Christmas is almost upon us

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It is hard to believe that November is at an end and Christmas is almost upon us. We have had a few mornings of frost, ice and delays; can I take this opportunity to remind people that any information about school closure can be found on the Aberdeenshire Council website at

We are entering a very important time for our students in the senior phase of their education. Prelim examinations will be taking place after Christmas and timetables are currently being finalised and issued to students.

Instructions around study leave are being finalised for S4 as we speak and will be issued prior to the Christmas break. S5 and S6 study leave will remain the same as previous years.

Our sporting achievements continue to grow and this week one of our brightest stars had her hard work rewarded. Katrina Carr attended a prestigious event at Inverurie Town Hall on November 26 where she was successful in winning the Aberdeenshire Youth Council Arts and Sport Award 2013 for her achievements in Taekwondo.

Attending the event with Katrina was her guidance teacher, Janice Stalker, who is exceptionally proud of her achievement. When I caught up with Katrina the other day she was very humble about her success and she is an excellent role model for all at Mackie Academy.

The Mackie Senior Boys Basketball team beat Bridge of Don Academy 56-40 in a closely fought match this week and we are very proud of their achievements. Basketball has also been a part of the inter-house competitions this week with Fetteresso sweeping the board in S1, S2 and S3 so well done to them.

On Wednesday evening the Rotary Club of Stonehaven held their Young Musician of the Year competition at Mackie Academy. Nineteen students took part, the largest number so far. The judges commented on the high standard of playing but also how the students conducted themselves while on stage.

Kirsty Mackenzie, on piano, was the successful winner of the junior competition while Laura Townsend, on piano, won the senior instrumental award and Brodie Cummins won the vocalist award. Overall, Brodie Cummins won the competition and progresses to the next stage.

What I enjoyed about it the most was the variety of instruments displayed from voice to bagpipes to timpani to alto saxophone. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and must thank the Rotary Club for making this competition available to our students. I must also thank Mr Andrew Cheyne for excellent accompanying skills.

In addition the Mackie Concert Band took part in the Scottish Concert Band Festival in Aberdeen at the weekend. They won a Gold Award and now progress to the next round in Perth in March 2014. Well done to all involved.

Our English team took a group of S4 students to see the poet, Carol Ann Duffy, as part of their preparation for their National examination this week. A fantastic experience for all and hopefully one that students will have got a great deal from. Thanks to Mrs Hartland-Mahon for organising this opportunity.

Rock Challenge is currently fundraising through a Christmas raffle; “Movember” came to a close with several members of staff fundraising on the final day through dying their moustaches various colours and raising nearly £300 in the process!!

Our Eco-Group had a very successful litter pick this week with prizes for the most successful students. A £25 I-Tune token was up for grabs!! In addition they are also fundraising through a raffle and are working collaboratively with the Horizon Group on their litter picking work.

This partnership is great for all involved as we get to draw on the expertise of this group while they get to participate in school activities which allows them to see the benefits the eco-group bring to the school.

Finally, on Friday, December 13, Matthew Smith and other S6 students are leading the way with fundraising for Save the Children and their “Christmas Jumper Day”.

Students have the opportunity to wear a Christmas jumper of their choice for a donation towards the work of Save the Children. A very worthwhile cause and we look forward to a great response, as always, from Mackie Academy.