During the glittering opening event the assembled students were treated to a gripping speech by a visiting guest said Angela. “Our keynote speaker was Jamie Andrew, an incredible Scottish mountaineer who, despite having no hands and feet, has made some amazing ascents all over the world.  As a quadruple amputee, Jamie has many other remarkable achievements and has raised many thousands of pounds for charity along the way. He was a true inspiration and gave the delegates food for thought about their upcoming adventure and how they would handle being out of their comfort zone saying ‘… our greatest limitations are the ones we impose on ourselves.  I want to encourage others to throw out these misconceptions and to be all they can be’.” 

During the week students headed off to Cheshire to take part in a bush craft camp, pausing for a short visit to Chatsworth House.  Angela reports that the maze at Chatsworth was a particular favourite with the visitors. “When we eventually arrived at bush craft camp the heavens opened up which dampened spirits for a while, -especially as some of our visitors had left countries where the temperature had been 40 degrees only two days before! But as soon as the fires were roaring, and the camp songs started, spirits were lifted again.  Students took part in learning wilderness first aid, building shelters, learning how to start a campfire and night orientation activities, to name a few.”

The conference closed with a disco on Friday night and before leaving on Saturday, students were able to take part in archery, laser shooting, high ropes, climbing and dancing at the academy’s facilities.

Krishna Gaur (age 13) from The Punjab Public School said on the last day he and his friends were due for a dance class with Samworth dance students, but that it turned into an impromptu display of their own dancing skills! “We love Punjabi dance and we wanted to teach the students here what we like. We have had a fantastic week, full of adventures. We like the school very much and we have actually enjoyed everything we have done here!” Samworth student Jessica Marshall (age 17) said it had been an unexpected treat for her fellow dance students. “It’s amazing, we were going to teach these students some dance moves and they ended up showing us their dancing, it’s been a real highlight of the week.

“The Round Square has given us all so many opportunities and I have travelled the world as a delegate to New York, South Africa, Pennsylvania and soon I am off to India. It’s a great opportunity that Samworth Church Academy has offered us, and I have learnt so much being a part of it.”

Looking back on the week, Teacher Angela Owen said both her colleagues at Samworth Church Academy, and her international counterparts and students, had made powerful and lasting impressions on each other. “When the time came to say goodbye, it was quite tearful because both staff and students had made friends for life with people from all over the world.”

Schools attending the Round Square Conference at Samworth Church Academy came from Denmark, Pakistan, Peru, India, Canada, South Korea, Armenia, Germany, Bangladesh, Tanzania and Argentina.

Round Square Conference, 2019