Cwmtawe Community School
BBC News Report


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Trouble-Maker or Success Maker?
These days, all young people are seen as trouble-makers who cause havoc wherever they go. However, this is not the case, as many young people are not given the chance to prove themselves and show the world what they are really like. To prove this point, we interviewed the inspirational year 11 pupil, Caitlin. Caitlin is currently the head girl at Cwmtawe Community School and also a Gold Ambassador for the 2012 Olympic Games. Even though she is only sixteen, she has done many amazing things in her life to help a lot of people. Far from being a trouble-maker, she is described by her Head of Year as incredible, brave, kind and hard-working.
During her time at Cwmtawe Community School she has organised many fund-raising events such as the recent school fashion show which raised over a thousand pounds for the Gleision Miners Appeal. In addition to this, she has raised hundreds of pounds for numerous charities, during other fund-raising events held at the school. Recently, when visitors came to the school, they saw Caitlin teaching aerobics to year six pupils, and could not believe that she was a pupil because of the way she was interacting with the children. They were convinced that she was a young teacher, this goes to show how responsible and mature she is, clearly worthy of being Head Girl. With all these achievements to her name, she is still as modest as they come, proving that she is a lovely person and a pleasure to be around.
Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as she was nominated, by a number of teachers, to become a Silver Ambassador for the 2012 Olympics. Later recognised for her talents, the County offered her the role of Gold Ambassador which she embraced whole heartedly. Caitlin told us more about her duties as Gold Ambassador:
“I organise and run lunchtime and after school sports clubs, and travel to conferences all over Wales. I have also interviewed Olympic stars, as well as attending County meetings to give ideas on increasing participation of young people in sport.”
Her advice for other young people is to work hard, be determined and never give up. Always take opinions and criticism constructively. You should believe in yourself and your own abilities.
Being Head Girl and a Gold Ambassador for the Olympics is hard work, so Caitlin spends a lot of her time in school, making sure that she is always organised and prioritising everything she does. She says the best thing to do is not to leave things until the last minute but do it as soon as possible. Caitlin doesn’t have a lot of spare time, but when she does she enjoys playing sport and spending time with her friends. As she enjoys sport and is very committed, Caitlin is the captain of both the hockey and netball team within the school.
As Head Girl, Caitlin represents the school for parent’s evening and other such events. She is there to welcome visitors and gives speeches and interviews at meetings and conferences, as she is a member of the governing body of the school. Another part of her job is to organise the prefects and help out wherever needed.
We asked Caitlin about her opinion on politics, and whether she would ever consider this as a career.
“I do enjoy mock elections and debating as I am very opinionated and I like getting my point across. However, I hope to become a doctor so I don’t think I would go into politics.”
She told us that she was more scientifically minded and preferred things like maths and science to politics.
Caitlin has a strong opinion on how young people are judged:
“Many young people work so hard and do not go around causing havoc. They should be given a chance to prove themselves and not be brought down by others. However, the ones that are bad should take the responsibility for their actions instead of putting the blame on others.”
People cannot expect all young people to be good if they are not prepared to listen to them and be open to their opinions and views.
Even though Caitlin has not got a ticket for the 2012 Olympic Games, she is still a nominee to carry the Olympic torch. This is an extraordinary accomplishment for someone so young. Caitlin says that she is influenced by everyone, such as her mother, her teachers, her friends and her peers. She is even influenced by the bad things they do because she is able to then learn from their mistakes.
When asked about how she prepares for her GCSEs and what marks she hopes to gain, Caitlin said working hard is the main thing, she spends 6 days a week in school and revises whenever she can.
“You can only give your best and no-one should expect any more.”
Caitlin hopes this interview will be a success and will provide good information and advice for young people.
Perhaps some teenagers are trouble but Caitlin is making us proud. She is definitely on our list of inspirational people.
By Grace & Eben
Barney Bags Bronze, Silver and Gold
Ellena, more fondly known as Barney is only 15 years old and is the Junior Youth Olympic Champion in Swimming. Amazingly, Barney even competes in Common Wealth Games events, which is outstanding for such a young person. This talented young girl attends Cwmtawe Comprehensive School.
