School news 15th July 2011

Comunn Gaidhlig Lunnainn – Every year the Gaelic Department enters pupils into the speaking competition organised by Comunn Gaidhlig Lunnainn (London Gaelic Society). This is a popular competition with pupils from all over Scotland taking part. This year we have three prizewinners. Anna Hulme won the senior fluent competition with Kirsty Alexander receiving a merit. James Staddon won the senior learners’ competition. Each pupil received a cash prize.

Gaelic Learners’ Writing Competition – The S2 class entered a national writing competition in May and we are pleased to report that Sofie Banister has won second prize and a £30 gift-card.

Sofie Banister also achieved success in Edinburgh recently.  She took Reserve Champion in the Arab’ Section along with a 2nd in the Intermediates at the Highland Show recently.  Well-done Sofie!

Maths Challenge – Throughout the year a number of successful pupils have received certificates at assembly.  Last month we listed a number of Junior Bronze winners.  Four pupils have now achieved Intermediate certificates and were presented at assembly: Silver – Ian Paul & Callum Vickerstaff, Bronze – Mags Matheson & Luke Gorman

Staff Departures – Staff and pupils bid a fond farewell to Mr. Ellis and Mr. Stewart.  Both will be missed.  Mr. Ellis (English) looks forward to an active retirement and Mr. Stewart (Computing) leaves to take up a post in Edinburgh.  Neither post is being replaced as a result of budget reductions.

Last day – This sees all pupils taking part in activities.  This year we had a beach clean along the front, organised by Miss Dean in support of the Wild about Gairloch Week.  Thanks to Strath Stores for supporting scones!  Others took part in a football tournament.  Organised by senior pupils and supported by staff boys and girls teams took part. Photos on the website here!

Important Dates –Exam results arrive in the post August 4th 2011 and pupils return to school on Tuesday August 16th 2011. 

All at the school wishes everyone a good summer!

Prizegiving 2011

Individual Trophies & Prizes 2011

Dux of School – Anna Hulme

Anna is unable to be with us today because she is attending Head Start, an engineering course at Strathclyde University, and this follows on from her attendance at Space School just a couple of weeks ago. Anna will be presented with the Dux trophy at an assembly in August.

Senior Languages PrizeSophie Donald

History PrizeRuairdhri Wright

John MacGillivray, a former schoolmaster of Achtercairn School, was born in Skye in 1883, attended Oban High School and then went on to Glasgow University and teacher training. He taught in Strachur before coming to Gairloch in 1909 retiring in 1949. Inevitably as the local schoolmaster he was involved in many local organisations such as the Nursing Association, Local Horticultural Show, and during the war he had duties such as Emergency Food Officer. He was elected a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland around 1930 and became a Justice of the Peace around 1940. He was an elder of the Church of Scotland, an active member of the local Golf Club and studied navigation in Greenock during school holidays so as to run evening classes in the subject for local fishermen. He started a school garden and became a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society to further this interest.

The first recipient of this newly restored award is James Staddon. James has worked with enthusiasm and determination during his five years in the Gaelic Department. He only began to learn Gaelic in S2 and his consistent progress during this time has been exceptional. He has now reached a remarkable level of fluency that enables him to communicate easily with fluent speakers.

Prizegiving 2011

John MacGillivray Gaelic PrizeJames Staddon

June Davis Miller Award for ArtOscar Howard

MacLean Trophy for Library EndeavourJamie MacDonald

Doctor Hunter Cup for PipingAlasdair Paul

Lauder prize for MusicElla McDonagh

The Sheona MacDonald Memorial Award is gifted to the school by her husband, Murdo. Shortly after they were married in 2003, and Sheona had left Dingwall Academy, she did some supply work with the English Department which led to a maternity cover for Mrs Orr, and subsequently a role in Support for Learning as well. Her skills, experience and gentle manner proved to be invaluable to both staff and pupils, who were deeply saddened by her death and still think very fondly of her. It is fitting, therefore, that the award in her memory is to be given to a pupil in the middle years of school who has, with support, made significant progress in literacy, and therefore in her learning in general. The first and very deserving recipient of the award is Rebecca Dreisbach-Pollington.

