St Joseph's Convent Extreme School


St Joseph's Convent

Children from the UK attend a strict school for a week. Two Year 9 girls from Newcastle sign up for a stint at St Joseph's Convent in St Lucia.


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Transcript


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Today, two Newcastle pupils, who treat their education as a joke

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have signed up for a week at a convent school in St Lucia.

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It feels like a holiday so far.

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-My arm's aching.

-I don't get it.

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There's a tough talking head.

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What is the rule? They get scared when they see me coming.

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Rigid uniform.

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I feel physically sick.

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And testing challenges.

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-Off the table!

-Disaster!

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Can they take the heat at this Extreme School?

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-Sit up.

-I told my mum I didn't like it.

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Do you struggle at school?

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Are you often late for class?

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Or told off for mucking about?

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If you're constantly breaking the rules,

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then a stint at one of the world's strictest schools

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-could be life-changing.

-Calman!

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Today, I'm at a school in the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

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I'm about to surprise two girls, who think they're ready

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for a stretch at an extreme school.

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13-year-old Maisie is a law unto herself.

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She flouts all school rules and always has to have the last word.

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When the teachers, like, say something I disagree with, I always have to say my opinion back.

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Her partner in crime is 12-year-old Alice,

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who never does her homework and constantly mucks about in class.

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I get in trouble at least twice a day for talking in lessons,

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being cheeky to the teachers and messing around in the corridors.

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Their school careers are on a fast track to nowhere.

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So, is it a case of double trouble, or does one lead the other astray?

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It's time to go digging.

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What are they like at homework?

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They need to understand that homework is meant to be done at home

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and it has to be done.

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I've heard that Maisie and Alice are serial chatterboxes. Is that true?

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Many teachers have said that they have two of the loudest voices in the year.

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Do they often stick to the school rules?

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-No!

-Who's worse?

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BOTH: Maisie.

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Do you have a lot of dealings with them and with their parents?

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I've seen their parents probably more than I should have.

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I don't really see the point of working too hard in school.

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You only live once, so you've got to have fun and make the most of it.

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I'm 100% sure that this is a case for Extreme School.

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It's time for Maisie and Alice to dig out their passports

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and grab their suitcases.

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Hello, everyone. I'm Susan Calman from Extreme School.

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ALL CHEER

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I am looking for Maisie and Alice.

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Do you want to come down to the front of the class?

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Come on, Maisie, Alice.

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Now, I've been gathering evidence about your behaviour and attitude in school.

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Some of the results are quite startling.

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Maisie, is it true that you're late for school

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every single day?

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Yes!

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Alice, I hear you never do your homework on time, is that right?

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-Yeah.

-I think it's fair to say you could both benefit

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from time at an extreme school.

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-I think so.

-Yeah.

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At the school you're going to,

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you're not allowed to wear any make-up or jewellery.

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If you put a toe out of line, you'll have to spend the whole day

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in the vice-principal's office.

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Oh, God!

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And...you will have to behave like a lady at all times.

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-What do you mean?

-Like a lady!

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You have to say, "Hello," and "Pardon me".

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Oh, no!

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Maisie and Alice, you are going...

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to St Joseph's Convent School in St Lucia.

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-Yes!

-Oh, yes!

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It's not a holiday you're going on.

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This is a convent school. It's a school run by nuns.

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I've never met a nun before.

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You're going to meet lots of nuns in St Lucia.

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I do not tolerate students being disrespectful.

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Zero tolerance.

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Come on, girls!

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ALL: Bye!

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I hope Maisie and Alice come back with a change in their attitude

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and really knuckle down in their lessons.

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I'm not looking forward to going to St Lucia

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because I'll have to not wear any make-up or nails and stuff.

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-I don't want to wear no make-up.

-Me either.

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Maisie and Alice are heading over 4,000 miles away

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to the Caribbean island of St Lucia.

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It's a popular holiday destination and home to just over 170,000 people.

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The island's top-ranking school is St Joseph's Convent.

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Founded in 1898 and still managed by the Sisters of Cluny,

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the all-girls' school is run by tough-talking nun Sister Rufina.

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Why are you crowding by the door? Why aren't you in a line?

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It annoys me to no end, seeing a child wasting time at school.

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Pupils have to strive to be the best.

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Without education, you can't reach nowhere in life.

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Self-discipline and good manners are imperative.

