Busy time at Academy

School resumed for staff and pupils on Monday of last week after the 2-week October holiday break. During the holidays, there had been work undertaken to move all the computers onto a new network and this required everyone to ensure that they followed the guidelines issued for use when they first logged in.

Thursday, 4th November 2010, 9:36 am

On Thursday, the parents of pupils in S1 had the opportunity to meet with subject and guidance staff to discuss the progress of their child since their transition to secondary school in August. The car parks were full, with a large number of parents taking the opportunity to meet with staff.

During the day last Thursday, 8 pupils in S4 travelled to Peterhead to attend a Leadership Conference. The pupils had already been involved in a previous leadership event, and the conference required them to make a presentation on the initiative they had undertaken. Those involved were Jack Pittendreigh, Nicole Third, Emma Gordon, Grant Begg, Lauren McArthur, Kristy Lockhart, Alistair Hagen and Kerry Meehan.

On Friday, staff were invited to “Wear It Pink” in aid of the Tickled Pink Breast Cancer Campaign. A large number of staff responded to the invitation – male and female – and donated a minimum £2 for the campaign.

On Monday of this week and next, a number of S4 pupils were involved in Home Economics practical cookery exams, organised by staff in the Home Economics Department.

On Friday afternoon, all S5 pupils are scheduled to attend Safe Drive, Stay Alive at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen. Coaches have been organised to take them to and from the event and pupils will be accompanied by Guidance Staff. This annual event is intended to drive home the message about staying safe when driving – or being driven.

Pupils, staff and parents are currently involved in contributing their views and opinions to the review of school uniform which is being undertaken. The consultation takes the form of a questionnaire, which can be completed online or by requesting a paper copy. Pupils will have the opportunity to complete their review in school and parents should have received a letter about the consultation via “pupil post.”

Last Saturday, a team of senior pupils competed at the Sheriff Court in Aberdeen in the newly-organised Aberdeenshire Mock Trial Competition. The teams have been preparing for the event at lunchtimes over the past few weeks, and were involved in a league of 4 schools: Mackie Academy, Mearns Academy, Banchory Academy and Ellon Academy. A further 4 schools competed in a separate league, with the finalists being the winning teams from each league. The Academy team performed extremely well and were narrowly beaten for a place in the final by the team from Ellon. However, the event provided an excellent opportunity for the team to develop their skills before they compete in the Scottish heat of the National Mock Trial Competition in Glasgow on Saturday 4 December. The Academy is the only Aberdeenshire school to have obtained a place in the Scottish Final, which the school has won on two previous occasions. Fingers crossed for success in that event. Teacher coordinator of the Mock trial events is Faculty Head of Humanities, Ms Lynda Swanson.

On Wednesday evening, the Rock Challenge Committee organised a fundraising Hallowe’en Party/Disco for pupils. The committee members are Conan Gavan, Rachel Midgley, Andrew Deans, Briony Langdon and Lois Bannerman, who are all Sixth Year pupils.

On Monday of last week, Miss Fiona Robertson took up the post of Depute Rector. She had previously worked as a Quality Improvement Officer in Aberdeenshire. With her arrival, Mr Colin Agnew, Faculty Head of PE, returned to his substantive post after a 9-month spell as Acting Depute Rector. However, his return to this post is for a very short time, as he leaves the Academy to take up a new post as Faculty Head of PE and Health at Forfar Academy on Friday 12 November.

On Monday, a photographer from Tempest, the school photographic company, was in the Academy to photograph all pupils in S1 and S4. The photographs will be made available for purchase by parents when they are printed and delivered to school, before the end of term, which makes them a good extra Christmas present for members of the family!

On Monday of next week, a photographer from Tempest will again be in the Academy, this time to take the annual group photograph of S6 during their scheduled PSE period. At 3.15pm, the photographer will take a group photograph of Academy staff. Because of the large numbers in both groups, staging requires to be set up, which is why the two photos have been organised for the same day.

Since school resumed, pupils have been returning the shoeboxes which they have been filling for the Rotary International Shoeboxes for Eastern Europe scheme. Boxes can be filled with items suitable for young children, for teenagers and for adults, as well as household items such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste. Although these may seem like everyday items to us, they are luxuries for the people of Eastern European countries who receive them. Members of Stonehaven Rotary Club have also been filling boxes as part of the scheme.

On Wednesday, a group of Academy pupils travelled to Dundee to see a performance of A Doll’s House by Dundee Rep. The group left the Academy at 3.45pm in order to have time for tea in Dundee before the performance. The trip was organised by Mrs Mary Dey, who teaches English.

Faculty Head of Social Subjects, Mrs Pat Coleman, held a meeting at lunchtime on Monday for all pupils participating in the study tour to Morocco at Easter 2011. All participants were also required to collect a letter in connection with the trip from Mrs Coleman.

