Both pupils and parents have told us that they would like to know a little bit more about the people that are so vital to making St Mary’s the special place that it is, and some of our staff have provided answers to the following questions:
1) What are your favourite foods?
2) What are your hobbies and interests?
3) What is your favourite children’s book?
4) Tell us about a childhood memory.
5) Tell us about a school memory from your childhood.
6) Tell us something about yourself which is unexpected/little-known.
7) (Teachers) Tell us something which you particularly enjoy about teaching.
Mrs Helen Atkinson, Teaching Assistant
1) Curry, pavlova.
2) Reading, playing games.
3) “Cockatoos” by Quentin Blake.
4) Reading, reading, reading – under the duvet at night, under the table at dinner and on the swings in the park.
5) My friend and I learnt the alphabet in sign language so we could carry on talking through the sponsored silence event.
6) I have a stone stuck in my forehead from a childhood fall.
Mr David Challis, Site Supervisor
1) Chinese – sweet and sour chicken Hong Kong style, special fried rice, and mushroom chow mein.
2) Keeping and growing Bonsai trees, mainly British trees. The oldest tree I have is a 15-year-old Japanese flowering cherry. Keeping and breeding Lake Malawi cyclids.
3) “Red Sea Blackbirder” by Douglas V Duff, and I still have the book from 1965.
4) When I lived in Coton, at the age of 7, I watched an autogyro flying close to where I lived, and I later found out that it was built and flown by a man called Ken Wallis, who was born in Ely.
5) First year at Witchford Village College, and my first cross-country run.
6) In 2003 my mother, Mrs Betty Challis, was awarded the MBE for services to education. The ceremony was held at Rackham School so that all the pupils could be present. The award was presented by the Lord Lieutenant.
Mrs Janet Hardiment, Clerical Assistant
1) Asparagus and poached egg, strawberries and raspberries.
2) Philately, swimming.
3) Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales.
4) Being allowed into my grandfather’s orchard and given the juiciest, sweetest Victoria plum to eat.
5) Playing the Innkeeper’s wife in the Nativity play.
6) I am a qualified Swimming Judge Level 2 Starter. I have a St John Ambulance Long Service Medal.
Mrs Darlene Schulenburg, Teacher
3) When I was in the infants I remember liking “Amelia Jane is naughty again” by Enid Blyton. I have many favourites, “I am David” by A Holm, amongst others.
5) Being chosen to play Mary in the Y3 Nativity play. When my friend Bobby brought his pet rabbit to school; I had never seen a white
bunny before that.
7) Getting children into reading, and inspiring inquisitiveness in developing minds.
Miss Rebekah Gardner, Teacher
1)Medium-rare steak, salmon, vegetable lasagne, and anything my mum cooks! World’s Best!
2) Drawing, travelling, walking, swimming, reading, painting, print-making, buying prints.
3) “Swallows and Amazons”, Arthur Ransome. My dad always read to us each night – special times.
4) My brother and I playing out together when we were little, eating something we shouldn’t have, and being rushed to hospital together. A fraught situation for my parents. Still here!
5) A Class Captain. Many wonderful school dinners, and being a very capable athlete (short distances) and gymnast – can you believe it?! My Year 6 teacher Mrs McCulloch, whom I respected and who influenced my choice of career.
6) I’m in the running to be Education Minister!
7) I absolutely love my job. The many challenges and changes. Most of all the children – to see them enjoying their learning, and supporting them to succeed in all that they do. Hoping to have had an influence on them for their future, with humour along the way. My aim is to instil a love for learning, and for life.
Ms Hazel Law, Teacher
1) Italian and French.
2) Walking and travelling.
3) “Heidi”, Johanna Spyri.
4) Getting a guitar for Christmas.
5) Cutting my finger opening a tin for a school party.
6) I made flower bouquets when I first lived in Holland.
7) Hearing someone say, “I love Maths now!”
Mr Dean Hilborn, Teaching Assistant
1) Spaghetti Bolognese, beef stroganoff.
2) Playing/coaching/watching football, and researching football.
3) “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, JK Rowling.
4) Going to Wales and having to walk down a very steep road to go to the shop with my grandad.
5) Year 8 French lessons at Bottisham Village College with Mr Thurstone – really fun and enjoyable, and he was my older brother’s form tutor so he knew my surname.
6) I am thinking about looking into doing a teachers’ course, and also working my way up to UEFA standard in football.
Miss Emily Carr, Teacher
1) Olives with feta cheese.
2) Comedy, cycling and music.
3) “Frog and Toad”, Arnold Lobel.
4) Tooth knocked out by my brother’s football.
5) Winning the 3-legged race!
6) I have back-packed around the world! I am vegetarian.
7) Making art with children.
Mrs Hannah Vitacolonna, Receptionist
1) Chocolate, Cheddar cheese.
2) Cooking, growing plants and flowers, walking in the countryside.
3) I don’t know the title, but it was about the sun disappearing and some animals setting off to look for it. The illustrations were beautiful, and my parents now read it to my little girl.
4) Going on family holidays to Devon, and getting really excited about going to the seaside.
