We have been working on resilience here at school, in an attempt to acclimatise pupils to facing up to challenges.  Last Sunday, our hockey and rugby teams performed creditably at the Loretto tournaments.  Our U11 hockey players were runners-up, and the team’s performance was described by their coach as ‘gutsy’ in the final.  Our U13 and U11 rugby teams battled hard on the day with limited success, but they gave a good account of themselves.  Match of the day in all sports had to be a plate final between the St. Mary’s and Belhaven U13 hockey teams. The match was decided by an incredible 21 penalty shoot-out, having gone to sudden death with the two teams evenly matched after the first three penalties.  Monday morning’s assembly provided me with the opportunity to encourage resilience right across the various areas of school life in academia, the arts, boarding, and indeed in sport.
On Monday evening, the Education Sub Group of the Board of Governors met to touch base regarding the academic impetus of the school, to assess the progress of the school management system and to discuss other educational matters.  Unsurprisingly, this sub-section of the Board is most impressed with how this academic year has started.  At the same time as this meeting took place, the FP Committee met to discuss former pupil matters. 
On Tuesday, a busy day at school was followed by an academic progress meeting, during which all pupils from Forms 5 to 8 were discussed. This forum is extremely useful in identifying individual pupils’ needs and planning the most appropriate way of meeting these. 
Wednesday’s fixtures programme provided our two flagship teams in the school, the 1st hockey and 1st XV rugby, with the ideal opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of the word resilience.  Whilst two defeats unfolded for these teams, pleasingly courage and determination underpinned their performances.  Their coaches, Mr Purvis and Mr Mill, could not be more proud of their charges, and rightly so.   The Board of Governors met on Wednesday evening to discuss progress of the school and development plans, which behind the scenes are ongoing, and continue to excite and enthuse all those who have a vested interest in the future of St. Mary’s.
After another busy day on Thursday, nine of our Form 8s were invited to attend a talk by double gold medallist Olympian Heather Stanning, who manages to balance a career in the military with her commitment as an international athlete. 
Amongst an audience of 450, St. Mary’s pupils asked four very sensible questions relating to Major Stanning’s inspirational talk. She is clearly a very driven, single-minded individual, who also recognises the essential contribution of her coxless pairs partner Helen Glover and the team of physio therapists, psychologists, dieticians and their coach, who help them perform at an elite level.   We are extremely grateful to Loretto for their hospitality, and I am sure the charity “Combat Stress” for which the fundraising evening had been organised, benefited hugely from a large and appreciative audience. 
This morning we welcomed Andrew and Barbara Hunter, and a cohort of St. Mary’s former pupils who all attend Merchiston Castle School.  Mr Hunter gave a most interesting talk about the tight rope walker, Jean Francois Gravelot (Blondin) to encourage pupils to find their talent and use it to the best of their ability.   The nine boys who accompanied their headmaster and his wife met with parents and staff over a coffee afterwards, and were a huge credit to both St. Mary’s and Merchiston in the way they conducted themselves.  It was a pleasure seeing them in such fine form.

merchiston visit
Miss Wood is looking forward to welcoming many of you to her felt-making workshop tomorrow, which will run between 10am and 12pm in the Art Room.  Can I ask that you enter and exit the campus by the back gate only, please.
Finally, as a busy week drew to a close last Friday, I omitted to mention the fabulous Pre-Prep coffee morning organised by Miss Renwick, which raised £283 for Macmillan, and I draw your attention to today’s cake sale, organised by the Friends of St. Mary’s, which is raising funds for the Borders Children Charity.
Enjoy your weekend.

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