CCA Previews 2015

CCA Preview ’15: Ultimate Frisbee

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You are here to make the ultimate decision of choosing your CCA, and we will convince you that, ultimately, what you are looking for is Ultimate.

Hard-earned victory. (Photo credits to Matthew Kwan)
Hard-earned victory (Photo credits to Matthew Kwan)

If you hear the sounds of discs dropping or hear victorious shouts of glee coming from the amphitheatre, well that’s just us – Raffles Ultimate. We spend plenty of our time there throwing, scrimmaging and doing what we love best.

The Ultimate team
The Ultimate team

Where is the appeal in a sport so hardcore, so dirty, and still relatively new? Why do we eagerly ask for extra trainings, push ourselves to breaking point, and instinctively dive to save a disc? you ask. The answer is simple: Passion – all of us here in Ultimate have an intense passion for this sport we play. Whether under the mercilessly hot sun, or drenched in sweat, rain or mud, we love Ultimate, and we play it because of the sheer joy it brings us.

Damn, what a dashing layout. (Photo credits to Eric Lim)
Damn, what a dashing layout. (Photo credits to Eric Lim)

Raffles Ultimate prides itself on the team spirit found very strongly in every member. We all have immense pride and love for the team and the game, giving our hundred percent every training in order to become the best. As one of our J2s, Ryan Yap, always says, “Teamwork makes the dream work” – every member of Ultimate plays a vital role in our journey towards success, and our (now not-so) secret weapon is our team chemistry. A testament to the Raffles Ultimate family is how our team extends beyond merely 2 batches – in addition to our more than capable coach, Benjamin Ho, we are proud to have alumni (some of whom have graduated 8 or 9 years back!) who regularly come back to coach, cheer, or just chill with us. It is this love for Ultimate that acts as a connecting thread, knitting us all together as one playful and passionate family.

Here is the T E A M in ultiMATE. (Photo credits to Eric Lim)
Here is the T E A M in ultiMATE. (Photo credits to Eric Lim)

On top of promises of fun and joy, we aim to excel and advance. There is no room for half-heartedness here. Our goal is to continue our reign as indisputable champions at the yearly inter-JC competitions. In Raffles Ultimate, every training is an opportunity to better ourselves as players, as teammates, and as people. So if you’re looking for a way to challenge yourself beyond the physical, into the mental and the emotional, then you should give Ultimate a shot.

And finally, we present you The Ultimatum: Go hard, or go home. See you at trials!

CCA Preview ’15: Gavel Club

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Gavel CCA Preview_cover

Did you know that the most famous segment of Dr. King’s ‘I have a Dream’ speech, which jolted the conscience of America, was delivered off-the-cuff? King’s mastery of the art of speaking was the result of years of service as a minister to his congregation. The art of speaking beautifies the message and lends clarity to its content. It is a skill that aids communication, which in turn, changes lives. If you wish to hone this valuable skill, we invite you to join us!

The Raffles Gavel Club is a subsidiary of Toastmasters International. This means that we follow an established curriculum consisting of a set of 10 speaking projects as part of our activities. Upon completion of all the projects, globally-recognized Toastmasters accreditation will be given, making each and every member a certified speaker and leader. Through the plethora of speaking exercises carried out during gavel sessions, gaveliers have access to growth through experiential learning, self-pacing, peer-feedback and mentorship. It is a core belief of the Raffles Gavel Club that in the domain of speaking, practice makes perfect.

Gavel Club Orientation 2014
Gavel Club Orientation 2014

Every week, members meet to carry out their Toastmasters projects within the club for 2-3 hours. These weekly sessions are an avenue for members to practice speaking under guidance and broaden their understanding of our world by listening to the speeches made by fellow members on issues that excite them. The Gavel Club is a friendly and accepting environment where speakers can interact freely, and achieve personal growth through mutual learning.

Gavel in session!
Gavel in session!

The art of speaking can be put into immediate use, even if we do not possess the statute of Dr King. Beyond the learning opportunities that being a member of the Raffles Gavel Club provides,  friends who are interested in serving the wider community through sharing the gift of speech would be excited to know that we have frequent collaborations with the Children Cancer Foundation and primary schools, allowing members to use their speaking skills in serving others.

A member’s development at Gavel is limited only by his or her enthusiasm. One can take on the many opportunities presented, ranging from club sessions to national competitions, to perfect the art of expression through speech. The seniors of the club are an inviting and friendly bunch who will give honest and constructive feedback to aid the growth of new members as they journey along the path towards speech mastery.

