St Albans Dragons’ Apprentices have burning ambition

THEIR CLAWS aren’t out but there is definitely fire in the bellies of entrepreneurial pupils competing to turn �100 into �1,000 in Dragons’ Apprentice 2011.

Students in the community challenge run by Connect St Albans are arranging an imaginative variety of events to win the event, with St Columba’s College turning to the wilderness of Africa to provide ostrich, impala and other exotic meat to tempt the palate at a charity dinner next month.

Meanwhile, one of the 12 participating school teams has already surpassed the �1,000 target and is determined to raise even more money for charity.

Between September 2010 and March 2011, sixth form students representing six schools and colleges, dubbed “The Apprentices,” are vying to raise the most money for their chosen charites. Business “dragons” and mentors are providing advice and resources to the youngsters as the event aims to encourage schools and firms to work together to support charities within St Albans and Harpenden.

Diane Currie, business teacher at St Albans Girls’ School, said she was, “really, really pleased” the all-girl team had already raised �1,200. The apprentices organised raffles and sold craft items at the Mayor of St Albans Maxine Crawley’s recent charity dinner, bringing in �800. Diane said: “We want to beat the boys.”

Early next year St Columba’s College will host an evening to encourage visitors to experience Africa with a range of gourmet meats to sample from the continent, along with an auction and steel drum band. The event is being held on Friday, January 21, to raise funds for Harpenden Spotlight on Africa.

Sixth formers from St George’s School in Harpenden were apparently “delighted” to meet interior designer and television presenter Linda Barker when they raised funds for Grove House at the recent Childwickbury Christmas Fair. Pupil James Sandler said the team had to quickly change its plan to sell cold drinks and offer hot beverages instead “because of the freezing weather.” The boys also had a stand at last weekend’s Jingle Bell Jog fundraiser for Grove House.

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Penny Mortimer, one of the main organisers of Dragons’ Apprentice 2011, said all competitors were making a “brilliant” effort. St Albans School, Beaumont School and Oaklands College are also competing in the event which will see all profits going to chosen charities. The contest culminates in an awards ceremony at the University of Hertfordshire in March.