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Your books should be on your desk, preparing for the lesson.

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-Yes, Sister.

-And any deviation is punished accordingly.

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What is the rule? Get away from there now.

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They get scared when they see me coming.

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As pupils at the covent, will Maisie and Alice

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make the most of this opportunity

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or will they continue to see their education as a joke?

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-The beach! The beach!

-The beach!

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-It feels like a holiday so far.

-So far.

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I think I'm actually excited about the school

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because I want to, like, see what people are actually like.

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For the next five days, the girls have to abide

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by all the rules at the convent, which means they must

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stick to the strict uniform policy,

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show respect to the nuns,

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demonstrate an improvement in their behaviour

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and pass an end-of-week challenge.

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Then, and only then, will they have graduated

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from Extreme School.

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-I'm feeling really nervous.

-Nervous.

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I've actually got butterflies.

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Just wait till they meet the school principal - Sister Rufina.

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Hello, ladies. Come in!

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Sister Rufina watches all the pupils like a hawk.

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At the end of the week, Maisie and Alice will have to convince her

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they're able to curb their rebellious streak.

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I want to welcome you to St Joseph's Convent Secondary School.

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It is the top school on the island.

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There are rules at this school.

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We do not allow make-up at school

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and I'm noticing that you're wearing make-up.

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You have mascara, lipstick, eye shadow, nail polish.

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So, all this will have to be cleared out.

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You wear uniforms. There's no talking during class time.

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-Are you with me?

-Yeah.

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OK. When I speak to you, I don't expect you to tell me, "Yeah."

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I expect you to say, "Yes, Sister." Or, "Yes, Sister Rufina."

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-Yes, Sister.

-Yes, Sister.

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OK. What are your ambitions, ladies?

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I'd like to find, like, a rich husband

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and then like I can just stay in the house all day.

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So, you want to have a lazy life.

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Well, I'm hoping by the end of this week

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that the experience you have here will take you to a different level.

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Alice, are there any other jobs that you're interested in?

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I wouldn't mind working in a factory

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because then you can sit with your friends and it wouldn't be very hard.

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Maybe you should experience what's in a factory

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so you realise it is not easy work.

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I want to wish you all the best for this week and good luck.

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Let's get into your uniform.

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-Sister Rufina looked quite scary.

-Intimidating.

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Yeah. Intimidating. That's the word.

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This is not a holiday. They are here to learn.

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And we expect to get that from them.

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They will fit in.

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This is your uniform. Your socks must be above your ankles.

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-Is that understood?

-Mm-hm.

-Mm-hm.

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-Is that understood?

-Yes, Sister.

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(Whatever!)

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I feel physically sick!

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Imagine what we're going to look like with no make-up on

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and these stupid uniforms.

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Ew!

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ALICE LAUGHS

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-You actually look really cute!

-Shut up!

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You've got to tie your laces.

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Look, this is too big. Why? What's the joy?

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There's no chance of customising THIS uniform.

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Will they have better luck with make-up?

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I'll probably try and get away with putting a bit of foundation on

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and they might not realise.

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For a convent girl,

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how you conduct yourself is almost as important as education.

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-Good afternoon, girls.

-Sister Rufina has her work cut out getting Maisie

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and Alice on the straight and narrow.

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Today's lesson is about etiquette.

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As students of St Joseph's Convent Secondary School,

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the expectation is that you have good manners,

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that you are able to carry yourself well,

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your posture, the way you talk, the way you walk.

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We will take them each point at a time.

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So I'm going to ask Maisie to come forward

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and introduce herself to Kelma.

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-Hello, my name's Maisie.

-No, stop.

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"Hello, my name is Maisie." I want to hear you.

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Hello, my name is Maisie.

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-You can tell her where you're from.

-I'm from Newcastle.

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Learning about etiquette is very boring.

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And I'm going to show you how you sit and how you should not sit.

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If you came into the room and you saw me sitting this way...

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..how does that look?

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It looks horrible!

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Alice, come and sit with us.

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So we talk about your knees together, knees together.

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Your skirt over your knees and you sit up.

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All right?

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Would we agree with that posture, ladies?

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Every time I sit down, I'm probably going to slouch.

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I'm not going to sit like a "lady".

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And, you know, there's also negative body language.

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You want to give me some examples?