Members representing the Gavel and Raffles at speech competitions
Members representing the Gavel Club and Raffles at speech competitions

Gavel is not only a club at here at Raffles. It is a family. By joining Gavel, one enters a community of driven and talented students with interests that span an entire spectrum. The Gavel Club is an anchor for many, and a platform for strong friendships to develop and thrive. Most of all, Gavel affords every member a trusting and supportive environment, free of disparagement and judgment.

The Gavel Club extends its welcome to interested candidates, regardless of background or speaking ability. The selection interview is not an assessment of ability, but of potential premised on the willingness of candidates to further improve their speaking skills and explore issues they find close to heart. We look forward to welcoming the incoming batch of speakers, who we hope will exemplify humility and steadfastness in their time with the club!

CCA Preview ’15: Squash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Some might think that Squash is simply about hitting a ball against a wall with a racquet. But actually, it is so much more than that. As the squash legends will call it, squash is like a physical and mental game of chess combined. The sheer fitness and racquet work needed, on top of agility, reflexes, tactics, and even mental strength makes squash a highly demanding but fulfilling game indeed. According to Forbes Magazine, squash is rated as the healthiest sport in the world, burning the most calories across all other sports.

squash1

As such, have you ever wished to join a fun and truly enjoyable CCA where at the same time, you’ll never have to worry about your NAPFA again? Upon joining Raffles Squash, the 2.4km run will become quite literally, a walk in the park. The very nature of the game is demanding: an extremely fast-paced racquet game where one’s fitness, mental strength, and game strategy will be put to the ultimate test. While squash is a sport that is relatively less known, some might say it’s a combination of the two popular sports, tennis and badminton. To some of us in the CCA, this sport is simply the best of both worlds.

Ideally, our CCA would be looking out for those who have had experience in the sport itself. However, if you don’t, any other forms of racquet experience (such as in Badminton or Tennis) would be highly preferred. At the end of the day, we are looking out for individuals who have basic ball-sense.

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Our training times are on Mondays 5pm-7pm, as well as on Wednesdays and Fridays 3pm-6pm. On Mondays, we do physical sessions comprising of all the exercises designed to work our cardiovascular abilities to the very fullest, owing to the high amount of stamina the game requires in order to excel. On Wednesdays and Fridays, we have court trainings where players will get down onto court and start practising their shots with different drills, and of course have some matches to end off the day.

Our peak periods will be the first four to five months of the year leading up to the inter-school competitions where training will be three times a week as listed above. After the completion of the inter-school competitions, the Friday training will stand down until the end of the year upon the completion of Project Work assessment where it will resume all the way until inter-school competitions again with a break in the last 2 weeks of the year.

So, do you fancy a CCA that will keep your body at the peak of physical fitness? A CCA that commands all the different aspects of a sport such as agility, reflexes, speed, stamina, and of course mental strength? A CCA that works all the muscles in your body that you may not even know you had? To sum up, Squash is a game of physical chess. Thus, if you’re interested in what squash has to offer, join us today!☺

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CCA Preview ’15: Raffles Debaters

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here at the Raffles Debaters, we strongly believe that debate is the key to unlocking the potential of the human mind. More than just an activity, debating is an art, a skill, and a mode of thought all rolled into one.

Debating, in its various forms, involves a striking clash of wits, words, and styles. It is no surprise that Bryant McGill believes “the real battlefield is the realm of ideas”. And while nobody would ever mistake the Raffles Debaters for gladiators in an arena, or for warriors in a battlefield (mental fitness and the willingness to train are the only prerequisites), every debate is a contest for hearts and minds – albeit one fought with cue cards.

Beware the fearsome...cue card?
Beware the fearsome…cue card?

​Founded in March 1886, the Raffles Debaters has the distinction of being the oldest club in Raffles Institution. It has arguably been one of the most successful clubs of its kind in the country, with men and women who have gone on to become true leaders, thinkers and pioneers in its ranks. From former Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong to Professor Tommy Koh, the Raffles Debaters has a strong tradition of producing luminaries who contribute to Singapore.

The club seeks to nurture critical thinking and a passion for knowledge in each of its members, regardless of which stage of debating they are at when they first join us. Debaters can also expect to be equipped with intellectual dexterity and the ability to effectively harness the spoken word. These talents stand debaters in good stead. They are invaluable not only in academic disciplines, but also in one’s daily interactions. Everyone can benefit from the art of debating. Even if one is not keen on competitive debating, recreational debating can sharpen the wit and energise the mind. The argumentative, persuasive and critical thinking skills gained are sure to benefit all intellectually and academically.

Raffles Debaters is coached by two eminently qualified debaters: Mr Joshua Hiew and Mr Tan Teck Wei. Both are former captains of the Singapore national debating team, and have earned a plethora of accolades in their illustrious debating careers. They are always willing to commit time and effort, often beyond the call of duty, to help our debaters improve. They have been strong sources of support to the club throughout the whirlwind of events that dot the debating calendar. In training for the variety of championships where we represent our school, or for open tournaments that anyone can participate in, our coaches lend a helping hand in ensuring that we are prepared!

