Sixth formers have tea and cake with US ambassador

jpco-12-2-14 US Ambassador visiting Thomas Bennett (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-12-2-14 US Ambassador visiting Thomas Bennett (Pic by Jon Rigby)

The US ambassador to the UK visited Thomas Bennett Community College.

Matthew Barzun had tea and cake with the school’s head boy and girl and four A-level Government & Politics pupils on Tuesday last week (February 4).

Mr Barzun held an interactive assembly with the rest of Year 13 about their perceptions of the US.

Shouvick Ghosh, head of sixth form, invited the ambassador to speak to the students after hearing he was in town.

Mr Ghosh said: “It was very positive and interactive session.

“It was a great opportunity for our school and our students.

“Getting students engaged in the world around them is something we are quite keen on doing.”

Mr Barzan spoke about controversial issues including NSA surveillance scandals and gun control during the 40-minute assembly.

Lewis Hill, head boy, said: “Being one of the most important Americans in the UK, it was a great honour to meet Mr Barzun.

“I felt very privileged to meet him and proud that he chose to visit our school.”

A number of the politics students said they wanted to question the ambassador further.

James Harper said: “For me, the most interesting part was hearing Matthew’s view on the massive amounts of money spent on presidential campaigns in the US.”

Jerome Johnston said: “He seemed very reserved and very rehearsed, especially when talking about certain subjects.”

David Harvey added: “I think that he must have suppressed some of his own opinions because of the views of the Obama administration.”

Mr Barzan recorded the year group’s views of the US and presented them on an electronic board during the session.

Josie Fryers, head girl, said: “I really enjoyed the part when the ambassador used a PowerPoint to learn what we thought about the US and UK, he made it fun and amusing as the remote clickers allowed the whole student body to participate.”

The year group and the ambassador pulled faces for a group photo after the talk.

Some pupils drew burgers after Mr Barzan asked them to doodle their impressions of American culture.

James Harper, one of the politics students, said: “He joked around with the students, was happy to be called by his first name and agreed to have a silly group photo with the year group.”

Mr Ghosh added: “We got our best china out and a staff member baked a cake.”

He was planning a school visit to the US embassy.