Parents 

2nd December 2016

I had the pleasure of being invited to watch Alnwick Rugby Club vs Malton and Norton Rugby Club play in Northumberland last weekend. Mrs Harvey and I were guests of Hugh and Fi Burn, proud parents of Hamish, who was playing for Alnwick, and Fergus, who is a legendary FP of St. Mary’s. I spoke in Assembly of what a pleasure it was to see some of my former pupils from Malton High School playing for Malton and Norton, a club I played for myself when I taught in North Yorkshire. I was feeling rather elderly, until I spotted a former team mate of mine still playing for the side in his early 40s! This particular chap epitomises resilience, as 16 years ago, as I left the club, he was diagnosed with an incurable illness. With more than a small slice of luck, advances in medical technology, and his positive and determined mindset, Ed Gwillam was given a clean bill of health two years ago, and he is back playing a sport in which he is highly capable and that he loves as much as life itself. The support he has received over the years from the community-centred rugby club is as fine an example of togetherness as one will find.
 
I then went on to remind all pupils, young and old, that it is at this time of year that staff of all descriptions here at school go out of their way to provide extra activities and enjoyment outside the normal curriculum and routine. It is therefore imperative that whether in or out of school, all pupils remember their manners, recognise the extra effort being made, and express their gratitude appropriately.
 
Squad hockey matches took place on Monday afternoon in a surprisingly milder climate than we experienced the week before.
 
Wednesday’s fixtures also went ahead, with some super prep school matches at Craigclowan, and here at St. Mary’s. Please see the website for individual team reports. 
 
Meetings between parents and teachers of pupils in Forms 7 and 8 have taken place this week, and we hope that all parents involved have found the update on their children’s progress informative and constructive. While some staff were meeting with Form 8 parents last night, Miss McRae, Mrs Harvey and Miss Renwick escorted the junior choir to a concert at Ormiston House in aid of the ‘Lavender Touch’ charity. Miss McRae was proud to receive the gratitude of the organisation, who took time to praise the junior choir for entertaining the gathering so wonderfully.
 
This morning, Form 3 provided an informative and fascinating assembly on “sleep”.  We learned that the position we adopt when sleeping may point to certain personality traits, and whilst we only burn 50 calories when asleep, scientists are yet fully to establish why sleep and rest are so important to different living things. Thank you to Mrs Wright and Form 3 for what was a most awakening performance!
 
I then had the pleasure of awarding Archie Ma with trophies and medals for winning the title of Gala ASC Champion Swimmer. Archie is reluctant to celebrate his swimming achievements, but it was only right and proper that he received a round of applause for his recent success.
 
I then congratulated Louisa F for gaining a distinction in her recent Grade 1 acoustic guitar exam. I also had the pleasure of awarding a book token to Bee S for her first five book reviews, which included five outstanding illustrations. Ms Wood was right to be smiling in anticipation as I made reference to Bee’s very obvious artistic talent.
 
Finally, I concluded Assembly by congratulating Form 5 on finishing top in the online maths competition organised by Sumdog. Twenty nine Border schools classes, including high schools, had entered this competition, and in total 67,106 questions had been answered. Individually, St. Mary’s pupils finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Congratulations go to all of Form 5 and in particular go to Archie J, Elsa and Mitchell for topping the table: no mean feat amongst such tough competition.
 
I write ahead of this afternoon’s Winter Wonderland, Carol Singing and Tree Lighting, all superbly organised by the Friends of St. Mary’s. We are also extremely grateful for the Christmas tree donated by the Friends, which stands proudly at the front of school.
This evening the boarding house will be busy as Emily and Matt, along with several duty staff, host our regular boarders for their “GAP Surprise” evening. No doubt glucose will play a part in the proceedings, so I shall dig out my ear plugs!
 
With a week and a half to go until the end of term, I would ask that you ensure your children all stick to a sensible bedtime routine, the message of which has been very clearly emphasised by Form 3. Enjoy your weekend