Well what a fantastic Easter break it has been for all of us.
The weather was beautiful and everyone has benefited from this and it feels like it has been a real holiday.
A very hectic end to term meant that there was never a minute to catch breath before the holidays. Despite this we had some excellent end of term assemblies provided by our Chaplaincy team which reminded our pupils of the Easter message, combining both the traditional stories with a modern equivalent.
As always they were thought provoking and an excellent way to bring home the Easter message. We also said goodbye to a couple of members of staff at the end of the term. Mrs Clare from our English team left after a number of years at Mackie Academy moving onto new challenges and Mr Knowles, Supervisory Janitor, moved onto another team at Aberdeenshire Council. We wish them both the best in their new ventures.
I was lucky enough to accompany Mr Macdonald and thirty of our students to Austria for our ski and snowboarding trip. We were exceptionally lucky with the snow conditions given that we were going fairly late in the season and for the first three nights supplies were replenished so that each morning the pupils had fresh powder on the slopes.
Whilst it led to some snowy skiing conditions on the slopes it soon gave way to sunshine for the remainder of the week and a fabulous time was had by all.
In addition we had some great evening activities lined up which included swimming, karaoke and plenty of pizza eating. Thanks must go to Mr Macdonald for organising the trip as well as Ms Wallace and Mrs Campbell who accompanied the visit. We were lucky on the way home to spend a short time in Salzburg and our experiences this year means that it is likely we will return again next year.
Despite it being the holidays the sporting plaudits have kept flying on in. Patrick Young and Annabel Burns made up half of the U15 North East of Scotland Tennis team who came first out of eight districts in the Inter-district Championships held at Kilgraston School near Perth in the first week of the holidays. Both won all their singles matches which is a great feat and one to be very proud of.
In addition to this we learnt of the success of one of our S5 pupils, Megan Wright, who took part in the Scottish Gymnastics National Championships at the end of February 2015. Megan is a part of the Garioch gymnastics club in Inverurie and competed in the all-round finals on the Saturday followed by the apparatus finals on the Sunday of the competition. It should be noted that alongside Megan competing were gymnasts who had taken part in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games – this gives you some idea of the standard of competition. On Day One Megan won the bronze medal with a personal best score which allowed her to progress to the bars, beam and floor finals on the Sunday.
There she came fifth on the bars, won bronze on floor and was crowned Scottish Champion on the beam. How fantastic is that for someone who is only 16 and juggles this level of commitment to her sport alongside her school work. We talk a lot about the resilience our pupils need to develop in order to cope with the demands of the working world today. Megan has this in spades and has now qualified to represent Scotland at the British finals in May for the second time. An amazing set of achievements from our young people all round.
Finally, I received a lovely letter this week from an ex-pupil of Mackie Academy who now lives in North Yorkshire and has written a book called “From Farms to Pharma” which is principally about medicine and the search for improvements in treatments but the story begins in Stonehaven and at Mackie Academy.
The gentleman involved has very kindly offered to visit the school when next in Stonehaven to drop off a copy of the book which will be lovely. What was even better was that in searching for an appropriate front cover for the book Mr Stark was looking for one that depicted team work with young people and that he thought those on our website were very similar to what he was looking for. It seems to show no matter how far you go from Mackie Academy the connections can always be made.
Our summer term is well under way and it is an important one for many of our pupils. We will all be working hard to make sure that it breeds the success we wish for our young people come results in August.