5) Sneaking into the school one lunch-time with my friends, and hiding in the drama cupboard…and then getting caught by the fiercest dinner lady in the school. We were in serious trouble!
6) I am a twin.
Mrs Judy Pettit, School Manager/PA
1) My Mum’s steak-and-kidney pie, with roast potatoes and cabbage. Chocolate cake, puddings, chips…
2) Designing and making cards, cakes, costumes; writing letters/stories which bring a smile to people’s faces; singing.
3) As a child I liked nothing better than to read, and it is difficult to choose a favourite book, but I particularly remember Ian Seraillier’s “The Silver Sword”, in amongst the 21 “Famous Five” books by Enid Blyton. Reading to my children, I have come to love “The Magpie Song” by Laurence Anholt, “The Butterfly Lion” by Michael Morpurgo, and the wonderfully-written “Harry Potter” series by JK Rowling.
4) Crab-fishing on Mudeford Quay with my Dad, sisters and cousins using bread for bait, and wondering why the people with bacon were catching so many more crabs. Watching the crabs scuttle across the concrete and plop back into the water when we emptied our buckets.
5) When in Reception, lining up to walk to the Year 6 class to see the fluffy chicks which were hatching in an incubator – I’m so glad that this is going to be part of St Mary’s Science activities! Also, aged 7, running the 2 miles home from school with my friend and next-door-neighbour Susie because we were scared of Mrs Smith, the teacher on bus duty.
6) I once ran the London Marathon (4-and-a-half hours – quite respectable, but once is enough!) to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, and have done 2 parachute jumps, the second of which was really terrifying as it was from a small plane and it was necessary to climb out under the wing before jumping!
Miss Rachel Clarke, Deputy Headteacher
1) My favourite meal would have to be a Sunday Roast with all the trimmings, and I love a biscuit or 2 with a cup of tea.
2) I have a passion for art and enjoy drawing, and when I’m feeling active I like to go for a run!
3) When I was in Key Stage 2, I loved the “Beaver Towers” series by Nigel Hinton, but more recently I have discovered the heart-warming story of “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers.
4) Long, sunny days spent on Hunstanton beach with my family!
5) I really enjoyed our residential trip to Hilltop, particularly the zip wires and high ropes!
6) I have recently moved to the area after living in Northampton for 6 years.
7) I enjoy creating exciting and interesting displays in the classroom environment.
Miss Madeline Hale, Teacher
1) Fish & chips, curry, and anything my Mum and Dad cook! Yum.
2) I like music, especially singing. I also love being outside, in particular climbing mountains.
3) “Goodnight Mister Tom", by Michelle Magorian.
4) Being chased by a goose at a mountain hut in the French Alps whilst on a family holiday. Geese still scare me a bit...
6) I have been to over 30 countries, but I've never been to Asia or Africa and I'd really like to!
7) Topic work.
Miss Rachel Lownsbrough, Teacher
1) Tapas, sushi, noodles, roast... anything!
2) Music - playing the guitar and singing. Walking, being outdoors, swimming and cycling.
4) I remember making bonfires every Bonfire Night in my best friend's garden - a love of bonfires has continued!
6) I have been white water rafting on the White Nile in Uganda.
7) I love seeing children grasp a new concept.
Miss Jessica Collen, Midday Supervisor
1) Roast dinner, pizza, pasta, chocolate.
2) Reading, walking, craft-making.
3) "Tracy Beaker", by Jacqueline Wilson.
4) Going on a family holiday to Hunstanton with my family, and getting my uncle soaking wet, with help from my sister.
5) Going on a school trip to the Science Museum, with my friends, dad and grandad.
6) I have a Level 2 and Level 3 in Children's Care, Learning and Development. And I have 2 small children.
Mrs Lauren Ferris, Teaching Assistant
1) Home-made pizza, made by myself and my 3 children.
2) Anything arts-based or creative, and exploring outdoors.
3) "The Twits" (or anything!), by Roald Dahl.
4) Sunny holidays with my parents, brother and grandparents.
5) Maypole dancing in infant school – I loved all the colours of the ribbons and the patterns they
6) I have a degree in Illustration, and have been paragliding off a mountain.
7) When you can tell that you have made a difference in helping a child to grasp a concept, or
have positively helped them in a pastoral role.
Mrs Paula Edwards, Administrative Assistant
1) Steak, fries, and chocolate.
3) "The Gruffalo", by Julia Donaldson.
4) Hanging out at the park with my cousins.
5) Playing rounders, and athletics.
6) Was in the British Army for 10 years.
Mrs Kathryn White, Teaching Assistant
1) Seafood (mussels, prawns and scallops).
2) Swimming, badminton, and gardening.
3) "The Tiger Who Came to Tea”, by Judith Kerr.
4) Sledging down hills in the Peak District (I grew up in Macclesfield) during snowy winters.
5) Playing the sun in a school play and having to wear bright yellow tights, which I loved.
6) For 15 years, I worked as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry, trying to discover new medicines.
Mrs Trudy Macklin, Catering Assistant
2) Spending time with family and friends.
3) “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter.
4) My Dad taking me on a big slide at a water park.
