4th May 2018

A sense of belonging to the St. Mary’s community is wonderfully represented at the annual FP Dinner. This year, Rachael and Billy Hamilton hosted the event at the Buccleuch Arms, and despite being postponed during the snow in March to last Friday, it was well-attended. Guests included Erik Sandeman, who attended St. Mary’s in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Mr Sandeman now lives in Norway, but had made a special effort to come across to attend the dinner. FP Charlie Rutherford was the guest speaker, and his address was a mixture of humour, sentiment, and pride as he recounted his connections to the school. He brought his wife Laura, and mum Jan, along for moral support, but it soon became apparent that he was a much-loved figure amongst all those in the room, and his contribution to the evening was the highlight for us all. Thank you to Rachael and Billy for their warm hospitality.
With only summer concerts and Pre-Prep productions to keep her busy (!), Miss McRae has taken on several extra commitments, one of which was taking a choir to the Melrose Parish Church last Sunday evening to perform at a service organised by the Order of St. John, to acknowledge the opening of the Mountain Rescue Centre in Melrose, which they helped to fund. The vast majority of the choir boarded on Sunday night, and we thank them for their contribution to a successful evening.
On Monday morning in assembly, I spoke of the Windrush generation and the current work in political circles to right this wrong. It was impressive to hear our senior pupils able to summarise the injustice and understand how upsetting the business has been for many many families whose roots are in various Commonwealth countries. Following on from the previous week’s successful poetry competition, I read a poem written by Theophina Gabriel on this emotive topic, titled ‘Back Home’. Later on that morning, Form 3 headed for my own place of origin, the Hirsel Estate near Coldstream. On Tuesday, the first tennis lessons in the sunshine took place, and St. Mary’s had the pleasure of welcoming IAPS Headmasters to gather for the termly meeting. It is always an enlightening forum when gathering with colleagues from all over Scotland, and one or two who have retired over the past years.

Hirsel 30418
Wednesday saw a busy fixture programme unfold, with a rain-blighted Strathallan cancelling a couple. All other scheduled fixtures took place: please see website for match reports. Whilst the academic programme intensifies as exams come into view on the horizon, there was a welcome reprieve for Jake, Archie Ma, and Freyja, whom Mr P chose to represent St. Mary’s at the Strathallan Clay Pigeon Shooting Competition. Mr P’s team were very grateful for the Bisley sponsorship provided to support the St. Mary’s team effort. The three achieved a commendable 3rd place, and for the second year in a row, Jake was awarded top gun after a nerve-racking sudden death shoot-out. However, congratulations go to Ardvreck whose team ended up victorious on the day.

clay pigeon shooting team clay pigeon shooting

I had the pleasure of awarding Jake his medal and trophy this morning in assembly, which he proudly accepted. Mrs Stuart had begun proceedings with a most thought-provoking assembly on patience and understanding when getting to know people who, on first impression, appear to be difficult. Her address had everyone in attendance thinking through examples of such a scenario, and she provided wisdom useful to all in attendance, young and old. Alongside her assembly, Mrs Stuart’s heavy involvement in the leadership programme Form 5 have been following for a couple of years now made it an ideal opportunity to award Form 5 their John Muir Discovery Award Certificates. Throughout the programme, each pupil has had to compile 24 hours of exploration, discovery, conservation, and share these experiences.
Meanwhile, the front rows were occupied by several Spidermen, a Batman, an Incredible Hulk and a couple of Supermen. Whilst there were no Wonderwomen, several of the fancy dress-clad Reception class were in fact female. Therefore it might be more appropriate to rename them Batperson, Superperson, Spiderperson, and the Incredible Hulk. Whilst we were sad not to have them join us, I am told there are several Superheroes keeping our own St. Mary’s Superheroes on their toes over in Kindergarten today.
Having celebrated Jake’s success after Mrs Stuart’s assembly, I then had the great pleasure of awarding Lucy Ma her first place certificate, won in the singing competition in St. Cuthbert’s Cathedral in Edinburgh the day before. It would be hard to imagine a prouder recipient, however whilst celebrating her notable singing success, I also had the pleasure of congratulating Lucy on coming 3rd in the S1 to S3 category of the Tesco Bank Art Competition with her depiction of energy, represented by her cityscape-at-night illustration. Until I put my hand out to congratulate her, Lucy had no idea that her picture was one of three selected from thousands of entries.
As the week draws to a close we say a fond farewell to Owen Lanfrey, who joined us from France two weeks ago. Owen has added hugely to Form 7, and has gone about his two week St. Mary’s experience with an engaged, easy-going style that has brought him instant popularity with staff and pupils alike. We wish him well as he returns to the south of France… just as our weather improves!
Mrs Rawson and her team are once again on duty with boarders this evening, as Form 8 remain resident ahead of tomorrow’s Farr Out team work and leadership challenge. Thank you in advance to Forms 7 and 8 for helping Mr P and his staff team welcome 13 teams from local primary schools and independent schools from further afield. The forecast is promising and we look forward to a day of entertaining, challenging, and fulfilling competition.
I wish you all a happy weekend.

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