Parents 

31st January 2020

I don’t like the expression ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’ because it implies that to wake dogs would be a bad thing.  I think this does an injustice to many of our K9 friends, but at the same time, there is an important warning in this turn of phrase.
 
To emphasise the point, I took Oscar, Wilma and Ernie along to assembly with me (a sure way of getting my audience to pay attention) and the three of the four ‘St. Mary’s dogs’ behaved reasonably well.  Mr Bell’s companion Millie was too busy trying to ‘round up’ rabbits outside to join us.
 
These four much loved and trusted animals are used to the attention of lots of young people, and they enjoy being patted, stroked and crowded.  Oscar in particular, has never known anything other than life in a busy school both during the day and through the evenings. 

But, I reminded pupils that they should never approach unattended dogs when out and about, and must always seek the permission of the owner before stroking a dog they do not know.
 
Ernie has taken up the role of Assistance Dog in the school office and he has become a great source of calm for anyone feeling a little anxious.  It truly is remarkable to see the positive impact these animals have and I can only apologise to parents who are being badgered about getting a dog at home!  For those of you who do have dogs, it is important to remind you not to take your dogs into the school buildings for the very reason that children are not familiar with these animals but are reluctant to express unease. I am sure you understand.
 
Rehearsals are now running with less stage direction and input; a sure sign that Miss McRae has her Middle School cast well on track to impress the critics next week.  
 
Boarders enjoyed another trip to Galashiels swimming pool on Tuesday and Wednesday fixtures (played 17, won 7, lost 8, drew 2) provided as large a participation level from pupils as we have seen this term.  Whether they were in a winning, losing or drawing team, our football and netball teams all gave creditable performances, according to the coaching staff.  On busy days like these, the demands on Chef and his team are considerable and, as they always do, they provided efficient and willing service to the hundred plus pupils who stayed for match teas.
 
The week has drawn to a conclusion with a most fabulous and refreshing contribution from Ampleforth Housemistress, Miss Gabrielle Foster.  Miss Foster has in her care Anna, Molly and Cecilia (all St. Mary’s FPs) in St. Margaret’s, Ampleforth College, and her upbeat positivity is infectious.  In her interesting address, we heard the true story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah from Ghana, who was born with only one fully formed leg.  Emmanuel’s inspiring story culminates in him cycling four hundred miles across Ghana to spread his powerful message; disability does not mean inability.
 
We then heard of how Emmanuel’s story is a fine example of people being the best they can be, how friends and family can support this endeavour and how that translates to life and the Benedictine principles that are the foundation of Ampleforth College.  We are very grateful to Miss Foster who spent time with pupils, answering questions and telling of life in St. Margaret’s as well as at the school.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Kiki and some of her Form 8 friends for their fundraising efforts in aid of Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES), Australia.  Kiki has raised £400 through her bake sale and animals affected by the Australian bush fires will be the worthy beneficiaries. 
 
Have a good weekend.


HM 

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