Countdown to Easter

The end of term draws close and we are all working hard to make sure that our senior students are well prepared for their examinations which start very soon after our return from the Easter break.

While the press around the new examinations is not always helpful I am very proud of the commitment that both staff and students are putting in to ensure that everyone does as well as they possibly can.

This week has seen our S6 students take their last house assemblies – hard to believe we are at that stage of the year already. At the same time the house competitions are hotting up as they enter their final stages. Dunnottar House is currently in the lead by one point from Rickarton. There have been some fantastic competitions of late, not least the portraits of the Guidance staff!! In addition to this I have been taking assemblies to feedback to students on our recent Quality Improvement visit and to inform students of the decisions that have been made around uniform for 2014-15. This information will soon be going out to parents and carers so that everyone knows what is expected for the new academic year.

We have some great ideas which we are looking to put in place for August 2014 so that when anyone comes into Mackie Academy they can clearly see what we are all about. Student work will be displayed alongside the achievements that students have gained both in and outside of school. Prospective parents of our new S1 students have been given the opportunity to come and see the school in action on Thursday, April 24. Our current S1 students will be tour guides for the day and we look forward to welcoming as many parents and carers as possible.

Kelsey Stewart, S5, was confirmed this week as one of the bearers for the Commonwealth Baton when it comes to Stonehaven on June 29. We are very proud to have a representative of Mackie Academy as part of this great occasion. A member of staff, Mrs Elaine Pardoe, has also been chosen to carry the baton in Angus. She was nominated owing to her voluntary service in the local community through her work with a local jogging group and fundraising, through running marathons, for a small local charity. We wish Kelsey and Elaine all the best for their 200m of glory.

Our S1 students have surpassed themselves in the Litter Poster competition run by the Eco Group in conjunction with the Stonehaven Horizon Group. It was a close call but the winner is Heather Nisbeth in S1. Heather’s poster will now be produced and displayed in local shops.

As the referendum draws closer our student body is making the most of the opportunities available to them to make sure that if they have a vote they make an informed decision about it. This week a group, accompanied by Ms Swanson, attended the Liberal Democrats conference in Aberdeen. All schools were invited on Friday to attend and we were only one of two schools there. A great experience for all.

Remaining in the political arena our Health and Wellbeing Young Leaders were presenting this week to Aberdeenshire Council at Woodhill House. Mr Kenny accompanied the students and was very impressed with the presentation skills both from our students and those from other schools who made up the team. Thanks must also go to Ms O’Reilly who has worked with the team throughout the year. Sophie Angus, Joanna Bell, Carrie Tench, Emily Bruce, Jamie Berrisford and Harvey Craig have been fantastic ambassadors for the school in this venture.

Our S1 and S2 rugby team had a fantastic win over Kemnay Academy on Thursday winning 15-0. Mr Lock pointed out the fantastic behaviour and sportsmanship of the team.

On Wednesday night I had the great privilege of attending the Aberdeenshire Music Centre’s Senior concert at Aberdeen Music Hall along with Mr Drennan, faculty leader of expressive arts. The South Central Youth Concert Band played a fantastic array of pieces which had toes tapping and hands clapping throughout. The Youth Orchestra followed in the second half with one of my favourite pieces of music – the theme tune to “The Last of the Mohicans”. They did it justice and more.

On Saturday morning I attended part of the Aberdeenshire Music Centre’s Junior concert at Mackie Academy. The hall was packed out with proud parents and family members and each group got resounding applause. The hard work of students and staff was evident all round and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In addition to this Brodie Cummins, S5, competed in the next stage of the Rotary Young Musician Competition and won. She will make her way to Newcastle at the end of this term and we keep our fingers crossed. National finals loom for this very talented singer.

Finally, we have two major school trips taking place over the Easter break. Mr Macdonald leads a trip to South Africa while Ms Arthur takes another group of students to New York and Washington D.C. Fantastic opportunities for all involved and we look forward to reporting back on these at the beginning of next term.

Mackie Matters will be taking a break for Easter, but we’ll have plenty more news for you in the summer term.