Sunderland pupils spent summer on aid trip to Africa

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A TEAM of students have spent their summer break in Africa providing aid to youngsters.

The group from Sunderland High School travelled to Malawi for a month-long expedition to a deprived rural community, working as volunteers on projects in an orphan care centre, a hospital and a school.

The first Malawi expedition from the Mowbray Road school was in 2003, and over the years, the school has helped in a number of ways, such as financing building projects, painting classrooms, buying desks and textbooks, as well as providing sports equipment and medical supplies.

Headteacher Dr Angela Slater said: “The Malawi expedition is an important part of Sunderland High School life and, this year, the group has embraced every opportunity.”

During the summer, pupils went to decorate the dormitories and the classrooms that were built with the aid of previous expedition teams, as well as to help decorate parts of the hospital.

Dr Slater, said: “Malawi is known as the ‘Warm Heart of Africa’ and all the students at Sunderland High have really engaged with this concept, from donating whatever they can, to spending their spare time raising money by organising fashion shows, bag packing at supermarkets, selling wristbands and a variety of other initiatives.

“They have collectively raised almost £70,000 since the expeditions began.”

Christopher Wilkinson, one of the students who took part in the expedition this year, said: “Malawi was incredible. Getting to know the children was one of the highlights, and now I have a full understanding of how important all our fund-raising has been.”

Following on from the successful trip to Malawi, the school is also celebrating good results in A-levels and GCSEs this summer.

At A-level, 60 per cent of the passes were graded at A* to B, and more than a quarter of the GCSE grades were A* to A.

High-flying GCSE students Lee Martin and Fiona Sopp achieved 17 A*s and As between them.

Lee said: “My results were much better than I expected, especially my Latin result, which I am really happy with.”

And, Fiona said: “I did much better than I expected. I am extremely happy that all the hard work has paid off.”