5) Amazing cheese-burgers at High School.
6) I've recently moved to Ely from Lowestoft.
Miss Paula Young, Teaching Assistant
1) Prawns; seafood crisps.
2) Spirituality and Reiki; dancing.
3) “Jamaica Inn” by Daphne du Maurier.
4) Living in Germany.
5) Going to boarding school.
6) Studying Reiki healing.
Mrs Sarah Gower
1) Chicken, fish, avocado, crisps, salad.
2) Reading, musicals, going for nice country walks.
3) "Charlotte’s Web", by E B White.
4) Going to visit my eldest sister at Manchester University when I was 8 years old.
5) Going to Ironbridge in Shropshire.
6) Visiting The Queen at a private function at Sandringham Cricket Club in February 2012.
Mrs Samantha Miragliotta
2) Reading and swimming.
3) "The Gruffalo", by Julia Donaldson.
Mrs Bianca Powell, Teaching Assistant
1) Prawn salad; new potatoes; roast beef dinner; fillet steak; my Nana's salmon, prawn and filo tart.
2) I like doing quizzes, and problem-solving. I really enjoy movies, and going to the cinema.
3) When I was a child I used to like to read Roald Dahl, but my favourite then was "Tarka the Otter" by Henry Williamson. Recently, I have loved "Aliens love Underpants", by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort.
4) Being on Brancaster beach when a storm erupted, and my Nana and I waiting in a tent for everyone to get everything else back to the car; the wind grabbed the tent and lifted us off the ground a little.
5) Volunteering to clean up the Music Room at St Mary's, but instead quietly playing the instruments, and chatting.
6) I used to be able to roller skate really well, and could do an arabesque.
7) Knowing that hopefully, in some small way, I may be helping children to grow and achieve great things.
Mrs Rachel Butler, Teaching Assistant
1) Roast dinner; salads; curry; trifle; jelly and apple crumble; oranges and apples.
2) Gardening; swimming; baking.
3) Famous Five books by Enid Blyton; "Gangsta Granny", by David Walliams.
4) Family holiday in the South of France (Euro Camp).
5) Playing a hockey match wearing heavy padding that made me fall over - but we won the match!
7) I enjoy supporting and guiding children in developing their learning/skills. Having fun in learning, and seeing children achieving well.
Mr Andrew Hopper, Teacher
1) Medium-rare steak with peppercorn sauce, accompanied with sweet potato fries covered in aioli sauce; treacle tart and custard.
2) Outdoor adventures; hiking and canoeing; photography and snowboarding; gardening and DIY; exploring the world and exotic places - lots of overseas travel.
3) "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", by Roald Dahl.
4) Holidays on the Norfolk Coast, swimming in the North Sea, and catching shrimps at Sheringham with my shrimping net.
5) Singing in the school choir, and being part of school productions including "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat".
6) One Easter Sunday I ate Easter eggs on the crater rim of a volcano used in "Lord of the Rings"... (Mount Doom).
7) Watching that 'light-bulb moment' when a child understands or grasps an idea. Seeing children shine in different environments, challenging themselves and conquering their fears.
Mr Jamie Sewell, Teacher
1) I enjoy anything with any kind of pasta or rice. I also love steak and BBQ meats.
2) I am a huge sports fan. I play hockey and football (West Ham supporter). I love to read, and to relax watching a good movie.
3) "Rooftoppers", by Katherine Rundell.
4) West Ham play-off final at the Millenium Stadium in 2005 with my Dad and my brother (we won!).
5) Being rewarded with the Head Boy Award in Year 6.
6) When I was 4 years old I broke my femur at school - hence why I walk a bit like a penguin now!
7) I love to inspire and engage children in their writing. I like to use lots of different types of media and learning 'hooks' to create some amazing writing.
Mrs Leah Mason, Teacher
1) That's a tricky question... like most people, I really like chocolate, but I like lots of healthy foods, too: strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, to name but a few!
2) I really enjoy spending time with my family, and have a love of music. The radio is always on in our house.
3) There are so many to choose from! My favourite at the moment is "Voices in the Park", by Anthony Browne.
4) I have so many wonderful childhood memories. Some favourites are family holidays near the beach.
5) I went to a tiny village Lower School. There were only 9 children when I started. One of my favourite memories is when my friends and I built a giant snow dinosaur on the school field.
6) I absolutely LOVE dogs, although I don't own one. I'm hoping I might one day soon...
7) I love that every day is different, unexpected and exciting!
Mrs Toni Giles, Teaching Assistant
1) Jacket potatoes, steak, salads, spaghetti bolognese.
2) Reading, watching films, spending time with my family.
3) "The BFG", by Roald Dahl; all of the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling.
4) Climbing the trees in my childhood garden whilst playing 'Tag', because my sister was always too scared to climb them.
5) Playing the tenor horn in the school bank for 5 years. Going on a school trip to Grafham Water with School Band members, and making water rafts and participating in fun activities outside.
6) I've always loved Maths, and enjoy using computers.
7) I enjoy making a difference with every child, being able to see when you've truly helped them by the way in which they respond and show respect.
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