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Back to School Day at Dulwich College (for the Wings of Hope Charity)

Bright and early on a Sunday morning we, ‘Team EMA’ and Graham, arrived at Dulwich College for “Back to School Day with Wings of Hope”. It started very early in the morning so we were all a bit tired, but that soon changed.
The day kicked off with some brilliant dancing from Pineapple Dance Studios along with DJ King from Kiss Radio, we all danced along before being led into a very empowering lecture from Lord Robin Butler, sharing his experiences working with Margaret Thatcher as well as his key cabinet roles.

He spoke about ten lessons that he had learnt from working with past Prime Ministers. The one that resonated with me the most was number six: ‘Direct Your Energy Forward’. He quoted “There is no point in worrying about what you did yesterday because we cannot do anything about it; what you can do something about, are the things that you are going to do today and tomorrow.” This is very motivating as it is true. We should not dwell on our mistakes or downfalls but move on and focus on making the next day great. Number five: ‘Work harder than anyone else’. This is incredibly important as no one will give their all for you unless you put in the most effort. You should lead by example and others will follow.

The next inspiring lesson was given by Michael Dapper, more commonly known as “Big Shaq”. He is world famous for his rapping career and his top hit “Man’s not Hot”. He spoke to us about his life before his fame and how it all began. What I found the most moving was when he said, “Once I started changing my internal dialogue from ‘I can’t, to I can’… everything around me started to change”. This just shows that if you really want something, you have to believe in yourself in order for it to happen.

The following talk concentrated on ‘Google DeepMind’ a top research group for artificial intelligence. Teddy Collins from DeepMind touched on robotics learning. For example, ‘AI’ is programmed almost like a human baby. It will be shown many variations of certain object, like a cat, and many objects that are not. It is programmed with parameters to identify which objects are which. After many processed photos, the machine should be able to identify if an object is a cat or not on its own, rather like how a baby will learn. This is possibly one of the most useful advantages in the technological industry and will soon be used for many important roles in society.

Last, but certainly not least, was Professor Lord Robert Winston. This was by far my favourite lecture! Lord Winston is a leading world expert on human fertility, holds honorary doctorates from twenty-three universities, and has developed many common medical techniques. He talked about his interesting experiment for the first ever gene-swapping in a human embryo, for a lady who could not have healthy children. He and his team started putting a small amount of acid around an embryo and burned away some of the lining. He then took out a single cell using a needle and pipette, injected DNA and carefully reinserted it. That was it; all they could now do was hope. Sure enough, twelve days later, the lady was pregnant with twins. It was successful and they were overjoyed.

Speakers at the event also included Justin Webb (Radio 4) and Roz Savage (solo rower across three oceans).

The day finished with us all being treated to more dancing from Pineapple Dance Studios and a gospel choir performance!

The whole day was thoroughly enjoyable. Anais, Matthew and I raised £55.40 from selling drinks and healthy snacks during the breaks in between each lecture. All of this will contribute to our ongoing fundraising for the Wings of Hope Achievement Award for Education in India and Malawi.

Thank you everyone who supported us through this amazing experience.

Emily Carrell, Year 9