Writefest Creative writing

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This week has, of course, been dominated by preparation and participation in our annual sponsored walk.

Students patiently sat through their assemblies this week receiving instruction from Mr Banfield about the event and responded in a very positive manner. Over 85% of the school participated in the event which is a fantastic achievement.

The shortened distance this year, due to Forestry Commission work, made for a shorter event with no students appearing fatigued by the end. We even had one student who part walked, part wheel-chaired the route and was still smiling at the end. As I have previously mentioned CRANES is our chosen charity this year and we were very glad to welcome Gladys Sangster from the charity to see the students leaving school and to hand out medals at the end. It was also great to have staff from Nexen Petroleum UK Ltc, our Business Partner, participating in the event and raising sponsorship. We are also very grateful to them for their financial help towards the buses and medals which students received on completion.

Needless to say the sponsored walk was but one event, if a slightly major one, in another busy week at Mackie. On Thursday, September 12, 57 students participated in the South Aberdeenshire Secondary Schools Association Sports Championships. This involved eight schools in events such as basketball, badminton and football for all. We won four of the events – basketball, netball, badminton and girls football – and came a close runner up in hockey. Due to this great performance we won the competition overall for a third year running. Thanks to the PE team for all their organisation with this event. In addition to this our S1/S2 boys rugby team were competing in the Grampian Rugby Festival on Wednesday and won two of their games, against Ellon and Mearns whilst having a thrilling draw against Huntly. Sarah Kelly in S3, who represented the East of Scotland at rugby on September 8. This is a great achievement and we are very proud of her.

Next week I will be filling you in on how the Mock Referendum went at Mackie Academy. However one of our students, Gregor Ironside, has been picked as one of 50 young people across Scotland who will make up “Generation 2014” – a landmark BBC Scotland project which is following a group of young people through to 2014, the Commonwealth Games and the Independence Referendum. He will be contributing to BBC output on radio, television and online which is going to be a fantastic experience for not only Gregor but all the other students. We wish him all the best with this and it is sure to be of great benefit to him in the future.

Another young man in S2, Aaron Knight, has been involved in a project called “Wartime Memories”. Aberdeen City Council in association with The Saint Fittick Arts Festival engaged with youngsters from the Station House Media Unit and veterans from the Gordon Highlanders Museum to create a World War Two oral history documentary. This included stories from men, women and war babies with the idea being that the young people conducting the interview were around the same age as those who were involved in the conflict. This was then screened in Aberdeen for people to come and see.

Senior students attended the Writefest 2013 Creative Writing workshops this week at the University of Aberdeen. The day involved leading experts in the field such as John Binnie, Anita Govan and Anne Downie. Our librarian, Rosie Dredge, was full of praise for what was achieved on the day. It is another example of the excellent experiences our students get outside of school.

Continuing on from last week our S1 student council met for the first time last week. They were incredibly enthusiastic and had some great feedback, especially on how we can improve things!! This is going to work hand in hand with the Rights Respecting Schools Award and should ensure that by next year we have things sorted for our new S1 intake.

We continue to receive great support from parents and members of public around our students both in relation to uniform but also general behaviour. We know there is work to do around engaging our students with issues such as litter and being responsible for their local environment.