29th November 2019

It is always a pleasure presenting Pre-Prep’s ‘Star of the Week’ certificates on a Monday morning, and celebrating any successes achieved out of school by our pupils, or indeed staff.  However, it gave me particular pleasure to mention two pupils who competed (against each other) in the Scottish Youth Brass Band Championships in the Perth Concert Hall over the weekend. 
Beattie M (trombone, Gala Youth Brass Band) and Robert L (cornet, Abbey Brass, Jed) had been involved, with Beattie’s band picking up a bronze award, and Robert’s band, not only gaining a gold medal and first place overall, out of fifteen bands competing in the ‘Novice’ section, but Robert was nominated by his band as the recipient of the trophy.  He was rightly very proud of his contribution and Miss McRae was waxing lyrical about Robert, Isaac S and Archie D, who have all taken advantage of Jed Brass Band’s generous support of our young musicians by providing St. Mary’s with brass band instruments for anyone to try.  A clever recruitment policy, too!
Another feature of this success is the contribution of brass instrument tutor, Stuart Black.  Stuart is an inspirational and most engaging tutor, who has overcome significant physical disadvantage himself, to provide young, eager beginners with the enthusiasm and self-belief that underpins their enjoyment of learning to play.
The week has unfolded as often late November weeks do, with a great amount to be pleased with; constructive and collaborative conversations with parents of Form 6 and Form 7 pupils, and the necessity to nudge ever tiring pupils back on track with the occasional ‘reminder’ now and then.
Boarding has been particularly busy, with a football tournament on Melrose RFC’s 3G pitch proving an enticing draw for new boarders as well as the long-standing weekly residents on Monday, and a ceilidh and afterwards chocolate fountain treat hosted by Mrs Harvey and Pam in the Headmaster’s house.
We welcomed a visit from two representatives of Tatler’s Schools Guide.  Fiona and Sara-Jane spent the best part of a morning hearing and being shown why we are so proud of our school, and they have written a most charming letter since, thanking us for our time and strongly implying that they share our love of the place.  Look out for their assessment of St. Mary’s in the Tatler Schools Guide, early in the new year.
A busy fixture programme on Wednesday included the usual highs and lows, but I make special mention of Nicole who sustained a nasty injury in the U11 hockey match against Mowden at Tweedbank.  Nicole was extremely brave, as was her mum, but Mrs Bell showed typical clarity of thought and composure to see that the best First Aid care was provided for our intrepid young hockey star.  I am delighted to hear Nicole will be popping in to school this afternoon to support her Squad in the Abbey Park Relay.
As mentioned, the Abbey Park Relay gets underway this afternoon, and once again we should thank Mr Inwood for introducing this fabulous event to the St. Mary’s sporting calendar.
I have deliberately left mentioning Mrs Fresle and Form 2’s Friday morning assembly until last, as it served to give everyone a cheerful lift on a cold and frosty Friday morning.  Every member of the class recited lines from Dr Seuss’ ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go’.  We then had entertaining role play and the assembly was concluded with Mrs Fresle playing the music to ‘If You’re Happy and You Know it’ with the form singing adapted words.  The theme was resilience and we heard examples of what makes individuals happy, and what makes them feel ‘down’.  Importantly, the class gave us advice on what we should do if we experience the latter, and everyone in the audience, young or old, will have learned something new.  Thank you, Mrs Fresle and Form 2.
Have an enjoyable weekend.

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