have their beautiful dresses all ready and they can’t wait to get glammed up for the evening.

Year 11 and 13 are making preparations for their Mock examinations which will take place after the Christmas Holidays.

I think it is only right to mention the wonderful Rosebery House staff (Miss Daisy, Miss Takiyami, Miss Lee) and all the tutors for their continued hard work and dedication in providing the best pastoral care to the girls. Without these ladies, I could never run the House.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our parents for their continued support and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Ms Jenny Mitchell
Housemistress


Senior Musical

On 5th and 6th December, the Senior School performed their annual production. Students from Year 9 up to Year 13 were involved in the play. Essentially, it was about a guy named Joe who breaks into a building to impress his girlfriend, Sarah one night. The entire story revolves around how his life turns out after that one fateful night. It was mine and Kit’s final performance in the College and we couldn’t have done it any other way. We poured our blood, sweat, and tears from the start of term up to the very end to ensure the production was the absolute best it could be and it definitely paid off! Although we did face some bumps along the road, the feedback we received on the final performances were worth everything that we went through as a team. Personally, I really enjoyed learning the songs that I had to perform in the production and I believed that I was able to really show the extent of my talent. Some memorable numbers (which I gauged from constantly pestering people) were “Our House” – the super catchy number at the beginning and the end of the musical, “Baggy Trousers” (which involved some pretty intricate almost Broadway-level choreography too if I should say so myself) that has a hook which worms its way into your brain until you can’t get it out, “NW5” – a super emotional power ballad (sung by yours truly!) that apparently made many in the audience cry, and “It Must be Love” a really nice duet with even nicer instrumentals. Having a musical as my last performance in the College is definitely very bittersweet. Both the cast and the crew dedicated an immense amount of time and energy into ensuring the production was the best it could be. From having only one rehearsal to three a week, a lot of us had to really learn how to manage our academics and all the things we learnt for the play. However, I think we managed to pull it off in the end anyway and prove just how rounded Epsom students are. Those in the 6th Form were particularly crucial in helping to support some of the younger cast and crew members into getting all the stage cues, lyrics, lines, and choreography down. Truthfully speaking, it would be amiss if I didn’t mention the hard work and effort that Mr Moore, Mrs Hill, Mr Crann, and Mr Shashi put in for the play. They were absolutely pivotal in making the production as good as it was. To sum it all up, it was definitely a moment in the college that I believe all those involved will cherish for a very, very long time.

Jennah Amin, Year 13


A Day in the Life of a Prep School Student

Early in the morning, she played with her friends in the Prep garden for a short time while she was waiting to line up with her classmates to go inside the school. When she first stepped inside, she saw a big blue door that leads to the Prep School. However, her classroom wasn’t downstairs.

She has to walk upstairs every morning with all her friends and her teacher. At her own cubbyhole she needed to unpack her bag. It was time for her lessons now. In the morning, sometimes she starts with English, but other times she starts with grammar. Grammar is very important for English, both American and British, because if you want to write a very important letter to someone, your grammar is important. The timetable is a bit different for each class, but most of the classes have English first. We learn all about writing a story. At ECiM, English is a very important subject because it is the sister school to a British school ECUK (Epsom College in the UK).

After English, she went outside to Granville Green which is a big field outside one of the boarding houses of Epsom, Granville House. Outside she plays with her friends, playing tag, football, and even does some art!

After the break, she went back into the building and got ready for Maths. The Year 6s were learning about decimals and fractions. She enjoyed doing maths since it was so fun to solve problems and play maths games, but even though she found some questions a bit tricky, she didn’t worry because all the lovely teachers and teaching assistants were always by her side. Next was Mandarin. The whole of the Prep School has Mandarin everyday but they are separated into different groups. On Friday, they have a mini test, to show how much they have learnt throughout the week. However, all she was waiting for was lunch. Although she had already had her morning snack in school, her stomach was starting to rumble. She was ready to eat anything in reach. For lunch, she had plain rice, some chicken, a variety of brightly coloured vegetables and a plate of fresh watermelon. She also used the extra time to refill her water bottle. After lunch, she had some more break time before her afternoon lessons. This time, she had music, again the timetable is a little different from other classes, but this time it was music. Music is essential for education because it helps us focus more in class and support our learning. In Music, she played the violin. It was highly enjoyable to learn all about how to use the bow properly and play all her favorite songs. Then, she had another break before she started her afternoon lessons such as Science, Art, Geography etc..

At the end, CCA (co-curricular activity) was the best way to finish the day. Before the start of a term, every student gets an opportunity to select their own CCAs for the rest of the term ahead. There is art, sports, computing, language clubs, and a lot more to choose from. Today, she had yoga. It was such a great ending to a tiring school day and she could stretch and relax a lot during the CCA.

At 15:50, it was home time. Time to leave the school and return home. However, she wasn’t sad at all. Why? Because tomorrow is another day of school!

By Juny (Year 6)


Malay Language

 

This term we held a  mini Malay Weekly competition for our Key Stage 3 students. Those participating were mostly from Year 8 and 9.  There is a mixture of native and non-native speaking groups. The aim of this competition is to provide a great platform to display the knowledge and skills of the Malay language among our students. 

The benefits of the competition included an increased involvement of all students in an active and inclusive way. This promoted teamwork, strengthened those less confident in the language and stretched the high achievers as well. Activities covered spelling, Malay quizzes and essays. All students enjoyed themselves immensely and were led ably by their teachers, Mrs Noriza Ramli and Ms Nor Suhada Binti Seti.

The winner of the native essay competition was Aisha whereas Imran and Yi En shared the spoils of victory for their expert spelling. In the non-native competition Sha Nie was awarded first place for her spelling.  Hitesh was awarded first place for the Malay quiz. 

Many thanks to our MFL Head of Department, Mr Pedro, for his support!

Ms Suhada Seti & Mrs Noriza Ramli
Malay Language Teachers


French & Spanish Language

This term 40 students in the Prep School have signed up to French and Spanish CCAs and after school clubs! C’est super! ¡ Es estupendo!

To start their lessons, students discuss the importance of learning through speaking, considering how their parents taught them to speak when they were little. This forms the basis for their lessons which include listening and repeating, actions, images, games and songs.

With this in mind, students are expected to speak in French and Spanish as much as they can in class. To help them, they have learned several key phrases with helpful actions to remind them, such as:

Every time they use a key phrase in French or Spanish, they gain a “Bon point” or “Bueno punto” – with 5 of these, they earn a House Point!To make sure students can remember these, they keep a list in the back of their books. Recently they took part in a competition to create posters for the classroom wall – these act as learning aids.

Here are the winners:

Etoile de la semaine Estrella de la semana Bintang Minggu Ini

Each week, a student in the Prep School is awarded the MFL Star of the Week. This is for French, Spanish or Bahasa Malay. Each student has been presented with a certificate to take home.

AliExcellent attitude to learning in first CCA session.
HenryAlways on time to CCA, always ready to learn and always smiling.
VamitraFor excellent spelling in the Malay vocabulary test and a good attitude to learning.
Yunn XynnFor creating two brilliantly colourful "useful phrases" posters for the classroom.
KeithKeith remembers key questions and responses well and can pronounce them clearly. This is because he is focused and a really good listener in class. He won the class competition twice last week!

Well done to all our winners!

Mr Phil Pedro
Head of EPQ, MFL Coordinator, AHMM Holman