Parents 

7th February 2020

I had a mind to get Scotland rugby captain Stuart Hogg to come to assembly on Monday morning, but he might have just dropped the telephone when I tried to call!  However, it was a pleasure welcoming Melrose Rugby Development Officer, Cairan Hogg and Southern Knights semi-professional player and Welsh 7s internationalist, Joe Jenkins to St. Mary’s to tell us a little bit about themselves and their roles.

Cairan has close links to the school through his refereeing and coaching activities and he was very gracious in allowing Joe to take the stage for most of the presentation.  The much loved and never forgotten Mr Mill embodied humility when playing elite sport for Melrose RFC and Scotland 7s, and Joe Jenkins came across as being of a similar mind set.  We heard a little bit about his background and playing career, but perhaps most fascinating is the fact that he is vegetarian.  Given the high protein intake required to support the necessary training demands, best witnessed when sitting at lunch with Mr Inwood and Mr Brown, it was interesting to hear how Joe supplements his diet with chickpeas and other protein rich non-meat products.
 
We are extremely grateful to both Cairan and Joe for coming in to tell us a little bit about how things are progressing at the Greenyards.  Our Pre Prep stars of the week also had the privilege of being presented their certificates by Joe, and they did well to overcome being too star struck when thanking him politely.

Our own Middle School stars have done Miss McRae proud by delivering two first class performances of Shakespeare Rocks.  The rehearsals have been held together by Miss McRae’s tireless dedication, helped in no small measure by the considerable talent among the cast.  As is often the case, some of our less sure, slightly withdrawn characters in ‘real life’ suddenly shine when taking on a different persona on stage.  Truly remarkable!
 
It is vital to mention that although Miss McRae is very much in charge of direction, other staff and our parent volunteers delivering costumes, props and the behind the scenes support along with teaching the scripts is as strong as the school has known.  We are all extremely grateful to these parent helpers and they take great credit for what has proved to be a fantastic Middle School production. 

The majority of the credit however, must go to our Middle School cast.  They have exceeded expectations and demonstrated what a glut of talent exists in the school.  Lord and Lady Sanderson attended last night’s final performance, both of whom have featured prominently in amateur dramatics over many decades.  It was they who drew my attention to just how many talented stage performers we have.  It is always a great pleasure welcoming the Sandersons to Abbey Park.  They are such dedicated supporters of the school.

We have topped off a most celebratory week with something of a sobering ‘reset’.  Mrs Amy Earnshaw works for charity organisation Classrooms for Malawi and she came in to give an address to the school about the work the charity does.  This included a power point presentation, a short video and a Q&A with the school.  We learned of how climate change is affecting the fourth poorest country in the world, and of the almost impossible conditions in which any form of education struggles to be delivered. 

However, it was extremely uplifting to hear that the organisation, with the help of many Scottish schools, have built 207 classrooms for the children of Malawi and of the exchanges and links being facilitated to give hope, as well as material and financial support.
 
Before I had left the assembly hall, I was tapped on the shoulder by three different members of staff all encouraging me to have St. Mary’s play its part.  I think Mrs Earnshaw’s presentation has had quite an impact. 
 
I will close out with a number of congratulations to the following people;

  • Oliver L for gaining a Sports Scholarship to Loretto.
  • John T for gaining an All-Rounders Scholarship to Merchiston.
  • Kiki, Will, Freyja, Elena, Daisy and Iona for being selected for the Thistles Netball Squad.
  • Anna Barr for being selected to represent Scotland at U13 level in Tetrathlon down at Stoke Mandeville .
  • Miss Simpson (25th woman out of 636) and Mr Millar for doing so creditably in the Edinburgh 5K race up and down Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh last weekend.
  • The nine staff who attended First Aid training in school on Tuesday evening all passed the necessary standard after the three hour inset. 

Mrs Hardie has announced she will be retiring at the end of this academic year.  Over the past 21 years she has served the school first as a governor, then a leader of the learning support department and finally as a member of the school management team.  We have had extremely high calibre interest in the role of Head of Learning Support and we aim to appoint Mrs Hardie’s successor by the end of term.
 
Have a very enjoyable half-term holiday.
HM
 

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