All American week at Harrogate school

Dave Criss, the manager of Harrogate Tigers Baseball, takes students through the sport. (S)
Dave Criss, the manager of Harrogate Tigers Baseball, takes students through the sport. (S)

Adding a flavour of the States, Ashville College launched its inaugural Music, Arts, Drama, and Sport (MADS) Scholars enrichment week.

Over five days, the senior school staged a range of workshops and activities for students under the theme ‘All American’, which saw musicians, artists, actors, and sports coaches coming to the school to lead sessions in their areas of expertise.

Ahead of a visit to the school by two players from Leeds Force basketball - plus team coaches Matt Newby and Ben Allen - the sports scholars watched the team in action against the ESH Group Eagles, from Newcastle.

Once the scholars were taught how to ‘slam dunk’ and perfect their dribble, they put their skills to the test in a basketball tournament, marking the start of a new partnership between the school and Leeds Force Basketball, which will be regularly coaching students from the school.

Another American sport under the spotlight was baseball. Dave Criss, the manager of Harrogate Tigers Baseball, together with players from the club, introduced the scholars to the basic rules and skills of baseball, teaching them how to pitch and bat, ending with a full game of baseball.

MADS Scholarship coordinator Simon Brook said: “The week was intended to introduce those in the scholars programme to new experiences in sports and the arts which will enrich and enhance their learning at Ashville.

“It provided participants with the opportunity to learn in different ways, enjoy new experiences and work in a professional manner towards a common goal.

“The end result was a fantastic full scale production performed to Junior School pupils.”

The MADS scholars worked throughout the week with members of Connecting Youth Culture to produce, rehearse and perform a play which celebrated American music and culture.

For this project, actress and drama and creative arts practitioner Eleanor Samson wrote a play called ‘The Life and Times of Walter Jack’, which follows a fictional musician who meets musical stars over the course of his life.

During the week drama students learnt parts from the script, music students worked on a collection of contemporary songs, and art students created the stage set and props, using their own ideas, creating innovative, purposeful pieces of art.