Wednesday 16th July 2008 by C. Freeman
Students and staff had an action-packed round of residentials this year with trips once again going to destinations around the globe. Hundreds of students went to Europe with some doing sight-seeing tours while others took part in adventurous activities like kayaking, rafting and hiking.
Destinations included France, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Students who went to Paris were chauffered around in the luxury coach which is normally used by Sunderland Football Club's first team and they toured the city's sights and also enjoyed a day trip to Disneyland theme park.
Other French destinations included the Ardeche where students and staff camped out under the stars in just their sleeping bags during a two-day canoe descent of the Ardeche gorge. Teacher, Mr Clarke said: 'Sleeping out under the stars was a highlight of the trip. I thought it was going to be cold but it was fine. We also did river rapids, it was fantastic.' Another popular activity was the 'parachute jump' where the unsuspecting victim was hooked to a harness and then had to step off a ledge to plunge 13 metres to the ground. Mr Clarke said: 'The students loved it. I was scared stiff but I still managed to do it twice!'
Students in the Alps took part in watersports and hiking, enjoying snowball fights on a glacier and rafting and 'hydro-tubing' downriver. Teacher Miss Gonda said: 'Hydro-tubing is where you hang on to something which looks like a half doughnut and then get dragged down the river, the water was really cold. We also went on a four-hour hike and the students said the rafting was the best thing. It was a great week, absolutely fantastic.'
The students on the trip also wrote daily entries in a communal diary. Comments included: 'My week has been fantastic. My favourite thing was the rafting because it was the most fun and I was the only one to fall in. The hotel was lovely. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adventures.' Another read: 'I enjoyed every activity even though the hiking was very tiring. My favourite part was the air-boating.'
Mr Willimott organises and co-ordinates the trip schedule. He said: 'From the feedback I've had the students and staff enjoyed the time away and the many activities which were planned for them. The residential programme means that they get to know other students and staff really well while enjoying activities in locations which they might not otherwise get the chance to visit.'