1st December 2017

Following on from Mr Stanford’s assembly the previous Friday, I spoke on Monday morning about the size of Mount Everest compared to the tallest Eildon, and highlighted that 30 Eildons piled on top of each other would provide the equivalent-sized mountain. Pupils had asked some excellent questions, and thankfully handled the crampons and ice axe sensibly and maturely during Mr Stanford’s presentation.
I congratulated Beattie M, the second youngest member of the Junior Galashiels Brass Band, for gaining a bronze in the Brass Band Championships in Perth Concert Hall. Beattie plays the trombone and it may amuse and impress you to hear that for certain notes, she has to extend the slide with her foot. Most resourceful!
I could not let assembly pass without brief mention of Scotland’s fine and deserved victory against Australia at Murrayfield the previous Saturday. Max and Jessie were doing their best to be gracious in defeat, and our much-loved Australian Gappies got off rather lightly, given Max’s misplaced confidence prior to the contest!  We had an extra rugby fixture at U11 level on Monday against Longridge, and Form 7 parents’ evening took place after school.
A busy fixture programme on Wednesday included our U10 and U11 girls’ hockey teams, who played Mowden wearing charity ribbons in their hair in aid of the Doddie Weir MND charity. A lovely touch, given that Doddie is much-loved in the Newcastle area too.
 doddie ribbons

 On Wednesday evening, a full contingent of boarders were hosted by Mrs Rawson and her boarding team for their ceilidh in the Morrison Hall. The night of reeling was followed by a chocolate fondue experience in the Headmaster’s House, hosted by Mrs Harvey.
On Thursday, Forms 3 and 4 headed to the Read-a-licious Book Festival in Peebles as a reward for Tom D’s Fringe Poster Competition prize. 
This morning we had the pleasure of welcoming Mr Jonathan Lee, Headmaster of Longridge Towers School, to conduct a lovely assembly, comparing our schools’ mottos and leading on to the question, “when do we stop learning?”. His appealing slide show emphasised the general message that we do not stop learning throughout our entire lives, and that Longridge Towers’ motto Carpe Diem (seize the day) should be applied whether at a prep school, senior school, or later on in life.
Mr Lee met with parents over tea and coffee, and enjoyed being shown around St. Mary’s. Whilst in assembly, I took the opportunity to highlight another strong performance from Form 5 in the Scottish Borders Sumdog Maths competition, and emphasised the point that Dr Morgan reiterated, that the number of our pupils taking part is the important factor, despite our average score across our participants being reduced by the wider range of ability amongst them. Aside from Dr Morgan’s wise philosophy, it is important to point out that Henry S and John I were the top two Sumdog participants amongst 310 pupils across the Scottish Borders. Josh, Kate, Oliver dG and Robbie also finished in the top 10. This further demonstrated that an average across our many participants has taken precedence over trying to win by only entering our top mathematicians.
I also had the privilege of inviting Mr Lee to present book tokens to our two new Accelerated Reading Scheme ‘millionaires’: Maria and Antony. To have four ‘millionaires’ within the space of one term is truly astounding, and a beaming Miss Simpson tells me we are sure to have a fifth, and that she hopes for a sixth, by the end of term.
We concluded assembly by singing Happy Birthday to the wonderful Jessie, who turned 19 today. Bashfully she came to collect a card from me at the front of the hall whilst the school gave a rendition of Happy Birthday.  Soon afterwards Reception headed off to Bowhill for an autumn walk with the ranger and Mrs Currie.
Have a good weekend.

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