On Friday 29th June a team of over 100 students, staff and volunteers travelled to Grimsby for the Northern Premier Final of Rock Challenge 2018. Staying over in Hull that night ready for our jam packed day of rehearsals and show preparation. Saturday morning arrived and team WLA enjoyed a hearty breakfast together in the hotel, the energy and excitement was brewing.

We arrived at Grimsby auditorium and we were greeted by the staff checking security measures were securely in place. As we entered the main auditorium the sound of hundreds of screaming students echoed all around. The music was blaring and team WLA were eager to join in.

The rehearsals began and we could tell the standard was going to be high. Everyone was very supportive of each school and cheered and clapped throughout. Then it was our turn, nearly every seat in the auditorium was full and we definitely had something to prove as the previous year’s winners. Our first rehearsal was good but we knew we could do better. After a little pep talk and some small adjustments to set, we were ready to rock! 8 minutes passed, the passion and drive from all of team WLA was amazing and we absolutely smashed it!

We were performing 3rd in the show that evening so we then had to work on hair, make up and costume until the very last minute.

We all anxiously lined up ready to enter the stage as our stage crew set up in their allotted time.

Olivia Stagg in year 12 was chosen as our co-host and introduced our performance in a professional and mature manner.

The lights then came up and the performance started.

It was 8 minutes of pure commitment from all performers, stage crew, lighting and video directors. What we had worked so hard towards for the past 9 months was finally being seen by such a large audience and it couldn’t have gone any better. We received fantastic feedback from the judges commenting on our costumes, drama and set design and function.

Now it was time to await the results. Tthe whole auditorium went silent as hundreds of staff and students listened and watched.

We received a number of awards- stage crew, entertainment, concept, costume in character, set design and function, performance skill, drama, visual enhancement, choreography and stage use. Additionally we won Performer’s Choice, an award which is chosen by the other schools. They then announced 5th and 4th place. The top 3 schools would go to Rotherham and compete in the National Final that only happens every three years. 3rd place was announced and then 2nd. We held our breath and wished to hear our name being called. And the winner of the Northern Premier Final 2018 is……WEST LAKES ACADEMY!! The whole team went wild, celebrating together for at least 10 minutes. We couldn’t believe it that all our hard work had paid off. The other schools were absolutely outstanding and the result could have gone either way. When our students reps returned to the sports hall with the winning trophy the sheer happiness from all of team WLA was priceless. Everyone was truly proud of what we had achieved together.

Now we have to get back to work to make sure our performance is National Final ready for Saturday 14th July. No matter what the outcome is, 2018 has been another successful year for team WLA and we are already looking forward to expanding the team in September welcoming our new year 7 students.

Last but not least we would like to say a massive thank you EVERYONE involved in ANY way that has helped us this year. We could not do it without everyone’s continued support.

Mrs Whitaker has commented :“The students involved in Rock Challenge at West Lakes Academy are totally unique. Every year I see them go from the audition stages back in September to performing at Grimsby and they somehow leave me speechless. They turn up to rehearsal every week with smiles on their faces and ready to take any challenge we throw at them. As always I was immensely proud on Saturday, not just from what they did on stage but the support they give to other schools especially Whitehaven Academy and St Benedict’s is a joy to see. I say it every single year but being able to work with such inspirational students is the best job in the world. Now we just need to keep it up for the National Final….BRING IT ON!!!”