1st February 2019

Combining history, sport, music, technology, geography, and languages in one fifteen minute assembly would take some doing, you would be forgiven for thinking. Furthermore, with our multi-skilled technology expert Miss McRae unavailable to support my hastily-prepared presentation, the odds were heavily stacked against the Headmaster catching the attention of the school on a bleary-eyed, frosty Monday morning. However, highlighting the rugby anthems set to pre-empt the three Six Nations Tests scheduled for this weekend brought into focus the aforementioned elements of the curriculum rather well.
Most of us are familiar with the words and the history referred to in the rousing “Flower of Scotland”.  Ireland’s squad now line up to the hugely uplifting “Ireland’s Call”, one of the previous two anthems, and a quick mention of the complicated history between the Republic and Northern Ireland illustrated how this unifying anthem is so much more than just a rallying call to Ireland’s proud internationalists. “God Save the Queen”, also familiar to us, and our National Anthem, needed little explanation. Those of you watching Les Miserables on Sunday evening with a faint grasp of the French language will make sense of the stirring “La Marseillaise”, and “Il Canto Degli Italiani” never fails to ready the quick marching Italians for battle.
However, my main focus was a reference to male voice choirs that, for more than one very good reason, used to be heard deep underground in the coalmines of Wales during the last century. This tradition has unquestionably led to the Welsh rugby crowds outsinging all others when calling internationalists to represent their proud country. At this point in proceedings, I turned to a recording on my mobile phone. Being careful not to play a recording of Mrs Harvey snoring, I played the most powerful and wonderful recording of “Land of My Fathers”. Even when being played through a mobile phone, the sound and harmonies make the hairs stand up on the back of one’s neck, and you could have heard a pin drop in the Morrison Hall. I think the point was made… sing up, you St. Mary’s boys!
What a week of weather: frost and solid ground for a second week in a row disrupted the games and fixture programmes, though Wednesday did provide some excellent netball matches against Belhaven Hill. Match reports feature on the website, but well done to all participating girls from both schools for their contributions to great fixtures, in less than comfortable outdoor temperatures.

Rehearsals for the Middle and Senior productions are ongoing, Ellie Crab from Borders Youth Theatre visited to provide her last session with Form 5 (who have loved her input), and senior chess club ran as scheduled on Thursday evening.

This morning’s assembly was given by Mrs Stuart, who told a wonderful tale of a little boy whose mother recycled the coat that she had made him. It started as a coat, became a waistcoat, hat, bow tie, and then finally, a button! This led in to Mrs Stuart giving us all a very quick but highly effective power point presentation on the importance of reusing plastics, and a reminder of a few very sensible techniques. To spur us on, Mrs Stuart reminded us of a couple of worrying statistics, such as the disposal of 2.5 billion coffee cups a year, and 35 million plastic bottles PER DAY in the United Kingdom. She reminded us of six “R”s, Refuse, Reduce, Rethink, Refill, Replace and Reuse, giving examples as she went. A sobering reminder of the important part we all should be playing in cutting back/out the use of plastics in our lives.
Ahead of the scheduled Squad Cross-Country competition this afternoon, Mrs Bell gave a safety brief and a reminder to all participants that they should be dressed appropriately, before, during, and after the race. This weekly update has been written prior to the event, but results will be published below.  In the meantime, have a very restful weekend and do stay warm!
frosty day feb

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