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Saying farewell to our Dilworth Tutors

Last week in assembly, we said goodbye to our Dilworth Tutors.

Nigel, Sione, Oliver and Hayley (our first ever female tutor!) have had a wonderful year and they have certainly left an impact on all of us here at RSD.

In her speech at their final assembly, Hayley referred to her many roles and responsibilities during her year at RSD, not least in Girls Boarding, assisting with sport and recreational activities and helping in classes such as Art and FT. She also spoke of the opportunity to act as a role model for younger students and to inspire them to be the best they can be. Hayley spoke of how quickly she settled into life in Northern Ireland and thanked everyone who helped her feel quickly at home. Hayley closed her speech by explaining that the academic excellence, warmth, kindness and generosity experienced at RSD were highlights for her and said, ‘It has been an honour and a privilege to work and live among such incredible staff and students…This year has been incredible and I am forever grateful for this experience.’

Oliver referred to his work in Boarding and in day school, helping pupils with their work, aiding their improvement in class and working closely with Boarders in the evenings. He mentioned travel experiences to Hungary, Greece, Denmark, Croatia and on the school Ski Trip to Italy as highlights of his year at RSD and thanked those who made this possible. Oliver summed up his year here by saying, ‘We have all made countless memories along the way that will last a lifetime.’

Sione was keen to underscore his enjoyment of the sporting element of life at RSD, as well as his involvement in Dungannon Rugby Club. He praised the determination and skill of the Rugby and Hockey players he has coached and emphasised the strong relationships that had been developed through his sporting involvement. Sione made sure to encourage pupils at RSD to consider the opportunity to travel and work as a Tutor in the future and expressed his gratitude for the opportunities this experience had made possible.

Nigel was keen to explain the impact that the Tutors from RSD had on him as a pupil at Dilworth and emphasised that this was one of the main reasons why he decided he wanted to come to Northern Ireland. The opportunity to act as a role model, inspire younger students, build relationships and help contribute to the warm and welcoming environment in RSD, especially in Boarding, has been really important to him. Nigel also referenced the significant role he played in sport at RSD, and at the Rugby Club and he thanked God for allowing him to engage in this experience which, he described, as ‘one of the best years of his life.’

All the tutors encouraged RSD pupils to consider applying for the Dilworth Exchange Programme in the future and highlighted the life changing experience it had been for them. They individually thanked the Dilworth and Hugo Trust, Dr Burnett, Mr Clingan, Mr Wheeler, the Kitchen Staff, Boarding Staff, Caretakers and all the teachers and pupils who welcomed them warmly, worked with them closely and built strong friendships that will last a lifetime.

We are so grateful for the contribution that each of the Tutors have made during their time at RSD and we all wish them rich blessings and every success for the future that lies ahead.

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Boarding Christmas Dinner 2023

At the start of this December, the long tradition of RSD boarding dinner was once again hosted. It was a great night packed with boarding, teachers and staff.

The night started off with a traditional Christmas meal, a feast of turkey. Not only was the main dish gorgeous, the desserts were also a work of art. A big thank you to our team kitchen staff for their hard efforts.

After dinner was a talent show from the boarders. Firstly, we had a performance from our first ever boarding orchestra. It was of a talented bunch of musicians presenting the piece “Joy to The World”.

The second show was a production featuring an impersonation of our very own Mr. Ritchie, Mr. Watterson, and Mr. Black Jr. It was a great success that was well received by everyone

A round of games was next on the programme. It was of a concept of elimination, made up of a total of 5 rounds. The first round was a game of Mr Wolf, followed by tug of war, musical chairs, tangrams and a game of marbles. The winner of the contest was our very own Head of boarding – Miss Winslow.

Certificates for the year and a funny kahoot followed. And the night finished off with an emotional video to recap memories featuring the leavers of 2024 and the photos from the past year.

Once again a big thank you to everyone that made the night possible.

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Christmas Food Bank Donations

For the entire month of November, the Charities Committee ran the annual food bank appeal. Students and staff of all years were encouraged to bring non perishable food items to collection boxes in their form rooms. The donations were split in half and donated to 2 Charities; Lenity NI and The Vineyard Church Dungannon. The pupils in the form class with the most donations each received a selection box and the winner was Mr Lucas’ form class, 10P with an impressive 79 items donated! The food bank appeal is always widely supported and we were very pleased to donate to 2 Charities who make such an impact to the local area.