Mrs Rosie Dredge, Network Librarian, held a meeting of the pupils involved in the Grampian Book Award at lunchtime on Friday. Mrs Rachel Hartland-Mahon, who teaches English, works with Mrs Dredge to coordinate and organise the activities of the Book Award group.

Ten pupils have been selected to cook in the Young Chef Competition organised by Stonehaven Rotary Club, which is due to take place on Wednesday evening of next week, 10 November. Over 20 applications for this year’s competition were received and 10 were selected by Home Economics staff based on the menus they submitted. Those involved in cooking a 2-course meal for 2 are: Erin Blackwood, Hannah Martin, Matthew Ogden, Claire McBain, Lewis Swanson, Catriona Aitken, Hannah Gordon, Rory Martin, Douglas Blacklaw and Chloe Jackson.

Inter-House activities continued this week, with Inter-House Basketball. Teams were mixed 5-a-side, with S1 on Monday, S2 on Tuesday, S3 on Wednesday, S4 on Thursday, and S5/S6 on Friday.

Stonehaven Rotary Club is organising a Young Musician Competition on Wednesday 24 November. It is proposed to have a Junior Competition for S1-S3 pupils and a Senior Competition for S4-S6. Competitors are required to perform one or more pieces of music lasting a maximum of four minutes. Pupils who wish to enter the competition have been invited to contact Principal Teacher of Music, Mr Andrew Cheyne, or Music Teacher, Miss Lorraine Bray. The event will be open to parents, staff, pupils and members of the public to attend – so make a date for your diary not to miss what is bound to be an evening of excellent entertainment.

On Monday of last week, a group of pupils travelled to HMT in Aberdeen to watch a performance of Blood Brothers. The trip was organised by Mrs Dani Paul, who teaches English.

The Charities Committee has given advance notice of a non-uniform day to be held on Friday 19 November for Children in Need. The theme is Spots & Stripes and, as last year, there will be an Inter-House competition for the best costumes – junior and senior. Pupils have been encouraged to “get their thinking caps on” to come up with interesting outfits.

The S1 Science Club has started up again with meetings at lunchtime on Thursdays. The Club activities are being organised by Mr Damian Hardacre, who teaches Chemistry.

Mr Gerry Lock, who teaches Modern Studies, is also the member of staff who coordinates and organises extra-curricular rugby activities. The U16 team had their first game of the “Pool” stage versus Nairn Academy on Friday.

Faculty Head of Humanities, Ms Lynda Swanson, is the member of staff who organises trip to Rugby Internationals at Murrayfield. Tickets for the first of the Internationals have arrived for the pupils who signed up to go, and Ms Swanson has been issuing the Parental Permission letters and collecting the payment for the bus for those involved.

WPC Sergeant Nicola Jones, who is currently seconded to work with GREC (Grampian Racial Equalities Council), was in school on Monday of last week to speak to S6 pupils involved in discussing an incident which had been filmed on CCTV in a take-away in Glasgow, which exemplified the type of incident in which the Police become involved because of racial harassment.

Results of various Inter-House Competitions have been posted on the Inter-House noticeboard. The Inter-House Wii Competition proved popular again, after being introduced for the first time last session, with Ury gaining top points in S1 MarioKart and Cowie in Snowboarding; In the S2 Competition, Dunnottar won the MarioKart and Ury the Snowboarding; In S3, Ury won MarioKart and Cowie the Snowboarding; In S4 Cowie and Ury won the MarioKart and Snowboarding respectively; and in S5/S6, Rickarton won the MarioKart and Cowie the Snowboarding. Clearly, Cowie and Ury are the Champion Wii players! In the Inter-House Football, Cowie won 6 points in the S1 Competition; Cowie and Ury shared top place in S2; S3 saw Dunnottar at the top; S4 was won by Rickarton; and in S5/S6 top place was shared by Cowie and Rickarton. Cowie is still in top place on the Points Board after the addition of the points.

Just before the holidays, the film at the Film Club was “Donnie Darko,” a surreal tale of a troubled teen who is interested in time travel and who keeps seeing a strange figure in a rabbit costume. This film had a Certificate 15 and was therefore only open to those who were aged 15 or over. Teacher in charge of the Film Club is Mr Steven Dornan, who teaches English.

On Thursday evening of next week, a number of Academy pupils are involved in “Stonehaven Has Got Talent” – a charity concert organised by Stonehaven Rotary Club at the Town Hall. The concert is in aid of Stonehaven Heated Open Air Pool and starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from the Academy, from rotary club members and at the door on the night – price £6 for adults and £4 concessions.

The Parent Council is holding its AGM in the Staff Common Room at the Academy on Tuesday of next week (9 November) at 7pm. All parents/carers are invited to attend.

Finally, congratulations to Principal Teacher of Art, Ms Jenni Nicholson, who achieved success when competing at the recent World Cycling Masters event in Portugal. She achieved a magnificent 2 Gold Medals – in the individual pursuit and the time trials events. This is a superb performance and a reward for all the hours of training in the weeks and months leading up to the competition.