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Pull down your skirt, Maisie. Right. And put up your head. Right.

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Be confident at all times. This is important, right?

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It is important for young girls to carry themselves with respect

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and decorum at all times.

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More so as we live in a society that is losing values.

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Why would you want to be a lady if you're a kid?

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-You should be a kid while you're a kid.

-Exactly!

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Ladies, you will need what you learn for an important function

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that some of you will be attending.

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You're going to be meeting some important people.

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And you're going to be having tea with them.

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This is Maisie and Alice's first school test,

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but will they take it seriously?

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I am dreading tea.

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I don't even know if we're going cos I didn't listen.

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It's 3:30, and whilst the girls dream

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of spending after school at the beach,

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Sister Rufina has other plans.

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Good afternoon, ladies.

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ALL: Good afternoon, Sister Rufina.

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We are moving on to more work.

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As part of the convent's community outreach program,

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the pupils regularly help disadvantaged children

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with their homework.

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Today, you notice all the convent girls

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are here to assist you with your homework.

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-Are you happy with that?

-ALL: Yes, miss.

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This is a first for homework-shy Maisie and Alice.

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I never actually do my homework.

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So it's, like, surprising helping out somebody else with theirs.

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Nine divided by four.

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You can't do that.

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Nine divided by four is two,

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so you have a remainder of one,

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over the denominator, which is four.

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We spell, "walk" with an A there.

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OK, boys and girls...

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Toeing the line for five days will be a tall order,

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but Sister Rufina has even bigger plans for the British pupils.

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I want to call Maisie and Alice up to the front.

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I have something special to say to them today.

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On Friday, the school is going to have a celebration of the arts.

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With the students you have just assisted,

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you are going to teach them one of your poems from the UK,

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and you're going to direct the entire activity with them.

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For their final challenge,

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Maisie and Alice must teach a group of nine-year-old kids a poem,

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which they will all perform together,

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as part of the St Lucian Nobel Laureate Week.

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In the 700-strong audience

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will be the most important person on the island,

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her Excellency, the Governor General.

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The poem is entitled

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I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud

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by William Wordsworth.

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-Do you know that poem?

-No.

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I'm a bit nervous in case it goes wrong or something.

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But I think it will be fun.

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But to pull off a performance on this scale will take hard work.

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Something the girls aren't used to.

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THEY RECITE They stretched in never-ending line

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Along the margin of a bay

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Ten thousand saw I at a glance...

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Back home, Maisie rarely turns up to school on time,

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but missing the daily uniform inspection

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is not an option for the convent girls.

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Let me see the back of your uniforms, please.

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Yesterday, Maisie and Alice had their first etiquette lesson.

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It's time to put what they learned into practice at a tea party

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with the Mother Superior and other important guests.

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I'll be looking out for the way they introduce themselves,

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the way they sit, the way they interact with their guests.

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All this is important.

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Are you ready for tea?

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-Yes, Sister.

-OK, let's go.

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-What would happen if I burped in front of them?

-SHE GIGGLES

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Good afternoon, Sister, and other dignitaries.

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Good afternoon, Sister, and other dignitaries.

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Introductions and sitting correctly, nailed.

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How will the chatterboxes fare making small talk?

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They better be ready, because nothing will get past Sister Rufina.

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So, tell me something about Newcastle.

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I live quite near my school.

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Tell me something about your school.

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Erm...

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Er...

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Back in the UK, Alice usually has an answer for everything.

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It's not really very strict.

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It's horrible. I don't like it.

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-It's really, like, nerve-wracking.

-Yeah.

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Like, I'm scared I'm going to slip up and say something bad to them.

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My name's Maisie, and I'm from Newcastle.

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Newcastle?

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It's in England.

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And what's the main occupation of the people in that area?

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What do you mean?

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Is it manufacturing? Is it farming? Is it agriculture? What?

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-I'm not sure.

-It's just a residential area, then?

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I think so.

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You need to know a little bit more

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-about where you live, eh?

-THEY LAUGH

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Please stand up. I would like you to thank your guests.

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Thank you, Seniors and Dignifiers.

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I'll start with Alice.

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You need to build on your confidence

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and your posture as you sit at table.

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Maisie, there are some areas for improvement.

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Instead of using words like, "Yeah,"

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your response should be, "Yes, Sister." Do you understand me?

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-Yes, Sister.

