A students experience of the 2016 Cheltenham Exchange held in Melbourne:
What an amazing experience being involved in the Cheltenham Exchange is.
Oddly enough, I really enjoyed the bus ride to Melbourne and the scenery. It’s amazing the bonds that can be created after being confined in a bus load of peers for 12 hours, and it’s cool that the Cheltenham Exchange gives the opportunity to talk to peers you wouldn’t normally talk with, as well as meet kids from a completely different school.
Speaking of, my billets were lovely people with a cute little dog and a beautiful house. I was pretty nervous prior to arriving and meeting them, but I think it helped that I stayed with my friend from Windsor as well. However, my worries were put to rest pretty quickly and I felt pretty comfortable.
I was involved in the Stage Band, playing keys. Words cannot describe the pure joy and happiness I felt while performing and competing as well as the atmosphere and vibe music night created for both squads. Not to mention, the amazing friendships I have formed with the other members of Stage band and how much experience I’ve gained because of being involved in Stage Band and how passionate I now am about it.
In fact, the vibe of the whole Exchange is beyond words. Chanting for Windsor and revving up Cheltenham, it’s so fun. I’m generally not very sporty, but I really enjoy watching all the other sporting/academic and drama events, cheering on Windsor, mingling with Cheltenham and just being a part of the whole thing.
This year, some crazy things happened, we won boys hockey (which we never win), we won debate (which we never win), a bird flew in our teams room and made for some hilarious and frightening entertainment, watching staff and students trying to get it out, and during the whole Exchange, it was always neck and neck, only a few points deciding which team wins each event, as well as the Exchange Cup. We did however, dominate at volleyball, touch and girls basketball, which was very exciting to watch and chant.
Being involved this year, and observing it all, has inspired me to become even more involved in the Exchange next year. I want to be involved on the debate, dramatic games, music, puzzle and it’s academic teams next year and of course, scream my little lungs out chanting again next year.
Everyone always says the whole squad gets sick after Cheltenham, but not me. I got sick right before Cheltenham and it progressively got worse. By the time we came home, I was solidly losing my voice. But even though I got a nasty cold, it didn’t dampen my experience, not one bit. As the Year 12’s say, “If you don’t lose your voice at least a little bit during the Exchange, you aren’t chanting loud enough.”
This year, many memories were made within the squad and I’m so grateful to have been a part of it.
2014 marked fifty years since Windsor Gardens started a sporting exchange with the Cheltenham Secondary College in Melbourne. The founders Dr Ross Smith and Dr Jeff Nicholas both travelled to Melbourne to help the two colleges celebrate the amazing spirit that has kept this exchange alive and successful over the fifty years of friendly rivalry and intense competition. The exchange now consists of 27 events that take place over 4 days which include Basketball, Football, Soccer, Volley Ball, Table Tennis, Music, Debating, It's Academic, Chess, Drama Games and many others.
Both colleges work very hard with training and planning each year as we alternate the hosting of the staff and students. As part of the celebrations for the 50th year Windsor Gardens hosted a cocktail party at the Highbury Hotel on Saturday 28th June 2014 and ex-principals, staff and students all came along to celebrate this very special year.
Without doubt any student from either college would say that the exchange was a terrific experience in competing well, giving your best and being gracious in defeat. It has forged life-long friendships and developed great sportsmanship in all of the students who take part. It really is the embodiment of creating healthy, well-rounded team players who, win or lose, will be happy to participate. Thanks to Dr Ross Smith and Dr Jeff Nicholas for their respective foresight in starting the exchange all those years ago.
A huge congratulations to both colleges, we are very proud of each and every student involved over the past fifty years!