A Team of Raffles Debaters and our coaches
A Team of Raffles Debaters and our coaches

Regular training sessions take place twice a week. In each session, Raffles Debaters debate an entirely new topic – so one can learn something fresh from every training session! Occasionally, we mix things up and try cool new activities like “debates taboo”, extemporaneous speaking on quirky topics, or even organising our very own internal debating championship.

The Raffles Debaters is also committed to giving back to the community. Members participate in a slew of activities such as adjudicating debating championships and organising our very own tournaments. In 2011 and 2013, we organised the Prometheus Cup, an international tournament for debaters from across the world!

And finally, when joining Raffles Debaters, one does not just join a CCA – one also becomes part of a debating family that includes our Year 1-4 counterparts, and members of debating clubs all around the world. It is telling that whenever one goes for a tournament, there are always friends to be made and familiar faces to greet. Having a community of like-minded individuals who support and encourage you definitely adds a unique quality to one’s debating experience.

Debaters from across the world gather at the inaugural Prometheus Cup in 2011
Debaters from across the world gather at the inaugural Prometheus Cup in 2011

Raffles Debaters welcomes all, regardless of prior debating experience, to give debating a shot. Passion, intellectual curiosity, and an open mind are all one needs to enjoy everything debate has to offer!

CCA Preview ’15: Raffles Chorale

Reading Time: 3 minutes

“‘Come away’, is the call, with the love in your heart as the only song. There is no such beauty as where you belong.” The Road Home, Stephen Paulus

Passionate about music-making, Raffles Chorale is a second home to a close-knit group of individuals who share a love for singing.

With an extensive repertoire spanning various genres including sacred hymns, folk tunes and contemporary pop songs, the dynamism and versatility of Chorale has kept audiences at the edge of their seats. The incorporation of different elements to our music – such as aleatory singing (or ‘chance music’), percussion instruments and even wine glasses – provides for a pleasant, refreshing take on traditional choral performances.

Under the esteemed musical direction of our resident conductor, Mr Toh Ban Sheng, Chorale has enjoyed a rich tradition of commendable achievement since the choir’s conception in 1982. In addition to having attained a Certificate of Distinction at the Singapore Youth Festival Central Judging in 2013, Chorale has achieved significant international recognition in numerous competitions held in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Italy and Poland.

Post-competition at the Kozel Castle (Credits to Dominique Yap)
Post-competition at the Kozel Castle (Credits to Dominique Yap)

Most recently, in June 2014, Chorale participated in the Musica Sacra Festival at the Kozel Castle in the Czech Republic, where we achieved a Diploma (Gold Level) in both the Mixed Choirs and Popular Sacred Music categories, a Jury Prize, as well as the coveted Grand Prix.

Chorale practices are held every Wednesday (2.30pm-6.30pm) and Friday (3.30pm-8pm), but may increase in duration and frequency in the lead-up to performances. Sectionals may also be held outside of official rehearsal hours. Though some technical expertise may come in handy, it is not of paramount importance as solfege is used to learn new pieces – if you have little experience with that, do not fret as we will readily help you out! Rather, the key prerequisites are an open mind and willing heart.

That being said, Chorale is more than a music-making machine. Concert performances and competitions aside, we have exciting activities lined up throughout the year which promise to make your time here enriching and meaningful. The annual overnight Chorale Camp held in March, for example, will leave many with spirits lifted and energised for the busy year ahead. Because we believe in bringing the choir together, you can expect some good fun with picnic lunches, outings to the beach, frisbee games and even an annual Secret Santa gift exchange!

Picnic at Marina Barrage! (Credits to Nicolette Foo)
Picnic at Marina Barrage! (Credits to Nicolette Foo)

In the spirit of giving back, our yearly Christmas event, Vocal Delights, is an entirely student-organised concert – traditionally helmed by the Year 5 batch – that aims to raise funds for the less privileged while spreading some Yuletide cheer. In addition to featuring our resident a cappella groups, PUNCH and Fringe, this concert also evinces the vocal prowess of our numerous student interest a cappella groups.

Student interest a capella group The Acafellas at Vocal Delights 2014 (Credits to Hee Xin Wei)
Student interest a capella group The Acafellas at Vocal Delights 2014 (Credits to Hee Xin Wei)

“The most valuable things are forged through the toughest times, and the friendships I speak of are no different,” remarked I Vivek Kai-Wen, chairperson of the batch of 2014. While it may not always be smooth-sailing, we assure you that the personal growth experienced, friendships forged, as well as the joy of making music will make this journey a rewarding one.