ISOC Charity Week

One of the 5 pillars of Islam is charity, and that’s why this year we were most grateful when ISOC were given the opportunity to organise charity week.

AGGS were part of over 200 institutions which were taking part in an annual charity week led by Islamic relief.

This years theme was ‘Superheroes’ with the tag line ‘unite our powers’ which acts as a metaphor for the real life heroes struggling against the forces of poverty, injustice and disunity across the world. We can proudly say that we joined the growing movement of fundraising to help many individuals worldwide.

We had an array of fundraising events which took place through the course of one week; On the first day we had an international food sale in which members of ISOC brought in food to represent different countries. On the second day we set up a cake sale in which we had a large selection of cupcakes and biscuits on offer including a cake kindly donated by a restaurant. On the penultimate day, a giant Kahoot quiz game was organised in the main hall in which Everyman Cinema tickets were up for grabs. Finally, the last day consisted of henna designs being tattooed onto students.

All the money raised will go towards providing critical healthcare and education in countries such as Niger and Sudan. We had a very successful charity week and are grateful for all the donations received by students.

Written by Mariam S, Y13

WiMUN XI

On Sunday 30 June, delegates from AGGS, representing the states of Poland and the Philippines, made their way over to Withington Girls’ School in order to enjoy a ‘fruitful’ debate at WiMUN XI, the 11th Model UN conference at Withington.

As ambassador for Poland, I obviously had planned for this day months in advance, with well-written and witty acronyms at hand (WARISNOTWARSAWME) and a very bold fashion statement which involved wearing 2 different coloured shoes on each foot. Excited for the day, delegates engaged in (hopefully) friendly table tennis matches before gathering at the opening ceremony before going to their respective committees.

In Security Council, debate was as lively as usual, with the P5 being enemies of the UN as usual. I made an unpopular policy statement to begin with, for describing myself as “buzzin” to attend a “lit” debate, which almost got me evicted before caucus even started. During the course of the debate, we watched in horror as the Economic and Social committee rolled in a giant model of an outdated £1 coin accompanied by an even larger euro symbol – which perhaps was a metaphor for the current state of affairs between the UK and the EU. The Security Council debated my resolution on reforming the Responsibility to Protect, which notably had a clause suggesting the creation of a Security Council group chat to speed up response to atrocity crimes via the communication of emoji. However, Russia (who had been threatening to invade Poland for the whole conference) vetoed it so it didn’t pass. When it came to joke awards, I of course won the most important awards of the conference of “best-dressed” and “best shoes” – turns out my odd choice of footwear was a hit!

WiMUN XI also had a special new committee, called “Historical Council” which imitated Churchill’s War Cabinet with delegates representing people in the cabinet and debating as if it were post-1945, addressing issues such as the Soviet Union and the national healthcare. Our delegate was no longer one representing Poland, but instead represented Richard Casey of Australia, however when asked how the debate was she responded with “dead” – this can be taken both literally and metaphorically. The representative of Richard Casey managed to win “best-looking” and “best shoes” as well as a rather questionable “best couple” with another much-loved delegate.

In Environment, our delegate also had an interesting time by merging with the Netherlands and Ukraine to create “NethPolKraine” relating some rather controversial views on the issues at hand. This year’s conference encouraged everyone to bring reusable bottles to drink from to improve the environment, however the delegate must admit she witnessed a few rogue single-use plastics – no doubt from climate-change deniers such as the USA.

EcoSoc and Political had a fun time in joint committee dancing to Rasputin instead of debating the most captivating and realistic issue of a potential for a shared currency.

In Human Rights, our delegate representing the Philippines made a big impact not only with her fantastic debate, but her newly dip-dyed bright pink hair. Needless to say, she won “best hair”. Our delegates of Poland and Philippines merged with Israel, USA, Turkey and Australia too to create the new country of “PIPUTA”. The delegate notes that merging countries seems to be somewhat of a new trend at conferences. Our delegate of Poland also won “most likely to go to prison” and whilst we want to say that we’re surprised, we’re really not.

After committee and joint committee sessions, we came together for the closing ceremony and the announcements of the real awards. Our school were delighted to receive many awards, as follows:

  • Sanaa K (Philippines, Human Rights) – Highly Commended
  • Lauren F (Philippines, Human Rights Council) – Special Mention
  • Gowri A (Philippines – Special Commission on South-East Asia) – Commended
  • Eva E (Phillippines – Political) – Special Mention
  • Safa A (Poland, Security Council) – Special Mention
  • Ishita A (Poland [Richard Casey], Historical Council) – Special Mention
  • Hedye G (Poland, Human Rights) – Commended
  • Saffiyah K (Poland, Political) – Commended
  • Hania S (Poland, World Health Organisation) – Commended
  • Katie Y (Poland, Environment) – Outstanding
  • Katie Y (Poland, Joint Committee Environment and Youth) – Outstanding

We were incredibly proud of these achievements, especially Katie’s double Outstanding win. However, Katie had to leave early and I had to have the awkward experience of collecting her award and explaining to the whole conference that she had left. WiMUN XI was such a good experience with many awards won, fantastic debate, with all 3 of our first-timers enjoying it and speaking, and we thought we had finished the conference on a good note, but just had to wait for the delegation awards to be announced.

