Mackie Matters - Final Matters for 2015

As I write my final Mackie Matters for 2015 I am counting this as our final week given that we finish on the Tuesday before Christmas.

I am currently listening to our different musical groups rehearsing for our Christmas concert tonight which will no doubt put us all in the Christmas spirit!! In addition to this we are having our Christmas jumper day tomorrow which has been organised by Ethan Turnbull in S2 to support the Clic Sargent charity. This is a charity that has personal significance for Ethan and his family and it is great that Dunnottar Primary are contributing to the fundraising effort as well as Ethan’s family and friends through a Just Giving page. All in all it is a fantastic charity effort to build on the large sums of money already raised by our Sponsored Walk this year and we are very much looking forward to it all.

Speaking of our Sponsored Walk we were very lucky at the end of November to be able to send Mrs Felicity Katsaitis and Rory Adamson, S6, to Uganda with the Archie in Africa campaign. It was a great way to see how the monies raised by pupils and staff at Mackie Academy will be put to use and both individuals have commented on what a life changing experience it was. We will be presenting a cheque for £13,000 to the charity at our Christmas assemblies on the final day of term and we are also looking forward to seeing the film of our experiences with the Archie Foundation in the New Year. The aim of the film is to inspire others to get involved in this very worthwhile cause. I should also add that it was lovely to get a letter from the Scottish Caravan Club in Stonehaven who donated monies from a recent rally held at their site in Stonehaven to the Archie in Africa campaign as three of our pupils – Jonathan Fisher, Amy and Emma Hyder – are on their Youth Committee.

The pictures here show our intrepid twosome in action in front of the cameras and making the most of their time in the hospital which the fundraising will aim to help kit out appropriately for the children in Uganda. We are very proud to be associated with this project and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the fantastic sum raised by our young people. It makes me very proud to be Head Teacher of this school.

In addition to all the fantastic fundraising going on I also had the delight to receive a letter all the way from the United States. The person who wrote the letter had the chance to meet our young people and staff who participated in the Wild West trip in October 2015. The reason they wrote to me was due to the meeting that they had with our group in Arizona and the fact that we took a picture of them and their family which they very much appreciated. In fact, the phrase they used was,

“It will be cherished as a piece of our family history”.

To say thank you they also sent copies of books about Arizona and the Grand Canyon as a memento of our visit there to be distributed to members of staff and to go in our library. Again, it is another example of how a small act of kindness can impact on people wherever you are.

Mackie Academy have been international in their dealings over the past few weeks and last week was no different. On Thursday, 10th December our Higher Drama class skyped with a class from Belarus in the town of Gomel.

Mackie Academy pupils performed a scene from The Crucible Act I to show the pupils from School 71 in Gomel how our class worked in a drama studio environment. The school in Belarus does not have a drama class; the closest they have is English so the idea was to help develop ideas with them about what a drama class could look like. Our pupils got a very positive response from the students and staff at School 71 in Gomel, Belarus with lots of questions asked about the play. Thanks must go to Mr Tullock and Miss Berker for setting up the link and we are hopeful that this can be the start of a working partnership between the two schools.

In a more local setting some of S1 and S6 pupils accompanied Ms Oliver from the Science team to our local primaries in Stonehaven to deliver the Gopher Science labs. The school was lucky to receive some funding to enable this to happen and it was fabulous to see our pupils delivering the learning to their former primary schools. Curriculum transition is just as important as the pastoral work that goes on throughout the year and it is a great way for pupils in the primaries to see what curriculum life is like up here at Mackie Academy. Thanks to all the pupils who gave up their time and especially to Ms Oliver for organising this.

Finally, it is always good to pick up on some individual achievements towards the end of term. Patrick Young played for Scotland last weekend for the first time in the boys U14 competition against Ireland and Wales in Glasgow and won all his singles and doubles matches which is a great debut for him whilst Lauren Maitland has been leading the way in the Hair and Beauty Festival at North East Scotland College where she was awarded 2nd place overall in the Schools links Freestyle Hairdressing category. At the end of November Aaron Knight and Naomi McGillvray won the Rotary Young Musician competition here at Mackie Academy and now proceed to the district round in Perth in late February 2016. Best of luck to them when that comes around.

As the end of year approaches I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who read our column in the Mearns Leader on a regular basis and pass back positive feedback to the school about our young people. Please rest assured that this is shared with them at every opportunity. I hope you all have a peaceful and restful Christmas and New Year. Mackie Matters will return in 2016.