What a start to term!

The plaudits have been flowing into my email box this week and it is clear that a lot of our students have been very busy over the October break in lots of different activities in and around the local area and wider afield.

Before we celebrate the achievements of individual students I would like to share with you the news that Mackie Academy has achieved the recognition of commitment for UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Award. This is a fantastic step in the right direction towards gaining the full award.

In line with the ethos of what a Rights Respecting School is all about we have senior representation on the Youth Commission through Maya Vertigans and Ben Smart who are S4 and S5 students respectively.

They meet regularly with other students from Kemnay, Ellon, Alford, Aboyne and Banchory Academies as well as Banff and Buchan College. Currently they are working on tactics to cut bullying in schools and are due to report back to Aberdeenshire Education Committee in March next year.

As part of the S6 Personal and Social Education (PSE) programme, Belinda Babin and Mike Hopkins from the childrens cancer charity, CLIC Sargent, spoke with our students this week. Belinda gave a very interesting presentation on their work and an idea of the emotional, practical and financial support that the charity provide through social workers, nurses and play specialists, some of whom are based in the Royal Aberdeen Childrens Hospital. Former Mackie Academy student Mike Hopkins then talked about the New Year’s Day Dip which takes place in Stonehaven Harbour.

Coming up for its sixth anniversary Mike, who is their ‘lead dipper’, encouraged the students to give it a go as he is aiming to break the 100 dippers barrier this time round and improve on the £20,000 raised last time.

We had our first subject evening of the year for S1 on Tuesday, October 29. Attendance was very good and, as part of our continous improvement drive, parents and carers were asked to respond to a short questionnaire about their child’s experiences at Mackie Academy so far. The aim of this is to allow us to receive detailed feedback to work on with staff which we can then review through a further questionnaire later in the year.

We have also been contacted by Education Scotland this week regarding the work our Young Engineers group, led by Alan Craig, are involved in around developing a flood alert system for rivers. The aim is to look at the work that the group have been involved in and it may be used as a case study to share with other schools in local authorities across Scotland as an example of good practice.

Finally, over the weekend I received an email from our local councillor, Mr Christie, about the success of our Mock Trial team that he had witnessed in Aberdeen. Thanks must also go to Mrs Jennifer Macdonald who accompanied the team to the event. According to all they performed to a high standard and were a real credit to the school. On getting to the competition it was clear that due to shortages from other schools and in order to complete the “rounds” of competition more teams were required. Mackie Academy students stepped into the breach, took on roles they were not necessarily prepared for (seeing it as “good practice) and therefore allowed all other teams to compete as expected. They went on to win not only those rounds but the competition overall and now proceed to the next stage in Glasgow on September 16 2014. It will no doubt be tougher but we wish the team all the best. Thanks must go to Ms Swanson for all her work with the team as well.

Member of staff, Jenni Nicholson, won silver at the World Cycling Masters Track Championships in the 2000 metres individual pursuit. Art and Design teacher won a gold medal winner at the Scottish Track Championship held at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Not be outdone our students have also been performing at exceptionally high levels. Katrina Carr, S4 and Cowie House, won a silver medal at the Taekwon-Do World Championship, fighting against a 17 year old in the final with only one point in it at the end.

Mrs Stalker, Katrina’s Guidance Teacher is exceptionally proud of her as are we all here at Mackie Academy.

Kelsey Stewart, S5 and Ury House, has been successful in gaining a place in the Scottish Athletics Youth Development Squad which is another outstanding achievement for her and in the North-East Junior Badminton Singles League Mackie Academy continues to have outstanding success.

In every single category Mackie students are in the top three with Erin Patterson, Jacob Reynolds and Laura Townsend topping their groups.

What that means is that, overall, Mackie Academy won the league by a very comfortable margin. Congratulations to all the team members on this success.