Category: CCA Previews 2015

CCA Preview’15: Students’ Council

Photos by Raffles Photographic Society

Late nights, long days or no breaks are common to this committed and united 34th Students’ Council. With much work and time required, it is clear that being a councillor is not easy. It is a commitment not to be taken lightly since it is one which demands time, dedication and effort.  It is a calling that entails long hours in school, sleepless nights and tired days. It is a journey that will push you to your limit and challenge you in every aspect. Yet, despite all these challenges in one’s Council term, being in the Students’ Council will be a fulfilling and meaningful experience that will shape you as a student, as a leader and as a person.

In its mission to serve the school community, the Students’ Council is involved in planning and executing initiatives, events and functions for the student population. Each councillor strives to harness his/ her passion for the school to make a positive impact by addressing student needs and fostering a sense of pride for the school. The fulfilment of this collective mission rests on the contributions of each and every single councillor, and tenacity to overcome and grow in spite of the multiple challenges.

Shining Brighter during Lumière
Shining Brighter during Lumière

You may have experienced the vibrant and colourful atmosphere of Open House, and you would have enjoyed Lumière, the first light of Year 5 during Orientation. Bringing these to fruition was an elaborate process of planning and concerted execution. Months of hard work were put into these functions to conceptualise ideas, gain approval, plan down to the details and communicate with various stakeholders and student groups. More than just planning and execution, the process called for strong leadership in guiding committees and motivating people towards a common direction of service.

Leadership in the Students’ Council is a commitment to motivating people towards a common goal of service. Difficulties arise with conflicts of commitment against various CCAs, enrichment programmes and external interests. Yet, every councillor is called upon and obligated to the student population to prioritise Council over other commitments. More than this, the experience of leadership in Council is inevitably a process of learning through serving by leading. When everyone is thrown to the same deep end of the pool together, it is a developmental journey for all. It is through these challenges that councillors emerge more hardened, experienced and mature as leaders together for the school.

Despite the difficulties endured by councillors, the journey of service and leadership is a meaningful one to be undertaken by those who wish to make a positive impact to the school and to those who wish to grow as servant leaders. In fact, it could be said that this journey is made all the more fulfilling because of these difficulties. When all is said and done, it does not matter if we have endured sleepless nights and it does not matter if the stress was overbearing; what matters is that the journey was made together as one Council, that the school is made a better place, and that we served by leading and led in serving. Our minds may be exhausted and our bodies tired, but our hearts, beating as one together, will swell with pride for what we have done for the school. The bonds forged between friends will last, the pride of the Houses at IHC will permeate the air and the victory cries of Team Raffles at competitions will ring evermore in our ears. This is the true fulfilment of being in the Students’ Council.

 

Our Hearts as One during Kiwi Cup 2015
Our Hearts as One during Kiwi Cup 2015

Beyond the core purpose of Council, each councillor also embarks on a process of personal development. With a year of diligent planning and systematic execution of various initiatives, councillors will pick up crucial skills and knowledge that will prove to be useful. From design skills to software management, to even bargaining with suppliers and tackling financial systems and quotations, councillors inevitably get exposed to various areas of work. The process also involves many people of diverse interests, perspectives and opinions; and learning to work together requires keen people skills guided by leadership from the heart and mind. Each councillor will also have opportunities to learn and grow as a leader, and this core development includes leadership training and continued mentorship from teachers.

With the understanding that Council is a tough but fulfilling journey, we challenge you to ask yourself what you expect out of your time in Raffles. Ultimately, we will probably not remember intensive mugging nor what exactly happened in the classrooms. What will matter is the people – the network of Rafflesians you were part of, the memories shared together and the blood, sweat and tears shed as one. The challenges of managing stress, prioritising commitment and having the mental tenacity are shared as one Council. It is important to also recognise the fact that your fellow councillors are always there for you through it all. Even as one may stumble in the darkest tunnel, we are collectively the light that shines to make sure there are no unguarded backs. The journey as a Council is arduous, but it is a journey undertaken by students with a heart to serve, together as a family.

Our Council Family
Our Council Family

For more information about the Students’ Council, you may refer to previous articles:

  1. CCA Preview ‘13
  2. CCA Preview ‘14 
  3. On Departments
  4. On Functions

To find out more about what Council does, visit our website at http://ristudentscouncil.com/. For more information about the elections process, visit http://ristudentscouncil.com/elections/.

