A Final Farewell to Summer 2018
As another summer comes to an end, it is time to wrap up ORA’s Summer School until 2019. The past 12 weeks of non-stop learning, excursions, laughter and fun certainly made for a memorable summer for students, who made lifelong friendships, learned fascinating new skills and experienced an unforgettable ORA summer.
ORA pupils had the opportunity to participate in an extensive variety of Masterclasses during their stay. With the chance to turn into detectives with the CSI Masterclass, learn about trading with the Stock Market Challenge, handle exotic animals in Zoolab and even create their own fragrant soap in Soap Science, there was something for everyone.
Some pupils tried their hand at photography, sketching and animation, whilst others refined their debating skills and got a practical insight into History. With so much choice and incredible workshops, the Masterclasses kept the summer going with exciting hands-on activities and provided pupils with a series of practical skills that are sure to aid them in the future.
ORA in America
For the first time ever, ORA went overseas and opened a course at Yale University and sent students to the SPII Programme at Stanford University. Such prestigious American institutions provided the perfect setting for ORA students, who explored the famous cities of New York and San Francisco as they received world-class teaching.
The success of both courses was clear, with pupils refining crucial team and leadership skills throughout their stay. As well as immersing themselves into American culture, students also had the opportunity to explore aspects of both the country’s legal system at Yale and the multi-cultural composition at Stanford.
Keep an eye on the website for the dates of the programmes next year; they’re sure to be extremely popular courses.
Castles, safari parks, theatre trips and museum trips enhanced the academic courses with cultural enrichment, exposing students to some of the most iconic and renowned sites within the UK and across the sea in the US.
Hampton Court and Blenheim Palace were stunning favourites, teaching students about the fascinating history of English aristocracy and architecture. Alongside Windsor Castle and Warwick Castle, pupils at ORA had an incredible variety of options for historical enrichment during their stay, with many students having the chance to visit one of the sites whilst staying with ORA.
Other exciting excursions included insightful museum trips and fascinating visits to safari parks. The Natural History Museum, Ashmolean Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum proved popular, with each presenting unique and world-famous artefacts that captivated ORA’s curious students. The chance to take a walk on the wild side was an equally unmissable experience for our animal lovers, with trips to the West Midlands Safari Park or Woburn Abbey Safari Park taking place during the Sessions.
Visits to the renowned West End theatre shows were another recurring favourite across all the Sessions, as students eagerly arrived to watch some of the world’s most famous productions in London. From Kinky Boots (a Cyndi Lauper Musical) and 42nd Street (which explores the American Dream) to Phantom of the Opera (a tale of misunderstood love) and Wicked (a story of good versus evil), ORA students were treated to an eclectic mix of some of London’s most famous shows.
The ORA Great Debates
Hosted in the famous and iconic Sheldonian theatre, where Oxford University students graduate, the ORA Great Debate is one of the most highly anticipated events during the summer.
The theatre is packed full of ORA students staying at various Oxford colleges and a fascinating guest speaker opens the event with a contextual discussion on the theme of the debate. After the speaker had delivered an impassioned and captivating talk, it was then up to the selected debaters to begin arguing their points in the logical and convincing ways they had been taught throughout the Session.
During the series of Great Debates in 2018, pupils argued about the impact of trophy hunting on conservation, nuclear disarmament, gig economy, fake news and even social norms. The research necessary to formulate coherent and persuasive arguments on such topics ensured that students engaged fully with the material and were impressive in their performances.
With extensive academic activities, sports sessions were routinely organised to give students an outlet for their energy. The ORA Olympics were particularly competitive throughout the Sessions, with multiple colleges coming together to battle it out for first prize. Though there was a competitive atmosphere, the laughter and chatter that echoed from the stands revealed that everyone was having a great time, regardless of the race results.
Some sessions had Sports Days, which were less competitive in nature and instead focused on challenged students to participate in more unusual events. The tricky egg and spoon race caused loud laughter as students attempted to transport their precious cargo to the finish line, whilst the 3-legged race tested teamwork and balance abilities as pupils were tied together and tried to take first prize as they raced.
Across the individual campuses, other energetic activities included friendly matches of football, basketball, rounders and tennis, as well as the chance to play badminton and swingball. Whatever the activity, it was clear that pupils across all 6 Sessions enjoyed time in the warm English sun, playing with their new friends and appreciating some fresh air throughout their intensive academic timetable.
During the evenings and leisure time, counsellors and staff members ran a number of optional activities to keep pupils entertained. From the colourful tie dying sessions, creative cookie making and cupcake decorating to punting, sketching classes and beach trips, these fun activities ensured that everyone had the chance to get as much as possible from their ORA extracurricular education.
Alongside creative outlets, guest speakers enable more thought-provoking extracurricular activities. With speakers from all kinds of professions and walks of life, including explorers, scientists and authors, pupils are able to engage with the intellectually stimulating material on subjects they may not have considered before.
For those wishing to immerse themselves in British culture, punting on the famous Oxbridge rivers was a popular choice during the Sessions. Taking to the River Cherwell (Oxford) or the River Cam (Cambridge), ORA students enjoyed spotting the iconic bridges and colleges as they drifted along the water in this world-famous activity. Many pupils took the opportunity to learn how to punt and took it in turns powering the traditional wooden punts down the river, getting a real taste of English culture.
City tours, music evenings and British picnics also ensured that pupils were properly acquainted with the quirks and traditions of the cities in which they were staying, with guided walks taking place across all ORA’s campuses and ensuring that students were comfortable in their surroundings.
No ORA Summer School is complete without two parties to celebrate the end of each week. With decor directed by the varied themes of the parties and bright lights filling the room, it was up to the students to wear their finest party clothes and impress their peers with their amazing dance moves and loud singing.
Some of the favourite themes of this summer included Masquerade Ball, Circus, Cities of the World, Caribbean and even Alice in Wonderland parties. Themed snacks, blaring music and rooms full of pupils ready to party made each event a roaring success and provided the perfect way to celebrate after a long week.
Each and every Session finishes in style with a celebration of academic achievement at Graduation. Each ceremony is full of personal commendation and praise, as students individually receive their certificates with a strong handshake and loud applause. Programme Directors spend time during the ceremonies reminiscing about some of the key moments throughout the Session, whether that be the impressive Masterclass performances or the behaviour of students on their excursions. Star pupils are noted, whose work during their stay has continuously impressed staff and earned them commendation from staff.
Often taking place in traditional ceremonial halls, Graduation is the highlight of the Session for many pupils, who appreciate the opportunity to be recognised for their hard work. Parents and family members are invited to attend the ceremonies and celebrate the success of the students in the world-famous campuses. Of course, after the ceremony comes the formal dinners and final parties, which are full of celebration, laughter and smiles, ensuring that every individual completes their stay with ORA in jovial style.
Applications for 2019 courses are now open. Whether you want to see what its like to study in centres of academic excellence, refine your skills or experience an unforgettable summer school, ORA has something for you. Browse through the website to explore the incredible selection of courses available for students aged 8-25 and register your interest for 2019.