14th July 2022
Writing: Magnus Astall, Joseph Pendse, Harry Hoar (Year 7), Charlie McKee, Peter Robson (Year 8), Benjamin Moore, Benjamin Thalayasingham (Year 9), Robin Choudhury-Collins (Year 10)
Photography: Thanmai Akunuri (Year 7), Nicholas Storey (Year 10)
Editing: Luke Corey (Year 12)
In May, Year 7 stepped foot into Spy Games. If I were to describe Spy Games, I would say it was amazing and - without a doubt - my favourite activity that my class did during Activity Week. The day was varied with activities like gun training, moving nuclear substances, and codebreaking. My personal favourite was safe-cracking, since cracking the codes to unlock the safe was so much fun, although a close second must have been bomb defusal, in which we figured out the correct order to pull out the wires, narrowly avoiding an explosion!
Throughout the day, for excellent performance in problem-solving and speed, we would be rewarded with spy dollars; the group with the most spy dollars by the end of the day would win a prize. This new element added a new weight to solving puzzles, as it introduced the dilemma of being quick but still solving it correctly.
In conclusion, we thoroughly enjoyed Spy Games as it was so different to anything I had done before. Safe to say, it was my favourite trip!
The second day of our Activity Week was visiting the famous Bletchley Park, located in Milton Keynes, Bletchley Park is the place where the enigma code was cracked in the 1940s, which was hugely influential to how we won World War 2. The whole operation was about the interception of ciphered messages between Nazi’s before decoding those messages, giving us inside information on there plans.
We started the day with a long coach journey to Milton Keynes. On arrival we wandered around the museum by ourselves, learning about the war and what life was like, as well as the sort of things which would happen at Bletchley Park. After eating our lunch, we had an amazing guided tour of some of the other areas of the museum, where they went into greater depth about the origin of the historic location. We were shown the state house and were shown some of the vehicles used back in the 1940s. After that, we had a workshop about the enigma machine and how it worked, as well as being able to put our knowledge into practice when we were giving Ciphers to decode ourselves. The staff were amazing as well, they were so genuine and interested and educated in the topic, and therefore making it interesting for us to. It was a fantastic experience and I learned so much on that second day of our Activity Week.
To end our exhilarating Activity Week, Year 7 took a trip to Whipsnade Zoo, led by Mr Hamill. This trip furthered our knowledge of animals, adaptations and habitats in the most enjoyable way possible: meeting the beautiful creatures firsthand. We saw a huge amount of animals throughout the day, starting with the wild boar and its baby boars, and the bears. In particular, I enjoyed meeting Colombo the sloth bear, who started running around and climbing the moment he saw our group! There was even an aquarium that led onto a butterfly house, which was very popular. We ate our lunch by the tiger enclosure, before meeting my favourite animals- the Asian elephants- and rounding the trip off with a visit to the petting zoo, where we got to meet some goats!
Overall, I think everyone involved was very pleased with the brilliant trip, and I’d like to give a huge thank you to Mr Hamill, our trip leader, and the teachers who led the groups.
In Year 8, on the final Friday before the half-term holidays, we visited Longridge Activity Centre. After three long days of tricky exams, both the trip to the Science Museum and Longridge were great ways to wind down, and very enjoyable. On the day of the trip to Longridge, after a short coach journey from DCGS, we checked in, got split into groups, and then promptly started our different activities; my group did Jacob’s ladder, orienteering, night line, and dragon boat racing. The activities were extremely fun - particularly Jacob’s ladder! - and after we had finished all of them, we left feeling tired, yet very fulfilled, and ready for a long awaited holiday!
At the Science Museum, we started off the day with a fantastic iMax theatre experience, viewing Benedict Cumberbatch's narrated film Antarctica. We visited a number of galleries, including those dedicated to mathematics and biology. The museum shop was also a lot of fun because there was a huge variety of products. We got back on the buses whilst telling each other about what we had seen, and everyone had a great day.
Calshot Activity Centre is located on a spit of land that juts into the sea where Southampton Water meets the Solent. From the beach, you can see across to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The site is dominated by the Sunderland Hangar, a vast warehouse which houses a dry ski slope, a massive climbing wall, a high ropes course, an archery and shooting area, plus a velodrome - one of only six indoor cycle tracks in the UK.
On Monday 23rd May, 60 excited students left DCGS for the two-hour coach ride to Calshot. After settling into our dorms and having a tasty lunch, we were ready to begin the programme of 11 different activities spread across our five-day stay. This encompassed a vast range: there were activities from track cycling and climbing, to water sports such as kayaking and windsurfing; not to mention snowboarding, Aero Trek, and orienteering. In addition, there were activities every evening, including games (football, basketball, tennis), engineering challenges, ringos and a film night. As you can see, it was an action-packed trip!
Due to the pandemic, this was my first residential school trip since UKSA at the beginning of Year 7. I really enjoyed the opportunity to try new sports and get to know more people from my year group. So, on behalf of everyone who went on this trip, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Mr Deadman and the team of teachers who organised and accompanied us on our visit and to all the instructors at Calshot for their support and encouragement through the week.
As soon as we stepped off the coach from DCGS, we started off with our first activity, Ambush, which was full of tactics, using strategies and outmanoeuvring each other. Ambush set the tone for the trip, since over the course of the next few days, we enjoyed many activities such as White Water Rafting and canoeing, where we travelled over high and enjoyable rapids. We also engaged in a range of other water sports, including kayaking and paddleboarding which were also very much enjoyed. For a lot of people, though, canyoning was the clear highlight of their trip, and for many was the first time: it included sliding down waterfalls, a zip line and jumping off rocks!
We also went to Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, where we saw Edinburgh Castle, the Queen’s Scottish business residence and we also spent time in a shopping centre. We also did a zip wire, a hike and axe throwing which were also extremely entertaining. We spent our final day at Alton Towers, where we rode many fun and thrilling rides such as Nemesis, Wicker Man, and Galactica, before finally arriving back at DCGS.
For Year 10, Activities Week was action packed, insightful but most of all fun! We kicked off the week with a carefully planned out course on public speaking and confidence building in interview scenarios, taking part in group discussions, presentations and more. This took place over a two day period, which we learned so much from. Next, we had a boot camp-style military training day with some ex-armed forces who really put us through our paces with gruelling physical challenges, tricky mental exercises such as clearing a minefield; generally, we were being pushed to our limits. The purpose of the day was to build character and to help us to find drive within ourselves. Finally, we travelled to Kings Church, where we took part in a brilliant two day course called Young Enterprise, where we learned fantastic entrepreneurial skills. In conclusion, the week was a well curated, and thought provoking experience!