An incredible Day of Discovery at Downe

The biennial Day of Discovery was a truly memorable one and fully achieved the aim of the day to inspire and encourage girls to discover and experience something new outside the remit of any exam syllabus. A series of over 100 lectures, workshops, demonstrations and masterclasses were scheduled over the course of the day and girls chose four sessions from a diverse range of areas including sciences, arts, politics, adventure experiences, business enterprise, charity work, fitness, cookery, mindfulness, the law, sports and languages - to name but a few.

The programme featured a mix of guest presenters and members of staff who brought a wealth of knowledge and many different fields of expertise to the Day of Discovery. There really was something new for everyone to explore – from martial arts to sushi making, creative writing to rat dissection, an insight into Clinical Psychology to learning the Cha-cha-cha, bug box making to robot programming, woodland laser quest to synchronised swimming and a whole lot more.

The line-up of guest speakers included DH alumna Sophie Clarke-Jervoise (1979), MD of Tiger Aspect Productions, who talked about her career in TV, Santa Montefiore, number one bestselling author of 17 novels, who shared her secrets of novel writing and Judge Riddell, former Senior District Judge of England and Wales who gave a talk about his work as a criminal defence lawyer and Judge in the Magistrate’s Courts…including some of his more interesting cases!

Among the most popular sessions were the opportunity to spend time “Behind the Scenes” as a Housekeeper, with the Green Men (in Estates and Maintenance) and in the kitchens with the Head Chef. The girls also really enjoyed the chance to make delicious macarons with Miss Myers and turning their hand to “Guerrilla Gardening”, transforming a patch of ground by digging, pruning and planting seeds.

The last session of the day was “Any Questions” where a distinguished panel of guests including Santa Montefiore, Sophie Clarke-Jervoise, Rupert Harrow, recent alumna and engineer Tori Barbour-Smith, Holocaust educator Freddie Naftel and scientist Dr Pamela Muirhead, ably chaired by past parent James Hanbury, gave their thoughts on questions posed by the pupils. An interesting set of questions included whether the West had contributed to the problems in the Middle East, whether the panel thought there would be a new music revolution and thoughts on the benefits versus drawbacks of social media, all of which drew a fascinating set of responses from the panellists.

Michelle Scott, Assistant Head (Foundation) who organised the Day of Discovery said, “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful network of staff, parents and alumna who are willing to give their time to share their talents and experience with us. It has been a fabulous day and the girls have entered into the spirit of the day with their usual enthusiasm and enquiring minds. My thanks to everyone who helped to make the Day of Discovery possible.”

Posted: 23rd Mar 2017

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