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ST. JOSEPH’S ACADEMY Weekly Newsletter



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

INSPIRE AND TRANSFORM: the pupils who ran the 2.5k Great Scottish Run on Saturday, October

September: A Month of Celebrating Success at St. Joseph’s Since the school returned in August St. Joseph’s has been lucky enough to celebrate three awards ceremonies. The first of these took place on September 12th with the annual Senior School Awards evening. At this event over 90 pupils from last year’s S4 - S6 were recognised for their achievements across the curriculum and for a huge range of activities and contributions to the community. The evening began with a prayer and reflection led by Father Stephen McGrattan prior to a welcome address from Acting Headteacher Ben Davis, who looked back over the 2012 - 13 year focussing on the many highlights and successes of the school. Then came guest speaker, the composer James MacMillan. James reflected in his erudite speech on his experience of schooling and on the transformational power of music as well as his commitment to the development of the musical arts locally. The presentation of the awards by Mr. MacMillan followed, interspersed by musical performances from pupils and number of thought-provoking and personal reflections on the school’s values written and read by S5 pupils. Once the subject awards had been presented the focus of the evening turned to the special awards, including the Pride of St. Joseph’s Awards, given to a small number of pupils who have overcome exceptional challenges and obstacles in order to achieve. The evening was formally closed by Graham McGinn, DHT and pupils, parents and guests then partook of an excellent range of cakes and refreshments provided by a team of pupils and staff. Wednesday, September 25th saw the S1 and S2 celebrating achievement events take place. Again, at both of these ceremonies a wide range of awards were presented, each one reflecting both excellence and effort in subject areas and achievement in the school’s values. As with the senior awards ceremony, the pupils took on responsibility for providing entertainment and reading their own reflections on their time at St. Joseph’s. Especially noteworthy was S3 pupil Shania Wilson who performed a song of her own composition, appropriately entitled ‘Follow Your Dreams’, at both ceremonies. The S1 and S2 events had been postponed from their original date of late June as mark of respect to pupil Jenna Moriarty and at the S2 ceremony tribute was paid to Jenna and a posthumous certificate awarded in recognition of her considerable achievements. 100% success in exams This summer the school enjoyed their best exam results ever with 100% of S4 pupils achieving at least 5 results at SCQF level 3 or above and 28% of S5 achieving at least 3 Highers amongst many other impressive statistics. Just as important was the range of success celebrating amongst the senior pupils including 21 Caritas Awards, the first ever Enterprise class and the variety of awards at all ceremonies based on the school’s values statements. (more on the next page)

Inspire and Transform: Our 8 School Values At each of the ceremonies pupils provided short reflections on the St. Joseph’s values. These statements were written entirely by the pupils and left unedited. Some extracts from these are printed below and left. Take Part

S3 pupils at the end of an afternoon with Test of Faith story on following pages.

Reflecting on the awards ceremonies, Acting Headteacher Ben Davis said: ‘We are very proud of the achievements of all our pupils and delighted to recognise them at events such as these. As our results show, every young person at St. Joseph’s achieves and leaves with a good range of qualifications. Even more important, they enjoy a very broad experience at St. Joseph’s that develops their character and values. ‘It is for this reason that we have developed our celebration of achievement events over the years to incorporate our values and the school’s 10 skills framework. This means that the our ceremonies honour both the pupil’s achievements and what the school stands for: a strong, supportive family ethos where young people know that we will never give up on them. This year, for example, as well as making over 60 awards for exam attainment we also recognised the senior pupils’ achievement in Enterprise and in the Caritas Award. ‘We should also recognise the outstanding work undertaken by all the school’s staff to encourage and inspire our young people to achieve as well as the support we enjoy from parents and carers and range of partners in East Ayrshire. We see these events ultimately as a celebration of the potential of young people to inspire others, to lead and transform their communities.’

All three awards ceremonies were run by a team of staff and pupils led by Mrs. Shearer (DHT) who has responsibility for wider achievement in the school. Inspire and Transform: Our 8 School Values (continued) Working Together Makes Great Learning Teamwork is important here, which is why it is one of our values. It prepares us for the working environment, improves our social skills and confidence and with more people working together there are more opportunities for new ideas and possibilities. By working in teams we get to take control and have responsibility for our learning. School would be a very different place without it and it most definitely improves our learning. (Lucy Williamson, S3) Make A Difference When confronted with the challenges we face in the world today many people can be heard to say, ‘What’s the good in trying, one person can’t make a difference?’ Here at St. Joseph’s we learn through doing, through action and we learn we can make a difference through buddying, supporting the community, sharing our ideas to improve the school and supporting the young people of Nueva Prosperina, Ecuador. Just having the confidence to be ourselves and do the right thing may lead to amazing results. (Daniel Johnston, S5)

