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December Newsletter 2012 Message from the Editors Dear Parents; December has been a busy month for Oldmachar Academy. With a wide range of both curricular and extra-curricular activities, this month's newsletter is packed with things that show all aspects of the school. From an outstanding Christmas concert, to art exhibitions, the academy continues to work towards building its presence in the community.

Featured Items  Visits of Neil Fachie  Primary 7 Curriculum Days  Thorpe Malloy Competition  S4 Student Profiling  Christmas Concert  Stem Event  Diana Award Winners

In the past month we have seen some great achievements: S4-6 student profiling; the return of former pupil and Paralympic gold medalist Neil Fachie; the visit of STEM Ambassadors to the S2 science classes; P7 curriculum days; the Thorpe Malloy art competition; plus our end of term activities! We wish you all congratulations on surviving the Mayan Apocalypse and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! Matthew Kemp and Matthew Harazim (S6)

Neil Fachie: Paralympic Champion

Lewis Parley: Diana Award Winner

Reece Gibb: S4 Profiling Exercise

Ryan Corbett: Thorpe Malloy Winner


Visit of Neil Fachie This December we were honoured to have Neil Fachie; Aberdonian Paralympic gold and silver medalist return to Oldmachar, to give a talk to each year group. Neil talked about his school career in Oldmachar Academy and his journey to become Paralympic Champion. He is pictured right with students, including our Sports Ambassadors, Bethany Galley and Steven Murray in S4. Neil acquired a gold medal in the 1km tandem (cycling) time trial and a silver medal in the individual tandem sprint at the London 2012 Paralympics. He suffers from a congenital eye condition, named retinitis pigmentosa, which eliminates his peripheral vision and severely reduces plus blurs his vision. Due to this condition, competitors in Neil’s event ride with a ‘sighted pilot’; their tandem partner, whose job is to steer. Neil’s pilot was Barney Storey. Mr Brown commented on Neil Fachie. “Neil is our first Olympic champion. A true hero. He exemplifies the struggle to overcome diversity. He reminds us that everyone is worthy of respect. We are very proud of him and his achievements. We also thank him for his continuing interest in the school.”

A lucky few who asked Neil questions had their pictures taken with him. Pictured right are some students in S1 who listened to Neil’s inspiring talk. Pictured above are the students in Miss Midgely’s Higher PE class. Everyone was inspired by Neil’s talk. Bethany Galley (S4) said that she one day hoped to emulate Neil and win Olympic Gold in her sport, rowing. “Neil is an inspiration to all Oldmachar Academy students.”


Thorpe Malloy Competition The Competition Recently twelve of Oldmachar’s pupils took part in the Thorpe Malloy Recruitment’s art competition. The competition challenges S1 and S2 pupils from across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire to create a self-portrait expressing their future career aspirations. The competition aims to promote creativity amongst individuals. All submissions from across Aberdeen and the shire received a certificate of achievement and can be viewed at www.ThorpeMalloy.com in their SMART galley from the 1st to the 23rd of December. Pictured right is the work of Tyler MacDonald (1D). The work shown in the next two pages are examples of interesting classwork, some of which was submitted to the competition. Ryan’s entry below was one of the winning entries from all the schools who took part. Congratulations to Ryan Corbett (1F) Ryan Corbett (whose picture is shown left) was selected by Thorpe Malloy to receive a certificate of commendation. These certificates are given to the creators of artwork considered accomplished and selected for the street art exhibition. Ryan’s art will also appear on the Thorpe Malloy calendar and in the bus advertisement sponsored by First Bus. The art department’s Mrs Simpson explained that the Thorpe Malloy competition “Gives the S1/S2 pupils an opportunity to consider their future aspirations in terms of ambitions at school, further education and beyond.”


