On Sunday, I made my way to Perth Concert Hall to see our Concert Band participate in the Scottish Concert Band Festival.
Competing alongside other bands from schools across Scotland we were participating in the “Developing Bands” group alongside Portlethen Concert Band to name but one. Our conductor, Sarah Gove, should be lauded for the fact that she conducts both groups. All groups were fantastic and the adjudicators all commented on the standard being the best they had ever seen in this group.
Both Portlethen and Mackie achieved the Gold standard, one better than last year, but what I was most proud of was the special award that Mackie Academy was presented with - we won the “Most Challenging Programme” which showed that the band, through Mrs Gove’s leadership, had chosen a programme which required grit and determination on their behalf to achieve the best possible.
What was fantastic were the positive comments I heard from the audience in response to their performance and it was clear that this was recognised.
I love the fact that they took a risk and worked hard to make it work successfully. The important fact is that they took a risk. Sometimes these pay off, sometimes they don’t but they often become the most important learning experiences for our young people. I should also say that our concert band looked incredibly smart in their full school uniform and, again, this resulted in many positive comments from the audience.
Our pupils have been out and about in a number of different projects this week. A number of S3 pupils have been visiting older residents in Stonehaven this week as part of their Modern Studies course. Meeting the residents of St. John’ Court on Monday afternoon pupils discussed the housing needs of the elderly – great conversations were had and lots were learned by all parties involved. We must also thank Elaine for the tea and cakes provided!
On Friday some of our pupils were out at the Liberal Democrat Conference with Ms Swanson.
Lots were learnt about how the parties work and our pupils very much appreciated the opportunity to talk to candidates and get a clear picture of current parliamentary issues.
In addition to this our Health and Well-being Young Leaders were presenting this Friday at Aberdeenshire Council on their work this year.
They have been working on key issues around social media and anti-bullying which have resulted in them demonstrating their work to P7 parents at Mackie Academy as well as displaying their work for all to see at Woodhill House in Aberdeen. A fantastic end to the year for these pupils as well as Ms O’Reilly who has supported them throughout. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms O’Reilly for all her hard work with this group which is very much appreciated.
At the end of the week we welcomed a large number of our cluster primary schools as they participated in the Rotary Club’s Primary quiz. It was great to see so many of our primary pupils up at Mackie and there was a great atmosphere in the Main Hall. Arduthie Primary had the winning team and move onto the next stage of the competition. Well done to all involved.
I am sure the team from Arduthie were much happier with their performance on Friday than the Scottish rugby team were on Saturday. However, our pupils and staff that attended the match were much happier and again thanks must go to the staff who support these ventures on a regular basis.
As we near the end of term things are very busy as Senior Phase pupils get ready for their examinations. Staff are working flat out to ensure that pupils get the best support possible as we move towards final exams and pupils are rising to the challenge as expected. We are very confident that this summer will see another set of bumper exam results for Mackie Academy and thanks must also go to all our parents who are supporting their children through this challenging time. As Easter approaches it is a chance for pupils to recharge their batteries before the final term of the year.