Student of the Week
Another newbie student joins the SOTW hall of fame this week. Ben Jones, 16 from Haringey, came to us in September from Heartlands High School. He is currently studying history, classical civilisation, maths and economics.
If you follow our social media you may have just spotted Ben riding a wave of popularity for his music track ‘Merit Goods’ (written with Siem Hailemichael and Joe Parker as part of an economics project). Joe’s excellent video is getting quite a few hits on our YouTube channel this week.
“We were given a two week homework assignment - to work in groups to creatively explain an economic concept. Our group decided to make a music video. Originally, we were supposed to have some 'professional rappers' on board, but they dropped out the day before recording. I'd already made the backing track and thought I’d mock up a version with the lyrics and see what it sounded like - and people quite liked it - so we ran with it.
We had great fun shooting the video all around the college and the local area, and strangely - nobody seemed to think it was a crazy idea. Making the music track was also great for me because hip-hop is not a style I've really attempted to write in before, and I enjoyed it.
Outside of Woodhouse I am into music in a big way and am in a band called ‘Amongst Animals’.
I’m the guitarist and write all the songs along with our singer Tiy - who writes a lot of the lyrics. I guess you could say I’m the Johnny Marr (The Smiths) of the group - writing and sorting all the arrangements etc. Our style is kind of alternative / indy rock and quite melodic. Ravi Martin, our drummer, is also a Woodhouse student and bass player Dante completes the line up. We are all friends and have been working on some demos in the studio recently and we’ve a few web pages where you can hear our stuff.
We’re focusing on gigs at the moment. We just played one in Shoreditch and are playing in Finsbury Park next week (and there’s a bunch of Woodhouse students coming along so that should be good), the studio where we rehearse is hosting an evening there and have put us at the top of the bill.
Music is such an important creative outlet for me. I’ve had guitar lessons for years but I don’tpractice in too rigid a way, I prefer to play my own way - that works for me. I’m a left-hander playing a right handed instrument and I think it feels different to me. I don't like to use a pick either, so I feel I've adapted normal technique a bit. I think lessons are useful, but if you are ambitious and just go for ityou can develop your own interesting sound and thats what I hope I'm doing.
My studies are very important and certainly not a ‘plan-B’ to my musical ambitions. I want to do both and could see myself pursuing any of my subjects, I’m having a great time at college and my grades are pretty good too. All of the band are quite academic and the music is a completely independent thing, I enjoy my studies and music and they happily coexist.
At my old school, I won the ‘Jack Petchey's Speak Out Challenge’ competition for Haringey borough and got through to the finals - and because of that I got to take part in the Lord Mayors show two years ago which was great fun. I’ve also been going to Mountview Academy for Theatre Arts for about six or seven years and have performed shakespeare on stage in Islington. I really enjoy performance and standing up in front of people - speaking, acting or playing - is great for my confidence. Not just confidence when talking to people and giving presentations, but also in exams - you get used to being able to compose yourself in high stress situations.
At Woodhouse I am the student secretary for ‘Speakers Corner’, working with Mr Patel and the SC team to get great speakers to come in and share their stories or perspectives.
I am also member of ‘FemSoc’ our feminist society. It’s a great society and I think Woodhouse has a really great atmosphere and environment that supports gender equality and is an amazingly free place without homophobia - I think its important that our societies here reflect that.
The enrichment options are great too - I took music discussion with my economics teacher Mr Kaplan, which is a really interesting group. All of my teachers are so enthusiastic about their enrichments and in class they real reflect that Woodhouse ethos of being passionate about your subject matter.
There’s so much on offer to get involved with at Woodhouse, I’ve signed up for Model United Nations next, in Birmingham - I’ll get to practice some more public speaking there. If there’s something you want to try, there’s probably a society for it here - or they’ll help you start one!
If someone had told me a year ago that I'd be making a hip-hop economics video, I'd have said ‘what are you talking about? - Woodhouse is a place for serious people with straight faces’. But it’s not that, it’s a lovely combination of an academic atmosphere with a student led environment in which the teachers are very supportive, I'm really enjoying my time here. I like the independent learning here too - your not spoon fed - but you are supported to push yourself as far as you want to go.
Everyone I see from my old school, who decided not to come here, really wishes they had now and I'd advise any year 11 students who are thinking of coming here - just do it! - you wont regret it.”
Sound advice Ben, we may have to send you on a speaking tour of our local schools! Thank you for immersing yourself so thoroughly and enthusiastically into Woodhouse culture, we look forward to seeing and hearing lots more from you over the next two years.
09 November 2016
Class of 2016
22 March 2016
13 January 2016
Theo Cox Dodgson
10 December 2015
26 November 2015
12 November 2015
28 October 2015
08 October 2015
01 October 2015
17 September 2015
10 September 2015
25 June 2015
30 April 2015
23 April 2015
16 April 2015
12 March 2015
05 March 2015
26 February 2015
19 February 2015
12 February 2015
05 February 2015