Prizegiving 2011

Sheona MacDonald Memorial TrophyRebecca Dreisbach-Pollington

Horlick BursaryElla McDonagh

Chess TrophyWilliam Smith

Clan MacKenzie Golf TrophyRoddy MacLennan

Football Player of the Year (medal)Nick Stein

Basketball Player of the Year (medal) Jordan Gorman

Junior Boys Sports ChampionJordan Gorman

Junior Girls Sports ChampionCharlotte Kelman

Intermediate Boys Sports ChampionChris Young

Intermediate Girls Sports ChampionSiobhan Vickerstaff

Senior Boys Sports Champion& Martin Blackley Memorial CupNick Stein

Senior Girls Sports Champion – Margaret Matheson

Widdows Shield for Swimming (Improvement) – Chris Young

Two Lochs Community Radio TrophyCiaran Alexander

Prizegiving 2011

Ciaran Alexander has voluntarily created his own radio niche, regularly joining Craic at Dawn presenters on his way to school, whatever the weather, to keep them up to date with what’s happening at the High School and other items of interest to pupils and parents. Ciaran is a past member of the young presenters ‘Radio Waves’ scheme, and among other activities in support of the radio station over the past year, he recorded a series of on-the-spot interviews with organisers and guests at the opening of the new climbing wall which was broadcast on the radio.

The Den AwardRhys Leonard

Susan MacLean says: “The service to the Den award is being awarded to Rhys Leonard who attends every committee meeting and participates fully in each meeting. He is at the Den every week and is always a help to the volunteers on duty. He often stays behind to help clear up and he runs the BBQ every week. Whenever he is asked to do something, we know it will get done. As a committee, we feel that he really deserves this award.”

Junior School Trophy for Service & AchievementHolly Morrison

Elizabeth Matthew Memorial PrizeKatrina Port

Lauder Memorial PrizeJames Staddon

Our final new trophy this year, presented by The Parent Council, is the Harry Valentine Memorial Trophy for Citizenship. Harry consistently took initiatives in questioning issues that were taught in Modern Studies. He showed a curiosity and caring attitude on issues such as human rights, international conflicts, poverty and the environment that went way beyond the textbooks. He had a great talent to inspire and involve others, whether it was to bake cakes for the British Heart Foundation or to sign petitions in support of the release of political prisoners.

The award is open to upper and lower school pupils who show a dedication to the issues relating to good citizenship that goes beyond what is required in class, who take initiatives in questioning issues related to citizenship such as human rights, international conflict, poverty and the environment, and inspire others to involve themselves.

The first winner is Rhoda Tippett. Rhoda has put a huge amount of effort into supporting the charity Ross-shire Women’s Aid. She has created some compelling awareness raising material in order to help young people and professionals understand what’s it’s like to experience Domestic Abuse, how to support young people who are experiencing it and how to get help if you are a young person. She has also raised over £250 for the charity by holding a bingo event and by collecting on their behalf. At Rhoda’s suggestion, they have used dome of this money to organise a young persons event at Ross County. This enabled young people from rural areas receiving support from Ross-shire Women’s Aid to attend a fun day and football match. A huge amount of fun was had by all and Gary Miller certainly has a few more fans as a result.

In school, Rhoda was awarded the position as Depute Head Girl with responsibility for organising paired reading and other pupil related support. Rhoda’s health problems this year did have an impact on this role, but her positive character continued to shine through when lesser mortals would have given up.

The Rights and Responsibilities that underpin being a good citizen in this school are qualities Rhoda has in abundance.

Prizegiving 2011

Harry Valentine Memorial TrophyRhoda Tippett

With several worthy candidates, selecting a winner for the Neil Wilkie Memorial Trophy For Service to The School was a difficult decision this year. The winner has received many accolades from members of staff:

Mr Bowker said: he has been a great help to me over the last year. He is careful with tools, thinks for himself, is a tidy worker and capable of working on his own. He is very willing and gets on well with everyone too.

Mr Cumming said: he has always had a wonderful attitude to everything he does. I have seen this particularly in outdoor trips. I recall a cycling trip when he was so helpful to another pupil who had a problem with their bike. During last week’s fishing trip, he provided equipment when other pupils had lost theirs. He encouraged and supported others who were unsure about aspects of trout fishing. I noticed that he was also always positive in his comments and relationships with others.

Mrs Hildrey said: he goes out of his way to help in the PE dept, without being asked to and also looks out for others.

Mrs Johnston said: he stood out from the others in the Skills for Work class, always coming with appropriate kit and plenty of enthusiasm. He always looks out for others in the group. He has that unusual trait of being able to see what needs to be done and getting on with it! He was great at leading his group in organising events.

Mrs Whall said: He is a great pupil who regularly makes time for his fellow pupils. He is helpful to staff and will be sorely missed.

