28th April 2017

Last Friday we said our farewells to Daniela Mateos, who had spent the first week of term with us in Form 8. Her friends in the form were delighted she had been able to join us again.
On Saturday, the sun shone on the Scottish Borders as a fully-subscribed Tour de Lauder got underway. Mum of Josh and Hannah, Rosie, gave a heartfelt and moving address to the participants and organisers, thanking them for turning out in memory of her late husband, Steve.  Fundraising from this event in aid of Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland is approaching the £200,000 mark in the six years it has been running. Well done to St. Mary’s staff, Mrs Runciman, Mrs Redmond and Mrs Fresle, who assisted on the day, and particular congratulations go to the nine parents who cycled either the 50 mile route or the 89 mile route. Thanks also go to parents who assisted with the running of the event, and well done, Rosie!
The day-to-day routine got underway in earnest on Monday, with pupils working hard ahead of assessments due later on this term. 
On Tuesday afternoon, we welcomed Professor Don Ledingham to judge the Poetry Final. The 19 finalists did the school proud. In the junior competition, Emily was the deserved winner with her recital of Bonfire, by Jean Kenward.  In the intermediate section, a most entertaining recital by Geordie of The Tarry Buccaneer, by John Masefield came first, and Fergus H impressed Professor Ledingham greatly in the senior section with his composed and word-perfect recital of

Merlin and the Gleam, by Alfred Lord Tennyson. All 19 recitals were accomplished for many different reasons, but arguably Professor Ledingham stole the show by bowing to my request that he perform his visual recital of Robbie Burns’s ‘Tam o' Shanter’. This unorthodox delivery could not be described by any means as word-perfect, but would certainly feature in the category of potential Oscar nominees. I will leave your children to explain in more detail.  Professor Ledingham left a lasting impression on the audience, and I am proud to say that the finalists and the school left a lasting impression on Professor Ledingham.
Ahead of a very busy fixture programme on Wednesday, Dr Felicia Kirk, Headmistress of St. Mary’s, Calne visited to familiarise herself with St. Mary’s, Melrose. Alongside her headmistress duties, Dr Kirk inspects the boarding provision of senior and prep schools in England. She was hugely impressed with our boarding facility, and is as excited as we are ahead of the opening of our second boarding facility in New Buccleuch House. We enjoyed hearing how Dr Kirk has moved St. Mary’s Calne forward in her five years headship and I have no doubt her school would suit many of our St. Mary’s girls.

Kindergarten took the opportunity to visit Wooplaw Woods and avoid the bad weather whilst enjoying the open air and the free time to explore. See the photographs on ‘Latest News’.
I attended the SCIS AGM in Edinburgh, at which Deputy First Minister John Swinney spoke in a positive way about the collaboration between the various types of educational establishments in Scotland. His words were reassuring to the many headmasters and headmistresses in attendance.
Dr Morgan put the majority of our senior pupils through their paces in the UK Maths Trust Junior Challenge on Thursday, and we look forward to hearing how they performed in a couple of weeks’ time.
This morning as we headed for assembly, we waved off 27 pupils participating in the Fettes Orchestra day accompanied by Mrs Harvey, Ms McRae and Mrs Letts. We look forward to hearing how things went later on this evening.
Meanwhile, Mrs Stuart gave a thought-provoking assembly on how we handle our worries. Mrs Runciman volunteered to hold the half-full glass of water that served as a prop to focus our minds on the points being made. We all learned something new from Mrs Stuart’s informative presentation.  Next week’s assembly will be held by Mrs Alex Hems, Headmistress of St. George’s School for Girls, and I look forward to welcoming any parents who might consider St. George’s as an option for their daughters in years to come. Book tokens awarded this week in assembly have gone to Tom D, Beattie M and Imogen.
I concluded assembly by announcing the remarkable news that the pictures produced by Rhiannon, Aleshya, Finlay Bu and Hannah are all to be included in the exhibition at Dynamic Earth in the Fringe Festival Schools Poster competition. Even more remarkable is that Tom D has been shortlisted within his age category for the competition’s top prize, with the potential for his picture to be a feature of this year’s Fringe memorabilia. Well done, them and indeed, Ms Wood.
In the meantime, enjoy a restful and sunny weekend.

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