Mackie Matters - Week four and time flies

I have to start this week with an apology as I forgot to mention in my last column a great achievement from the summer holidays.

Ben Reeve, an S5 pupil, attended a national chess competition in Manchester where he represented the school and his age group (U16) in Scotland with great effectiveness. Ben had already made it through a tough competition in May at Albyn School to gain his place at the Giga Final in Manchester. Accompanied by his Mum and supported through funding from the John Hunter Trust whilst Ben did not win his approach and commitment were commented on by the judges. We are very proud of Ben’s achievements.

Our S1 pupils have settled well and really getting into the routine of the school. Pupils are currently being nominated for their year group pupil councils with each tutor group represented. These will be led by our House Captains and I am sure they will do a great job. We have a number of pieces of work for our pupils councils to work on this year – Anti-Bullying, Acceptable Use of Mobile Devices in Classrooms, Restorative Practices – to name but a few. It is a busy year for pupil voice but it is a crucial part of the school’s improvement plan.

As always a number of school visits have already taken place. Our Advanced Higher Geographers had their residential visit to the Kindrogan fieldwork centre with other schools from Aberdeenshire and dominated due to our numbers. In addition to this our Advanced Higher Geographers, Modern Studies, Chemistry, Physics, Drama and English pupils have been making use of facilities and resources at Aberdeen University, the Sheriff Court and Her Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen to further their studies and research. Our drama students at both Higher and Advanced Higher had the opportunity to see a performance of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night” last week and I was lucky enough to go at the weekend. What a phenomenal adaptation of a fantastic book which brings to life all the challenges that can face a young person and their family where Aspergers is a part of everyday life. At the same time it makes you appreciate the unique individuality of every person and what that can bring to you and your organisation. We are indebted to these organisations for providing great learning opportunities for our senior pupils in preparation for the next stage of their education. What is also great is that we get back fantastic comments about the behaviour of our pupils with library staff at Aberdeen University inviting them back in their own time makes you realise why we do this job.

Our first Sports Achievement Evening took place last Thursday evening with our Main Hall packed out with proud pupils, parents and volunteers from the diverse range of sporting activities that take place at Mackie Academy. Our pupils presented reports on each of the key sporting areas and spoke eloquently about what has been achieved in the last academic year.

In addition to this we had a live dance performance from Misschief, a street dance team supported locally and contain many pupils from Mackie Academy. We also had our team of volunteers represented and presenting awards to our pupils. Again, it was great to have so many sports represented – athletics, badminton, basketball, dance, golf, netball, rugby, swimming and tennis – alongside so many individual achievements in sports as diverse as Highland Dancing to Taekwondo. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the “Volunteer of the Year” Award which went to Robbie Robertson. Robbie is a legendary character not only at Mackie Academy but within the Scottish badminton scene. When he retired and came to Stonehaven he immediately made contact with the local badminton scene and became a stalwart of the Mackie Academy coaching team. It was great to see him get his award and be the first recipient of this as I don’t think anyone could come up with anyone more deserving.

As we move onwards into term it feels as if the term has been underway for some time. I have to say that I am very impressed with our young people this year, not only in terms of the way that they are conducting themselves but for the pride they are taking in part of the Mackie Academy community. There will always be challenges along the way but we should never forget that the majority of pupils here, do aspire to our four key words – Excellence, Integrity, Commitment and Teamwork.