Monday morning assembly allowed me to hear a little more about Dr Jim Reilly’s visit, and his most fabulous drop-in lesson on potential trips to Mars, providing the population of planet Earth learn to recycle. It gave me great pleasure to give one of Dr Reilly’s astronaut uniform arm badges to Lucy W, Tegan, Liam and Dicken, who stood out amongst our Forms 7 and 8 classes when asking interesting questions of Dr Reilly. Once again Dr Reilly’s great friend and huge supporter of St. Mary’s school, Sheriff Kevin Drumond, came along as chauffeur. We are ever grateful to both, and are touched that they enjoy their visits so much.
Despite the plummeting temperatures, most of Wednesday’s fixtures went head. Please see website for match reports. 
Throughout the week, pupils have been going through their exam and assessment marks in class and are well aware that this process is every bit as valuable as the exam process itself. I reminded everyone that with three weeks remaining, we will be working hard in class right up until Tuesday 13th December.
I remind you that the end of term follows our school Carol Service on the 14th of December. There are two occasions where the school community gathers en masse, our Christmas Carol Service and our Summer Prizegiving.  These two events are hugely valuable to the school and must be treated as such when plans are made.
We were treated to a memorable and moving assembly this morning by Miss Simpson, who referred to the wonderful work she has been doing with her Creative Writing group.  These lucky pupils had travelled back in time “although not through space”, using old St. Mary’s school magazines.
A number of amusing “stepping stones” were mentioned, such as the school pupils’ exam results published in the magazine in 1966!  This led on to a focus on the varied motivational techniques of three headmasters over the last hundred years.  All very different, but as Miss Simpson pointed out, with the same message recurring.
The “journey” extended to around one hundred years ago and therein lay the moving story of one Douglas Oliphant Constable, a very talented St. Mary’s Former Pupil.  The Creative Writing group had got to know this brave young man through his accolades noted in the 1906 school magazine and from his letters he wrote to his former headmaster, Mr Hamilton, in 1916.  On hearing of Lieutenant Constable’s death at the Somme in 1916, today’s St. Mary’s pupils and staff had their attention drawn to the moving memorial on the Morrison Hall wall.  The reality of such a tragedy was suddenly much more understandable, even to our youngest pupils.  This story was sensitively and skilfully unravelled as Miss Simpson concluded with the following;
“Whether we know the names and stories of the fallen or not, I hope this important year and all the things we have done at school have shown you why it is important that we do, and will, remember them.”    
Whilst on the theme of remembrance, I draw your attention to the Poppy Scotland website on which there is a fitting tribute to Ms Wood’s fabulous poppy making initiative.
Dr Shinton, Miss McRae and Mrs Fraser will represent the Bang Goes The Borders team at the Times Education Supplement School Awards in London on Friday evening. In case you have not heard, St. Mary’s is one of five nominations in the category of “Community Initiative of the Year”. It would be a fitting tribute to Dr Shinton and the school community for all the hard work that goes in to Bang Goes The Borders if they were to return as winners.
Finally, we wish Mr Mill the best of luck representing a Scottish Invitational Select Side at the Dubai Rugby 7s next week, footage of which can be followed on Sky Sports.  We are grateful to Elliott Hardie, who will be stepping in as overnight duty master, reporting to me, during the week Mr Mill is away. 

Jules Birdsall, 25/11/2016

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