A busy time for pupils...

It is hard to believe that we are more than half way through the month of May and the return of our senior students and the start of our new timetable is imminent. However, in between, we have a couple of very busy weeks coming up with Activities Days, Induction for our new S4 and S5 students as well as Sports Day and our annual swimming gala!

As always the achievements of our staff and students keep on rolling in. Our Eco-Schools group have just achieved their Silver Award as part of the Keep Scotland Beautiful Charity. This is a fantastic reflection of the time and effort put in by the students who make up this group and the staff who give up their time – namely Dr. Mustard, Ms Gray and Ms Birrell. The next step is for us to move onto the prestigious Green Flag Award.

In addition to this the group have been successful in gaining a grant from Awards for All Scotland which is going to be used to redevelop the quad area at Mackie Academy into a sensory garden and outdoor classroom. This is to complement the work completed earlier this year on our seat of learning. We have the next year to complete this work and look forward to welcoming members of our community to see the finished work.

As an aside, our work is currently being put on hold by the presence of our oystercatcher and her chicks which has taken up residence again in the corner of our quad. It is lovely to see their return and our students have been great in allowing the chicks to thrive.

This year Katie Bateman and Tami Stevenson submitted an entry to the Speaker’s School Council Awards. While our students did not win one of the awards they were commended for their entry and will receive a certificate. Another group of students have been involved with our colleagues from Community, Learning and Development (CLD) to put together internet safety presentations for primary school students. The S1 students gave up their lunchtimes every Tuesday from December to May to get the work done and have now been visiting the primary schools where they have presented to 200 Primary 6 and 7 students on this topic. So far Arduthie, Mill O Forrest, Bervie and Gourdon Primaries have had this experience with more to follow. Feedback has been positive with young people reporting that they have learned more about how to keep safe on social media and whilst using apps on their computers at home. For the peer educators, our S1 students, they have reported a greater self-confidence and the development of their interpersonal skills. Thanks to Susan Millar, community learning worker, and Heather Leslie, social work, for their input to this project.

Our Mearns FM Radio project continues to gather momentum under the guidance of Mr Alan Craig here at Mackie. A group of S2-S5 students regularly keep it on the air at lunchtime so it can be enjoyed by many. As a result of this Mearns FM are going to be rewarding our young people for their efforts and hopefully you will see this soon in the Mearns Leader.

Sporting achievements continue to amass as we enter the busy summer season. You may remember that I told you about some recent sporting success in tennis. Well, the hard work continues to pay off for the team from Stonehaven who won the U14 County Cup Tennis for the North of Scotland this month. The team then progressed onto the national phase of the competition where they came third, beating Kent in the deciding match. Bronze medallists out of 44 British counties is not a bad position to find yourselves in. It is great to see Mackie Academy students taking such a pivotal role within this very successful team.

On another sporting front, Sam Locke in S4 continues to go from strength to strength with his golfing career. In April, Sam participated in the U16 Quadrangular as one of eight representatives from Scotland against teams from Ireland, Wales and Holland. He was the highest scoring member of his team and went on from this success to play in a Scottish Junior event in Lossiemouth at U18 Level. There he finished second, missing first place by one shot!! As a result of his high level of performance Sam is a busy young man over the summer months. He is going to be playing in the U18 Scottish Area Team Championships in early June and then moves onto a match where he is representing the Scottish Golf Union against a team from the USA. This is to showcase the best young golfing talent in Scotland. Finally, Sam is going to be one of two U18 players to represent Scotland at the International Junior Masters in New York State, USA, in late June. What an amazing set of achievements and we wish him all the best in his endeavours.

Finally, not to be outdone Miss Kirsty Stevenson, a member of Health Faculty, is off to Rwanda this summer as part of the Global Learning Partnership 2014. Along with other teachers from Aberdeenshire and further afield she is spending a significant proportion of her summer break out there learning and sharing best practice about education. She is looking to fundraise to take key items out with her as well as being able to develop resources which we will be using here.