-OK, very good.

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Maisie and Alice are still a long way

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from becoming the young ladies that I want them to be.

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The convent schoolgirl girls have a demanding timetable.

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But Maisie and Alice aren't used to knuckling down in class...

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-Enchante.

-Enchante.

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-Enchante, Alice.

-Enchante.

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..throwing themselves into every challenge...

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I'm hungry, but I'm not looking forward to eating this.

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I don't actually think I'm going to eat it.

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STUDENTS GIGGLE

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No.

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..or staying out of trouble.

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Normally, Maisie would, like,

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argue with any of the teachers that have told her to do anything at all.

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But here, she's been, like, really good in class.

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All right, Maisie, can you give me an example?

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To...

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make some new friends by the end of the week.

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-Is that a SMART goal, students?

-ALL: Yes.

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When we first spoke to Sister Rufina,

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and she was telling us the rules and things,

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it sounded really strict, so I didn't want to get told off,

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because I know what the punishment is.

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C, D...

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Is the rhythm of island life beginning to rub off on them?

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APPLAUSE

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Well, it is kind of complicated,

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but it's not as bad as I thought it would be.

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THEY PLAY STEEL DRUMS

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I wish they had steel drum lessons our school,

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because, like, it's probably

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one of the best instruments I've ever played.

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APPLAUSE

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Right, in your positions! Try and smile as much as you can.

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Maisie and Alice rarely hang around

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when the bell goes at the end of a school day at home,

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but with their final challenge looming,

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they can't afford not to here.

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So we'll start from, "Continuous as the stars that shine."

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Do it with the actions.

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Do you all remember the two verses you have to do, yeah?

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Yes, Miss.

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You don't have to call me "Miss"!

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So the first line was...

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They're putting in the hours preparing for a performance

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at the end of the week in front of the Governor General.

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As always, Sister Rufina is never far away.

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-Hi, Maisie and Alice.

-BOTH: Hi!

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-OK, how has it been?

-BOTH: Good.

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-CHILDREN:

-Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

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Tossing their heads in sprightly dance

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For oft, when on my couch I lie

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In vacant or in pensive mood

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They flash upon that inward eye

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Which is the bliss of solitude...

0:19:180:19:21

And then with...what...with pleasure my heart fills

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And dances with the daffodils.

0:19:270:19:29

APPLAUSE

0:19:290:19:31

I feel the girls could have worked harder at learning their lines,

0:19:310:19:34

because the younger students know their lines

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and they should be setting the example.

0:19:360:19:38

Remember the performance on Friday.

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There are going to be very important people in attendance.

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The Governor General, who is the representative of the Queen.

0:19:440:19:46

So you want to do your best and it has to be done well.

0:19:460:19:51

I was not worried or anything,

0:19:510:19:52

but when Sister Rufina came in, she made it all bad.

0:19:520:19:55

The fact that the Governor General is going to be present,

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she is expecting very high standards.

0:19:580:20:00

Like, I know it does have to be perfect because, like,

0:20:000:20:03

the Governor General and people are coming, and...

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But, like, we'll make it perfect tomorrow.

0:20:060:20:09

We'd rather have fun and stuff.

0:20:090:20:11

It seems old habits die hard.

0:20:110:20:15

Sister Rufina was shocked

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when Alice said she wanted to work in a factory

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because it would be easy.

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So she's arranged for the girls

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to experience the tough reality of manual labour

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at the local banana plantation.

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Could this be the reality check they need

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to change their attitudes towards school?

0:20:320:20:34

OK, today you will be working on that.

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For St Lucians with little or no education,

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working at one of the banana plantations is a good option.

0:20:390:20:43

Showing them the ropes are workers, Patricia and Sofia.

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How many bananas actually grow on one tree?

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These, the big ones, we normally get 16, 17 hands.

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That's over 5 million bananas

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that get sent to the UK every year from this farm alone.

0:20:550:20:59

Now, we're going to do some fertilising. Let's go.

0:20:590:21:02

-How are you feeling, girls?

-BOTH: Tired.

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Already tired? You've only been working for 30 minutes.

0:21:090:21:12

I work for eight to nine hours a day.

0:21:120:21:14

I don't get it.

0:21:170:21:18

Why anyone would want to do this job on a daily basis.

0:21:180:21:21

It's just really hurting my arm and it's aching.

