Model UN

Model UN is a highly popular school event, with over 100 schools attending regularly in the Auckland Region.

It is modelled on the General Assembly of the United Nations; however, it is adapted to suit the students, fitting in with their other extra-curricular activities.

The purpose of these events is to stimulate an understanding and interest in the United Nations, whilst developing future bridges of goodwill, to ensure the maintenance of world peace and understanding. These events benefit the students, by providing them with an awareness of our world, enhancing their public speaking and developing friendships whilst working through current and relevant world issues.

An example of one the recent events the Model UN attended was the Rotary Model United Nations Assembly, run over 2 days (18th-19th of May at Auckland Girls Grammar School where students from almost 60 schools from all over the North Island came together to debate and discuss pressing and very relevant world issues like refugees and the migration crisis, nuclear stockpiles, child illiteracy, free trade and the integrity of elections while representing an assigned country.

These gave students who attended the chance to engage in thought-provoking discussions about these topics while collaborating with others in an intense and professional but sociable and fun environment, chaired by an ex-speaker of parliament.

Our Strathallan team was assigned the country of Germany and handled it excellently with on point debating and brilliant speeches regarding the remits of free trade and women’s rights. Overall a fun weekend and congratulations to the Strathallan team for their efforts.

Mental Maths Masters

Once again, our students have shown that they are mental maths masters in the online SuperTmatik Mental Maths competition.

After class or student playoffs, the top three mental mathematicians in each year group were selected to go forward to the finals – and they didn’t disappoint.

All 15 students came out with results in the top 500 out of tens of thousands of competitors with four students managing to place in the top 10, an absolutely amazing achievement.

Congratulations to the following:

Top 10: Jiya Talwar, Jwalin Shah, Manya Talwar, Adam El-Khatib
Top 100: Kevin Fan, Stephanie Chen, Gason Ma, Amanjot Kaur, Zac Perkin, Jeremy Foo, Sarah Carruthers
Top 500: Melvin Jia, Hayden Manak, Jason Wang, Ethan Foo

Creative writers’ course

Creative non-fiction. At first glance, it might seem an oxymoron – indeed, it did to me. ‘How can something rooted in pure fact be creative?’ I had wondered to myself when I was first introduced to the concept last Friday, at the Michael King Writers’ Centre in Parnell. There I was, one of two lucky students from ACG Strathallan who attended a writing workshop entitled “Creative Non-fiction and the Short Story”.

It was the first of our two guest speakers, Bianca Zander, who worked with us on this apparently contrary genre. A recipient of the CNZ Louis Johnson New Writer’s Bursary, presently the editor of Little Treasures magazine, an author of two novels – as well as a multitude of works for radio, television, and film – and having taught creative writing at both AUT and MIT, to say she was an authority on the subject of writing would be quite the understatement. She explained that, in essence, creative non-fiction was “a true story well told”; the inclusion of literary devices such as dialogue and metaphorical description results in a piece which seeks to entertain as well as inform its reader. As an aspiring journalist, this concept very much appealed to me, as is hopefully apparent by the style of this article.

Ms. Zander also went on to demonstrate to us a technique for combating the bane of writers everywhere; writer’s block. We used the astutely named “One-Inch Window” – a one-inch by one-inch square cut into a piece of paper, functioning to eliminate outside distractions whilst describing a certain object viewed through the aforementioned aperture. Whilst mostly designed to prove the point that there is plenty to be described in a mere one-inch view, it was a fascinating and useful exercise nonetheless.

The second speaker was yet again undoubtedly qualified; Tracey Slaughter is a talented and accomplished multi-award-winning writer of short stories, and lecturer in creative writing at the University of Waikato. She worked with us on the skills involved with the writing of such pieces, including altering cliché opening lines to be more gripping, the best way to end a piece, and how to write characters properly. Passionate and personable, she was inspiring to everyone present, and provided welcome insight into the world of professional writing.

The workshop was, in a word, invaluable. Engaging and entertaining, we developed our abilities greatly, and added many techniques to our repertoire. I sincerely look forward to future events such as this, and wholeheartedly encourage other young writers to look into attending one such workshop too.

Although I do freely admit that the morning tea of biscuits and jelly snakes certainly contributed to my opinion.

Written by Angus Cameron who attended a writing workshop hosted by the Michael King Writer’s Centre at the National Library in Parnell.