6th December 2019

Which of the fifty US states has the highest percentage of people who walk to work?  The answer might surprise you, as it reflects a positive lifestyle in a challenging environment. (Answer at the end of this newsletter).
It is always important to ‘soak up’ the kindness and positivity that so often goes unnoticed whilst we endure the cold and shorter daylight hours at this time of year. 
On Monday morning, I was proud to draw attention to Miss Wood’s brainwave, to be facilitated by the ever industrious Mrs Runciman and her Middle School team of staff and pupils.  Last year’s Form 4 entered and won an RSPCA themed art competition.  Their prize was a £50 voucher for Scotmid fruit.  It was decided to make smoothies and fruit kebabs to sell, with financial proceeds going towards a Borders food bank.
I write this note on Friday morning following a rather energetic smoothie and fruit kebab ‘market’ that took place in the Sanderson Building on Thursday afternoon.  It is too early to tell whether the milk spillages are going to take their toll, but the £270 raised outweighs any inconveniences that were or will yet be, part of such a worthwhile process.
Also in Monday morning’s assembly, Form 8 took part in a short exercise to demonstrate the power of thinking positively.  This practical activity involving resistance put on the outstretched arm of someone thinking of sad things, and then again whilst thinking of things that make them happy, provided solid evidence of the point being made.
The week has been busy with Form 7 parents hearing of Mrs Hardie’s plans for their summer excursions, Form 8 parents receiving updates on their son’s or daughter’s progress, and a full fixtures programme on Wednesday.
By Thursday, the pace was intensifying (as if that was possible), and pre-prep headed off to Priorwood Court to emit, and receive in return, the most wonderful wave of positivity coming from their Carol singing exploits.  The afore mentioned ‘Smoothie Market’ took place, before a Form 4, 5 and select Form 8 choir headed off to Bowden Church to perform an evening Christmas themed concert alongside Abbey Brass.  This concert was in aid of two worthy causes; The Chinamwali Church, Malawi and the Galashiels Street Pastors. £419.18 was raised.

Huge credit is heaped upon all who took part, but particularly our soloists who did an amazing job of entertaining the packed congregation for two whole hours.  At this time of year, that is quite an achievement, but even more impressive is that we have had full attendance from all involved, today at school.  That may well have something to do with the fabulous FOSM Winter Wonderland about to unfold as I write this update.
This morning, our much loved Gappies; Will and Lily put on a most entertaining assembly.  The theme of Australian history complemented by the odd Scottish history question, led six staff to be nominated as participants.  The two lowest scoring participants had to dress as convicts for the rest of the day, and many will have seen Mr Rooney and Mr Inwood sporting outfits similar to that used by George Cluny in the film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?’  No prizes for guessing who the bottom two in the history exam were!
Before I conclude this week’s report, I would like to congratulate Freyja in Form 8 for receiving her Sports Scholarship to Sedbergh.  I would also like to offer our sincere thanks to the Friends of St. Mary’s for their tireless endeavours in organising and running the Winter Wonderland celebrations.  I finish by wishing Mrs Rawson, Will and Lily and all the boarding team and boarders a happy ‘Gaps’ Surprise’ this evening.  I am not allowed to divulge the activity planned but I am sure all those involved will have a wonderful evening.  Don’t be late when collecting tomorrow morning!
Have a restful weekend when it comes.



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