Parents 

3rd November 2017

In advance of 31st October, I took the opportunity to discuss the origins of Halloween in assembly on Monday morning. Whilst the tradition dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, over the centuries different countries have placed a more gentle and positive emphasis on this time of year. I encouraged the older pupils to consider themselves as detectives looking for the reasons behind the superstitions that surround Halloween, and drew their attention to how dark, cold winters led to food shortage, increased risk of illness, and an accelerated death rate in a time before medicine had been developed. I also highlighted that there are many who disapprove of Halloween because of its pagan origins. There are others, particularly in Europe and in France, who have placed a positive spin at this time of year, by celebrating All Saints’ Day, with the added bonus of a church-sanctioned holiday. Some traditions highlight how young ladies might be able to identify their future husbands, which no doubt sowed a few seeds amongst the older members of the school community.
 
The assembly pre-empted Mrs Rawson and her boarding team’s Halloween party that was so enjoyed by so many boarders on Tuesday evening. There was also much fun had in Kindergarten too, as they ran their own appropriately-diluted version of Halloween games.
 

For many, Tuesday was demanding in other ways, as our lecture finalists took to the stage in an attempt to impress a large audience and Downe House’s Head of English, Mrs Jo Harrington. Mrs Harrington made the journey from Berkshire to come and judge this year’s competition, and she commented on the high standard across the 15 finalists. Congratulations to Josh, who won the Junior Competition, and Hannah F, who won the Senior Competition. lecture

Junior Competition: Josh - What Should I Do My Lecture On?, Freya M - Shackleton And His Animals, Tallulah - My Big Bubble Experiment.  Senior Competition: Hannah F - Mary Berry, Geordie - Sir David Attenborough, Lucy W - Adoption


Dandylions rugby

Wednesday saw a busy fixture programme unfold, including a 32-14 Dandylion rugby victory against the WOSPS at Craigclowan. Huge congratulations to William M, Will, Tommy, Jamie, and William T for playing their part in a sound victory, and to Will and Tommy for being selected for the Scottish Prep Schools Select XV starting line-up and to William T and Jamie for gaining a place in the Scottish Prep School squad.  Please see the school website for other match reports.
 
Kindergarten hosted a coffee morning on Thursday morning to welcome parents, and in conjunction with Mrs Wright and Mrs Rawson, the gathering took place in the Friends’ Common Room in New Buccleuch House. Thank you to all those who attended the coffee morning.
 
This morning, Form 7 treated us to a fantastic assembly on the story of Nelson Mandela, and how his resilience ended up seeing him as President of South Africa and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Mrs Hardie and pupils commented on Mandela’s refusal to feel bitter, despite having been imprisoned unjustly for a third of his life. Form 7’s assembly was interesting and uplifting: much like the great man himself.
I then took the opportunity to congratulate our Dandylions, and made comment of St. Mary’s first two “millionaires” (more of that shortly). Ahead of next week, I would like to draw your attention to parents’ evenings, the school Remembrance Service next Friday, and the Melrose Town Parade and Remembrance Service next Sunday, to which all are welcome. I would also like to wish our U11 7s squad good luck in the rugby tournament at Cargilfield on Saturday, and our U13 7s squad good luck ahead of Ardvreck 7s on Sunday.
 
Finally, who wants to be a millionaire? Answer: Eliza and Geordie. They are our first pupils to read a million words through the Accelerated Reader Scheme. Both are to be the proud recipients of generous book tokens, which I will present to them in assembly on Monday. Huge congratulations to Eliza and Geordie for this exceptional and impressive feat achieved in just half a term. Quite remarkable!
 
Have a restful weekend.
 
HM
 


Jules Birdsall, 03/11/2017