27th April 2018

A week in the life of a member of St. Mary’s community, whether they be a pupil, parent, or employee, always draws upon our core values at one time or another. This week has been particularly busy, and caring about others was epitomised by Rosie Cully’s Tour de Lauder, and the community involvement in this fabulous event. St. Mary’s was proud to play its part in sponsoring the finishing medals, providing baking, and parents and staff assisting with the running of the event. 
On Monday, ahead of the 100-year commemoration of the end of the First World War this November, I presented three boulders brought back from the Isle of Arran. These were examples of the type and size of stones with which we intend to line the driveway. The aim is to collect 100 boulders, paint a small poppy on each of them and write from where they were collected. This initiative is part of plans to smarten up the entrance avenue to the school, and will serve as a poignant reminder of all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of King and Country. I also had the pleasure of welcoming Owen from France, who has joined Form 7 for a fortnight. 
In the early evening, Miss McRae and a St. Mary’s choir proudly performed at the Melrose Music Society Concert at the Parish Church.  Their attendance and performance was much appreciated by the gathered number. 
On Tuesday, Mr P and Mrs Bell had a proud spring in their steps, as both our rugby and netball teams achieved the Johnston and Eildon Cup double against some tough competition. It is rare that St. Mary’s win both the rugby and the netball competitions in the same year. 
In the same afternoon, an extremely entertaining Poetry Final took place, with Mrs Susie Walker bravely taking to the judges chair, despite fully understanding the high stakes involved. Mrs Walker was absolutely right to praise all participants for their high standard of recital, acting, and in some cases both. She selected Angus Mac and his rendition “I Made A Noise This Morning”, by Jack Prelutsky as our junior winner; Isaac S for his recital of Spike Milligan’s “Have A Nice Day” for our intermediate competition; and amuch deserved winner in Iona S for her recital of A M Harbord’s poem “At Euston”.  Iona successfully took us all on an idyllic train journey north as she recited the poem with consummate ease and poise. It was truly wonderful to see, and along with her proud mother, we were all delighted that she was selected as the winner. 

Ahead of this morning’s fantastic assembly by Form 7, Pre-Prep set about their litter pick project on Wednesday morning before the heavy rain began to fall. Fixtures were interrupted but generally completed, despite the showers but most importantly there was a collegiate feel amongst all pupils from St. Mary’s, Fettes, and Merchiston as they did their best to conclude the fixtures.   In the evening, a full boarding roll celebrated Spanish night, hosted by Mrs Rawson and her team and lead by the wonderful Pablo Mateos. 

Dr Morgan administered the UK Maths Trust Junior Challenge to Forms 7 and 8, including our two-week guest Owen, and Dr Morgan is optimistic the high standard will be evident amongst our 45 entrants. Meanwhile, I attended the SCIS AGM and Conference in Edinburgh, and found myself impressed and concerned in equal measure as Dr Catherine Calderwood, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, presented her talk, highlighting that as educators we can do as much to improve Scottish health statistics as the NHS plan to - “food for thought”. Meanwhile, tennis lessons began in the evening as the weather managed to settle down. Following on from our consideration of Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary, Mr Rawson’s assembly this morning was a physical representation of how much plastic is contained in the average household rubbish for just one week. Form 7 entertained us with a lively and very informative presentation, which drove the message home that we all need to be thinking very carefully about our choices if we are to see our oceans and the wildlife within recover. Well done to Mr Rawson and Form 7 for such a first class lesson. 
A busy weekend sees a portion of our Former Pupil community gathering for the postponed FP Dinner tonight, and Miss McRae will once again attend Melrose Parish Church on Sunday evening with Form 6, who will be performing in aid of St. John Scotland. Thank you to Miss McRae and to Mrs Rawson and the boarding team for accommodating many of the choir members overnight on Sunday.
Congratulations to Hannah C and Jessica who have been selected for the South U14 hockey squad and will compete at this year's Inter-Districts competition. 
We say a sad farewell to Laura G who has spent the last two weeks with us, having completed some rigorous exams in the school that she attends in London. Laura has been a wonderful addition to Form 6, and we have thoroughly enjoyed her two-week visit. We wish her well as she completes her term back at school in London.
I took the opportunity to congratulate Matilda L, who is the latest St. Mary’s pupil to be nominated as a prizewinner in the Fringe Festival Poster competition. We will know more about Matilda’s finishing position after she has attended the press conference in a couple of weeks’ time. 
We sent on their way our orchestra members, who have headed to Fettes for a large gathering of prep school orchestras, which will conclude with a concert this evening at 6pm. This is an event we attend annually, and is always thoroughly fulfilling and enjoyable for the participants.
Finally, we were all thrilled to hear the news that Gillian Townsend (Miss Gillian) gave birth to Cohen during the week. Cohen weighed a healthy 6lb40z, and both mum and son are doing very well. Congratulations to the Townsend family.

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