Connor Wilson (1B)

Tara Grant (1C)

Michael Thorley (1B)

Emma Johnstone (1A)


Primary 7 Curriculum Transition Visit Last month the primary seven visits took place. These are to allow future pupils the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Oldmachar Academy; its layout; its occupants and to prepare them for life at Oldmachar. During their visits they took part in ‘curriculum days’. These days featured fun and engrossing activities, for example the Trading game. During the Trading Game, the primary seven pupils take the roles of rich and poor countries such as the USA and Greece. They are required to trade stationary representing real world resources with the goal of making the largest profit possible. The whole event is run by S6 students, who coordinate all of the activities and provide a plenary session in which issues related to Fair Trade are discussed. This is both a beneficial exercise for the Primary 7 students, but also an important leadership opportunity for the S6 students. Pictured to the right are some of our S6 students who were organising the event. Katie Hutcheon and Richard Higgins acted as the World Bank during the game. Thanks to the S6 Citizenship Team for providing this activity.

Message from Mr Brown “We all look forward to our P7 students coming to Oldmachar Academy after the summer holiday. In the meantime, everyone needs to work as hard as possible in Primary 7 to make sure that they have a successful transition.” Mr Brown


Science and Technology Workshops Other activities also took place in the Science, English, Technical and Maths departments. The pictures shown here show the P7 students working with Mr Paterson and Mr Allan to develop things that buoyant, following a workshop delivered by science teachers. Students were given materials and had to work collaboratively to design a floating raft. 6B’s Calum Fowler, explained the benefits. “It allowed them (The primary sevens) to meet new people and develop new skills.” Thanks to all the teachers who contributed to making the two curriculum days so successful. The pictures show the students enjoying learning in Oldmachar Academy.


S4 Student Profiles What is Profiling? This session Oldmachar Academy has developed a new way to ensure that students, parents, carers and staff all have a clear understanding of where each young person is in their learning in all subjects. This session students are agreeing learner statements with teachers about their progress so far, especially in light of recent prelim results.

The personal statements written by years S4, S5 and S6 will be used to acquire an in-depth view of the student’s feelings towards their performance in each of the subjects they study, and will replace the standard report card previously written by teachers. This allows students to take a little bit of control concerning their report and gives their parents and teachers an honest insight into the students’ thoughts towards their progress.

Teachers’ Views Mrs Gray from the English department commented upon the advantages of student profiling. “Students are given the opportunity to reflect on their own learning, and have a chance to identify their successes in learning and celebrate them.” Mr Brown said, “The system is all about the young person taking control of their learning and their life. Employers we have consulted think the profiles will provide them with meaningful information about young people as well.” Students’ Views David Norval in S4 told Mr Brown that “Initially I had concerns about this way of communicating information about my learning, but I now like the system and have enjoyed putting my learner statements onto the school’s network so that they can be published. I can see how this will be beneficial to us in helping us progress our learning.”


Celebrating Students’ Successes Aria Lynch 3D and Kim Beattie 3F On the 3rd of November 2012 we both travelled down to Bells Sports Centre in Perth to compete in the Scottish National Trampoline Championships. We had a few qualifying events we could go to during the year where we had to reach a certain score to qualify to compete at championships which we both managed. Groups are split up by level and age starting at level H and working up to fig A. Kim competed at level E under 15s and Aria competed at G under 15s. We both did two routines and were judged by a panel of 5 judges and when the scores came in, we had both done better than we expected. Aria is now Scottish Champion for level G under 15s and Kim is now Scottish Champion for level E under 15s.

Kim also managed to beat everyone who wasn’t in her age group at level E so achieved the highest score of the day at level E. We had really good fun and enjoyed the day very much and we are now back at training getting ready for the Northern League competitions starting in February. Trampolining Classes If you are interested in starting trampolining, there will be a class starting in February at the Jesmond Centre after school from 3.30pm on a Tuesday run by Arrows Trampoline Club. This class is for all ages and abilities. If you are interested it would be very helpful if you could let us know by telling either Mr Lawrence in the PE dept or Kim and Aria who are in the PE dept every Thursday lunchtime, as this will help us determine numbers. More information to follow in the New Year.