The idea of being brought out of my comfort zone is something I have gradually become accustomed to and opportunities given by the school have contributed greatly to this, for me in particular, my work with the Scottish Women’s Convention comes to mind. Public speaking is an invaluable skill…it is through daily encouragement we receive from teachers that we can gradually become more comfortable in situations we would never previously have considered placing ourselves in to speak out and be recognised and valued. (Amy Stevenson, S5) Be Curious I was given the opportunity to take part in conversations and activities that wouldn’t be a regular occurrence otherwise…These are opportunities that allow us to Be Curious and create lifelong memories. (Victoria Partridge, S3, looking back on the S2 Paris Trip) Aim High So many times people have asked me what my biggest achievement has been. I can honestly say I’ve had too many to name in my time at St. Joseph’s. Since I’ve come to the school the phrase ‘aim high’ has made me who I am. I’m always reaching for the stars in life. I feel as if I’ve gone onwards and upwards. (Shania Wilson, S3)

YOUTH ACHIEVEMENT: (top picture) the S3 class who organised and ran the MacMillan Coffee morning and raised over £200 for charity. They are pictured with their teacher, Mrs. Cassidy. The pupils ran the Coffee Morning as an enterprise, designing tickets, promoting the event, selecting the baking and involving staff. The teachers and staff of St. Joseph’s enjoyed a brilliant morning interval on Friday September 27th in the staffroom. Well done to all involved. Trip to Entrepreneurial Spark On the 30th September, Ylati (Erin Lannie, Morven Campbell, Kieran Jones, Carrie Morrison, and Leah McFarland pictured left) went on an amazing trip to Sir Tom Hunter’s West Coast Hatchery. Ylati were the St. Joseph’s entry in June’s Enterprise Challenge and this trip was their prize. Here is their story: We were asked to pitch our product ideas to business advocates, entrepreneurs, members of the three Ayrshire councils, and, of course, Tom Hunter himself. The experience was truly fantastic. All of the pitches were of a very high quality, and all of the entrepreneurs’ stories were very inspiring. Feeling like the underdogs, as the majority of the rest of the groups were seniors, we, of course, did feel apprehensive to begin with. After we had presented our pitch, we felt very proud, as it went very well and the audience seemed to love the idea. The questions we were asked were very good and helped us to improve our idea. We highly recommend entering the Tom Hunter Challenge, as it is a highly rewarding experience and helps young people to catch a glimpse of the business world. Two of the pupils who attended the event had the following comments. Carrie Morrison: “I thought the experience was truly fantastic and I really enjoyed hearing all the other pitches and ideas from the business advocates. I really recommend the challenge!” Morven Campbell: “The Tom Hunter Challenge is a really good idea to help young people to gain experience. I really enjoyed it as the ‘professionals’ really helped us along with creating a better product and business. I think the experience will be very useful.”

GREAT SCOTTISH RUN On Saturday and Sunday, October 5th and 6th, pupils and staff from St. Joseph’s took part in the Great Scottish Run 2.5k and 10k races. The pupils were running to raise funds for three charities: Young Minds, the British Heart Foundation and MacMillan Cancer Care. In a future edition we will have more from the pupils themselves on their reasons for running and their thoughts on the day. For now here are some pictures, for the record, the fastest times: 2.5k Scott Dipiazza, 9 mins 20 seconds Isla Neilsen, 11 mins 10k Fastest Boy: Hamish Gray 47 mins 2 secs (764th) Fastest Girl: Bethany More 59 mins 10 secs (3795th) Fastest Teacher: Mrs. Parker 58 mins 36 secs (3610th) beating Mr. Davis who claims he wasn’t really trying, which isn’t how it looked to the rest of us. A huge thanks to Mr. Shepherd for organising an inspiring and enjoyable weekend and for being the man behind so much money being raised for charity. U-18 FOOTBALL In their first league game of the season the U-18 team took on Auchinleck Academy. After a hard fought first half that saw them two goals down the team clawed their way back into the game and finished on top 3-2. The goals were scored by Declan Adam (2) and Declan Lavan (1). The captain was Jordan Platt and Man of the Match honours went to Patrick Hamill. A FIRST FOR STEPHEN We were delighted to learn that S5 pupil Stephen Campbell a football referee making him one of the youngest, if not the youngest, football ref in Scotland. Well done Stephen.