If you are interested in Council, find out more from us during Council Insight on 10 and 11 Feb at the Hodge Lodge. There will be sharing sessions from 2.30pm-4.30pm each day, and a talk by the Presidents and Secretaries from 2.30pm-3pm.

Applications are open from 10 Feb to 18 Feb at tinyurl.com/CouncilApps15. Peer nominations are open from 10 Feb to 15 Feb at tinyurl.com/CouncilNoms15

 

CCA Preview’15: Taekwondo

Our inaugural training session commences on Friday, 6 February, from 2-3.30pm, at Home Team NS @ Balestier (near Toa Payoh station). A uniform supplier will be present to sell all beginners white belt uniforms. Timing of the trainings may be adjusted after the Year 5s receive their confirmed timetables.

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We’re made up of very passionate Taekwondo players! This photo was taken at the National Inter-school Taekwondo Championships in 2013.

Taekwondo is an external CCA recognized in RI(JC) that equips you with the skills to defend yourself and your friends. Be part of the pioneer batch of Taekwondo players and stand a chance to be sponsored by RI(JC) to represent the school at Nationals. Those who do not wish to compete can join to advance through the belt levels  (through official gradings) and achieve that elusive black belt. We are open to members from RGS and RI (Y1-4).

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art characterized by high kicks, fast kicks, spinning kicks and other kicking stunts. While the use of the upper body is not emphasised, a well-conditioned upper body helps players execute punches and blocks  in Poomsae. There are two main components of Taekwondo: Poomsae, which consists of a series of kicks and punches, and Kyrougi, which consists of sparring/actually kicking someone else. Members will also be taught the art of Unarmed Combat, which helps them get out of tricky situations such as when you are grabbed from the back(!). While Kyrougi sounds dangerous, rest assured that our instructors are qualified in fostering a safe environment. After all, they have all undergone the Singapore Taekwondo Federation’s coaching certification.

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Players have to wear protective guards while sparring and light or no contact is enforced during trainings. Larger protective helmets and gears have to be worn during competitions and competition training.

 

Taekwondo is recognized by the Singapore Schools Sports Council, which means that participation in the National Inter-schools will be recorded in your CCA Records and you’ll be allowed to contend for national colours awards.

Experienced Taekwondo players could use the opportunity to form teams of 3 or compete individually for National Inter-schools (provided good attendance), while mentoring fellow Rafflesians. Beginners can look forward to gradings in April, July, October and January, and a chance to compete in the National Inter-schools (provided good performance).

Our trainings are conducted at an affordable price in a fully-equipped studio on Level 2 of HomeTeam NS @ Balestier, which is a 20min bus journey from school. The venue includes food places, a swimming pool and free showering facilities.

Get a good workout. Meet new friends. Keep fit to be able to handle the A Level’s. Join Taekwondo.

Find out more about the terms and conditions and apply to join us at tinyurl.com/rjtkd .

To visit our website, click rjtaekwondo.strikingly.com

 

 

 

CCA Preview ’15: Raffles Press

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Raffles Press batch 2015 at our J1 orientation camp last year!

You’d think this was just an ordinary school newspaper, obscure and small-scale, stultifying in its esotericism, read only by the select few. Of course you’re wrong. Within and without the school community, writing for Raffles Press means you’re writing for thousands of people. No easy feat; but the accompanying thrill can be electric, addictive. If there’s one thing you can learn from your friendly, neighbourhood politician, it’s that it’s fun to have your voice heard by multitudes upon multitudes of people. Of course the difference between you and your politician being that you can have something important to say.  You may have read some of our more distinguished articles that have made their fair share of rounds around the island. You may have read some of our controversial pieces that, regardless of your sensibilities and inclinations, you must admit provoked swarms of discussion alongside a salubrious dose of fireworks. To the discerning reader/writer who recognizes the sovereign power of words: whether you wish to constructively challenge the establishment; whether you wish to bring to the fore unduly neglected or covered up issues the public has failed to acknowledge; whether you wish to dislodge the dispossessed and inordinately cynical public from their apathy; whether you yearn for catharsis and wish to express your eclectic interests in the RJ Cats, Raffles Press wants you.

