On Saturday we said a heartfelt goodbye and good luck to our final cohort of St Hugh’s students for 2019. Over the past two weeks we’ve seen each and every one of our students grow and improve across so many different areas and we’re incredibly proud of them.
In their classes, the students have come on leaps and bounds, conquering every challenge they met with endless enthusiasm. The New Perspectives Programme was especially popular this session, giving our students the opportunity to expand their skills in a range of their favourite areas. The Physics and Chemistry and Human Biology classes have been able to bring some personality to their courses by pursuing individual topics of interest and acting out one of their assignments respectively. Meanwhile the Public Speaking and Debate class have really benefited from the diversity of their classmates, hearing from a wide range of different backgrounds and viewpoints as they discussed pertinent issues.
Through our programme of guest speakers and masterclasses, the students were able to gather yet more specialist skills and knowledge. With masterclasses in public speaking, soap science, and CSI, there was something to stretch every student’s expertise and the cohort walked away master speakers, deducers, and soap-makers.
Our guest speakers, Alex Staniforth and Alex Homes spoke on issues accessible to all our students, really making them reconsider how they look at the world. Alex Staniforth inspired them to look at initial defeat as a stepping stone to victory, while Alex Holmes encouraged them to embrace diversity in all its forms as a great strength.
It wasn’t only their academic prowess the students worked on over their stay here, though. During their social times, the students pushed their creativity to the limit making tie-dye T-shirts, decorating delicious cupcakes, and singing their hearts out at karaoke and ORA’s got talent.
Football and mini golf were big hits for the sporty students, but of course the best sporting moment of the session was the sports day with Lady Margaret Hall. Hugh’s excelled at balancing eggs and throwing wellies, snatching a satisfying victory. The friendship between the Hugh’s and LMH students has been a particular highlight of this session, with the best moment by far their coming together for a Hawaiian Beach themed party. After so many great shared experiences, we hope the cohorts will remain friends long after the session.
No ORA experience would be complete without some excursions. In England’s capital city, the students got to not only see some of the most iconic London sights, but also step into the cutting edge of science. The Science Museum was a unanimous hit amongst our students – so much so that they spent the whole day there! Our Oxford excursions were slightly smaller-scale, but equally successful. Whether they headed to Oxford Castle, Blenheim Palace, Christ Church, or Oxford’s Creation Theatre, the students jumped at the chance to soak up some great Oxford history and culture.
The session culminated in a grand graduation ceremony where our students got to collect their scrolls in the style of real Oxford University graduates. It was an afternoon filled with smiles and celebration which flowed seamlessly into a Hollywood-themed party where the students danced away their last evening with their friends.
The departure of this group also means the closing of St Hugh’s doors until summer 2020 and we’d just like to take a moment to thank all of the phenomenal staff who helped make this summer possible. We hope to see both staff and students returning to ORA in the future, perhaps to work on or attend one of our 16-18 programmes!
Once again a huge well done to all our students and we look forward to all the amazing things you do in the future.