WelcomeFest 2016: Fantastic!

Once again, the sun shone on our new students starting in September as they visited College for the annual WelcomeFest in July. The morning was designed to enable students to explore their subject areas through talks and practical hands-on workshops, whilst the afternoon allowed for more of a relaxed experience watching ex-student and X Factor contestant Joe Waller perform on stage with his band (Rob Purkiss and current Alton College student Jamie Petersen, previously at Perins School), followed by talented current music students performing for the chance to play on the Introducing stage at Butserfest in September. There were also additional talks and lectures in the afternoon, and the opportunity to try out for the sports teams. 

Alton College’s next intake of school leavers enjoyed the unique welcome day where staff and current students create a festival atmosphere on campus for the day to help new students familiarise themselves with the environment, meet their teachers, make new friends and better understand the transition from school to College. During the morning, students attended lessons in their chosen subjects to get a feel for College study and enjoyed talks and practical activities. They had the chance to explore the College’s facilities before enjoying a BBQ lunch and ice-cream provided by on-site caterers Caterlink.

This year, in addition to the morning lessons, students were offered the opportunity to attend talks and lectures in the afternoon. Subjects included ‘What’s so good about Shakespeare?’, ‘Why History is the only subject everyone should study’, ‘Am I an artist?’, ‘The weird and wonderful world of maths’, ‘Brewing: Not to be sniffed at’ and ‘Engineering in STEM: Filling the Gap’. Current students were also on hand to talk about the Extended Project Qualification and life@altoncollege, a talk about extra-curricular activities and trips available at College.

The Battle-of-the-Bands was the final event of the day with participants from the Music department. The competition was judged by the President of the Students’ Union, Fawziyyah Hamid, previously at Mill Chase Academy, Mike Goncalves from ButserFest, Joe Waller and Councillor Dean Phillips, the councillor for Eastbrooke ward that the College sits in. The first band was called ‘Back Up Plan’ and was made up of Camilla Coulson and Sam Grant, both previously at Eggar’s School, and Merryn Heels, previously at The Costello School and performed a series of covers. The second group to perform were the Alton College Jazz Collective consisting of several of the talented musicians offered places at the county’s leading Music Conservatoires (read more here) They performed a selection of jazz standards before the last act, ‘Loyd’ took to the stage. This rock band was made up of Cameron Walker, previously at Perins School, Tom Pocock, previously at Bohunt Schoo, Alfie Stickler, previously at Weydon School and Tim Stokkereit, previously at More House School. The judges deemed Lloyd to be the winners of the competition, and they have secured themselves a slot at Butserfest on the Introducing Stage. In addition, the Jazz Collective were offered a slot at another council run event in recognition of their talent. 

Principal Sara Russell said: ‘We look forward to the event all year. It’s such an amazing way to welcome our new students starting here in September. Our specialist staff and brilliant students provide a brilliant taste of life@altoncollge from studying to social life. This year it was fantastic to welcome our former student Joe Waller and his band back to campus to perform on stage. It really is an incredible day and we wish all our current and new students a great summer!’.