OFF TO ECUADOR In the early hours of Friday morning nine pupils and two staff will accompany Fr. Martin Chambers on a the trip of a lifetime to Ecuador. They will spend over a week living with the people of Nueva Prosperina, some of whom visited us last year. They would like to thank all who have supported the amazing fundraising efforts from so many corners of the school and local community. On their return they will share their stories with you. The pupils going are: Heather O’ Rourke, Morgan McKenna, Blair Welsh, Danielle McCloskey, Sarah Kelly, Paul Murray, Jade Connell, Shannon McGuire and Caitlin Sweeney. They are accompanied by teachers Miss McDaid and Mr. Sikora. They take with them a donation of £4000 and a variety of pencil cases, clothes and football strips for the people of the parish of Sagrada Familia de Nazareth. SUCCESS FOR MORVEN Last week S2 pupil Morven Campbell was presented with a certificate and a prize by local MP Cathy Jamieson. Morven was the overall winner in the International Day of Peace writing competition recently.

TEST OF FAITH We were delighted to welcome Christian Artists in Schools to St. Joseph’s Academy this week. They presented their show and workshop, Test of Faith, to all pupils in S1 - S3. Each two hour session began with a high energy dance workshop which was then followed by a session on the relationship between science and faith. The sessions were engaging, active and thought-provoking with many pupils being prompted to consider some challenging issues in greater depth. Test of Faith is an ecumenical project and also presented to pupils at James Hamilton Academy this week. NEW FARM LOCH COMMUNITY COUNCIL We were delighted to welcome Sandy Brown, Chair of New Farm Loch CC, to the school with Lyn Brady from East Ayrshire’s Vibrant Communities department. They gave a presentation to S6 pupils on getting involved in your local community, particularly through the councils. Pupils from St, Joseph’s will be attending a meeting of the Community Council in the near future and are keen to work with senior pupils from James Hamilton Academy on community projects.

S1 & S2 Awards Ceremonies, September 25th, 2013 CELEBRATING




“We are all better than we know, if only we can be brought to realise this, we may never again settle for anything less.” - Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound

A CELEBRATION OF ST. JOHN’S PRIMARY SCHOOL A Mass to mark the closure of St. John’s Primary School took place on Friday, October 4th at the school. it was followed by a reception and tour of the school’s memory room. Many St. Joseph’s pupils are also former pupils of St.John’s so, in recognition of this we have published some words from Mrs. Gray, HT and an extract from the homily given at the Mass by Fr. McGrattan. Homily preached at the “Mass of Thanksgiving for Learning and Life” On 19th June 1974, this building opened its doors for the first time to 183 pupils. Since 1886, St John’s had educated children on Bank Avenue – in a building that was replaced in 1907 by another which still stands today. “A Catholic school is a response to the proper and legitimate expectations that parents can look to the state to help them to educate their children in the faith and way of life which is precious to them”.2 At the same time, Catholic education is available to all, and people of other faith traditions and none value the ethos and high educational standards in Catholic schools when they choose them for their children.

world: they include teachers, doctors, dentists, lawyers, priests and religious, artists, composers, engineers, trade workers, professors, scientists, politicians. Many other fruits of this school speak and contribute, and with faith, more quietly but no less importantly in the lives of their family and community. We owe gratitude to all who have taught and worked with the pupils of this school. I think it is right to make particular mention of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary who served here for many decades. At this time St John’s school has too few pupils to make it viable in this place. The reasons for this are complex and have to do with fewer children being born in the town, unemployment and economic hardship, and also a change in mindset of parents who choose not to raise their children with Churchbased faith in Jesus Christ. “The cross does not speak to us about defeat and failure; paradoxically, it speaks to us about a death which is life, a death which gives life, for it speaks to us of love, the love of God incarnate, a love which does not die, but triumphs over evil and death.” St John, our school patron, the beloved disciple of Jesus, stood at the foot of this cross when all others had abandoned Christ. St John is for us a great example of hope among the first disciples.

The values esteemed in Catholic schools are none other than the values of the Gospel. It is most difficult to contest the goodness of Gospel values. They offer hope in adversity, peace, inclusion and good living. It should come as no surprise that the capacities of today’s Curriculum (for Excellence) all have prior foundation in the message of the Gospel, and these capacities are richly supported in the Catholic school system in Scotland.

