A 'great' day out to celebrate Adrian's Jack Petchey Award
As a Jack Petchey award winner, I chose to spend the award money on a day trip to Bletchley Park Museum with my peers. I am really interested in Maths and Computer Science and Bletchley Park seemed to be a great place to learn about these subjects in World War Two. The trip was really informative and we saw the original 1940s huts where they tried to break the enigma code. The trip turned out to be great! (Adrian Figiel 10AS)
Eva Spurgeon 10AS tells the story of the day: "Upon arrival we were guided to a small room with desks spotted with piles of paper and pens. Placing our bags at the back, we all gathered quickly into groups and rushed into chairs where we all buzzed excitedly waiting for the session to begin. A member of staff walked into the room, and gave us a task to decode a puzzle on the board using clues provided. After easily giving the answer, our talk began! We learnt how to spell some words in Morse code and worked in our groups to figure out different puzzles and codes shown on the board. After our talk on the historical importance of Bletchley Park, we went around the tables decoding the different types of codes, into booklets which helped us keep track of the clues we had to use in order to figure out the answer. It was great fun, and all of us enjoyed working together to sort out the answers to each problem.
Before we left to explore the rest of the grounds, we were shown the enigma machine, which was used to decode many important codes during the war. We got to use this authentic enigma machine to figure out a coded version of our names; many of us were nicknamed with the silly combination for the rest of the day as well… despite our complaints.
After thanking the lady for the fun we had during our session, we were given an hour to explore the informative huts and grounds of Bletchley Park. So, splitting into groups, we all ran off trying to navigate our way around with the many maps we held in our hands. Visiting hut after hut we learnt about the World War and Bletchley Park’s significance to the success of the World War. We learnt about iconic figures like Alan Turing and the women and men who worked secretly on the grounds throughout time.
After an hour of running around and searching the huts of the Park, we met up for lunch. Sat on deckchairs and grass, everyone tucked into their lunches, smiling for photos and sharing everything we had seen. Everything was perfectly peaceful until a herd of swans decided to make our backpacks their next meal. For around ten minutes we had a violent swan pecking at our bags in an attempt to scramble the food that rest inside them. It was very funny to see them attack our belongings, even though it was a bit frightening as well! The teachers gave them a good telling off, but I must admit it did not do much!
After we finally shooed the swans off, we headed off to our last activity, which was definitely the most enjoyable to everyone. A man began a role-playing tour with us, where our whole group were mathematicians and informants working for
Bletchley Park. What once were school kids were suddenly transformed into army generals keeping us in line to Cambridge professors wearing uptight scarves. We used information packs to work out puzzles and decode codes supplied to us, walking straight and in a line around the grounds – making sure to stick to the Army Generals’ rules. Passing around the grounds we learnt about the life of the people who worked there and what life was like to those lucky men and women. Sad to see it end, when the man waved us goodbye we all gathered to take photos and capture the memories we all made during our trip.
Before leaving we all swarmed to the gift shop, where Dylan brought a voice changer that was used non-stop on the car ride home. It annoyed everyone after five minutes but whilst the highlights of our trip and the fun we had was projected through a microphone we all relaxed with gifts in bags and memories in our minds. Thank you Adrian for providing a very fun day for everyone involved! "