Mackie Matters - Still as busy as ever at the end of term

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The end of term approaches but things are still as busy as ever.

This week saw 36 of our S1 students involved in the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Faraday Challenge. The principles of the day allow students to research, design and build solutions to real engineering problems. 47 schools across the UK were chosen to host the day and Mackie Academy is their most northerly venture so far.

The IET team were very impressed by our students who used 3-D printers to produce a prototype product. The winning team - consisting of Calum Shanks, George Vickery, Joseph Marooth, Erin Logan, Alex Henry and Mairi Welsh - won a trophy for the school and an Amazon voucher each. The top three teams from across the UK will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the national final in June 2015 to compete for a cash prize of up to £1,000 for their school. We will have to wait and see if we make it this far.

In addition to this we have had a number of speakers in this week as part of the SciTech programme. On Tuesday Helen Turner and Kevin Deans from the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary spoke to our S4 and S6 students on “Pathology – Matters of the Heart” complete with pathology samples of diseased hearts!! On Thursday, Dr Neil Vargesson from the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, spoke to two different groups of Senior Phase students on “How does the forming baby know to make just one head, one body, two arms and two legs?” Student feedback on the sessions was very positive and all who attended seemed to really enjoy the level of intellectual challenge.

Several students from the Boydell Blackbelt Academies had a special day on Saturday. After a 2 hour theory exam on Friday night and a full day of both technical training in the morning followed by a 5 hour practical exam in front of a Senior Grading panel on Saturday, the candidates all achieved their goal. Newly promoted 1st degree blackbelts in ITF Taekwon-Do are Cameron McHarg (S6), Adam Diouri (S4), Samuel Telfer (S4) and Jodie Boydell (S2), Katie-Louise Davidson (S2) whilst Katrina Carr (S5) is promoted to 2nd degree blackbelt. All of these students have worked extremely hard over a number of years to achieve this recognition in the martial art and are a credit to both Mackie Academy and their Taekwon-Do academies. Congratulations to each and every one of them.

On Friday, members of the Mackie Youth Forum - led by the Community Learning Development team – attended a residential run by Youth Scotland alongside members of the Kincardine and Mearns Youth Forum. Those at Mackie Academy include Kayla Macleod, Allan Petrie, Lauren Valentine, Jordan Kirk, Isla Davies and Iona Barney. The course enables them to develop leadership skills that they will use to plan a community project. This is exactly the type of achievement we see from many of our students in different guises and I have no doubt that this team will be very successful in what they choose to do with their training.

You may or may not have seen our new additions to the entrance at Mackie Academy. I think it is fair to say that our “lifesize” students are definitely waking people up in the morning but hopefully it also makes our Front Reception area more welcoming. Our display cabinets are being fitted over the October break and then we can get our display boards completed with plenty of student achievements.

You may remember that I told you previously about one of our students who won second place in the Burns National Writing Competition. This week, Kayleigh Romson received her certificate and it just reiterates what a fantastic achievement she has gained through her hard work. Well done Kayleigh.

We are just about to enter the final week of term and I think it is fair to say it has been full on. Our October break is going to be well earned and we are all looking forward to it.