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Celebrating Success | Swim Ulster Minors Championship

Thanks and congratulations to our 4 Year 8 pupils who represented the school in swimming so admirably at The Swim Ulster Minors Championships. Mia Ruddy, Harry Davidson and Olivia Watt all outperformed their entry times and set new pbs individually. Particular congratulations to Alex Pokorna who also set new pbs and qualified to represent RSD at the Irish Minor Schools Championships in Dublin in March and narrowly missed the 50m back crawl final. Well done everyone!

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Learn Spark | Year 12

As the Year 12 Mock Examinations loom we invited Maria from Learn Spark in to work alongside Year 12 pupils to encourage and motivate them to not only put good effort into their revision but also to direct them to methods that are most effective and time efficient for them individually.
In this event they were challenged to think about ways to revise which are in tune with the complexities of GCSE. Year 12 were also asked to reflect on grades achieved in Year 11 modules, ‘what worked, what didn’t?’ and to make those experiences, negative or positive, count. Pupils were also asked to think about daily habits that could be significantly undermining good study habits. One of these was, of course, mobile phones. When pupils checked their screen time through ‘settings’ even they were alarmed at the amount of screen time per day they clocked up which amounted to 8 or 9 hours per day on average for some. Given that a fair proportion of the day is spent in class where they cannot access phones this is an incredible amount. Perhaps a moment for a Pause for Thought, both for parents and pupils?
Pupils were also given a QR code (in the booklet provided) with access to study schedules that can be used to plan each week and exam revision schedules. There are also links to over 20 blank resources that pupils can trial to break notes down in a manner that initiates and integrates learning at the same time. The idea is that pupils try a range and see which works best for them and in the variety of subjects that they study as they prepare for End of Topic Tests and work towards mock exams and CCEA units.
Hopefully the course (which was fully funded by RSD) has helped to set pupils on the correct track from the start of Year 11 so that they can work towards their best goals and indeed achieve them in the most positive manner. #BeYourBestSelf #perseverando
Thanks to Learn Spark for working alongside our pupils!

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A talk from Logos Ministries International

It was a delight to welcome back past pupil Matthew Winning to RSD. As part of his work with LMI (Logos Ministries International). On 7th December, Matthew spoke to the Sixth Form pupils on the topics: Modern Day Persecution and Why does God Allow Suffering? The pupils found the sessions both informative and beneficial in their R.E. studies and would like to thank LMI for taking the time to share their knowledge and expertise with them.

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C S Lewis Trip

Year 14 Re class headed off to Union College, Belfast where we had a couple of lectures in a great hall by many esteemed men including Stuart Horner, Curtis White and Jerry Root. The first lecture was by a PhD student, Ryan Shelton entitled ‘The Devil in the Digital Details’. This was a fascinating talk about the warning of the future digital dystopian that could lead Christians away from their faith. He proposed that this concept of the AI apocalypse was expressed through Milton, Lewis and Kingsnorth which offered a thought provoking idea of technology

Then we had a tea break and continued with C.S. Lewis inaugural lecture: ‘A Sign of the Times’. In this we were given an insight into C. S. Lewis first lecture at his post in Cambridge which was entitled ‘Medieval and Renaissance’. There was belief that this time period was the largest ever growth in art, science and really everything. But Lewis argues against this with a couple points. 1. Antiquity and dark ages but the dark ages ‘weren’t that dark’ . 2. The dark ages to Middle Ages were large but not as large as the 20th century leap. 3. The middle ages and end of 17th century in which science barely leaped. 4. Finally, the most crucial division and biggest period of growth; the modern day; we live in a bigger renaissance now. Here is why – change in political order, arts, and religious shapes.

Lunch was served for us, which was fantastic and we got to take a look around the famous Gamble Library where the Parliament of N.I. was once held. Here we found many books written by the apostolic fathers we study, for example Tertullian and Hippolytus. We had one more lecture in Union College on ‘Irish Myths and Legends in the Work of C.S. Lewis’ by Dr David Clare. This showed a beautiful insight to how great a influence the wonderful country of Ireland truly had on Lewis as a young boy.

Then we travelled to Queen’s library in which our group got to view the actual letters of C. S. Lewis written to various people which was fascinating and almost surreal. This just shown how the famous scholar is also just a homely Irish man but also a genius!

Following a quick tour around C.S. Lewis Square, Year 13 joined us at Little Wing for pizza and we shared a lovely meal before heading off to our final destination.

Last stop was Stranmillis College, Belfast where we listened to the last two lectures by two incredible men – both experts on C.S. Lewis – Professor Jerry Root spoke on the people who influenced the genius work of C.S. Lewis and Revd Dr Malcom Quite spoke on those who have been influenced in their work by C.. S. Lewis.This ended a very clear insight to academia, religious writing and the life of C. S. Lewis!

Thanks to Ben Cooper for writing this report

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