8th March 2019

 Having spoken about the “7th C” (commitment) when referring to the core elements of St. Mary’s the previous Friday, Monday morning’s follow up allowed us to thank staff and pupils for demonstrating the 7th C in spades, over the weekend.
On Friday and Saturday Mrs Stuart and Mrs Hardie had accompanied seven of our senior pupils to the Ampleforth Public Speaking Festival.  The event had proved extremely useful with notable contributions made by Elena D who unsurprisingly provided a high quality persuasive argument with the topic being “Animal Testing”; and Alexander NN whose delivery of his talk on Elon Musk was noted for quality of delivery.  The staff of Ampleforth College congratulated all St. Mary’s pupils for being polite, engaged and hardworking.
Sunday’s IAPS Cross Country Championships had not only called for commitment from our 35 runners, Mrs Bell, Mr Inwood, Lily and Will, but also placed significant demands on our runners’ parents whose quiet, efficient and caring support was hugely uplifting for all concerned.  In Monday morning’s assembly I asked all thirty five runners to stand up to receive a round of applause because from our most able “podium finishers” to those who came in at the back of their respective fields, not one of our team gave anything less than their very best.  This included several fallers, a one training shoe clad senior boy, and two or three who lightened their gastric load soon after finishing.
No whinging, no complaining, no half-hearted effort.  Just magnificent commitment, and well done to Caelan and Libby our two captains, and to the U13 and U11 girls who finished as the winning teams in their respective competitions.  Mrs Bell, Mr Inwood, Will, Lily and myself, could not be more proud of all our runners, and thank you to parents for your contribution.
Yet another extremely busy week has unfolded with several trips for different cases; Form 4 to Holyrood House, Reception to Melrose Parish Church, and Form 3 to Abbotsford House.  Reports on these outings feature in this edition of the .mail.
Kindergarten hosted a “Stay, Play and Learn” afternoon with parents thoroughly enjoying the experience from which their children benefit on a daily basis.

Wednesday’s sports fixtures included our latest Dandylions representatives; Hannah, Mhairi, Molly and Eliza playing in successful teams against the WOSPS, and playing significant roles in these successes.  Meanwhile, other netball, rugby and football contests took place here with a particularly memorable match for the 1sts rugby squad against Earlston High School.  All match reports are worth reading but this week’s rugby report illustrates what a cracking match the boys had experienced.

Yesterday was one of those magical days in prep schools that come along now and then.  News filtered back that our debaters had one the Prep School Debating Championship, efficiently hosted by Mr Taylor and Cargilfield School.  All six St. Mary’s pupils had played their part in an excellent afternoon of debating with Hannah and Thomas chosen as winners, with a particularly strong argument against the wearing of school uniform.  Eliza and Amelie came runners up in the same debate, with Ted and Geordie commended for their constructive and considered contributions regarding the flying of drones.  Mrs Hardie could not have been more proud of all her charges.
A welcome telephone call from Mr Geoffrey Stanford, Headmaster at Fettes College, preceded the debaters return and I shall expand on his news at the end of this update.

I write at the end of a very busy Friday, during which the school has welcomed many Harry Potters, a Voldemort, witches of many different descriptions, Willy Wonka, The Mad Hatter, Athos the Musketeer, Mary Poppins, Little Red Riding Hoods, and numerous other super outfits representing favourite fictional characters of both pupils and staff.  Our visitors at assembly, Mrs Dorothy MacGinty, Headmistress of Kilgraston School and the school’s Chaplain Mr Paul Allaker, sat wide mouthed at the St. Mary’s wide ranging “school uniform” on display.  Mr Allaker gave a most thought provoking address on Lent, assisted by several of our interestingly clad pupils, and the story of Jesus avoiding the devil’s temptations was ably illustrated.
To conclude assembly, I had the privilege of announcing the week’s scholarship successes.  On Monday, we announced that Molly has received a Basil Hume Award for sport to Ampleforth. Prior to the return of the debating team yesterday evening, we heard that Mhairi has been awarded a Sports Scholarship to Fettes College, Amelie has been awarded an All-Rounder Scholarship to Fettes College and Eliza has been awarded the top Academic Scholarship and The Classics Scholarship to Fettes College.
Good luck to our Primary 7 equivalent girls playing in the George Watson’s College hockey tournament on Saturday. 
Quite a week, I am sure you will agree.
Enjoy your weekend.                                     

Jules Birdsall, 08/03/2019

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