Mackie Matters - Great effort by pupils

The pupils efforts
The pupils efforts

I will start this week with our end of week Comic Relief fund-raising efforts. A non-uniform day was held, with some of our pupils rising to the challenge of “Inventing their own Superhero”.

It was great to see pupils from S1 to S6 taking part and our green-wigged superhero was the winner. Congratulations to Steph Geddes for her winning costume. In addition, cake sales took place and, in total, nearly £1300 was raised. A great effort, which added to the national effort of Comic Relief raising over £1 billion in the last 30 years.

Last weekend saw International Women’s Day take place and our Science team took the theme on board, creating a display that celebrates famous women in Science. As we try to enable more young women to enter the field of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) this is a great way for pupils to see what others have achieved and what they could be capable of.

I was in school late last week for two evening events, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. On Wednesday night, Mr Macdonald and I met with the pupils attending our ski trip and their parents. We are heading to Austria at Easter and I am lucky enough to be going along with two other members of staff. The snow conditions are looking good at the moment and we have a great range of activities planned for the pupils, apart from the skiing. Then, on Thursday night, we had the second of our partnership events with our Community Learning Development team colleagues and our prospective S1 parents combined with the transition youth group. Parents accessed different sessions on drug awareness, social media and general info about being a parent at secondary school. Yet again, we had a great turn out and we hold our final session for parents at our rural schools at the end of April.

Last week saw the elections for the Scottish Youth Parliament in the Kincardine and Mearns area. Our two candidates did a sterling job but were beaten by a strong candidate, Robbie Nicol, from neighbouring Mearns Academy. Congratulations to Robbie and I am sure he will go on to represent the young people of this area admirably.

Our sports leaders were out and about on Friday at Dunnottar Primary, where they were working with Primary 5 pupils on First Club Golf. One to one tuition was the name of the game and our sports leaders were fantastic in giving help and encouragement to the pupils from Dunnottar and praising them when they managed to “hit the target”. The organisation of this, through our Active Sports Co-ordinator, is a great way to see how this sort of activity can have real benefit for our cluster and the leadership skills of our young people.

Our Boys Tennis team continue to make progress in the Scottish Schools competition, despite the weather trying its best to beat us! Stuart Holley, Lewis Carmicheal, Patrick Young and Gregor Alexander continue with their progress in the competition, with the next round being slightly further afield in Perthshire, where I am sure they will do us proud.

In school at the moment, we are participating in an “arts” based project through Creative Edge funding from Aberdeenshire Council. What this has enabled us to do is engage our S3 Media Studies group to work with professionals from the Creative Arts field to develop, film and produce a new film about life at Mackie Academy for our P7 cluster primary schools. The finished product will have its premiere at our “Aiming High” days in June 2015 and it is looking great. The one downside is that I have to get in front of the camera but I am sure they can Photoshop out the worst bits!

Mr Urquhart’s group are taking a great lead on this and a spin-off out of this is that our arts team have benefitted from the input of an architect who is visiting the school as part of this project. They are going to look at the structure of the school, especially our corridors, to see if there is anything we can work on there, to make the space more effective and speak to some of our pupils who are interested in architecture as a career. All in all, a fantastic opportunity.

A lovely piece of news came through to me this week, to tell me that Laura Ritchie, having participated in the Arbroath and District Music Festival, was successful and came first in her Instrumental Recital class on the piano and won a lovely shield.

This builds on Laura’s success in the Rotary Young Musician competition earlier this year.