0:21:230:21:27

I did want to work in a factory because it would be, like,

0:21:270:21:30

really easy and stuff,

0:21:300:21:32

but, like, never in a million years.

0:21:320:21:34

I would never work in a factory.

0:21:340:21:36

-So how long have you been working here?

-Three to four years.

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What were you like in school? Did you do well and things?

0:21:420:21:45

I wish I had studied harder in school

0:21:450:21:47

and took school much more seriously.

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My brother is a doctor,

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my sister is a teacher,

0:21:530:21:55

and me working here so hard....

0:21:550:21:58

it's worth going to school.

0:21:580:22:00

It's worth learning. It's very hard out there.

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Very, very difficult.

0:22:040:22:06

So let's get to work, girls.

0:22:060:22:08

The fun's not over yet.

0:22:080:22:11

I didn't realise how much hard work goes into just making bananas.

0:22:140:22:18

Once the bananas are picked, they need to be washed and packed.

0:22:180:22:23

OK, this box is ready to be shipped to the UK.

0:22:230:22:26

Job well done.

0:22:260:22:27

Having met Patricia and seen how, like,

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she didn't do her school work and now she's ended up here,

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I think that, like, I'll concentrate more on my lessons.

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Yeah, like, I definitely think I've changed my mind

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and I'm definitely going to start working hard in school

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so I can be more of, like, a businesswoman than a factory worker.

0:22:410:22:45

In 24 hours' time, Maisie and Alice

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will be performing their final challenge

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in front of the island's most important dignitary,

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the Governor General.

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But that doesn't mean

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they can neglect their other duties as convent girls.

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It's time to help out at the preschool.

0:23:030:23:06

Will this give the girls a taste of their own medicine?

0:23:060:23:09

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.

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All the king's horses and all the king's men

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Could not put Dumpty together again!

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Can everybody sing it all together?

0:23:180:23:20

Like Maisie and Alice in class back in the UK,

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the toddlers are a law unto themselves.

0:23:230:23:26

-ALL:

-Sat on the wall...

0:23:260:23:28

-Everybody stand up!

-Everybody!

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THEY SQUEAL AND WHINE

0:23:300:23:33

Off the table!

0:23:330:23:34

SHE GIGGLES

0:23:340:23:37

God!

0:23:380:23:40

This is a disaster!

0:23:400:23:41

They just don't actually take any of it in at all.

0:23:440:23:46

When I go back, I'll have, like, much more respect for the teachers,

0:23:490:23:52

because I've realised how annoying it is when, like,

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you're trying to get them to listen and stuff

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and they're just completely ignoring you.

0:23:560:23:58

BOTH: All the king's horses and all the king's men

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Couldn't put Humpty together again.

0:24:030:24:07

How will the girls fare tomorrow

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leading a group of children in front of 700 people?

0:24:100:24:14

It's the convent's Nobel Laureate concert.

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Opening the show are British pupils, Maisie and Alice.

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They've spent the week teaching kids from a local disadvantaged school

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a poem by one of Britain's greatest poet laureates, William Wordsworth.

0:24:270:24:31

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee

0:24:310:24:34

A poet could not but be gay...

0:24:340:24:37

I think it's going to be a challenge for Maisie and Alice.

0:24:370:24:41

The activity this afternoon is one

0:24:410:24:43

that we expect to be of a very high standard.

0:24:430:24:45

It's important, I'm speaking to you, so you watch me.

0:24:450:24:49

All right? You are opening the performance,

0:24:490:24:52

and so you have to set the standard.

0:24:520:24:54

You are the leaders this afternoon in this performance.

0:24:540:24:58

They will be performing in front of an audience of over 700 people,

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including Her Excellency, the Governor General of Saint Lucia.

0:25:030:25:08

When I was in rehearsals and things,

0:25:100:25:11

I didn't think I was going to be that nervous,

0:25:110:25:13

but now it's actually come to the actual thing,

0:25:130:25:16

and I am starting to get a little bit nervous.

0:25:160:25:18

The girls are finally taking school life seriously.

0:25:180:25:23

Basically, the queen of St Lucia is coming.

0:25:230:25:25

And, like, you've got to remember all your etiquette and stuff.

0:25:250:25:29

I just hope everything goes well.

0:25:350:25:36

I'm feeling very scared.