Prizegiving 2011

Neil Wilkie Memorial TrophyJake Bulmer

Perfect Attendance – Each year, a number of pupils manage to stay healthy despite the generous sharing of germs that goes on within any school.  The following pupils received their certificates at prizegiving: Caitlin Johnston, Sarah MacKenzie & Carianne Johnston.  These three girls also got Perfect Attendance certificates last year.

For the last time as he leaves from S6, having achieved Perfect Attendance throughout Primary School and Secondary School Roddy MacLennan also received a certificate and hearty applause.

ATC – A number of our pupils are members of 832 (Wester Ross) Squadron ATC where they participate in a wide range of activities. Recently they have participated in the Highland Wing ATC Inter-Squadron Athletics where, in their respective classes, Cadet Innes Taylor came first, and Corporal Kieran Morrison and Cadets Siobhan Vickerstaff and Rebecca Dreisbach Pollington came second. The girls team, comprising Siobhan Vickerstaff, Rebecca Dreisbach Pollington, Rebecca Griggs and Holly Morrison were third overall.

Cadets Innis Taylor, Ross Wotherspoon and Siobhan Vickerstaff are awarded their Wing Blue and Chevron and Cadet Luke Gorman is awarded a Chevron, having attained his Wing Blue previously.

Maths Challenge certificates – The Maths Challenge involves many pupils from across the school and a number of certificates have already been presented in Assembly.

At Junior level: Best in School and a Gold Certificate goes to Alfie Gudgeon.
At Intermediate level: Best in School and Silver Certificate to Fraser Hinchliff.
At Senior level: Best in School and a Bronze Certificate to Joseph Powell

House Credits – The Credit system is keenly contested and extends throughout the School. All pupils may earn credits for their house and all inter-house competitions also earn credits. After Sports Day, the credits are totaled and the house with the highest number is the champion House for the year, with almost everyone playing their part.

The pupil with the highest number of individual credits in the whole school is Catherine Wyatt.

For Kerry, the highest number of credits was gained by Justin Claydon and for Tollaidh house, the top spot was gained by Sofie Banister.

Once the sports day credits were added in, the totals were as follows: Kerry 394, Maree 535, and Tollaidh 500.This makes the winners of the House competition 2010-2011: Maree

Prefects and House Captains 2011/2012

All pupils returning for S6 are interviewed prior to be offered prefect status and other responsibilities.  The conferred status is not a reward but a challenge and pupils are effectively given job specifications for the roles assigned.  All of the new S6 currently interviewed have accepted this responsibility.

The school expects senior pupils who take up these posts to represent the school with pride and commitment showing support to staff and other pupils.  Some pupils are asked to take up additional roles to help support the successful functioning of the school for the benefit of all.

Head Girl & Boy: Anna Hulme &  Ruairdhri Wright

Vice-captains: Carianne Johnston, Kirsty Alexander & David Gorman

Kerry House captains: Kirsty Alexander and Dale Cunningham

Kerry Vice-captains:  Iona Proudfoot & Nick Stein

Maree House captains: Anna Hulme and Alexander McFedries

Maree Vice-captains: Margaret Matheson & Ian Paul

Tollaidh House captains: Carianne Johnston & David Gorman

Tollaidh Vice-captains: Kerry Smith & Ruairdhri Wright

School news 1st July 2011

Prizegiving and End of Term – On Wednesday 29th June the school hosted the annual celebration of pupils that ends with the presentation of the Dux medal.  The dux is the highest academic honour that the school bestows and was presented this year to Anna Hulme.  Very well done Anna!

Prizegiving 2011Click on the photo to see more photos, courtesy of Colin ‘Roy’ Robertson

Click here to read about the prizewinners

We also held our annual sports event in rather mixed weather conditions!  A list of all prizewinners along with senior prefect appointments and sporting champions will be published in the next issue of this magazine and on the website. 

Sports Day 2011Click on the photo above to see more photos

Scottish Space School 2011, Strathclyde University – Anna Hulme recently attended the Scottish Space School.  Here is a short report of her week:  Working in our teams of ten, which were named after the different parts of the International Space Station (ISS), we (team Harmony) built, decorated and successfully launched two rockets on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond.  Other activities included throwing an egg from a balcony, playing with remote control toys, looking at our bacteria under a microscope, stargazing in an inflatable planetarium, making heart monitors and a paper aeroplane challenge!  We also attended a number of lectures, one of which was from the first cyborg (a human with robotic implants), and others from Moscow and Houston via Skype.  Throughout the week, we also had a big project to work on – designing a product for use on the ISS – as well as a wee project, which was to make an advert for Space School.  One of the highlights of the very busy week was spending time talking (and dancing!) with the NASA guests – astronauts Alvin Drew and Mike Baker, and NASA engineer Amber Gell.  It was a fantastic and very inspiring week, and I’d definitely recommend everyone to apply next year!

