Students Inspired to Make Pledges of Peace After Hearing a Tragic Story


A banner of handprints to symbolise peace has been produced by students and staff at Saint John Houghton CVA following a talk by parents of a schoolboy who was murdered.

The whole academy is being encouraged to place their handprint on to a sheet which will be sent to the parents of Jimmy Mizen, who was killed in London.

His parents, Barry and Margaret, visited Saint John Houghton CVA, in Kirk Hallam, earlier this year to talk about their ordeal during a special assembly.

Their son, Jimmy, was killed in 2008, the day after his 16th birthday when he was attacked by Jake Fahri in a bakery.

During their visit, Mr and Mrs Mizen asked students to make the banner full of handprints to symbolise a pledge for peace.

Rachel Rose, chaplain at Saint John Houghton CVA, said everyone was keen to add their handprint to the banner.

She said: “At the academy we are working with the Jimmy Mizen Foundation and the Ilkeston community to bring peace.

“Earlier in the academic school year Mr and Mrs Mizen visited our school and told us how their son, Jimmy, was murdered in an act of street violence.

“We know that we all have a personal responsibility. Jimmy’s legacy is not one of anger, vengeance or fear but one of hope and peace. Mr and Mrs Mizen asked us to make a banner of handprints, each handprint signifies a pledge for peace.

“We want to change attitudes for the better by getting a message of peace and reconciliation out to young people in our local community.”

Reagan Lane, 14, added her handprint to the banner.

She said: “The banner symbolises peace and the aim is to stop what happened to Mr and Mrs Mizen’s son from happening to anyone else. They spoke about how his death had affected them and they just want to make sure that nothing like that happens again.”

Local police will be invited to add their handprints and when it is completed Mr and Mrs Mizen will be asked to return and collect it.

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Students at Saint John Houghton CVA Take Part in Rolls-Royce Pure Flight Workshops


Students at Saint John Houghton CVA were given hands-on Engineering lessons with the experts during workshops with Rolls-Royce graduates.

Three graduates from R-R ran the event at Saint John Houghton CVA, in Kirk Hallam, for more than 40 Year 9 GCSE Product Design and GCSE Engineering students.

During the workshops, students were asked to use their engineering know-how to design and build a small glider and a competition was held to see which one flew the furthest.

Matt Price, Faculty Leader of Art, Design and Technology at Saint John Houghton CVA, said everyone had thoroughly enjoyed the sessions.

He said: “It’s really an introduction to engineering and what it’s all about and it also creates links between the academy and industry and makes students think about the possibilities of apprenticeships.

“It’s also about getting girls involved, we didn’t have any girls taking GCSE Engineering before but we have four now. There’s a wide range of careers in engineering and it’s about raising aspirations, putting it into context and bringing it to life.”

Student Charlotte Guest, 13, who is studying GCSE Product Design, said: “It’s actually been quite fun. There was lots to think about when we were making the glider like its weight and the fact that we didn’t want to put too much weight on the back and how long it was going to fly for. I thought it was going to be easier so a workshop like this really makes you think.”

Jonathan Lee, 13, who is studying GCSE Product Design, said: “I found it really interesting and it’s been a great experience. It’s also made me think about what I want to do in the future.”

Sam Brown, one of the graduate engineers from Rolls-Royce who ran the workshops said it was all about opening students’ eyes to STEM subjects

He said: “It’s all about promoting Science Technology Maths and Engineering and the jobs that are available in these areas. They were a really enthusiastic group and did really well. One of the students answered a question we asked which no-one in any of our workshops has got right before so that was very impressive.”

Rolls-Royce has also donated £800 towards the cost of a 3D printer which is being used by students at Saint John Houghton CVA.


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The Beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero


Archbishop Oscar Romero will be beatified on Saturday, 23 May 2015 in San Salvador. Over 260,000 people are expected to attend the celebration which will take place at 10am (5pm BST) in the Plaza Divino Salvador del Mundo in El Salvador’s capital on Saturday, 23 May.

The beatification of Oscar Romero this Saturday will provide recognition for one of the great heroes of the 20th Century, says CAFOD.

CAFOD Director Chris Bain said: “Archbishop Romero’s words and actions are at the heart of everything that CAFOD does, and we are delighted about his beatification. He was an extremely brave man, who was inspired by his faith to fight not just poverty but injustice, to give a voice to the voiceless.

“He may not be a household name for non-Catholics in the UK, but he was one of one of great heroes of the 20th Century. He deserves to be commemorated alongside the likes of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi as a peacemaker who sacrificed his life standing up to injustice. I hope that his beatification will give him the wider recognition he so richly deserves.”

Shot while celebrating Mass

Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador from 1977 until he was assassinated in 1980. He was initially regarded as a conservative choice, but he became increasingly outspoken about human rights violations in El Salvador – particularly after the murder of his close friend Father Rutilio Grande.

