Mackie Matters - First big snow day

The first week of February brought our first significant “snow day” for Mackie Academy.

Despite a difficult Wednesday morning drive in for some, we were all up and running apart from a couple of our bus services. To give our pupils their due, they were very sensible in their “use” of the snow and I spent a significant proportion of my lunchtime duty outside monitoring the situation on the school playing fields with senior colleagues. It was a great opportunity to catch up with some of the pupils and see children being children. Hopefully we will not get many other days disturbed by the weather, as we are now entering a critical stage for our senior pupils and want to make sure that we maximise learning time.

Our S3 parents evening was very well attended and it was great to get some excellent feedback from parents through our feedback forms, which, for the first time, were completed using our IPad resources. There is no doubt that this is a far better way for us to get instantaneous feedback from these events and be able to respond to both the positive comments and areas for development.

Our Mock Trial team were busy fund-raising again, for their visit to Edinburgh at the end of March for the UK Finals. A ceilidh held on Friday, January 29, was a rip-roaring success with over £500 raised. In addition to this, the team have been bag-packing, and have raised over £600 for their hard work here as well. I will be attending the final in Edinburgh and have high hopes for what is an exceptionally strong team. It becomes part of a very busy weekend as I will be going from this on the Saturday to our Rock Challenge Final in Dundee on the Sunday where, again, hopes are riding high!

The Stonehaven Duke of Edinburgh Open Group continues to go from strength to strength and it is great to see so many Mackie Academy pupils being able to benefit from this at all three levels. Jennifer Glendinning acts as the link for the group in school, to ensure that pupils stay on track with their progress in these awards and she is doing a sterling job.

I cannot stress how much involvement in such an award can make a difference to a job application in the future. It is well documented that DofE is something that employers actively look for on a CV. We are working hard to look at ways that we can celebrate the achievements of our pupils involved in this scheme later in the year.

You may remember some time back, that we held the local round of the Rotary Young Chef competition here at Mackie Academy. The winner, Heather Nisbet of S2, made it through to the next round which was held in Dundee on Saturday and she won! This means Heather now makes it to the Regional Finals on March 7 and our business link, Compass Group, are playing a fantastic role in ensuring that Heather is well-equipped and prepared for this experience.

Best wishes to Heather for the event in March and thanks to Stonehaven Rotary Club for their continued support, not only in this venture but in others which benefit our young people.

As everyone knows, Mackie Academy has a strong tradition in the sport of badminton and it is always great to hear new stories of growing talent within the team. S1 pupil Jodie Harris is an example of that. Jodie is now 6th in Scotland for her age range, training with both Mackie’s badminton club but also Commonwealth Gold Medallist Dan Travers.

At her most recent competition, in the Scottish Schools Badminton Union, she was runner-up in the singles competition. Whilst recognising that badminton is a sport that incorporates a lot of skills, Jodie also enjoys the social element saying that “it has been a great way to meet new people”. I think this sums up perfectly what any young person can get from a new experience and we are very proud of Jodie’s achievements so far.

Tennis also continues to boom at Mackie Academy, although the recent cold snap has put paid to a number of matches. Patrick Young in S2 continues to go from strength to strength, representing the North of Scotland in the 18-and-under County Cup at the end of February. He has also recently won a Grade 3 competition in Glasgow which is the highest ranking competition regularly available and offers the most points to contribute to a ranking. Patrick is now ranked No.5 in Scotland in the 14-and-under age group and, with the points gained from this win, he should be ranked around No.45 nationally.

Finally our UKMT Maths Challenge has been under way again this week, under the tutelage of Mr Leith. It is great to see so many S3 and S4 pupils taking part and putting their maths skills into a practical competitive setting. It is really important that our young people can apply their learning to different settings. As we approach our mid-term break, batteries are running a little low so we are all looking forward to recharging them and enjoying our time out of school.