McRobert Cup Basketball Final – On Friday 24th June, Connor Moore, Matthew MacLean, Aaron Lyon, Innis Taylor and Louis Stein, along with Mr. Johnston & David Gorman, travelled to Alness to take part in the finals of the McRobert Cup.  It was a major achievement for them to reach these finals, and they were up against some very impressive – and much larger – schools:  Culloden, Dornoch, Fortrose, Inverness Royal Academy, Wick, Millburn and Golspie.  The boys won 5 matches, and lost 1.  Millburn also won 5 and lost 1, but because we actually lost against Millburn, they carried off the cup.  So, our boys got a well-deserved second place and medals.  They behaved very well on and off the court; they entered the spirit of the occasion, and could be seen smiling and chatting with their opponents between matches.  This was a great experience for them all, and they represented Gairloch to a very high standard.  Very well done!

McRobert CupClick on the photo above for more photos taken at the finals

Ross-Sutherland Secondary Athletic Championships Thirteen pupils travelled to Inverness on Monday 20th June to compete in these games against athletes from 6 other secondary schools.  The Gairloch pupils all performed well in their events and enjoyed competing against the best from across the county.  Louis Stein brought back 2 gold medals for wins in the under-15 discus and javelin.  Margaret Matheson won gold in the senior girls shot putt and was 2nd in her javelin event.  Nick Stein ran a great 100m to come in 2nd in a very fast senior boys race.  Third places were secured by Ross Brogan in the senior boys discus, Nick Stein in long jump, Louis Stein in the 200m, Jordan Gorman in the 400m and Donald Mackenzie in the high jump.  Congratulations to all the pupils who took part.

First Aid Certificates for staff – On Friday 17th June and Satruday 18th June, Andy the Janny, Mrs Newman, Mrs Whall, Dr Caley and Fiona Downie took part in a 2-day first aid course which involved wrapping each other up in bandages and role play amongst other usual first aid discussions to update their certificates.  A very informative and necessary course that has provided those involved with the confidence to deal with various incidents both in and out of school.  It should be restated that this course and all the work providing outdoor activities and DofE expeditions is voluntary and in addition to the normal duties of school staff.

Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions – Congratulations to the eleven S3 pupils who all successfully completed their bronze qualifying expedition on the 20th and 21st June.  Despite some last minute changes, and having faced some very mixed weather throughout their training, they rose admirably to the challenge and finished the walk in good spirits. Isla MacKenzie writes: “It didn’t rain.  YAAY!  There were two groups – Team A(wesome) consisted of Becky, Isla, Kalvin and Luke.  The other group, Team B(oring), was Chris, Ryan, Adam, Ainslie, Caitlin and Natasha.  We walked 14.7km on the first day, Monday, camped overnight and woke up again at 6am walking a further 10.5km. Overall, everyone really enjoyed the trip and a number of us are hoping to continue on to silver after the summer.”

Bronze Expedition 2011Click on the photo above for more photos

Likewise, the silver walking group showed remarkable teamwork and enthusiasm during their grueling 3-day expedition from Incheril to Gruinard which should stand them in good stead for their qualifying expedition which will hopefully take place at the start of next session.  Thanks to all the staff involved in helping these expeditions such a success  – both out on the walks and providing transport.  Many thanks also to everyone else in the local community who has supported these pupils with the other sections of the award.

Day 2Click on the photo above for more photos

Comenius German Evening – On the evening of Wednesday 22nd June an event took place in the multi-purpose hall to share with the community some of the experiences Becky Griggs, Sarah MacKenzie, Gemma Urqhuart and Rebecca Dreisbach-Pollington had on their recent trip to Lehre in the north of Germany. Presentations and musical items, including a German children’s song, a sketch about German grammar and an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia about the trip entertained the audience.  Refreshments included German sausages.  Thanks to the Parent Council for their help with the refreshments, local businesses who contributed to the raffle, and all the staff and pupils who made the evening a success.

U13 Basketball Trials – On Saturday 11th June, Jordan Gorman travelled to Stirling to compete against 50 other U13 basketball players from all over Scotland for 12 places on the Scotland U13’s squad.  The trial was completely closed and only the players and the selectors were in the games hall.  John Kerray, one of the selectors and the Highland team coach, said that it was a tough competition and there were a lot of good players. Unfortunately, Jordan didn’t make the team, but the Highlands are well represented by 4 girls and 2 boys.  Well Done Jordan on being invited.  There is always next year!