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ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY Weekly Newsletter



INSPIRE AND TRANSFORM: S5 pupils Nik Kolev and Sarah Iles cooking up yet another devastating argument in the Debating Matters event on Saturday


Ben Davis, Acting Headteacher Grassyards Rd Kilmarnock KA3 7SL 01563 526144 Twitter: @StJoAcad

DEBATING SUCCESS Having made it through to the final of the STV Debating Matters Referendum Debate, the team from St. Joseph’s enjoyed great success. The S5 pupils (Ramsay Heron-Cunningham, Nik Kolev, Sarah Kelly and Sarah Iles, all pictured below l-r) had been prepared for the prestigious competition by English teacher Mrs. Hill. The event took place on Saturday, March 22nd at Glasgow University in the Senate building and lasted all day. The team encountered finely-tuned opposition from other schools but soon dispatched all-comers (including

independent school Mary Erskine’s) to secure a place in the final debate. With only 15 minutes to prepare they took on an experienced duo of S6 pupils from Douglas Academy in Bearsden and walked away with second place in the competition - a very impressive result. Furthermore, Ramsay was named Best Individual Speaker (with one of the judges admitting to finding his bass tones somewhat alluring) and Sarah Iles was awarded a special commendation for her wit and rhetoric. The team can now look forward to a number of high profile opportunities in the future as a result of their skill and the contacts they made on Saturday.


ST. JOSEPH’S DAY: Pictures of just some of the activities offered to S1 - S3 pupils on the afternoon of St. Joseph’s Day, March 19th. A full report will appear in redblack magazine. The Feast Day also saw two Masses celebrated. One took place during the school day, the other was held in the evening.


BRAEHEAD FOODS: We have enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Braehead Foods, so it was with great excitement that we welcomed chef Joe Queen into the school to work with S5/6 pupils. They slaved in a hot kitchen all day and turned out high quality food: Butter Chicken Curry and Chocolate Fondants. Said Chef Joe: ‘I love coming to St. Joseph’s!’


This striking piece of fine paper work is from Lauren Kerr in S3 who describes it as influenced by ‘steampunk’ fashion and design, a ‘retro-futuristic blend of Victoriana and sci-fi’. It is a work-in-progress, but nonetheless impressive.


INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE: Since last week was the week in which we marked St. Joseph’s Day, it was fitting that in Home Room the pupils explored the idea of inspiration, focussing particularly on the extraordinary things seemingly ordinary people achieve. As well as leading to some excellent discussions, pupils also wrote about their inspirations and these notes are displayed in the street (top picture) with some highlights pictured above. Speaking of inspirational people, S1 pupil Kieran Preston recently completed a 2.5km Swimathon for Sport Relief in one hour, raising bucket-loads of cash. Well done!


FACING SOME BIG ISSUES: As reported in last week’s issue, the S3 year group experienced a half-day of health and wellbeing activities that ranged from watching a play about the dangers of drugs and alcohol to listening to presentations and learning first aid techniques. This follows on from the Enspirex Day and a group of pupils will lead more work on this later in the session. Earlier this week S4 - S6 attended double period voter registration events designed to make them aware of the mechanics and responsibilities of voting and the need to register in advance of the referendum in September. As well as designing a politician the pupils got to cast a mock vote.

Busking for Charity This Lent, as well as our usual charity fundraising activities, Mr. Sikora has dreamt up a new enterprise. At least twice each week diners in the school canteen are treated to charity buskers. This can be any pupil who wishes to perform and one or two staff. So far, Matthew Cowan and Matthew Dougan (S4), Jude Gater (S1), Fr. Chambers and Mr. Whyte have all taken to the stage to wow us with their talents. It certainly brings an extra dimension to lunch, and all in a good cause. S2 Pupils promote Scotland Miss Munro’s S2 English class have embraced their latest enterprise challenge with gusto. They were set the task of creating a new advert for Visit Scotland. The results are extremely impressive and will shortly be available on our blog. S3 pupils hear about life in Cambridge Last Friday we were delighted to welcome Ellen Slack from Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. She spoke with pupils about university life, applications procedures, tutorials and the whole student experience. She left pupils with the clear message to aim high in all that they do beyond school. You can read more about her work here. Easter School As usual staff will be running Easter revision and exam preparation classes throughout the holiday and S4 - S6 pupils are strongly encouraged to attend. The timetable

is being finalised and will be issued next week to all pupils.


S5/6 Options 2014

SportScotland Conference,

The options form for S4 into S5 and S5 into S6 has been issued to pupils and interviews will begin next week.

Assembly Hall, March 28th

Home Room Evaluation One of our most recent evaluations is Home Room, which is now into its second year. We are undertaking a comprehensive review of the experience and content of Home Room prior to the Easter break. This includes pupils being interviewed for their opinions and staff visiting one another’s Home Rooms to compare experiences.

Parent Council Meeting, March 31st, 7.00 pm S5/6 SQA Exam Mass, April 1st, 10 am, St. Matthew’s Church End of term, April 4th, 2.30 pm Good Friday, April 18th

redblack magazine

Easter Sunday, April 20th

The second issue of our school magazine will be published next week online. The first edition received over 2,500 reads and contains a wide range of pupils’ work. The second edition will be similarly packed and is themed, focussing on the idea of learning.

Pupils return, April 22nd, 9.00 am

Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing We are in the process of developing and refining our whole school strategy for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. A draft version has been shared with staff and with the Parent Council. For the next stage we will be convening an advisory group for the school comprising pupils, staff, parents and other interested parties. We will also be taking the ‘See Me...’ pledge and nominating some pupils as Young Minds VS ambassadors. For more information please click here.

Study leave for S4 - S6 begins, Friday, April 25th, 3.30 pm SQA exams commence, Tuesday April 29th Planned timetable change, May 19th The details for study leave and exam timetables for all pupils, particularly those inS4, will be published in due course. The SQA website also provides information.

WEEKLY HOME ROOM REFLECTION: OSCAR ROMERO On 24th March 1980, Archbishop Oscar Romero was celebrating Mass in his cathedral when he was shot dead. He was archbishop of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, a country in Central America - ruled by an extreme right-wing government, backed by the army, and well-known for repressing and torturing and murdering its citizens. Six days later, on 30th March, thousands attended Archbishop Romero’s funeral, gathering in the square in front of the cathedral. Even there, at the funeral of the murdered Archbishop, 20 people were shot dead by the army, despite the international news media who were present to report whatever they saw. Let us pray: Lord, we bring before you all who are imprisoned unjustly and all who are tortured. We think of those people who live in fear of injustice and repression. We pray that the minds of those who abuse others may be turned to what is good and honourable. May those of us who live in freedom not take our heritage for granted, but be of good influence in leading others to value one another as brothers and sisters. Amen. PARISH MASS TIMES St. Matthewʼs: 9.30 am, Fr. Chambers ! St. Michaelʼs: 4.30 pm (vigil) ! ! St. Paulʼs: 11.30 am, Fr. Chambers! St. Sophiaʼs: 6.00 pm (vigil) Fr. Chambers St. Francis Xavier, Patna: 5.00 pm (vigil)!

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St. Josephʼs: 6.00 pm (vigil), 11.00 am Fr. Latham Our Lady of Mount Carmel: 9.30 am, Fr. McGhee Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Patrick: 6.00 pm (vigil), Fr. McGrattan St. Thomas the Apostle: 9.00 am, Fr. McGrattan St. John the Evangelist: 10.45 am, Fr. McGrattan

March 24th parent news 2014  

The latest newsletter from St. Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock full of news and pupils' work and achievements.