6th May 2016

We were looking forward to the visit of Dr Jim Reilly on Monday, and I spoke to the school about how lucky we are to have such a close relationship with a man who continues to achieve in his own field.  The sense of anticipation amongst staff and pupils was very obvious, and recollections of Dr Reilly’s inspirational words from his previous visit in July last year were shared.
Meanwhile, Mr Kemp, who specialises in crisis management, spoke to Form 2 about modern-day pirates.  Mr Kemp’s background in the military has equipped him with skills that prove invaluable to companies who are threatened by piracy as they operate in the oceans of the world.  Mr Kemp will be talking to the school about his role in a forthcoming assembly.
On Tuesday, Dr Reilly arrived bang on schedule, as you would expect, and he was accompanied by his chauffeur for the day and salmon fishing companion, Sheriff Kevin Drummond.  Dr Reilly began by meeting Forms 1 and 2 and answering questions on his experience in space.  He then spent 40 minutes each with Forms 3, 4 and 5, again sharing experiences from his role as a NASA astronaut, but also from his research as a geologist who has been as deep as 1,000 metres in a submersible, whilst studying the ocean floor.  After a well-deserved coffee break, Dr Reilly met with Forms 6, 7 and 8, parents, staff, and invited guests from Melrose Primary School to talk more of his experiences; how we intend to explore further afield in the future, and perhaps most importantly of all, the absolute necessity to master recycling on Earth to allow astronauts and scientists of the future to discover how to recycle in space and on Mars.  His talk was thought-provoking, stimulating and inspirational.  Interestingly, throughout the description of his experience and achievements he always used the word “we”, not “I”.
I was thrilled to hear Dr Reilly promise Lady Strathmore, the person responsible for having him come to St. Mary’s, that he will be back to visit again in the future. To any parents unable to come to his talk on Tuesday, I strongly recommend you don’t miss out next time.
Coming back down to Earth with a bump on Wednesday were many of the Kindergarten pedal pushers, who took advantage of the weather window to complete many laps in aid of the local children’s diabetes services. Well done to Miss Berni, Miss Anne-Marie, Miss Linda, Miss Abbie and Miss Gillian, and to all other intrepid helpers for braving the “Formula One” circuit to ensure our youngest potential Olympians stayed on track.
A cohort from Cargilfield School, who were visiting prior to the afternoon’s fixtures, looked on in amazement, and made the most of their investigative research.  It is always a pleasure sharing experience with valuable colleagues from other schools.
There were some outstanding fixtures on Wednesday, not least the 1st XI cricket match vs Cargilfield, in which our skilled batsmen, ably led by Lucas (83 not out) fell short of the 123 run chase by one run.  Despite the disappointment of such a narrow defeat, everyone involved, including spectators, enjoyed the high-quality cricket match in such a beautiful setting as our front field.
In the midst of the Governor meeting on Thursday, news filtered back that our senior boys won the Strathallan Clay Pigeon Shooting competition for the second time in three years.  Mr P and his three “budding gamekeepers” returned with understandable grins across their faces.
This morning’s assembly was set aside to allow for a complicated programme of individual and sibling photographs to be facilitated.  Mrs Bell is to be congratulated for organising this schedule, and ensuring that it is running with NASA-style precision.  Meanwhile, Reception, Forms 1, 2, 3 and 4 were treated to “The Legend of the Golden Dragon”, put on by the Children’s Theatre in the Morrison Hall.  We have just completed our full school photograph in what I am told was the perfect light.  I have every reason to believe this might be the best school photograph yet, with the largest school roll St. Mary’s has ever had.
Tomorrow, we host the Farr Out Challenge for the sixth year, and Mr Purvis has worked tirelessly to coordinate and organise a fabulous day for all participants.  Let us hope he gets the weather his hard work deserves.
We wish George GF the best of luck when he plays hockey for the U14 Boys 'SOUTH' Inter-District squad in the Inter-Districts on Sunday 8th May at the National Hockey Centre, Glasgow Green, Glasgow.
Congratulations to Stephanie, Flora, Annabel and Lucy B on their selection to the Dandylion rounders squad.
Finally, we received news from Education Scotland that they will be carrying out a QUIPE Inspection of St. Mary’s on the 31st May, 1st and 2nd June.  Some of you will shortly be receiving questionnaires to complete as an important phase of this process.  We are looking forward to the opportunity of showing off our school, of which we are extremely proud.
Enjoy your weekend.

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