We are the proverbial epicenter, the Grand Central Station of news and information in Raffles Institution (Y5-6). The old, half-humorous quip about us – “if Raffles Press doesn’t report an event, did it still happen?” – doesn’t apply: we report everything. We reported about our beloved Mr Chan Poh Meng’s assignation to our school even before our hallowed mainstream press got their hands on it. We are also a repository and forum for debate and discussion of important issues that have at some point dogged every Rafflesian, student or staff, or concerned the wider public, and even have universal ramifications. Raffles Press is a benevolent Big Brother (or syndicate of brothers and sisters) with eyes and ears all around the institution and country. We report everything that comes to us, and everything  comes to us to be reported.

Rhetoric aside, Raffles Press hold official sessions once a week, usually on Wednesdays. Our sessions last between 1.5 to 2 hours, and traditionally involve a copious amount of snacks. However, you can expect to spend significantly more time outside of sessions doing your own writing and peer-editing, as well as attending events such as concerts or sports finals and semi-finals. Nevertheless, if you are concerned about your academic performance, Raffles Press’ workload is flexible and accommodating. You will appreciate this towards the end of this year, and the first half of next year. If you can’t decide between another CCA and Raffles Press, you can join both. What do we do in Raffles Press? We write. Be it editing, brainstorming, discussing, snacking, attending internal training and camps, at the end of the day everything we do is geared toward that ultimate goal. We write. How much you get out of Press is contingent on how much you put in, and if you commit immense effort, you can, like others before you, reap immense rewards.

Raffles Press batches 2014 and 2015 at handover last year
Raffles Press batches 2014 and 2015 at handover last year

We are looking for students who have an able grasp of the English language and who have the courage and desire to know things before anyone else knows them. Isn’t that essentially what the news is? Our trials are held on the 21st, 26th and 27th February, from 3-7pm, and will consist of a short, 40-minute test followed by a 10-minute interview. We are looking out for perceptive students with clarity and incision of thought and an intelligent sense of spontaneity. But beyond that, we are looking for students with a hungry, desirous attitude to both life (how else does one write?) and to learning how to write. If you feel out of your depth but are desperately willing to put in the man-hours to solve that inadequacy, you are more than welcome to join us.

 

 

CCA Preview ’15: Club Automatica

What is Club Automatica? We may be the CCA with one of the most mysterious-sounding names, but we’re actually the home of robotics and physics in RI (Y5-6). Now, before the phrase “geeky CCA” starts flashing across your mind, hold on. Yes, we do have so-called geeks in our midst, but we also have passionate and curious (or if you like, normal) members who simply want to learn more about robotics and physics and more importantly, have fun! In order to accommodate such vast interests, most of the time, Club Automatica is split into two divisions – Quanta for physics, and Robotica for, well, robotics.

Compared to other CCAs, our meeting times are rather unique. While Quanta meets on a weekly basis, Robotica has a flexible schedule to suit Rafflesians’ diverse timetables and commitments. Aside from a fixed day each month where both divisions meet up for a combined CCA session and share about what they have been doing, the timings of the rest of Robotica’s sessions (usually training sessions or competition preparation) are up to each competition team and individual to decide.

A triumphant club + our mascot at the Singapore CoSpace and RoboMaker Challenge 2014
A triumphant club + our mascot at the Singapore CoSpace and RoboMaker Challenge 2014

Of course, besides having fun, we also take immense pride in what we do. In the last RoboCup Singapore Open, we clinched the Championship trophy, along with 3 1st places in the various categories. The recent National Junior Robotics Competition also saw us with a team in the finals and another team placing 1st in a category.

Fret not Year 5s, for prior experience is not a prerequisite to join Robotica; training will be provided! As everyone has the opportunity to take part in 2 major competitions in Year 5, you’ll also learn on the job, coupled with guidance from your friendly Robotica seniors.

Meanwhile, Quanta has student-driven lectures where members get to share interesting tidbits of Physics amongst themselves. Besides lectures (which can be admittedly boring for those who absolutely abhor theoretical things), Quanta also allows its members to build and play with “Physicky” things. In fact, we once had a senior who built a gigantic tesla coil!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is a tesla coil in its full glory!
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a tesla coil in its full glory!

But really, what Quanta does depends on the choices of its members – the members decide what they want to do. This means that if you join the Quanta family, you would get to put your creativity (which has been hitherto suppressed by the rigid school curriculum) to good use. More than fun and fruitful CCA sessions, however, members will also get to participate in the annual Amazing Science X Challenge. This is an excellent opportunity for those who love to perform mind-blowing stunts (based in Physics, of course) and crave generous cash prizes ;) !

