Fond farewell to Mackie stalwarts

I write my final column of the year after having attended our summer concert at school this evening.

Sunday, 5th July 2015, 7:00 am
Mackie Academy sports day javelin.
Mackie Academy sports day javelin.

It was a fantastic celebration of all things musical at our school including junior and senior choirs, concert band, orchestra, guitar ensemble and samba band to name but a few.

However what made the evening special was that it was a celebration of Mr Andrew Cheyne’s illustrious 28 year career here at Mackie Academy which has spanned a significant number of years.

We now have to start the search for a replacement to compere our concerts which is a big pair of shoes to fill given Mr Cheyne’s dry sense of humour!

Mackie Academy sports day runner

In addition to this Jenni Nicolson was also present as part of the Expressive Arts team and the work of the Art and Design team was recognised in a great display in our Front Reception area.

Jenni has been a key member of the team at Mackie for a long time – 38 years - and will be missed in her retirement from post here. However, we have no doubt that Jenni will find plenty to fill her time with being a top class cyclist to name but one of her many talents. Jenni and Andrew are not alone this summer whereby Mackie Academy loses over 200 years of service with a number of key retirements.

Therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to those staff who leave us this summer.

Philippa Stevens retires from our Support for Learning team after a number of years of service in the Stonehaven network.

In recent years Philippa has done an enormous amount of work in streamlining and ensuring robust evidenced records for students’ assessment arrangements for SQA.

With a calm efficient manner and meticulous attention to detail, she ensures that everything on the day and in the build-up enables the students to perform to their best.

Philippa has very much been the ‘right hand woman’ for the department for many years, stepping up on a number of occasions, when the previous principal teacher was absent with illness, to support the team.

She has an excellent working relationship with both colleagues and students throughout the school and will be sorely missed.

Joan Macdonald has worked as a teacher of Business Education at Mackie Academy for 27 years.

During this time she has made a significant contribution to the development of the Business Education curriculum which has included courses in Business Management, Administration, and Secretarial Studies.

Aside from her contribution to the school curriculum she has also made significant contribution to the national Business Education picture with her work for the SQA which has included national marking. Furthermore, she has played an important role for the school in her capacity as a Guidance teacher during her time here at Mackie Academy.Janice Stalker is Principal

Teacher of Guidance in charge of Cowie House at Mackie Academy. Prior to this she taught in the PE department. Health and fitness have always loomed large in Janice’s career and it is for this that she is fondly remembered by many – staff and pupils – at Mackie Academy.

It even resulted in her running the London Marathon one year which is a major achievement in itself. A strong team player Janice has participated in and ran many school trips both in the UK and abroad.

She was the inaugural trip leader for the residential trip to Paris which became a mainstay of the Activities Days programme for many years. Janice was also a key member of the Sponsored Walk Team at Mackie Academy which, over the years has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for local charities.

In recent years she has been a key part of the organisation of Prize Giving, ensuring that everything goes like clockwork on the night!

As a Guidance teacher Janice has had a hugely positive influence on a generation of young people and their families which is a fantastic legacy to leave.

Also leaving us from the team is Lesley Cruickshank who has led Swanley House. As a Guidance team member Lesley has built up productive partnerships with parents, pupils and the local community which have benefited many at Mackie Academy.

Alongside fellow members of her team who have retired either at the same time or recently Lesley’s retirement will result in the loss of a wealth of experience from the Guidance team which will be difficult to replace. However, we are very glad to say that we have recently made some excellent appointments which means we are ready to go at the start of the new academic year in August 2015.

We also lose Mrs Eileen Oatey and Mr Daniel Connolly this summer from the Science and Technologies teams respectively. Both have served their teams and the pupils of Mackie Academy over a number of years and we wish all of our retirees the best for the future.

Last week saw the school celebrate Sports Day. Despite a last minute decision to go ahead (don’t you love the uncertainty of the Scottish weather!) an absolutely outstanding day was had by all.

This year we had a full day of sports with the morning being taken up by the competitive track and field events whilst “retro” sports went on for those who still wanted to perfect their two legged race skills.

Our PTA ran a very succcesful burger and hotdog stall and a big thank you to the Stonehaven Lions for use of the barbecues.

In the afternoon our community sports partners were on hand to offer experiences to our pupils whilst football and pin the flag led to brilliant team participation by all.

Winners on the day were Ury House with only a few points between the top three teams.

Tied into this was our re-enactment of Ury Estate’s Captain Barclay’s 1000 miles in a 1000 hours with all our pupils taking part in a walk around Ury Estate.

A massive thank you goes to Ury Estate for their kind donation to Mackie Academy which will be used to buy sportswear and equipment to aid our young people represent the school in the ever growing sporting fixtures list that we participate in.

In addition to the success of Sports Day we had some great individual successes as we approach the end of term. Zander Begg, S4 Cowie, has been selected for the Scottish Caledonia U16 Rugby team.

Selection started with close to 100 young men which is now down to 25 from a region ranging from Caithness to Stirling. A great achievement.

Georgia Gray, Dunnottar, has been training with the U15 Scotland Basketball squad in advance of their training camp in Girona, Spain in late August 2015. Again, a fantastic level of achievement from this young lady. Ailsa Beck, S5, has been selected to compete at this year’s Sainbury’s 2015 School Games in Manchester.

Ailsa has been selected for the North and West Scottish Girls team. These games take place in September 2015 and Ailsa will be participating in the swimming events. We wish her all the best. At the Scottish Schools athletics school competition earlier in June Kelsey Stewart, Ury, won the 400m final and Claire Stewart ran a personal best in the 1500m heat to reach the final where she finished 7th.

Again, two sterling performances which shows what can be achieved with a high level of commitment.

Finally, Patrick Young continues to go from strength to strength in his chosen sport of tennis.

He recently took part in the HSBC Road to Wimbledon tournament at Stirling University where he came first in Scotland and earned the right to be one of only two Scottish players in a U14 tournament played at Wimbledon during the last week of the summer holidays.

Finally, last week some of female pupils had the opportunity to take part in a pilot work experience programme entitled “Women in the Built Environment”.

An opportunity to spend time with company leaders in the fields of construction and architecture my day was made by the feedback we received which said,

“May I add how absolutely delightful your pupils are, their interest and attention as well as excellent behaviour have been terrific.”

As a Head Teacher I can ask for no more than this. My second year at Mackie Academy has been as fulfilling as the first one and a huge part of this is down to the fantastic pupils we teach on a day by day basis as well as the team of staff and parents who support the school wholeheartedly.

Thank you and enjoy the summer break – we will see you again when we return in August.