10th anniversary for thriving competition

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TEN years on and The Rock Challenge is still one of the most important dates in the extra-curricular calendar for north-east schools.

Last Monday, schools from throughout Aberdeen shire and city gathered at the AECC to take part in the 10th Scottish Rock Challenge, which is part of an international performing arts competition for schools and colleges, aiming to capture the imagination of young people by providing them with an exciting and unique opportunity to experience the buzz of performing in a professional venue in front of their peers, families and friends.

Each school forms a team of 11 to 18 year-olds to choreograph dance and drama performances which last between five and eight minutes and tell a story of a theme of their choice set to commercially available music.

Teams of between 20 to 100 performers as well as a backstage crew including up to 24 stage crew members can take part.

Peterhead Academy took part in the event this year as a Premier team, after securing top honours in regional events since 2007.

The school is the only Scottish team competing in the Premier category of the programme and will take part in the Northern Premier final in Grimsby this June. At the event, 60 youngsters from S1-S6 will compete against their counterparts from the 12 top schools from the 100 Northern schools who take part.

This year, Peterhead pupils have developed a performance called Crazy in Love, exploring the themes of love and mental illness through dance and drama.

Pupils have been involved in every aspect of the show, from the choreography, design of the set, costumes, hair and make-up to the technical aspects of putting on a show.

Pupils, and members of the Friends of Rock Challenge community group have been busy fund-raising for the journey down to Grimsby.

And Peterhead Academy Head Teacher Susan Ramsden says participation in Rock Challenge has a lasting effect on pupils.

“We really see the leadership skills coming up through the ranks, and what we find is that pupils will go on to use those leadership skills to mentor pupils coming to the school as prefects, sports leaders and buddies,” she said.

“The pupils gave a fantastic performance at the exhibition centre, and this will stand them in good stead for the finals in June.”

MSP Stewart Stevenson supported the efforts made by the local school and their commitment to the competition.

He told the Buchanie: “Peterhead Academy is a Premier School in the Global Rock Challenge competition. This means they will be once again travelling to Grimsby to compete in the Northern Premier finals of the dance/drama competition in June, representing not only the school, but the local area and Scotland.

“Peterhead Academy has perhaps one of the longest and strongest associations with the Global Rock Challenge and this is entirely down to the commitment of the staff there and the motivation of the pupils to be the best they can be. I wish them luck in June.”

As part of the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Scottish Rock Challenge, organisers are looking for feedback from previous participants including pupils, parents, guardians or teachers in order to help with the development of future Rock Challenges.

A survey has been prepared and organisers are looking to hear from anyone who has been involved in Rock Challenge to gather information about experiences of the Aberdeen Rock Challenge. The information collected will help Grampian Police continue to raise funding for this event.

At the end of the survey entrants will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw for an Ipod Touch 32GB!

Follow this link to www.surveymonkey.com/s/RockChallenge and tell all about your Rock Challenge experience!