World famous dancer inspires us all
Fernando Montano is a man of many talents, and it was incredible for us to interview him and hear some of his stories. In his own words, ‘I’m a very curious person’, making him a fascinating and inspiring individual to listen to; he is an ex dancer for the Royal Ballet, but has also pursued interests in fashion and marine conservation.
Fernando comes from Colombia, where he grew up playing football but watching ballet dancers on TV. He ‘loved the way they were moving’, and was eventually able to move to the only ballet school in the country at age 12, chasing his dream of being a dancer.
‘You really become the best version of yourself’, he said about taking risks, because he was forced to leave his family behind. It was very evident when talking to him that dancing is his life’s calling – when he talks about it he lights up and it was so exciting to witness that.
One of the surprising things about Fernando during our interview was that he started by telling us he is an ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society.
His interest in marine life stems from his childhood, where he was unable to learn to swim because the water was too dirty where he grew up.
In 2018, Fernando decided to use his platform to spread awareness for marine wildlife and the threats it faces. He decided that an underwater photoshoot as ‘a good image could transcend the message’. He invited several London schools to help him create it by recycling their plastic and making a background and the result, titled ‘Dance For The Sea’, was shown all around the country in June 2018.
Another of his accomplishments is his fashion collection, born from the spare time he needed to fill during Covid, ‘a good time to start doing sketches’. His fashion brand ‘Maison Cachua’ debuted in 2021 with a unique line of clothes, with Fernando in charge of design and small businesses in Peru and Columbia controlling creation. Fernando explained that fashion had always interested him, but hadn’t expected his dreams to come true so early.
Fernando Montano is proof that anything is possible with enough determination and spirit. His home city in Colombia is called Buenoventura, which means good adventure. That seems fitting because of the wonderful and full life he has lived.
Taste the energy!
Young dancers from Carol Gray’s Dance School, and Alnwick Academy of Dance also met Fernando and asked him some questions.
Fernando gave tips on stage fright: “It’s always good to be nervous becasuse it means you are passionate. It’s only human to feel fear or nerves, so never be afraid. Taste the energy!”
Evangeline asked what had been Fernando’s biggest challenge in his dancing career. Fernando described being asked to perform at the Colombian Presidential inauguration in 2022. He had only three days to prepare, including a 10 hour flight and had to acclimatise (Bogotá the capital of Colombia is one of the highest cities in the world).
Fernando explained it had been very physically challenging, and he knew the pressure was on as it was going to be televised.
After the interview, everyone said how inspired they were after meeting him. Cindy told us: “I enjoyed meeting Fernando.”
Music student Noah said: “He was very inspiring, and I was surprised to learn how young he was when he left home. It was absolutely amazing and highlighted how big the world was and how dreams can be achieved.”
Evangeline said: “It was 10/10. He was very interesting and I enjoyed meeting him.”
Should we take maths until 18?
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has suggested that we should all study maths to 18. Here’s what I think… NO NO NO I HATE THAT IDEA SO MUCH!!! You should only take maths till you are 18 if you like it or you need it for a job you want. If I had to take maths for that long I would be VEEEEEEERY annoyed.
The good things are:
• You could get a job in something maths related if you study it for longer.
• You will get better at maths
• We asked a 15 year old who LIKES maths what she thought. She told us: “I’d say, overall as a nation we would be capable of achieving more. It also helps with brain, knowledge and memory capacity.”
The bad things are:
• Maths is boring and can be so hard 🙁
• Not everyone wants to be an accountant or do something maths related
• It’s a waste of time to study it if you don’t like it.
• It’s just genuinely such a BAD idea.
Book recommendations to get you through winter
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston – the cutest rom-com between August, a new-New Yorker, and Jane, who may or may not be from the 70s and stuck in time on a train.
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong – this books is hard to put down. It’s a very poetic letter to a mother who can’t read, with themes of the Vietnam War, race, class and sexuality.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid- Taylor is a master at world building in this story about the luxurious life of Evelyn Hugo and the wild times she had in the 80s. 10/10
Heartstopper by Alice Oseman- an extremely wholesome comic book about young love- you should also check out the Netflix adaptation!
Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given- a non-fiction book all about how to improve your life as a woman and the women around you. Both helpful and funny, Florence’s book is a must read.
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan- good for younger readers, ‘Percy Jackson’ follows the son of Poseidon on adventures.
Is it ever ok for kids to hold guns?
SHOOTING STAR: At the end of November me and Katie, (and Thomas and Kyle from cadets) took part in a shooting competition. We won! We won a trophy bowl for my detachment because we got the highest shooting scores. In the individual competition Kyle (from my team) won the runner up getting 96/100 shots perfect and I won the competition because I got 98/100 shots perfect and I got a gold medal. This was out of 200 people. That is an example of good shooting.
TERRIBLE TRAGEDY: An example of bad shooting is how a six year old shot his teacher in America. The six year old claims that he did it purposefully. The court is wondering what to do with a boy of such a young age. My question is what is a six year old doing with a gun? In school?
School shootings in the US by a student so young are rare but not unprecedented. Gun violence experts say there have only been three other shootings caused by six-year-old students among 16 incidents involving shooters under the age of 10 since 1970. However, those incidents have typically involved other students, not teachers.
By Katie and Hannah
Pokemon Violet review
I got Pokemon Violet for Christmas and it was very good. I was happy. It was fun. I chose Sprigatito as my starter (obviously) and then I did the storyline and finished the game.
The game crashed like six times though, but it is still good. It also had a lot of glitches for example Miraidon would disappear when I rode on it so I would just be floating in the air for a couple of seconds but I’m not mad because it was really funny.
On my team right now I have a Cyclizar, a shiny iron valiant, a Meowscarada, a Tinkaton, a Tyranitar and a Mismagius. It might not be the strongest team but it’s cute and that’s all I care about. Also in spring, you will be able to transfer some Pokemon to Scarlet and Violet that aren’t in the game normally, like the starters of X and Y, Froakie, Fennekin and Chespin.
I remember when I finished the game and the end credits played I got jumpscared by an Ed Sheeran song.
I love the game but the frequent glitches can be annoying and off putting since you could lose a lot of progress if you forgot to save, but apart from the glitches (which hopefully will be fixed soon) the game is very good and I really like it, so I give it a 4.5/5.
Don’t vape, kids
Statistics in a new report from youth charity The Mix, shows that one in three 16-25 year olds have vaped in the last month. Whilst it was once seen as a positive development to help those trying to quit their addiction to cigarettes, vapes have become a trend among children as young as 11, particularly in the North East.
Their fun colours and flavours are often blamed for inviting young people to try them, so I believe they should be treated like cigarettes- sold behind closed doors with strict ID checks. They are far too accessible, encouraging young people to pick up the habit and making it seem fashionable.
Hannah says: “There’s eleven year olds that vape. It’s actually disgusting”.