8th November 2019

The intention on Monday was to set a particularly positive tone for the week ahead.  This was partly to counter the country’s ‘leaders’ on a daily basis sending out worrying signals about the electorate making ill-informed choices in the forthcoming general election.
There is no better way of starting the week on a positive note than celebrating the success of young people, and I enjoyed congratulating our U11 hockey team, U11 rugby team, and U13 rugby 7s squad for their battling spirited performances the previous Saturday and Sunday. 
As we sat in our well-furnished, warm Morrison Hall, I could not help mention the words of the victorious and inspirational World Cup winning South African Captain Siya Kolisi.  ‘When I was a kid, all I could think about was getting my next meal’.  Along with several other teammates, his life journey is remarkable, inspirational and humbling.
I then turned to a favourite film, Monsters Inc. to draw a parallel with the current scaremongering amongst those who are making decisions about the country’s future.  The gist of the animated film is that a city of monsters provides itself with electricity using energy emitted from frightened children.  This is acquired as the big furry behemoths or alien shaped creatures jump out of bedroom cupboards or appear from under children’s beds, to scare them.
However, because of inadvertently having to look after a human toddler called ‘Boo’, who attaches herself to them, the two main characters, ‘Sully’ and ‘Mike Wasowski’ stumble across the fact that more efficient way of gaining electricity energy is acquired by making young people laugh with happiness.  ‘Boo’ is very like a certain member of our Upper Kindergarten, and her mother who teaches in the school, sat smiling throughout the clips shown to emphasise the point being made.

For those who missed the point, the animation clips will have made them smile anyway. My hope is that those who picked up the message will have found the parallels thought provoking.  Either way, with a smile on our faces, we left the Morrison Hall to tackle the challenges of the week ahead.

It was a real pleasure welcoming St. Mary’s Former Pupils and current Loretto pupils Cameron Lockie and Ellen Crawford to give a presentation to Form and 7 on their Borealis trip to Greenland.  Cameron and Ellen delivered an interesting and informative power point talk that had their former teachers purring with praise.  Two better ambassadors for both St. Mary’s and Loretto could it would not be possible to find.  They were brilliant.

November 5th and a small, closely supervised bonfire for the boarders, came and went without incident on Tuesday and the middle school embarked on their after school rehearsal programme. 
There were some great fixtures on Wednesday, with both senior girls (hockey) and senior boys (rugby) doing the school proud.  The 1sts rugby produced a very courageous win and the girls competed well beyond expectations in a hockey tournament which saw them draw with two of Edinburgh’s biggest senior schools, and a win against Perthshire’s biggest independent senior school.  It is difficult to detail specific statistics but a good comparison might be Japan performing so well in the rugby World Cup.
Boarding has been busy throughout the week with activities such as cooking with Cheffy, as well as the bonfire night mentioned earlier.
Today (Friday) has been jam packed with activities of various types.  The Reverend Rosie Frew conducted a most moving Remembrance Service for the school from Form 1 to Form 8 this morning, and Madame Syme played ‘The Last Post’ and Mr Bell played ‘The Lament’ on the bagpipes.  Reverend Frew gave an address on a little boy made to wear a star.  The star, for a time in his life, defined what he was, but good conquered evil and he emerged as an adult, not as a star wearing number.  Form 8 played a central part in ensuring the service paid tribute to all St. Mary’s Former Pupils who gave up their lives in war, and thank you to parents who attended the service.
It would be an honour to lead a large procession of St. Mary’s pupils this coming Sunday, at the Melrose Town Remembrance Parade.  For those able to attend, we would like them to wear No. 1 uniform and I look forward to meeting you outside the Melrose Corn Exchange at 10.15am.
As I conclude my weekly report, I reflect on a lovely afternoon of sport.  Hall Grove Prep School, Surrey, has called in upon us with an U13 rugby team and two U11 rugby teams.  Strong wins for the younger teams of the touring school should not over-shadow a cracking U13 fixture played on the Greenyards month old 3G surface.  Though the match ended in a victory for St. Mary’s, all boys who played, can be proud of a cracking fixture that had all the spectators offering warm applause to both sides as they came of the pitch at the end of the game.
We are very grateful to Hall Grove Prep and their staff and parents for including us in their tour, and wish them well for the rest of the weekend.
I look forward to seeing many of you on Sunday.  Have a good weekend.  

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