Ninety Year 8 pupils and thirteen members of staff participated in two successful trips to London from 19- 21 and 21-23 June. The groups’ itineraries included visits to the Supreme Court at Westminster, a visit to the London Eye, the British Museum and Madame Tussauds as well as a West End theatre visit to see Matilda.
Over 50 students from across Northern Ireland celebrated International Women in Engineering Day on Friday 23rd June, by taking part in the first annual STEM Challenge event, hosted by global healthcare firm Randox Laboratories.
The students, from the Belfast Model School for Girls and Victoria College Belfast, joined female scientists, engineers, software developers and mathematicians from Randox, for a number of interactive activities organised to mark the special day, which is aimed at tackling the gender divide in engineering and other science, technology and maths-related disciplines.
Speaking at the event was Professor Máire O’Neill of Queen’s University Belfast – Professor in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and former recipient of the British Female Inventors and Innovators Network’s British Female Inventor of the Year award.
Professor O’Neill commented;
“I’m really delighted to be here today at the Randox STEM event and to have the opportunity to speak with girls who could potentially be the next generation of scientists, mathematicians, software developers, and significantly, on today, International Women in Engineering Day, the next generation of female engineers.
“Engineering is not a job for men. The representation of engineering as a “masculine” job is a socially constructed one, and at that, an inaccurate one. The skills required for engineering are found just as readily in the young girls I see here before me today as they are in their male classmates – patience, analysis, communication, empathy and problem solving.
“Enabling these young girls here today to meet with female engineers from Randox provides them with really positive role models who can share their experiences and hopefully encourage the students to really consider what it is to be an engineer.”
The students had the opportunity to ask the Randox representatives all the questions they wanted to know about working in STEM, and were treated to a tour of the facilities at the recently acquired Randox Science Park, which has become the new headquarters for the company.
Linda Magee, Head of Human Resources at Randox added;
“We want young girls to know that engineering is as much a viable career choice for them as it is for their male counterparts. At Randox our female to male ratio of engineers is significantly higher than the UK average – 15.8% as opposed to only 9% – but we still have a long way to go and we feel quite strongly that we can utilize Randox’s status within the Northern Irish business sector to really spearhead a paradigm shift in how we view engineering disciplines.”
Mark Gray, Biology Teacher at Victoria College Belfast said;
“We were delighted to hear that Randox were hosting a schools event in support of their STEM campaign, to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day. It’s important to give girls the chance to get involved and gain hands-on experience within these different disciplines and deliver the message from an early age that they have the same opportunities as boys in every part of life, especially their careers.
“By giving them more information and explaining the benefits of STEM we’re opening the doors for girls into areas that they might not have considered before. We need to make certain that young girls have the right support and experience to choose the right job in their future professions and a campaign like this offers us the perfect opportunity to do so.”
The Randox STEM challenge on International Women in Engineering Day, Friday 23rd June, was the culmination of a week-long initiative celebrating women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths, and in leadership roles across Northern Ireland.
Article by Randox Laboratories Ltd
Beth Walker and Georgia Ross U17 Ulster travelled to Lilleshall to play against England.
Aimee Christie and Zahra Lowry U14 travelled to Amsterdam representing Ulster in a European Junior tournament.
Susie Loane and Zahra Lowry played for U16 Ulster against Scotland at UUJ last weekend. On the same afternoon, Beth Walker and Charlotte Little also represented U17 Ulster against Scotland.
Congratulations to all involved on their outstanding achievements.
Two pupils and a member of staff from Victoria College were recently privileged to participate in a visit to the Battlefields of the Somme. The ‘Battlefields Project’ allowed a group of Year 10 pupils, from a number of schools in Northern Ireland, to go on a four day visit to some of the significant sites of the First World War in France and Belgium. It was a trip that will not easily be forgotten by both pupils and staff.
