1st May 2020 

Assembly this week came from the Headmaster’s Study.  Mr Harvey reviewed last week and talked to us about the ways that he finds help him evaluate what is really important when dealing with such a wide range of problems.  He treated us to clip of music from a song that he likes to turn to when he needs a boost.  From the amount of recordings of instrument practice that have been coming in, it seems that lots of our pupils also take enjoyment from listening to and playing music; just one of the many ways we can look after our feelings of wellness.
This week we have been treated to a number of short video messages from pupils in Form 8.  Their messages have been heartfelt and, we hope, demonstrate that in their final year they continue to lead our pupils, albeit from a distance.  In their messages we have heard how many different pursuits can help us to cope with the unusual circumstances in which we currently find ourselves.  We have viewed sporting endeavours, ways to help at home, received musical advice, witnessed dancing in the garden and we have met a host of interesting animals through Form 8s thoughtful and entertaining clips.  Form 3 also contributed a video montage message that brought a smile of comfort to our faces.
Connectivity, one of the ‘6Cs’ guiding principles at St. Mary’s, has never been more important than at present.   The Edmodo platform allows pupils, parents and staff to communicate with each other throughout the day regarding curricular and pastoral matters.  Videos, sound clips and website links are becoming more familiar tools within our teaching and learning.  Regular phone calls to pupils and parents from Form Tutors facilitate longer and more detailed discussion.  Our website, school app and Twitter feed provide opportunities to share information and successes within the St. Mary’s Community and beyond. 
Of course, we must not forget our electronic connectivity.  In a world where we sometimes criticise ourselves and those around us for ‘always having our head buried in a phone/ipad/Xbox/Netflix boxset’ we now find ourselves ever more grateful for those devices and the technology embedded within.  Messaging, video calls and viewing opportunities are proving to be one of our lifelines – when the network connection is behaving!  We finish week 3 of distance learning with a sense of pride in what the children, parents and staff in our community have achieved.  What we see on our screens is evidence of the hard work that we know is going on behind the scenes in each of our homes.
Congratulations go to Grace B in Form 2 (featured on the front page of the Border Telegraph this week who completed her marathon round her garden - what a huge achievement, Grace.  Freya M in Form 6 has become our most recent reading millionaire and no doubt there will be a number following in her footsteps before long.
As well as Grace’s phenomenal efforts to help others, and many other acts of kindness being carried out by pupils, Mr Harvey wanted to highlight that numerous staff and parents are volunteering in the community.  This rages from packing food for food bank distribution, delivery of food supplies to the vulnerable, and volunteering within the hospital system. 
Among the parent body, we have many frontline medical or emergency workers.  They are doing us all proud and we look forward to the day when we can pay tribute to them by shaking their hands and thanking them for the extra lifesaving work they have been called to carry out, whilst putting themselves at significant risk.  Caring selflessness and compassion that deserves our thanks. 
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention the achievement of Captain (now Colonel) Tom Moore.  His determination, dedication, humility and sense of purpose are traits that any one of us would be proud to emulate, and fine characteristics to which St. Mary’s pupils should aspire.
Ms McRae

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