The week was extremely busy with students getting up bright and early ready for a day of training in the morning sun, going on city breaks, playing matches and tournaments in the afternoons and a wide variety of evening activities including bowling, pizza night and a presentation disco. It was safe to say all were ready for bed each night. The accommodation we stayed in was excellent with large rooms sleeping 2-4 people all with private bathrooms. The facilities included chill-out areas with views of the lake, football pitches, tennis courts and a swimming pool and sauna. This gave students the opportunity to relax and socialise building on friendships old and new.
We woke up bright and early on Tuesday at 7am to go to Verona for the morning. After a quick breakfast we were all on the coach heading off. We arrived in Verona and after a 10 minute walk we were in front of the gigantic Verona Arena (a huge amphitheatre built in the 1st century). We then entered the gargantuan structure and climbed to the top of the stands to appreciate the enormity of the arena. With the sun still shining bright overhead, we made our way back into the streets and walked through the bustling streets, past various high end shops and rustic ice cream shops until we reached the absolutely packed square which housed Juliet’s balcony. Before we left Verona we had an hour of free time to do some shopping. Almost everyone bought some luscious ice cream and the number of Sephora bags was un-countable. We quickly made our way back to San Zeno and the girls did some training as the boys went swimming. Later on the boys left the hotel to go to the first ever international sports fixture Walton High had ever seen. After a challenging game against older opposition, the team returned in high spirits to a well-deserved dinner. Quickly, the rugby team got changed and we headed off to bowling. After an hour or so of bowling, with some pretty abysmal scores from some and very impressive ones from others; Mrs Watson-Green was the victor, beating everyone’s scores substantially.
Following a very late night, we were all up again at 7am on Wednesday to go to our training sessions before an exciting trip to Milan. The training sessions passed very quickly and everyone hurriedly made their way back to the hotel gates to get on our bus to Milan. After a two hour coach journey, we arrived in bustling Milan. After wading through the traffic, we arrived at the huge San Siro Stadium. The impressive gallery of football shirts and boots was very interesting to see – it was amazing how much history was stored in one building. After that, we looked at the AC and Inter-Milan changing rooms and learnt about the history and ethics of each club. Then, we came up into the stadium through the player’s tunnel and we were all blown away by the sheer size of the stadium. After a quick look in the shop, we hurried back onto the coach and went to the centre of the city. After a brief walk over to the stunning cathedral, we had some time to explore Milan. Some students visited cultural places and took photos, some explored the shops and others found comfort in familiar eating establishments but everyone was glad to have had the chance to experience the city of Milan.
On Thursday, both the boys and girls had a busy day of sport ahead….
After two lovely sunny mornings’ training outside on the netball courts building on our skills old and new with professional netball coaches from Wales, it was time to put on our new netball dresses and take to the courts to face other UK schools in the Sport Active netball tournament. After an early breakfast it was time to get kitted up and put our game faces on. With four netball teams representing Walton High in the Lake Garda tournament it was set to be a busy and exciting day. We had two teams in the U16 tournament and two teams in the U14 tournament; an added bonus was that we were able to watch and support each other during the matches, with Year 10 leading the way and cheering on their peers, lifting their spirits and supporting them throughout. All four teams performed extremely well showcasing some of the skills and tactics learnt and perfected over the week at training. Competition was fierce in the U16 pools; some fabulous goal scoring from our shooters and crucial interceptions from defence made it a battle for the top four spots. We showed great pride and determination from start to finish, getting a special mention from the head coach highlighting our positive sportsmanship and progression over the week. We missed out on medal position in the U16 tournament by two points and although we were a little disappointed after giving it our all, the overall experience, development of our skills and making new team mates and friendships outweighed the loss of a medal.
We had a morning practice focusing on our set pieces and team structure for the match against Mandova, while the girls had their last training session before the tournament. Following the training session the team had a few hours to relax, play games and swim in the hotel pool. We had a long drive to the last game of the week but the pitches were stunning and we played in front of stand that could seat 2000 people! Unfortunately, despite a huge effort from the whole team we lost the match 50 – 7 with Kamal Amoako scoring our only try against an older team from Mandova. Battered and bruised, the team was happy with their performance but disappointed that it did not all show on the pitch. Thankfully we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves down for the SportsFest presentation evening and disco where the school was presented a trophy and medals for their hard work during the week.
Friday was all about travelling back after an excellent few days in Italy. The next morning was quite relaxed as brought our bags down to the coach and got ready for our huge journey home. Before we knew it, we were settled down on the coach taking in the stunning Alps and beautiful Switzerland by the afternoon. After we passed through the Gotthard Base Tunnel we were all feeling very tired despite the fact it was only 4:00 in the afternoon. After sprinting through the rest of Switzerland and up past Strasbourg, we were all starving. Following a quick dinner, we got back on the coach and quickly fell asleep, awaiting our early rise when we arrived at Calais at 2:00 in the morning. We went through border control, freezing cold and in the rain, we knew we were close to home. The ferry was littered with sleeping people and after many people had a huge English breakfast, nearly everyone was in a stupor of tiredness. After a quick nap, we had reached the home stretch and before we knew it we were back at school, full of stories and fun experiences.
This trip was the first of its kind at Walton High and we hope to do more on an annual basis. The staff and the school are really proud of the students who went on this trip thanks to their excellent behaviour on and off the pitch. Every student represented the school with distinction and should be proud of their achievements.
The feedback from parents has been fantastic and that is credit to the students and the staff who went on the trip: Mrs Watson-Green, Miss Mather, Miss South, Miss Ingram and Mr Hake. Without them, this trip would not have been so successful. Thank you to you all for giving up your free time to allow the students to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Mr C Harris – PE
Contributions from Michael Lee 9AKU, Shai Van Rooyen 8WVJ and Kamal Amoako 9FLH