The first visit on 16 May was to Vimy Ridge, a memorial dedicated to the fallen members of the Canadian forces who served during the Great War. The capture of Vimy Ridge was a defining moment in the nation’s history and the powerful two-pylon memorial stands as a testimony to ‘the valour of their countrymen’. In the memorial park we were able to walk through the preserved trenches and view the surrounding land, permanently scarred with the marks of battle, but now characterised by a serenity that clearly contrasts with the time of conflict it witnessed in the past.
On 17 May a visit was made, firstly, to Loghnagar Crater, the largest crater ever made by man in anger. Its enormity cannot fail to leave a lasting impression on the minds of all who look into it. Following this visit we made our way to the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. This massive monument was raised in honour of 72,246 unaccounted for soldiers who died during the Somme battles ‘to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death’. The scale and architecture of the memorial is impressive, with the name of each fallen hero inscribed carefully on the huge panels of Portland stone.
The next event of our second day in France was, for all of us, the most powerful and emotive part of the trip. Unaware of the change in schedule before our arrival in France we were not expecting to attend the funeral of a soldier who fell in the Battle of the Somme over 100 years ago. The recently discovered remains of Private Henry Parker, 5th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, were laid to rest in the Warlencourt British Cemetery and we were each given a personal invitation by the Ministry of Defence to witness his burial. Private Parker was born in Weaverthorpe in North Yorkshire on 29 September 1893. The greater part of his service in the war was in holding the line in the Ypres Salient however in August 1916 his battalion was redeployed at the Somme. It was there that he met his death just 3 days short of his 23rd birthday. His funeral with full military honours took place on a very sunny Wednesday morning so many years after he was killed in action. We felt humbled yet honoured to have observed such a special event.
Later in the day we visited the Ulster Tower, dedicated to the men of the 36th (Ulster) division and erected on the site of their famous advance on the morning of 1 July 1916. Here we were given a very interesting account of their exploits on the first day of the Somme and the significant gains that they made on one of history’s great days of tragedy. A short walk took us to Connaught Cemetery and then into the heart of Thiepval Wood where we viewed the preserved trenches and learned of what life was like for the soldiers who fought there. We then crossed the Ancre River and made our way to the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Park, with its beautiful memorials, dedicated to the Newfoundlanders who, 2500 miles from home, fought on the same date. The last two stops of the day were to Martinsart Cemetery, where 14 men from the Royal Irish Rifles were buried in a mass grave and then to Authuille Cemetery, where we visited the grave of the well-known William McBride.
On 18 May our first visit was to the Island of Ireland Peace Park ‘dedicated to the memory of all those from the Island of Ireland who fought and died in the First World War’. Following this we visited Wytschaete Cemetery, Spanbroekmolen Crater and Lone Tree Cemetery before moving to Essex Farm Cemetery, where John McCrae wrote his famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. Following a visit to Langemark German Military Cemetery we visited the grave of Private J. Condon in Poelcapelle British Cemetery who was killed at the age of 14. Following this we made a visit to Tyne Cot, the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world and the final resting place for nearly 12,000 servicemen.
In the evening we attended the daily sounding of the ‘Last Post’ at Menin Gate in Ypres. The impressive monument bears the names of 54,395 servicemen who were killed in the Ypres Salient and every evening at 20.00 hours buglers sound the ‘Last Post’ underneath its enormous arches. Apart from a time of relocation due to German occupation during World War 2 this ceremony has continued uninterrupted since 1928. Both our pupils had the honour of laying wreaths during the course of the ceremony.
On our final day, 19 May, we made an early stop at Notre Dame de Lorette, the largest French Cemetery in the world and the burial ground for over 40,000 casualties. Particularly impressive was the ‘Ring of Remembrance’, an elliptical memorial bearing the names of nearly 600,000 soldiers who fell in the North of France during the war. A walk across a field of rusted artillery and muddy trenches completed the visit and our pilgrimage to the Battlefields of the Somme.
