15th December 2017

Last Friday Jessie and Max had organised the GAP Surprise, which consisted of supper, then a silent disco followed by a laser gun activity.  Both activities proved extremely popular and thanks go to Jessie, Max, Mr and Mrs Rawson and the boarding team for running such an entertaining evening for 42 boarders. Needless to say, this was a topic I covered on Monday morning’s assembly but was able to add my sincere thanks to all pupils who made the most of the fun activities and were willing, cooperative and grateful throughout the evening and the following morning when tidying up took place before pick up.  This made the extension to the week all the more worthwhile for the staff who ran it. 
On behalf of the Friends of St. Mary’s who had organised a fun filled Winter Wonderland, I awarded Archie W, Pre-Prep, Celia, Middle School, Anna M, Senior School with their prizes for producing the best Christmas bauble decorations.  I also thanked Form 5 for the work they had done advertising the Winter Wonderland.
I was then able to conclude the terms statistics relating to the Accelerated Reader Scheme. This term the school had read and been quizzed on 26,310,507 words and we have five pupils who have read a million words and one pupil who has read two million words!  We then concluded our Accelerated Reader Scheme raffle for period 21st November to 8th December and winners were Ed S, Senior School and Nik J, Junior School but special mention should go to Mac who had gained 100% in 11 quizzes.  We were then treated to a guitar recitals from Hamish R, Kate J, Henry S, Oliver L, Antony, Molly and Will.  A handful of parents turned up and they were rightly proud of the mini concert put on by these seven and indeed their guitar teacher Mr Leckie.
Throughout the term, largely on the back of BBC 1’s superb series, Blue Planet 2, and much to Mr Rawson’s delight, a theme has been running through assemblies and sections of the curriculum relating to taking care of the environment.  I could not let the term end without reminding pupils of Sir David Attenborough’s closing words: “We are at a unique stage in our history, never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet.  And, never before have we had the power to do something about that.  Surely, we have the responsibility to care for our Blue Planet. The future of humanity and indeed all life on earth now depends on us”.  This very important plea will forge our pledge at St. Mary’s to be much more eco-friendly from the beginning of 2018 moving forward.
As you would expect lessons continued throughout the week but as we have neared the end of term, these have been interspersed with Christmas parties, a fabulous Nativity put on by Upper Kindergarten and Reception, boarders carol singing and a lovely Pre-Prep Carol Service in the Morrison Hall.
We held our final assembly of the term yesterday during which I congratulated all new pupils, Mr Key, Mr Millar, our new gappie Stefan Rooney, and our assistant chef Caitlin, and kitchen assistant Sarah for contributing so positively in their first term at St. Mary’s.
I then said a fond farewell on behalf of the school to the wonderful Jessie and Max who have come to the end of their GAP years having left heart-warming impressions on us all.  They have been absolutely fabulous.  I then had the honour of presenting Alexander M with his FP tie as he heads off to attend his local primary school.  Alexander has been a much loved member of school and has been very touched by the kind send-off he has been given by his class mates and teachers.
The Christmas lunch for the Prep School that followed was a phenomenal feast for all of us as it had been for the Pre-Prep earlier in the week.  It is remarkable that Cheffy, Caitlin, Angie, Emma and Sarah and extra hands on the day, Helen, are able to produce such a wonderful spread for 170 people in one sitting.  Form 8 and the rest of the school gave their catering staff three well-deserved cheers before putting on a most amusing sketch, relating to two characterful teams competing in a challenge to ascend the Eildons, before returning and breaking the school entry code.  The cast included many traditional favourites and a few others.  Thank you to Form 8 for their entertainment, which was delivered in exactly the right spirit.
Soon afterwards, several brave but not necessarily very talented staff, competed in a talent show in front of the school in the Morrison Hall.  Unbelievably, the judges and the school voted Jessie, Max and Stefan the winners with a mysterious sheep, who appeared in every act, as well as his own, coming a close second.
And finally, we concluded a very busy term with the Carol Service at a nearly full Melrose Parish Church.  A collection of readers, orchestra recitals, choirs and soloists provided the 400+ strong congregation with a high standard of performance.  Particular mention should go to soloists Tegan, Lucy M, Maria and Dicken for performing so expertly and providing a wow factor that people will remember for a very long time.  We would also like to thank you for your donations at the end of the service.  £697.20 was raised for the Doddie Weir’5 Trust and My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
Thank you to parents, grandparents, relatives and friends for coming along to celebrate Christmas a part of the school community.  I wish you all a very happy Christmas and restful holiday.

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