Those of you who came along to the IAPS Athletics Championships at Fettes College last week, will have shared our sense of pride in all 41 of our athletes who took part.  We estimate that St. Mary’s more often than not enters the largest guest team and we are very proud to do so.  Mrs Bell believes strongly in allowing our most capable athletes to compete on this stage, whether a podium finish beckons or not, and I applaud her for that approach.

It so happens that podium finishes for some did come along, despite the stiff competition on display.  5 bronze, 15 silver and 8 gold medals were won, including a first ever St. Mary’s win in the U14 Girls’ relay.  I could single out two or three pupils for special mention, but as I said in assembly on Monday, there were performances from non-podium finishers that gave us just as much pride as our outstanding medal winners.  Having said that, Eliza M broke the Open Girls’ 400m record in a time of 67.5 seconds and Molly S won golds in Senior Girls’ 100m and 200m as well as leading the relay team to victory.

In assembly on Monday, I was also able to pay tribute to Lara Y, Angus W, Sholto and Imo, who had accompanied Miss Wood to the National Gallery Awards ceremony in Edinburgh.  Our four pupils were amongst 50 entrants invited to attend this ceremony amongst 8600 entrants in total.  Quite a representation from a wee prep school in the Borders, I am sure you will agree.  And in keeping with the principle of ‘punching above our weight’, I then took the opportunity to heap praise on to our nineteen Form 8 pupils who had all excelled themselves in their Common Entrance performances. 
This was the first assembly they had attended since returning after half-term.
Whilst we convened in The Morrison Hall, the rain was bouncing off the roof, so it was a very relieved Form 3 and Form 4 when the decision was made to postpone their visit to Spottiswood. 
This meant that there was a mass exodus of the Middle School on Tuesday as Form 5 headed for a Wild Outdoors overnight adventure at Thirlestane and Forms 3 and 4 embarked on Spottiswood departure ‘take 2’ .  All three form groups came back bleary eyed, filthy, smelling of campfire smoke, but having had a most exhilarating time.  Thanks to all St. Mary’s staff involved and to Wild Outdoors owners Stefan and Esmee. 

Fixtures did manage to take place on Wednesday and the sun actually came out, and has been an ever present during daylight hours, since!  A heatwave, dare I suggest?

Traditionally, Thursday of the penultimate week has a packed programme.  The swimming gala took place at Galashiels Swimming Pool and staff ran the programme like clockwork. 
There were some breath taking individual performances, not least from Champion Swimmer Emma SW who broke the seniors backstroke record and she led Scott to a record breaking senior relay time.

The afternoon’s Summer Concert provided two hours of excellent musical entertainment, with some ‘interesting’ Form 8 medley input.  Congratulations to Miss McRae, Mrs Davies and the extensive team of peripatetic music tutors, particularly Christine Smith and Chris Day who played their part in supporting several pieces during the afternoon.  As we have rather complacently come to expect, the pupils performed admirably and left the audience proud, happy and energised.
Talking of being proud, happy and energised, that is exactly how this morning’s audience felt after watching the Kindergarten’s annual assembly.  There was not even standing room left in the packed Morrison Hall as we were treated to a Kindergarten rendition of ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ and then individual personal successes relayed over a microphone to the packed hall.  The finale consisted of dancing (very much of the style of the Headmaster) and singing of ‘This is Me’ from The Greatest Showman.  Mrs Berni, Miss Linda, Miss Leslie, the Head Boy and Head Girl all played their part in bringing this performance to the stage.  Well done to them, Miss Gillian, and Miss Ann-Marie for yearlong input that gave so many the confidence to take to the stage, perform so well and be so calm and composed in front of so many.  Truly remarkable!
As I write, Pre-Prep have headed off to Harestanes and the weather is gorgeous.  Meanwhile, the wonderful team that is the Friends of St. Mary’s led by Francis Little who is the chief organiser of the Summer Fair, are scurrying around preparing the fun packed stalls that await the penny laden pupils this afternoon.  We are all extremely grateful to The Friends of St. Mary’s for the huge amount of time and effort they put in to this and the several other fund raising endeavours throughout the year. No group deserves sunshine more than this one.
Enjoy your weekend.                                                 

Jules Birdsall, 28/06/2019

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