A special note of thanks must be made to our guide, Tom, from the Somme Association. He imparted to us a wealth of knowledge and in a clear and passionate way placed each site within its historical context. Both our Year 10 pupils, Beatrice Tinsley and Lauren Carville represented their school and country impeccably throughout the trip and found it to be extremely enlightening to their understanding of what took place during the course of the Great War. All who attended the trip felt privileged to have done so and the memories made will be etched on our minds for a very long time.
‘When you go home tell them of us and say, For their tomorrow, we gave our today’
‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13)
VCB Y10 pupils are currently involved in training as preparation for their upcoming Bronze Expeditions in the Mournes.
With excitement mounting ahead of our grand opening, we are delighted to post the first official pictures of our outstanding new facilities.
The Big Build Giving Wall
The Big Build Giving Wall will be located prominently within the reception area of the new sports hall and for every £100 donated you can add the name of a single individual to this commemorative wall. So, for a donation of £100 you can secure a place for one name, for a donation of £200 you can secure a place for two names, and for a donation of £300 you can secure a place for three names on the Big Build Giving Wall.
There is no overall limit on the number of places on the Big Build Giving Wall that may be secured by a single donor and donations can be made anonymously without the publication of the name of any individual on the wall. Donations of less than £100 are also welcome.
On Friday 5th May 2017, fifty members were present at a delightful evening in the Ulster Reform Club. A splendid buffet was enjoyed and many happy memories and anecdotes of school days were shared. Barbara Farris was presented with a gift to mark her service of Treasurer for twenty five years. A table of those who left school fifty years ago had a wonderful reunion. The event was organised most efficiently by Patricia Moorhead. Past President Margaret Andrews has graciously accepted the title of Emeritus President and Betty Kerr has become Emeritus Honorary Secretary marking their significant roles in the Association.
Mrs Betty Kerr - Emeritus Honorary Secretary
Pictured opposite is a much loved old girl; Mrs Betty Kerr. She organised the many aspects of the Old Girls Association for 55 years before stepping down in 2016. She is now ‘Emeritus Honorary Secretary’.
Chair of the Old Girls - Carolyn Lewis.
At the Dinner Carolyn welcomed, and thanked, those who had come to this the 101st Dinner.
She paid tribute to Betty Kerr who had organised all the administration of the Old Girls for fifty five years and Barbara Farris who had served the Association as Treasurer for 25 years. In recognition of her role Barbara was presented with beautiful ear-rings. Betty had been presented with a lovely brooch at the Centenary Dinner in Parliament Buildings in 2015.
Ms Slevin addressed the audience and spoke of the many highlights in the school year. Looking ahead to the opening of the ‘New Build’ she encouraged Old Girls to contribute to items to furnish the new sports and art buildings and gave out some brochures to highlight the features of these much needed facilities. Past President of the Old Girls, Mrs Margaret Andrews, has accepted the title of ‘Emeritus Honorary President’ and we look forward to seeing her and Betty, ‘Emeritus Honorary Secretary’ at future meetings.
Annual Dinner 2018
The Annual Dinner will be held on Friday 27th April in Belvoir Park Golf Club. Further information about this and other events can be found on the webpage below. Any group celebrating a special anniversary should make early contact with Patricia Moorhead.
On this webpage you can also find information about the Old Girls Association, including forthcoming events and items of interest.
On Saturday 13th May, Victoria College had an incredibly successful day at the District Athletics Championship held at the Antrim Forum.
Successful pupils / teams
- Amy Edwards – Gold in Javelin
- Leila Poziaina – Gold in 3000m
- Rebecca Bunn – Gold in 1500m Steeplechase
- Darcey Smyth – Silver in 1500m Steeplechase
- Georgia Ross – Silver in Triple Jump and 300m Hurdles
- Rebecca Warnock – Bronze in high jump
- Bree Moffett – Bronze in long jump
- Emilia Cutrona – Silver in 100m
- Aimee Crawford – Silver in 80m Hurdles & 4th in 300m
- Inter relay team - Silver
Congratulations to all our pupils on their outstanding achievements.