Yesterday saw eyes widen, brighten, and almost pop right out of heads, as students were treated to Insight Masterclasses: these are intense two-hour sessions led by experts in subject areas not usually taught in schools. Visitors to St Catz included Alexa the iguana, Tobin the lizard, and Milkshake the milk-snake―but whilst students learned a great deal from these honoured guests, they were not there to lead the sessions: that was left up to Mandy from Zoolab, the UK’s No.1 provider of animal-handling workshops. Students were able to hold and peer at these mesmerising creatures; it was particularly fascinating to see Milkshake tie herself into a knot and then slowly, deliberately, break free of her own body.
No less excitement was had in the Catz marquee, where students were taking their chances on the market in Innovative Enterprise’s Stock Market Challenge. Working in teams, students experienced the world of the trading floor, where virtual wins and losses make for a tense, high-energy exertions in the physical space. Fists punched the air, heads were at times in hands, and some students were no more than blurs as they rushed between tables to secure deals.
Any remaining energy was channelled into the drumming workshop on the lawns after dinner: students learned how to keep a beat with each-other and gradually introduce syncopation and other rhythmic tricks to make their beats more interesting. Students reported that they felt their bodies humming at the height of the workshop―and indeed, the drum holds a rather mystic place in human instrumental history, broadly considered to be the first musical instrument, with some cultures trusting in its ability to change weather patterns, heal the sick, or communicate with the animal or spirit worlds. Who knows what yesterday’s workshop might have set in motion?