We sat through the awarding for commended and highly commended delegations, itching to take an MUN picture and head home, after the announcement of the overall winners with Outstanding Delegation, so many of us were barely listening until they announced that Poland won!

It was a shock for all of us, as it is the first time in the history of MUN that we have ever won Outstanding Delegation. Delighted, we all came down to collect our award and take a photo. This award was most special because it was our most loved advisor, Miss Mitchell’s, last conference with us. She was the one who started MUN at our school, and we were able to win this award as a thank you for all the help she has given us, and we wish her the best of luck setting up Model UN at her new school to further share the joys of the institution as she has done so here.

Whilst it’s regretful to see her go, we welcome next year full of conferences to enjoy with Mr Humphrys who also attended WIMUN XI with us. Thank you for everything and see you next year for even more ‘fruitful’ debate!

Safa A, 12-7

Safa A won a prize in the New College of the Humanities essay competition

On Tuesday 25th June 2019, New College of the Humanities (NCH) announced the winners of the 2019 NCH London Essay Competition at a special award ceremony in London. We are delighted to announce that Safa A, from Y12, won a £250 third place prize in the Politics essay category.

The competition received 3,600 entries into this year’s competition, so it’s an incredible achievement for Safa to have won this prize. We are truly proud of Safa’s great achievement.

Why RS Matters to Me:

A lot of people assume RS is just a study of a few different religions, maybe the differences between them or the practises which may be involved in them. In actuality, it’s far from this. RS is about understanding everything from human nature, to how we should live our lives, to how and why the universe was created. It answers all the big questions, tying them together with both religious and secular ideas. A big part of this is ethics and philosophy. I think the best part of philosophy is how everything flows together, meaning you can jump between ideas and link them together, using them to answer part of a bigger picture or to focus on a finer detail; another thing is how easily and frequently it applies to everyday life. Every time you make a decision, it can be regarded as morally right or wrong, and which one of these it is classed as is down to philosophy.

However, just because this subject covers such large and important questions, finding out about it doesn’t have to be so daunting. There have been many great books about philosophy and RS, and a large portion of these are actually fiction.

One such book which is particularly enjoyable, as well as being approachable, is ‘Sophie’s World’ by Jostein Gaarder. This book follows the story of 14-year-old Sophie Amundsen, and a philosopher, Alberto Knox, who’s mission is to teach Sophie about the history of philosophy. This book is great for understanding the development of philosophical ideas over the course of history, and also has an enticing, yet philosophical, plot.

Another similar read is ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ series, a four-book series by Douglas Adams. These books combine science, mathematics, technology and philosophy into an incredible yet informative story about a man called Arthur Dent, who is caught up in a complex series of events and a bizarre journey through the universe.

One of my favourite philosophical fiction books is one I read recently from the school library, called “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” by Muriel Barbery. It tells the unique story of three very different people from very different backgrounds: the middle-aged concierge of a large apartment building, Renée; a twelve-year-old girl, who lives in the building, called Paloma, and a resident who newly moves in, Kakuro. They all share a passion for philosophy, art, literature and culture, but for different reasons, have kept this secret. The book is a brilliant collection of Paloma’s “Profound Thoughts” and of Renée’s quest to keep her intelligence under wraps. It has both an amazing plot and an abundance of important thoughts and questions. Reading books such as these is a brilliant way to gain an understanding of philosophical questions, without necessarily having to tackle heavier non-fiction works.

The skills you learn in RS are unique to those learnt in many other subjects, because they can be applied not only to everyday life, but to other areas within school. RS teaches you about problem solving, logical thinking, and how to give clear and developed arguments to a statement or question. It allows you to be evaluative and creative. It contributes greatly to writing skills; RS is very beneficial when it comes to forming solid, persuasive answers. Debating issues in lessons is brilliant for confidence building, teamworking skills, leadership and communication. Above all, RS is an opportunity to be incredibly passionate, whether it be about an event, a belief or an ethical issue.

RS is, without a doubt, one of my favourite subjects, because there are always opportunities to get involved and to voice your thoughts, each lesson brings something new, exciting and different, introducing you to new cultures and ideas which can literally change your life – and not least because of the amazing RS teachers at our school.

There really is something to love for everyone when it comes to RS: and for many people, like me, that’s basically just all of it.

By Nishi, Year 9

Citizenship Campaign Makers Final

For the past couple of months, the whole of year 9 have been working on a Campaign Makers project in their Citizenship lessons. This project has led them to learning about social issues in their local area, to finding a charity who are just as passionate about that issue as they are. The whole year group have become active in tackling their chosen issue, raising money for their charity, and many may continue to support the charity in the future.

Groups of a few students chose an issue, and prepared an informative and persuasive presentation about their issue and charity to show to their classes. The best group from each class were voted for by their own peers, and the winning group from each class was put through to the final, which was held on Friday 17th.