0:25:360:25:38

Welcome on stage, the combined school with the poem,

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I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud.

0:25:430:25:45

This poem is directed by our guests, Maisie and Alice.

0:25:450:25:51

APPLAUSE

0:25:510:25:53

I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud by William Wordsworth.

0:25:580:26:03

I wandered lonely as a cloud PUPILS PLAY VIOLINS

0:26:040:26:07

That floats on high o'er vales and hills

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When all at once I saw a crowd

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A host, of golden daffodils

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Beside the lake, beneath the trees

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Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

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-ALL:

-Continuous as the stars that shine

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And twinkle on the milky way

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They stretched in never-ending line

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Along the margin of a bay...

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For oft, when on my couch I lie

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In vacant or in pensive mood

0:26:370:26:39

They flash upon that inward eye

0:26:390:26:42

Which is the bliss of solitude

0:26:420:26:44

And then with heart my pleasure fill...my...

0:26:440:26:47

And then with pleasure my heart fills

0:26:470:26:49

And dances with the daffodils.

0:26:490:26:51

APPLAUSE

0:26:530:26:55

-Feeling...

-Relieved!

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Relieved and overwhelmed!

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I mean, you could see that they were probably,

0:27:040:27:06

in the beginning, a little nervous, but they were good.

0:27:060:27:09

-You did really well.

-You did really well.

0:27:090:27:13

Before we went on, I felt physically sick.

0:27:130:27:17

And I thought that, like, I was going to go out and, like,

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not be able to actually say the words.

0:27:190:27:23

But it went quite well.

0:27:230:27:24

You showed confidence.

0:27:240:27:26

You did make a mistake,

0:27:260:27:27

but I was happy that you were able to overlook it

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and just follow right through. That was beautiful.

0:27:290:27:32

I see a willingness. Somehow, a breakthrough.

0:27:320:27:36

And I'm hoping that it does not end here.

0:27:360:27:38

Congratulations, you did a good job.

0:27:380:27:41

-Really, really good.

-Thank you.

0:27:410:27:43

Maisie and Alice are heading home to the UK.

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Only then will they find out

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if their efforts at Extreme School will be rewarded.

0:27:490:27:52

I'll concentrate much more on lessons,

0:27:520:27:54

because I've realised how much you need an education

0:27:540:27:57

to be able to get by in life and get a job

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and be able to have the things that you really want.

0:27:580:28:01

Alice!

0:28:010:28:03

I have had an amazing time,

0:28:030:28:04

and I think it's a good learning experience,

0:28:040:28:06

and I hope that we have actually changed

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and we'll be better when we get back to school.

0:28:080:28:10

ALL: Bye!

0:28:100:28:12

Join us in our final episode

0:28:120:28:13

to see if Maisie and Alice have done enough

0:28:130:28:15

to graduate from Extreme School.

0:28:150:28:17

Next time, two Bristol lads in need of a wake-up call

0:28:190:28:24

are off to an elite boys' school in India.

0:28:240:28:26

No-one sleeps in our classes. You have to sit up straight.

0:28:260:28:30

Can they rise to the challenge?

0:28:300:28:31

HORNS BEEP

0:28:310:28:33

Or will it be a double dose of trouble?

0:28:330:28:36

I'm not talking to you!

0:28:360:28:37

Well, look in the mirror and talk to yourself, then.

0:28:370:28:39

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:28:530:28:56

Two Year 9 girls from Newcastle with a bad attitude to education sign up for a stint at St Joseph's Convent in St Lucia to see if they can change their ways.

The girls' total lack of interest in school shocks the tough-talking principal Sister Rufina and they soon realise that they may have finally met their match. Facing strict uniform rules and a ban on make-up, they realise that life at the convent is very different to school in Newcastle. The girls struggle to see the point of learning good manners and etiquette, which is a must for every convent girl. But they do take on the convent school's community spirit, helping out at an underprivileged school and an afternoon at the preschool, where the children are a law unto themselves. Will it give the girls a taste of their own medicine?

Despite being bright, the girls have ambitions to work in a factory so they can muck about with their mates. Will work experience at a banana plantation give them a wake-up call? Their final challenge is to perform with a group of kids from the underprivileged school, at a charity concert in front of an audience of over 700 people, but will they win over the guest of honour, her excellency the governor general of St Lucia, and do enough to graduate from Extreme School?


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