Barney’s Beginning
When we spoke to Barney she told us that she started her Swimming journey at the age of six. Her parents had taken her to Pontardawe Swimming Pool where she started swimming lessons. Despite the fact that swimming is strenuous, stressful and time consuming, Barney has thoroughly enjoyed it for the past nine years and is passionate about the Olympic sport. She started competing in national competitions at the age of 11 and has carried on ever since. She is now one of the top ten fastest 15year olds in the world! The events she competes in are the 400m individual medley, the 200m freestyle and the 800m freestyle. Her times are 4 minutes 55 seconds for the 400m individual medley, 2 minutes 30 seconds for the 200m freestyle and nine minutes for the 800m freestyle. She tells us that she aims for the best time possible every time she competes and always tries to beat her previous personal best. Barney claims that while competing her biggest competitors are everyone in the pool.
More than just medals
Barney has an impressive competitive background as she has competed in many prestigious competitions such as the ‘European Youth Olympics 2011’, the ‘Common Wealth Youth games 2011’ the ‘British Nationals 2012’ and is hoping for much more this year. In the last year, Barney has achieved two medals in the British Nationals, gold, silver and a bronze in the Youth Olympics and two silvers in the Youth Common Wealth Games. These competitions have taken Ellena to Turkey, Isle of Man, Minorca and Tenerife. As a result, swimming has opened up a lot of opportunities for this young sports star. Her main aim is to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. She recently swam in the Olympic trials on the 6th of March 2012 in the Welsh National Pool in Swansea. Her next up competition is in July of this year.
Training Time
Training is something you have to do to get as good as Barney and she does a lot of it! She swims for ‘Swim Swansea’ where she is coached by Adam Baker and attends between eight and nine training sessions a week which equates to approximately sixteen to nineteen hours in the pool each week.
Not just a great swimmer
Her sport’s teacher at Cwmtawe Community School, Miss K. Ardolino, has nothing but praise for Barney. She describes Barney as ‘a polite, determined and committed young athlete who has always shown the utmost commitment to her swimming.’ When Miss Ardolino was asked whether she expected to see Barney representing our Country in the next Olympics, she replied ‘Without a shadow of a doubt! I’m convinced Barney will be representing Wales in the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro in 2016. All the staff at Cwmtawe Community School support and encourage Barney with all her competitions. I feel Barney appreciates this and I believe it helps to motivate her’.
Hopes and dreams
Barney admits that she would love to continue to pursue Swimming at a competitive standard when she’s older. What has kept her swimming so long is the determination to get gold and the support and guidance giving by coaches, family and friends. She shares with us some very good advice ‘if you try hard, give 100% and take the advice that’s given to you then it will pay off’.
Inspirational Teen
Barney is not only an inspiration to swimmers but also us and everyone in our school. She proves that if you work hard enough to achieve your goal then it will be achieved. Go for Gold Barney!
By Sophie and Regan
Prejudice against Teens
These days very negative opinions are pointed in the direction of teenagers. For instance, if most people see a teenager walking in the street with their hood up, they instantly assume that the teen is a troublemaker and walk further away.
Most likely they are simply just an innocent civilian who may be cold or protecting themselves from the rain.
A Teachers opinion
Our English teacher feels very strongly about this topic. When she was asked whether she agrees that teenagers get
bad press at the moment, she replied:
‘Yes, I do agree with this, as I’ve noticed that when I tell people that I teach in a secondary school that they have a horrified look on their face and this is usually followed by a gasp”.
“Teenagers!” they say, “ That must be very difficult”. “Are they cheeky?” they ask. “Do they swear at you?” they inquire, “ Are they constantly on their mobile phones?” they demand. I am always extremely puzzled by this reaction, as I can answer “no” to all the above questions.’
A Teenagers opinion
We also asked a teenager who helps out in a Youth Club about her views. When the young year 8 pupil was asked about the work she does to help young people, she replied: 'My dad runs a Youth Club so that if any young person has any problems or issues they can come to us and we can help them to sort it out or talk to them about it.'
When she was asked, ‘What type of things do you and your dad do to help young people?’ she explained: ‘We have lots of interesting and fun things in the Youth Club to occupy young people such as a Nintendo Wii, a pool table, an Xbox and even a tuck shop so that if they get hungry or thirsty they can can buy snacks at the club rather than walk down to the shop to buy it. The Youth Club also stops Young People from wandering around the streets with no-where to go.’