After repeatedly condemning poverty and injustice, he was shot dead while celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980.

35 years later, Archbishop Romero will be beatified – or declared ‘Blessed’ – in San Salvador on Saturday 23 May as a prelude to being made a Saint.

Saint John Houghton staff  and students are preparing to celebrate the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero on Saturday 23 May. Mrs McCarthy led an Act of Worship on Tuesday explaining the significance of this event. Student in tutor time and RE lessons this week will be exploring his life. We will pray for him and the people of El Salavdor.

Giving thanks for the beatification of Oscar Romero, let us pray that his sacrificial witness to the poor will inspire all followers of Jesus Christ to imitate his example.

Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero

Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero

The Beauvale Pilgrimage


Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy took part in the annual Diocesan pilgrimage to Beauvale last Sunday. As part of our 50th celebrations we decided to walk from School to Beauvale this year. Mr McNally and Rachel write the following accounts of the day.


Mr McNally writes

“At just after 9 o’clock on Sunday 4 May, 11 brave students gathered at school for the 11km pilgrimage to Beauvale Priory. The students were; Olivia Bainbridge, Megan Day, Charlotte Guest, Joseph Horvath, Reagan Lane, Ella Powell, Ciara Roberts, Kelsey Vernon, Elizabeth Ward, John Wildey and Anna Pancisi. They were led by Mrs Slysz and Mrs Emery and accompanied by Mrs Pancisi, Mrs McCarthy, Mr Long, Mrs Boddice, and Mr McNally. The whole group were supported by Mr Slysz who followed the journey by mini-bus and provided back up, when required. Rachel our Chaplain, saw the group off with Haribo, Lovehearts and a prayer, she promised to meet up with the group at Beauvale.

The group set of in the pouring rain, all decked out in waterproofs, but in good spirits and 3 hours later on reaching Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Eastwood, the sun was shining and waterproofs had been removed. At Eastwood, the group were able to have lunch and a short rest before completing the rest of the journey with Hilltop parish and members of The Priory Catholic Voluntary Academy. At Beauvale the group met up with Rachel, Miss Bailey and our Headboy and Headgirl. All the students were a real credit to the school and all have raised money for our main charities this year or for the schools pilgrimage to Lourdes later on in the year.”


Rachel writes

“Chaucer describes Saint John Houghton, and, as he knew him well, it should be reliable ‘He was slight of stature, elegant in appearance, shy in look, modest in manner, sweet in speech, chaste in body and humble in heart. Amiable and beloved by all. All revered him. Chaucer writes at length of Saint John’s love of the Divine office. Staff and students from Saint John Houghton Catholic Voluntary Academy and The Priory Catholic Voluntary Academy gathered with pilgrims from the Diocesan and Eastwood community for the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Beauvale. Father Joe Wheat, Father Christopher Thomas and Canon John Berry were a few of the Priests who had made the journey to be present at Beauvale. Deacon Steve and The Beauvale Society were very welcoming and led the way. The Knights of Saint Columba were present with meeting and greeting and put service before self during the service.

We gathered around the altar in the fields surrounded by beautiful countryside as Eastwood parish led the music for the Mass. We had sun, then rain, then sun, more rain, heavier rain and the mass ended with a beautiful sunshine. A student from the Priory read from the Acts of The Apostles, Mr McNally read The Psalm and Mrs McCarthy read the second reading taken from Saint John: ‘My children, our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active;’. Father David Palmer spoke at the homily and gave a personal reflection from his own faith journey and encouraged us to be inspired by Saint John Houghton and Saint Robert Lawrence and prayed our faith would deepen and asked us to put our Catholic faith into action. Matthew Shepherd our Headboy and Leah Edge our Headgirl read the bidding prayers.

Students of Saint John Houghton and The Priory joined together to bring the offertory, the eight colourful ribbons represent the pupils love to community, the beatitudes were woven into the pupils lives as we sang, ‘we place upon your table, a gleaming cloth of white: the weaving of our stories – the fabric of our lives, the dreams of those before us, the ancient hopeful cries, the promise or our future: our needing and our nurture lie here before our eyes. We stood beside our neighbours and we celebrate communion. The Priory pupils sang a beautiful Communion Reflection, which brought tears to eyes. The afternoon was very special, the atmosphere was full of wonder. We all agreed “Our God Reigns”.

After Mass we were welcomed by Ann and Tony White into the barn where cakes and tea were served and we had an opportunity to see old and new friends. Such a lot of background work went into making this Mass possible and the staff and students would like to thank all those involved in the wonderful celebration. Rachel would like to thank the staff who gave their time and energy and the pupils who were outstanding and a credit to their parents and school.”