Diana Award Winners Congratulations to all of our Award Winners Every year we submit the names of S6 students whom we think have achieved highly in community volunteering activities. This year we had seventeen award winners, which is a record. This is partly due to the increased opportunities open to students in the senior school to undertake leadership roles. In November we staged an Award Ceremony in school to present the successful students with their awards. Pictured above are people attending the event, which was held in the Oldmachar Academy staffroom. Mr Brown presented awards to all of the young people who are shown here.

Pictured on this page are the members of the Senior Student Leadership Team (2011 – 2012). They are: Katie Milne, Kris Mavor, Gaynor Lawrence, Iain Scott and Alan Simpson. This team worked closely with the Senior Management Team on behalf of the school to ensure that students’ voices were heard in the school. They also organised Parents’ Evenings, Charities Events and other major projects. We are proud of all of the students and are sure that they will all go on to be successful.

The Senior Student Leadership Team (2011 – 2012) with Mr Brown Hannah Pirie also won an award but was unable to attend on the afternoon.


Diana Award Winners Continued Congratulations to the E-Sports Committee Pictured to the right are members of the E-Sports Committee. This group developed and ran a programme of extra-curricular activities throughout last session, often raising money for charities. The boys involved showed a lot of leadership, excellent teamwork and a real commitment to bringing together the gamers of the student community. Some members of the group were unable to attend. We thank them as well. In particular, the Children in Need Dance-a-thon, which involved teachers and students in competition was one of the highlights of last year. Pictured above we have Conor Smith, Scott McEwan, Thomas Hyland, Carson Cheung, Ali and Ahmad Baker. Well done to the boys on their Award. Congratulations Lewis Parley Special mention has to go to Lewis Parley who won a special category of Diana Award. This award was in the Diana Champion Volunteer category and is a new award. Lewis very much deserves this award for his commitment to Eco-Schools throughout his five years in Oldmachar Academy. He coordinated projects in recycling and led a team of volunteers to do so. He also designed and manufactured a sign for the school’s Bike Shed. He was instrumental in the school being awarded an Eco Schools Green Flag. He made a noteworthy contribution to Northsound’s Cash for Kids project. We feel this award recognises Lewis’s entrepreneurial flair and his dedication to help others. Well done Lewis!


Christmas Concert Article by Matthew Harazim I find, a lot of retrospective articles written about events can be rather clichéd. The overuse of adjectives drone on and on, without telling the reader any highlights, or what even went on. Unfortunately, this is one of the rare occasions where I could whole heartedly agree on such an approach to journalism. Tuesday (19th) was a date for your diaries, however if you missed it, the traditional Oldmachar Christmas Concert went underway, 19.30 sharp. After a welcoming speech, the band, comprised of the fifth year higher music class, struck up "Merry Christmas Everybody" with the entire cast for back up and solos throughout. From there on in, it only got better. A strong beginning is always needed, and sets up audience expectations. Those expectations were met and beat time, and time again, as the evening drew on. The first half of the show portrayed a diverse range of acts featuring “Thousand years” and “White Flag” performed by the junior singers, Lewis Duncan and the Diane's rendition of the Bryan Adams anthem, “Summer of '69”, a duet of O Holy Night, I won’t Give Up On Us, Chasing an acoustic guitar arrangement of Silent Night, and, Fix You. Before the break, On behalf of the World Challenge group, Ruth Logan explained several features of the break including a raffle (all proceeds going to the World Challenge group). Backstage, any tension which was felt at the beginning of the concert dissipated as the performers relaxed into their roles. However good the first half of the set list was, the second half raised the bar to heights that, in my opinion, have never been reached yet. The newest additions to Oldmachar (S1 Singers) started off the second half with a mash up of Pricetag and White Christmas, with the band in accompaniment. The acoustic guitar group was welcomed to the stage once more to perform the Beatles classic; Yesterday, with solo vocals lilting over the top. This was swiftly followed up by a contemporary arrangement of Away In A Manger and a fantastic cover of “The Only Exception”.