She kindly agreed to answer another question, ‘We asked her what she thinks about the bad press teenagers receive?’
“Well everyone who attends the Youth Club are really nice and well behaved, some even help us to clean up at the end!” She enthused.
Lastly we asked her, ‘How much of your time do you spend helping out at the youth club?’ the inspiring teen replied, “It takes an hour and a half to set up, and then two hours to do the actual club and I also spend another hour and a half to tidy up. So altogether I spend five hours of my time helping out at the youth club.”
To conclude, we think that everyone should come together and help to get rid of the “teens are trouble” stereotype. ALL teens should be able to wear what they want, be it a hoodie or a top and jeans. Also teens should be able to go into a shop with their friends without a security guard becoming suspicious and watching them. No one has the right to judge anyone, no matter what their age or appearance, religion or colour.
Written By Lauren and Lucy, Cwmtawe Community School.
Welsh Drama is Just Hunky Dory
Welsh drama is currently thriving with TV dramas set in Wales such as ‘Gavin and Stacey’ and the recently renowned Welsh series ‘Stella’, starring Ruth Jones and Kenny Doughty, broadcasted all over the UK. Along with the percentage of Welsh TV series going up, the number of famous welsh actresses and actors is also going up. For example Carey Mulligan, a Welsh actress, has recently been nominated for an Oscar due to her performance in the new film ‘Drive’ and replaced Keira Knightly in the 2012 film ‘My Fair Lady’ when Keira dropped out. The film ‘The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain’ along with other films, were filmed in Wales. Will this rise in Welsh publicity encourage young people all over Wales to take an interest in the dramatic arts? Over the last few years more and more British directors and producers have recruited young, fresh new talent from schools and in drama lessons around Wales.
Despite this, it seems that the parents of young actors or actresses throughout Wales are discouraging their children to take drama GCSEs and exams. We interviewed three individuals who are currently in year 8 at Cwmtawe Comprehensive School and they confirmed this problem. We asked one of the individuals, Thomas, whether he thought there was pressure on GCSE pupils to ‘drop’ Drama. His reply was “Yes, because parents believe that there is a smaller chance of us getting into the drama industry than any other. They think that we should be concentrating on the three core subjects; Science, Maths and English and that our chances of getting a good job are slim.” The other two individuals, Kiera and Hannah, agreed vigorously. They also agreed that there was a large chance that young actors and actresses would get a part in a film as the Welsh drama generation is big at the moment.
A new film that is set in Wales and portrays the Welsh drama industry brilliantly is ‘Hunky Dory’ which has been in cinemas since the 2nd of March. ‘Hunky Dory’ is set in the Swansea- Port Talbot area. The plot is about Vivienne (Minnie Driver), a drama teacher in a comprehensive school who is trying to put on a performance of Shakespeare’s play, ‘The Tempest’, while having to deal with the stress of teenage behaviour and keeping cool in the sweltering summer of 1976. Trying to interest her pupils, Vivienne creates a snazzy cross between Shakespeare and the modern world of music.
There has been a lot of local involvement in the film including Cwmtawe Comprehensive School’s choir who appear in the film and on the soundtrack. This is down to the links Cwmtawe Community School’s music department has with the Head of Drama at Bishop Gore School in Swansea and the director of music of the film. Due to the generosity of the cast, Mrs Webley, a music teacher at Cwmtawe, received Minnie Driver’s autograph and a picture with the lady herself. Other cast members include Aneurin Barnard, Danielle Branch, Robert Pugh, Haydn Gwynne and Steven Speirs. Marc Evans directed this masterpiece and the film was written by Laurence Coriat.
Parents should be encouraged by this sudden interest in the Welsh film industry and realise that if their children take a particular interest the dramatic arts they should support them. Embrace the fact that your child has a creative side and has found something they enjoy. If you are still worried talk to your child about concentrating on the core subjects in their exams. In the future the Welsh drama industry will strive to grow even bigger as there is no way that this is the crescendo of the dramatic arts in Wales. Therefore there will soon be even more chances for you or your child to excel at a subject they love and gain a part in a play, film and/or TV series in Wales.
By Leah
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