Then, besides robotics and physics, what does Club Automatica have to offer as one CCA? In every event and competition, you’ll get to work with other like-minded individuals with similar interests and cravings. Moreover, much hard work and time is put into preparation, so you’ll definitely form firm and long-lasting friendships through the process.

In short, whether you are someone who has an insatiable intellectual desire for knowledge in theoretical physics, someone who loves getting your hands dirty by building automated objects (a.k.a. robots), or someone who enjoys having fun (albeit of a less common kind), Club Automatica can be your new home!

Oh, and before closing this tab, feel free to browse our Facebook page to find out more about us!

CCA Previews ’15: Fencing

“The true measure of a person is who they are with sword in hand…”

— Aldo Nadi

Our 2014 CCA Yearbook photoshoot
Our 2014 CCA Yearbook photoshoot

Modern Fencing descends from the 700-year old art of European sword fighting and duelling. While the using the sword as a practical weapon has fizzled out today (and is actually considered illegal), its use still carries a kind of romantic appeal. From Captain Jack Sparrow, James Bond and Joan of Arc to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Zorro and Mulan, who doesn’t love a good swordsman/woman? The fact is, fencing is cool and always has been, yet it is becoming less and less common to find anyone truly proficient with a sword.

Today, fencing is a fast-moving, fast-growing sport that reflects the practices of a different era. Because sword-fighting is inherently an individual’s sport, it’s pretty much whatever you want it to be. Some people use it as a sport to challenge their minds while others find cathartic benefits (there is no better way to de-stress than with swordplay!). Regardless, it takes a great deal of self-control and practice to reach supreme proficiency. In other words, it takes a lot of training to turn your perception of fencing into your personal reality, since fencing is a sport that requires the use of muscles you may never have unlocked before and acute hand-eye co-ordination (all of which we will help you hone when you enter the CCA. Imagine the benefits!!)

Common perceptions of fencing, taken from Google
Common perceptions of fencing, taken from Google

Albeit an individual sport, we train hard and play hard as a team. You won’t be alone in your fencing journey, for your teammates will always be by your side, bonding and training together as a family. Along the way, you will probably find yourself closest to your weapon group, of which fencing has three: foil, epee, sabre, with each having its own characteristics, equipment and rules. However, the whole CCA does still gather to do basic fencing footwork, warm-up and have meals together.

The team during a break at training
The team during a break from training

Most will never have the opportunity to pick up this relatively unorthodox sport outside of school, but RI is one of the few JCs to offer it as a CCA. Many may think it too late to pick this sport up in Year 5 at 17 years of age, but fret not! Our boys and girls put in a good showing every year at the National Interschool Championships in April, to be specific, our 2014 results: Girls’ 1st (we have been champions in the girls’ category for the past 4 years), Boys’ 3rd, despite our team comprising mostly of brand new fencers who just started in Year 5. No prerequisites are needed when joining the team! Just a will to learn and dedication to the sport will suffice. And for those wondering, being tall is not always an advantage. In fencing, being tall or short will help you in different ways, since fencing is a holistic sport that transcends physical superiority. The world no. 2 in women’s foil in 2012 was just 154cm tall. Nothing is impossible.

During one of our training sessions in the MPH
One of our training sessions in the MPH

Training is helmed by Coaches Henry, Marin, Samson and Oleg, some of them ex-national fencers, from one of the renowned fencing institutions in Singapore—Blade Club. The sessions are conducted twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday from 4.30pm to 7.00pm, and usually maintains a balance between drills, the learning of new tactics and actual sparring bouts. Blade club also provides free sparring sessions on Saturdays for our fencers.

Practising footwork at training
Practising footwork at training

Throughout our journey in Raffles Fencing, we gear up for the National Interschool Fencing Championships, as well as several other competitions and invites throughout the year. They include the Novices Championships, U-17, U-20 and Open competitions, as well as Fencing Invitationals by other schools, including our own Raffles Invites we organise every December!

Fencing is a creative sport enabling free development of the personality. It offers no ready recipes. It only provides the notes, while the athlete himself has to compose the music. If there is one thing it does teach, it is discipline. As you train in the heat and balance having to do homework with physical and mental fatigue after training, your body and mind are taken to a whole new level and you will develop the valuable life skill of perseverance through tough times.

The Team
The Team

So just come in, try your best, have fun and make new friends in the process.

Your experience will be unlike any other!