21st September 2018

Without wishing to put any sort of dampener on our celebration of achievement on Monday morning, I did recite the tale of the USS aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, and its officious self-important captain demanding that a Canadian obstruction in waters off the coast of Newfoundland, divert its course by 15° to the north. According to the transcript, the Canadian authorities recommended that USS Abraham Lincoln divert its course to 15° to the south to avoid a collision. The slightly surprised and irritated captain replied “this is the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, the second largest ship in the US Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers and numerous support vessels.  I demand that you change your course by 15° north”.  Canadian Authorities replied, “This is a lighthouse, your call!” The message was about humility: celebrate achievement, but always remember the next challenge lies just around the corner, so never get ahead of oneself. 
With this being the third week back, pupils and staff have very much found their stride and we are very pleased with how the new timetable has settled down. It is also hugely encouraging to see so many senior pupils heading to senior choir practice and our top year guiding the school and setting a sound example, as we knew they would 
Fixtures took place on Monday, but Wednesday’s fixtures were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Given the disruption to local roads and the surrounding areas, highlighted on the news later that day, the decision to cancel these fixtures proved prudent. Needless to say, energy levels around the place escalated, but our ever-active boarding team engineered opportunities for the boarders to let off steam in a fun and constructive way, and the final session of the first block of activities on Thursday gave further opportunity for energies to be expended, whether physical or cerebral in nature.
This morning, Miss Renwick and Form 1 enlightened us that today is National Gratitude Day, where we should recognise how fortunate we are. Form 1 gave us many examples of things for which to be grateful, both through their drawings and by reciting their paragraphs. Parents and grandparents commented on what a difference a year in Reception and three weeks in Form 1 has made to their children’s confidence. The second element to the assembly was to consider how to say thank you in 14 different languages. It was a privilege receiving answers on how to say “thank you” in different languages from several bilingual pupils and indeed eager staff. 
We will be saying a huge thank you to Kirsty McRae and her Bang Goes The Borders team of organisers as the 8th Science Festival takes place tomorrow. We are also grateful to senior pupils who have volunteered to help set up this event and to assist during the day tomorrow. We expect over 1,000 visitors to St. Mary’s to benefit from the 26 workshops on offer, and a particular warm welcome goes to Rathbones, the University of Edinburgh, and Heriot Watt for their sponsorship of this superb educational opportunity. We look forward to seeing many of you there and wish you a restful weekend. 

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