2nd February 2018

A significant number of you will have been privileged enough to attend the Doddie Weir Tartan Giraffe Ball last week at Springwood Park in Kelso. The guests numbering 550 included many notable figures, not necessarily with a high public profile, but people who, behind the scenes, continue to support Doddie in his selfless campaign to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease. The empathy throughout the function room was palpable, and the £230,000 now raised in aid of Doddie’s charities is a huge tribute to the people of the Scottish Borders and further afield. Ms Birdsall, myself, and Mrs Runciman felt honoured to be part of the gathering alongside so many St. Mary’s parents. Any ‘interlowpers’ will have sat aghast at the strength of the Borders community apparent and being led by Doddie’s selfless cause.
I spoke of the evening at Monday morning’s assembly, setting the scene for a theme of “caring” to feature in everybody’s thinking for the week ahead. I concluded assembly by presenting book tokens to our two new Accelerated Reader Scheme millionaires, Oliver C and Christian. Later that day, we welcomed Mr Mike Biagi of Tempest Photography, who completed the process of taking team photographs and photographs of our wonderful Kindergarten community.
A busy Tuesday concluded with a constructive rehearsal for the Middle School production running from 4:00 – 5:30pm, and some tired individuals heading home, feeling weary but satisfied with progress being made.
Wednesday saw a raft of fixtures taking place here, at Fettes and at Belhaven. Please see the website for match reports, but it is worth acknowledging the thoughtful purchase of warm jumpsuits, provided for all replacements and reserves of the St. Mary’s teams competing on the day. These new additions to the team kit proved very popular and thank you to the games staff for bringing to fruition this sensible idea. I am told every pupil “on games” from Form 3 to Form 8 played some part in a fixture, which is most pleasing.
As the week unravelled, several more Form 8 pupils headed off to senior schools to take part in various scholarship processes. The additional work from staff, pupils, and parents will serve a worthwhile purpose, irrespective of the outcome of these visits, and I commend the pupils on their understanding of what is important when being afforded such extension to the normal curriculum.
As February got underway, Miss Simpson celebrated yet more Accelerated Reader Scheme millionaires, as Lara and Lucy W proudly accepted their book tokens. Miss Simpson’s assembly this morning was an amusing and important reflection on the value of reading books. She informed the school that 60% of adults are guilty of claiming they have read certain books, when they have not, and pondered the reasons why they might do this. She offered advice to anyone being asked if they have read a certain book, by encouraging those who have not to open a conversation about the subject. Miss Simpson then went on to highlight that reading a book is very much about a conversation as you read, which should be recognised as the main purpose, even by those who are not avid readers. She made a comparison between “War and Peace” and her favourite book, “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak. The latter was given to her by her wise and loving parents when she was 17! Read it and you will see why it is so much more than a story for children.
This afternoon, Form 4 join the SAS! Mr Rawson will be taking a squad down to the banks of the Tweed to pick up litter in aid of Surfers Against Sewage initiative. In doing this, Mr Rawson and his “regiment” will reduce the amount of plastic flowing down into the sea from the Tweed in Melrose. Caring for the environment is as important to us here at St. Mary’s as caring for people in need.
Finally, congratulations go to Elsa for gaining an 11+ Sports Scholarship to Queen Margaret’s in York.
Have an enjoyable weekend.

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