16th November 2018

Many of our pupils attended Remembrance Services all across the Borders on Sunday, and to those who came to Melrose to join the St. Mary’s section of the Town Parade, I was able to express my sincere gratitude. They were accompanied by parents and several staff, but it was also a pleasure seeing Fergus Y chosen as the standard bearer for the Cubs. On behalf of St. Mary’s, Head Boy, Thomas, and Head Girl, Lara carried out their poppy wreath laying responsibilities at the Melrose War Memorial in the exemplary fashion you would expect.
On Monday morning, I moved into the topic of compassion as we concluded our tribute to all those who fell during World War 1 and I highlighted the vital role that women played in the war effort.  With the drop down screen showing a beach portrait of Dr Elsie Inglis, I reminded school that Mrs Alex Hems had spoken of this brave and courageous lady, when visiting St. Mary’s a number of weeks ago. Elsie Inglis is one of many former pupils of St. George’s School that went on to contribute hugely to the world around her. We talked of Edith Cavell, another courageous lady working in field hospitals and how she treated wounded soldiers whether friend or foe, with the same care and dedication, and we talked of Kaiser Wilhelm II’s compassion in allowing Captain Robert Campbell compassionate leave from a prisoner of war camp in Magdeburg, to visit his dying mother’s bedside in Gravesend.  There is a moving end to this story and I will leave you to ask your children about that detail.
After mentioning two or three other acts of compassion, we drew our remembrance tributes of 2018 to a conclusion and focused on the business of a very busy week of assessments for our senior pupils.  These necessary evils have run smoothly, and will merit a restful weekend for each of our senior pupils. Their week was broken up by a busy fixture programme on Wednesday, which saw St. Mary’s come up against tough opposition but encouragingly making excellent progress in each team.  Match reports can be viewed on the website. 
There have been visits to the Museum of Flight for the Middle School and we were visited by Gordonstoun’s Principal Mrs Lisa Kerr, this morning.  Mrs Kerr took us on two journeys; one the journey of Gordonstoun from its beginning to today, appropriately stemming from its founding German Headmaster Kurt Hahns’ courage and compassion.  We also went on to hear of Mrs Kerr’s endeavour in joining Gordonstoun’s yacht Ocean Spirit’s crew, when visiting Spitsbergen in the Norwegian Sea.  It was clear Mrs Kerr had challenged herself and gained hugely, spiritually and emotionally from taking part in one of the regular expeditions the Ocean Spirit travels.  Her enlightening assembly most certainly wetted the appetite of many of our pupils who have a desire for exploration.  Do look in more detail at the fabulous education on offer at Gordonstoun  Mrs Kerr is rightly very proud of her school.
Finally, I sign off for this week by wishing the Friends of St. Mary’s a prosperous afternoon as they raise funds for Children in Need, by selling cakes in the dining room. Well done to all involved, for their efforts and expertise in providing these enticing goodies.
Ahead of next week, good luck to the U11 hockey team as they travel to Rugby to compete in the National Hockey Final next Wednesday.  Whatever the outcome, we are proud of our girls for reaching this significant stage.
Have a nice weekend.

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