Trinity School started their week with a bang — literally! Monday 21st was a day for science and celebration as the primary school opened the doors to their new ‘Discovery Hub’. The brand new science lab was built using the proceeds from last year’s Henley to Paris charity cycle, completed by a number of parents.
School councillors Isabella, Milini and Beth made a speech to introduce the science lab, telling the excited students, “We’ll be doing experiments on electricity, robotics, and hopefully dinosaur poo!” Leo and Bryn, two Trinity pupils, were then invited to cut the ribbon to declare the classroom officially open. The pair won the competition to name the lab with their ‘Discovery Hub’ idea, cleverly alluding to its cycling origins. Eight of cyclists who took part in the Henley to Paris ride were also present to celebrate the classroom’s launch, along with new Mayor Councillor Glen Lambert, and last year’s Mayor and ex-Trinity pupil, Kellie Hinton.
To mark the occasion, the students enjoyed a special assembly from Professor Ian B Dunne. The scientist conducted a number of marvellous experiments, demonstrating the power of gravity, static electricity, and a few unexplained phenomena of physics. Children roared with laughter as he sent tennis balls and aeroplanes flying, and gasped in awe as he appeared to make a ballon float on command. Professor Dunne, a professional science show presenter, then taught the inaugural lessons in the Discovery Hub classroom. Headteacher Helen Jones explained, “We thought it would put the icing on the cake to have a mad scientist. It gives them the excitement they need.”
The Discovery Hub features two large centre tables with 30 stools, and the walls are lined with further work surfaces. It comes complete with apparatus such as safety goggles, glassware, and of course, a bunsen burner. Mrs Jones revealed that they intend to install more equipment, including cookers for domestic science, as well as utilising the space for design and technology lessons. The classroom, previously a library, was constructed in around 3 weeks, and completed by the end of Easter.
The process of building the Discovery Hub began almost a year ago, when 32 daring cyclists took on a 24 hour, 320 kilometre ride from Trinity School to the Eiffel Tower. On June 23rd-24th 2017, parents, governors and local enthusiasts completed the challenge in aid of the Vicarage Road Primary School. The group managed to raise over £30,000 for Trinity, along with another £14,000 for local charity, The Chiltern Centre.
Tom Potter, who was instrumental in organising the cycle, was delighted to see the team’s hard work pay off. “It’s wonderful,” he expressed. “We never imagined that we’d have a brand new classroom from it, let alone a well-equipped science and technology laboratory.” Nicki Aitken, a former GB duathlete and the only female cyclist, was equally thrilled. “It’s amazing. I didn’t realise the impact we would have,” she commented. “When you see the reaction of the children, to see their excitement is so inspiring. It makes it all worthwhile when you remember a years ago and how hard it was.” Tom also reflected on how the cycle challenge had brought the community together, from local businesses to school parents. He revealed that a number of the riders have continued to cycle together, with 20 of them reuniting for a trip to Brighton last weekend. “Now we’ve got to decide what the 2019 ride is going to be!” he exclaimed. The group are intending to open the fundraiser to all the local schools, allowing even more children to benefit from it.
Headteacher Helen Jones was overjoyed to be opening the Discovery Hub. “I was a medical biochemist before I moved to teaching, so science has always been my passion. For me, it’s just a dream come true,” she said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us. We couldn’t have done it without the cyclists, and we couldn’t done it without the community support that we get.”