Christmas Concert

Next up, one of the best performances of the night, Little Talks performed by the higher class, backed up from the sidelines by the whole cast. A beautiful melding of harmonizing voices, rolling drums and smooth guitar riffs, the act was one very hard to follow up. The night ended with two breathtaking choral pieces performed by the Senior Singers: “My Saviour And My Lord”, and “God So Loved The World”. Finally the Singers were joined by the whole cast for a rendition of “Everything’s Not Lost” with solos from George Wildgoose and Ethan Park. That, was a concert to remember.


STEM Event STEM Event: S2 On Thursday 8th November, a science and technology day was undertook by the Second Year students. Pupils were given the challenge to construct a wind turbine, with the intent of generating the greatest amount of energy.

This task was broken down into three sub-tasks; i.

To design and construct turbine blades

ii.

To design and construct a free standing, structurally robust tower to support moving parts

iii.

To construct a system to convert the kinaesthetic energy created by the wind turbine rotation into useable electricity.

Each wind turbine created was tested and winners were based on several success criteria;  Performance  Team working  Aesthetics  Cost Marketing

“The pupils benefitted greatly from this experience as it encourages personal development, including; time management, team work, problem solving, and personal and social skills” said Ms Gordon, Faculty Head for Biology also “promoting creativity and entrepreneurial skills” .


STEM Event Continued Each pupils was asked to fill out an evaluation form and was asked two questions; What went well? Could be made better if? Examples of the work pupils did are shown here, with S2 pupils developing their ideas and making the final products.

Pupil response was encouraging with many positive remarks. Students were able to successfully comment upon the weaker aspects of their projects, homing in on time management, and communication skills.


End of Term Charities Event Charities Events On the last day of term the S6 students staged a day of activities for younger students. The images shown here show the S6 students engaged in some of the activities to celebrate Christmas and also to raise money for Charity. The day began with a team building challenge, which is explained below by Grant Smith in S6.

Message from Charities Committee Organisers “Today we began our day playing a United Nations Trading Game. We organised it exactly the same way as the day we did for P7s recently. Countries had to trade resources and make products to compete against each other. Later we went round the school corridors singing to help spread a bit of Christmas cheer. We then finished the day off with a Let’s Dance tournament on Wii in the Common Room.] Hopefully with the Christmas feeling, and the Dress for the Festive Season Day at school, all of our charity events throughout the day, including the selling of Candy Canes all week, can raise a great amount for the British Heart Foundation and help those that really need it this Christmas.”

Grant Smith (S6) Pictured right is our S6 year group, who are achieving great things this session.


Announcements The new storage boxes have arrived, and now populate the corridor between the PE department and the canteen. These boxes allow pupils to store their bags in a convenient location. We hope that students appreciate the new boxes and will provide further updates on planned improvements in the New Year.

Christmas Card Competition For the second time in her school career, Jenna Cook has won the annual Christmas Card design completion. Jenna’s card is pictured opposite. Jenna said about her win, “In our Photography Short Course I was asked to create a card from one of my photos. I chose one from the inseide of St Machar Church and developed it. I’m thrilled I won.” Well done Jenna.

Can Can Appeal We are pleased to announce that our Can Can Appeal was successfully concluded last week, with groceries being delivered to local elderly residents. One resident wrote “Dear Mr Brown, Once again I have received your lovely Christmas gift and card. A very generous gesture on the part of your school. The boys and girls who mad ethe delivery are always so pleasant and smiling.” We have received a number of these supportive messages. Thanks to everyone who contributed and especially to the Guidance team and S3 pupils for coordinating and delivering the parcels. Start of Term The start of the new term is Monday 7th January. We look forward to seeing everyone well rested and ready to start the new term! Merry Christmas!


Oldmachar Newsletter: December 2012