There was a very wide range of issues discussed during the final, from sexism in the streets to addiction, from mental health to gang violence.

Each group put forward an explanation of why they were passionate about their social issue, why they had chosen their charity and what they had done to help. They had chosen a variety of creative, and very successful, fundraising methods; there were car boot sales, dog walking, car washes and sponsored walks. All the presentations were incredibly creative and effective, including homemade videos, songs, dances and role plays.

After all 7 groups had presented, the judges reached a decision. The winners of the £500 prize to their chosen charity, generously donated by the PTA, were…

Grace S (9-3), Rosa H (9-4) and Amelie Q (9-2) from 9A! Their chosen charity was The Wellspring, a homelessness charity based in Stockport. They had an eye-opening presentation about the reality of homelessness, an engaging true or false quiz, and an amazingly emotive dance capturing the story of someone who was homeless for a part of their life. They also raised an amazing £200 from a car wash and cake sale for The Wellspring, as well as the £500 prize.

The whole year group really enjoyed becoming active citizens; getting involved with issues they are passionate about near them and raising money and awareness to try and make a difference. Thank you to the three judges: Mrs Ogunmyiwa; Maddie H, the AGGS charity head girl, and Sue, part of the PTA, and thank you to Miss Mitchell for organising everything and making the final run so smoothly.

Read the following post written by one of the Year 9 groups talking about the charity they have chosen to campaign for: The Trussell Trust… Read their post here »

RS Quiz No 6

  1. Can you name the Muslim female World War 2 veteran who was awarded a George Cross for bravery?
  2. What was the name of the first mosque in Britain and who founded it?
  3. Where does the musical instrument the lute come from?
  4. When the  Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation as a Prophet, who was the first to believe in him and support him?
  5. 2 women in particular are mentioned as eternal role models in Chapter 66 of the Quran. Can you name them?
  6. Who built the first pinhole camera around 1000 AD?
  7. What does Allahu Akbar mean?
  8. What chapter in the Quran is named after a much revered lady?
  9. What contribution did early Muslims make to modern surgery?
  10. Do you know what the words ‘Islam’ and ‘Muslim’ mean?

Click here to see the answers

Campaign Makers

Hi AGGS! In year 9 we’re doing a project called Campaign Makers, where my group and I had to choose a social issue that we were especially passionate about and also a charity that promotes the same cause.

We decided that our social issue was going to be homelessness; an issue which is most prevalent in Manchester currently, and as our charity we chose Trussell Trust, as they provide excellent help for people in difficult, unimaginable situations. This charity campaign to make sure that, one day, no one will have to turn for their help. They support a nationwide network of food banks and together they provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty.

Currently in the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. Imagine that, being a young, vulnerable person out on the streets all day, all year. The Trussell Trust support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face. Between April 2018 and March 2019, food banks in their network, provided a record 1.6 million food supplies to people experiencing the current homelessness crisis, a 19% increase on the previous year!

As part of the project, we were set the task of organising a social action, this means we had to be pro-active in raising awareness for our social issue in our community. So far, we have created ‘care packages’ including some essential items that a homeless person living rough may require, including toilet paper, tinned goods, hygiene products such as feminine products and wipes and much more. Now, we’ve understood how something so simple, such as these necessities, can be much more valuable and long-lasting for homeless person. Not only that, but they can also help people in crisis maintain dignity and feel human again. These care packages are now going to Trafford’s Trussell Trust Food Bank, in appreciation of the work they do for our community.

As well as making these packages, to raise awareness about our social issue, homelessness, we decided to write a blog post that would feature on the school’s Humanities blog to, hopefully, educate our fellow students on why we believe homelessness is a crisis to be dealt with today, not tomorrow…

We hope this inspires you to be more pro-active in your community and educated you more about such a significant issue, that is happening right now. If you would like to join us in demolishing homelessness for good, then you can drop off your food parcel or a non-food items to the RS department. For more information on what they are specifically looking for, you can visit their website – https://www.trusselltrust.org/

Thank you for taking your time to read this,

From students in Year 9

Geography Club Wins Second Prize!

Our team of Year 7 Geography Club members (Su M, Anna RT, Lucy L, Sophia K and Avni D) have won second prize in the United Utilities Vlogstars competition! They have been awarded with £50 Amazon vouchers and framed certificates. School are also in receipt of a £250 cheque.

Well done to them and thanks for all of your votes!

RS Quiz No. 5 – Easter

Easter Quiz

  1. The second largest holiday for eating candy is Easter. Which is the first?
  2. In which country did the idea of the Easter bunny start?
  3. What was the purpose of the Easter Act passed in the UK in 1928?
  4. True or false
    A lamb is one of the symbols of Easter.
  5. What does the egg represent at Easter?
  6. What does “resurrection” actually mean?
  7. What is the name of the apostle who betrayed Jesus?
  8. Where was Jesus’s broken body laid to rest?
  9. Complete this quote:“He then began to teach them that the ___ __ ___ must suffer many things and be _______ by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after ____ days rise again.
    Matthew 8:31
  10. Why are Greek Easter eggs red?

Click here to see the answers