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Former St. Mary's pupil takes pole position in road safety campaign

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A former pupil of St. Mary’s College returned to the school to talk to pupils about his career as a racing driver, and his new road safety campaign. 

Current British Touring Car Championship star James Cole has been a professional driver since 2007, and has competed in the British Formula Three and Formula Two competitions. In 2009 he was British Formula Ford Champion, an honour previously won by well-known names including Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button. 

During his visit to St. Mary’s James gave Year 7 and 8 pupils a unique close-up view of his United Autosports Toyota racing car, and also spoke to them about the aims and objectives of his drivecool initiative. This is designed to reduce driving-related deaths by encouraging drivers of all ages, in a fun and informative way, to adopt a greater sense of responsibility, and change their behaviour behind the wheel.

James pointed out that globally nearly 1.3 million people die each year as a result of road traffic collisions, and a further 50 million are seriously injured, making road injuries the biggest killer of children and young people worldwide. And although Great Britain has one of the better road safety records, nearly 2,500 young people are still either killed or seriously injured on the UK’s roads every year. 

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Pupils heard James explain that the inspiration for drivecool came from his own personal experience as a child, “When I was 11 I got hit by a car and badly injured not far from school. I was one of the lucky ones though - I survived, and what’s happened to me since has given me the opportunity to promote the positives of the car, whilst also pointing out the dangers. The phrase drivecool is something my dad used to say to me when I began racing competitively, and it quickly became my motto. Race hard but drivecool - always keep a calm head behind the wheel.”

James is now aiming to spread the drivecool message far and wide, both to existing drivers and - via schools - to the drivers of the future.

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Exhibition puts skills of young artists in the frame

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The skills of talented young artists at St. Mary’s College were in the frame recently when the school mounted a special exhibition showcasing the work of its A Level and GCSE Art students.
Families and friends of the budding artists were invited to view items that the students have submitted as part of their course work for the exams.
 
The library in school was transformed into a gallery for the exhibition - called simply ‘Pieces’ - which included an exciting range of work, reflecting the innovative practices introduced by Head of Art, David Rasores-Parry, who joined St. Mary’s just under two years ago. St. Mary’s has a thriving Art Department and staff say the standard of submissions this year was excellent. They now have high hopes that this will be reflected in the exam results later in the summer.
 
The college is one of only four Merseyside schools to have been invited to display students’ artwork at the inaugural Liverpool Contemporary Arts Fair in early July. 
Items on view at the exam exhibition included The Monster by 17-year-old Fritha Minehan from Southport, an intriguing mix of two Greek mythical figures - one-eyed Cyclops and Argus, who is said to have had at least four eyes. Fritha said “I like to stimulate people’s curiosity with my work and I really enjoyed seeing the responses it generated during the exhibition. Art at St. Mary’s is really exciting - we get to do lots of interesting stuff.”
 
In contract to Fritha’s piece Cameron McKay - who is also 17 and from Seaforth – chose today’s digital age as the inspiration for his work. Cameron said, “I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to my work and I like it when someone is kind of confused by it, perhaps because at St. Mary’s we’re given the opportunity to come up with original ideas and explore different media and materials.”
 
David Rasores-Parry added: “This brilliant exhibition featured a diverse and exciting range of pieces which demonstrated the personal views and opinions of the students. It was a great opportunity to sell the work to the moderators from the exam boards, and to show off the talents and hard work of our students to their fellow pupils, parents and friends. The variety and quality of the exhibits was really stunning, and we are all very proud that students here at St. Mary’s are producing work of such a high calibre.”
 

 
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