post image

Students return from Zambia

STUDENTS who braved poisonous snakes and spiders to help people in Africa are sharing their experiences with schoolmates after returning from an expedition that has changed their lives.

Young people from The King’s Academy carried out home-based care for vulnerable people, got involved in building work and worked with orphaned children with HIV in Zambia.

They were part of a 24-strong group of students from schools in Gateshead, Blyth and Doncaster that are all part of Emmanuel Schools Foundation.

Working with Lifeline Zambia, they spent two weeks working in Miloso in an area ravaged by poverty and HIV.

They were also taken into the bush where they climbed Mumpu, the highest freestanding peak in the country, sleeping out under the stars with only mosquito nets for cover.

The trip proved harrowing and rewarding in equal measure as the students experienced life in an impoverished country on the other side of the globe.

The King’s Academy party comprised Tom Carling, Ben Warren, Sarah Dyson, Jessica Welburn, Stephanie Hooper and Jack Saunders.

Jessica said:

I have never cried so much in my life; seeing all the little children with absolutely nothing, yet they seemed so happy. Nothing can prepare you for it.”

They were also struck by the stark contrast of poverty and affluence living side by side. Ben said:

We didn’t expect to see such poverty with luxury right next door.”

Tom added:

We went to a state hospital and the queues were massive. One man had a massive gash in his head and had been waiting so long that the blood had dried. Then we went to a private hospital with all the equipment and it was empty.”

During the mountain climb the students stumbled across a dead zebra, believed to be the victim of a bite from a poisonous snake called the black mamba.

And we were just walking through long grass in shorts,” said Tom.

Their guide also had to remove another poisonous snake that strayed into their camp while vultures circled overhead and a goshawk flew off with a snake in its talons.

All the students agreed the trip had changed their view of life.

We know now that we have nothing to complain about,” said Jessica. “We are so privileged living in Britain but we would all love to go back to Africa.”

Vice principal at The King’s Academy Gary Wiecek said:

The aim of this annual expedition to Africa is for our students to make a difference to the people there, even just for a day by giving their time and helping.

“The reality is that the experience makes a real difference to our students for the rest of their lives.”

post image

King’s Students Set the Pace with Pasta!

The weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th September 2013 was a very active two days for The King’s.

Junior Great North Run 1Saturday 14th September saw the King’s Academy running team racing against thousands of competitors from around the country, in the Junior Great North Run. Kristie Amour, Daniel Brundle, Kathryn Busby, Lewis Palfrey, Jonathan Pugh, Nathan Welburn and Owen Wright, all put in fantastic performances over the 4km course around Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside.

Junior Great North Run 2The team arrived early to take part in the BUPA Great North Pasta Party before the race, where they were entertained by a host of live music and entertainment and had the opportunity to see some of the elite athletes competing in the City Games. There was also a range of ‘come and try it’ sporting activities including pole vaulting, golf swing analysis, and mini 5-a-side football tournaments! The Bupa Great North Pasta Party is open to anyone, and last year over 18,000 bowls of pasta were served across the day!

Junior Great North Run 3Libby Hedger (Year 9) finished in an incredible second place in her age group with a time of 15 minutes and 54 seconds. Owen Wright (Year 11) was the fastest boy from The King’s completing the course in 16 minutes 10 seconds.

Dr Casson, coach for The King’s Running Club, who also competed in the Great North Run on the Sunday, was rightly very proud of the young athletes: “The team worked really hard to achieve their personal best and there were some awesome times set. ‘Well done, to all who took part – let’s get training now for next year!”

Sunday 15th September saw fifty five students and staff attend the event to help issue the goody bags at the finish line. The weather was surprisingly kind to start off with, but got very wet by the end of the afternoon. This didn’t dampen the spirits of our King’s group and by the time the event finished, they had issued over 50,000 bags to a mixture of elite, club and fan runners!

Junior Great North Run leadSeveral members of The King’s staff also took part in the race. First home was Dr Casson in 1 hour 29 minutes, closely followed by Miss Williams who completed in 1 hour and 38 minutes. Miss Hall, Miss Tipton, Mr Fox, Mr Walters and Mrs Scard all finished in style to great cheers from The King’s students.

Mr Whittaker, Assistant Vice Principal at The King’s said: “The highlight of the afternoon had to be watching the epic finish between Mo Farah and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele in the men’s race, which was only metres away from where the students were working at the finish line.”