Sunday saw our Session Two students arrive at Yarnton Manor and settle into summer school life. They were understandably impressed by the grandeur of the Manor as it shone in the summer sun. We are happy to report that after one of the hottest days of the year so far the bedrooms have now been fitted out with fans to see students comfortably through the next two weeks!
As students met and bonded with their roommates and classmates, parents enjoyed traditional English afternoon tea on the lawn. When rooms had been found and bags dropped, students were eager to explore the Manor, and particularly to see the classrooms where they’ll be learning over the next two weeks. It was heartening to watch students peeking at the classroom booklets and manuals to get a taste of what Monday would bring.
Then came the welcome talk from our Programme Director, Christine Luscombe-Whyte, which was a time for students to consider the tremendous opportunity ahead of them. Christine set inspiring standards for all students, asking them to “make sure to keep your minds open and embrace every idea” and to “challenge one another”. She emphasised that “this experience will be gained alongside the most diverse group of people you’ve ever met. It will be an experience you will never forget for all the right reasons.” Her final words of advice, which we hope that all students will heed, were to “assume that everyone here is your friend and you will not go far wrong.”
After this tone-setting speech, counsellors facilitated a fantastic session of icebreakers in the Manor gardens. The leader of the pack at this early stage is Mathias, who won the palm-pushing game in a feat of mental strength and agility.
Something very special occurred as students were queuing to sample the first installment of the Yarnton kitchen’s schedule of culinary delights (Mexican morsels and veggie burgers). Students put on an impromptu concert, flexing their musical muscles on the Yarnton piano. We’ve clearly got a very sophisticated bunch here this year – they treated us to the traditional Mozart and Beethoven, some smooth jazz, and even some personal compositions. All boding well for ORA’s Got Talent next Wednesday!
As the evening wound down, students shared their stories with each other in smaller groups. Some of those students who had travelled from further afield fell prey to jet lag and were kindly conveyed to their rooms by the House Deans for a good night’s rest. As the summer sun set over Yarnton, it was clear to see that students were excited and ready for the next two weeks of studying and connecting with their classmates.