Only the faith commitment of teachers, parents, pupils and the wider Church community can ensure Catholic education will continue with all and (hopefully) even more of the creativity, spirituality and fervour with which it has been delivered in St John’s. The location has changed – now to St Patrick’s in Auchinleck – to which almost every St John’s pupil has transferred, where all belong and where all move “forward together”.

Living these values is challenging, although very achievable with God’s help. A faith community will grow when people can look at its members and say look at how much those people love one another.

Speech by Headteacher, Mrs. Gray

I can confidently say that faith has been visibly present in the life of St John’s because it can be recognised by its fruits. The fruits are here this evening, and are scattered throughout the country and the

When Father Stephen and I first sat down to discuss how we could best celebrate the life of our school we wanted to make sure that our pupils were at the heart of what we did. Our school community, although much diminished in number, has never lost it's strong sense of community and family and we are

delighted that so many people who meant so much to our school and to whom this school has meant so much, have been able to join us tonight. We have also had apologies from a number of people who unfortunately cannot make it but have sent their best wishes to all of us. I chose our opening hymn for tonight due to the appropriateness of the words of the second verse: ' Come and share the memories we've had - Happy days, Sad days, days full of joy!' Happy Days: There have been many happy days at St John's Primary: sporting events, concerts, masses, Easter fun days, prizegiving, Burns Suppers, fundraising events.....For many pupils the trips to Newtonmore, Dalguise, Inverclyde and various other outdoor centres were memorable. In fact too many happy days to mention. Sad Days: perhaps at times it has seemed as though we have had more than our fair share of those. Just over four years ago we lost one of our much loved pupils when Holly Fallon and her mother Diane were so tragically taken from us. We remember them on our special night. Days full of joy: I'm sure the parents and staff will agree that there have been times when we have been bursting with pride for the achievements of our young people. We can count among our former pupils an internationally renowned composer and conductor - Sir James McMillan, our very own pop star Lorraine McIntosh from Deacon Blue and a number of shining lights in the field of Education. They, along with many others, are a testament to the quality teaching and learning which has always been at the heart of St John's Primary School. The staff are all special people whose commitment and dedication are what have made this an outstanding school. The pupils would also like to share their thoughts and their talents with you tonight. They have prepared some prayers and a song for you this evening. It is fitting and appropriate that they should have the last word.

CUMNOCK TRYST Acting Headteacher Ben Davis was delighted to attend the press launch of the Cumnock Tryst, a festival of music that will take place in October 2014 in and around Cumnock. The festival of the idea of top Scottish composer James Macmillan, a local lad and former pupil of St. John’s Primary School. The festival offers much for young people as participants and audience members and the organisers are very keen for schools to be involved. St. Joseph’s pupils will no doubt play a full part in the events. The guests at the launch were treated to performances by the orchestra of Greenmill Primary School accompanied by reknowned violinist Nicola Benedetti. We wish the festival every success. For more information please visit: Scottish Chamber Orchestra Event On September 24th a group of senior pupils attended a workshop led by James Macmillan exploring his piece Veni Veni Emmanuel. Afterwards they attended a performance at the Royal Concert Hall. EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

S1 Settling-in Night


There is no shortage of things to do during lunch time and morning interval.

Thanks to all parents and carers who attended this event. The response has been very positive to the range of activities and work on display.

11.10.13 School closes for the October Week holiday 3.30 pm

Prefects’ Mass

22.10.13 School reopens for pupils 9.00 am

This week we held our Mass of Commissioning for prefects.

24.10.13 Halloween Disco, 7 pm

We are delighted by the number of pupils in S5 and S6 who have elected to take on a leadership role.

25.10.13 Non-uniform day for charity

The PE department run their Blitz It! every lunch time Choir takes place every Wednesday lunch time for S1 - S6 and they are now working on Christmas pieces Film Composition club is on every Thursday and the Senior Vocal group meets every Friday For those who like to make and do with their hands you can attend the Craft Club in English (S1/2) every Wednesday and Crafty Maths every Monday Meanwhile Mrs. Duncan is looking for participants for next session’s Sailing Trip. You’d better hurry if you’re interested.

The Mass took place at St. Matthew’s church. HeartStart Our first batch of pupils have now been trained in HeartStart. More pupils are being offered the chance to undertake this work via Home Room. Home Room developments As one of our newest innovations Home Room is regularly reviewed and evaluated. This week we began a programme of mentoring in Home Room through which every pupil has had the chance to reflect on their report.

01.11.13 Feast of All Saints 11.11.13 Remembrance Day Service 16.11.13 Feast of St. Margaret 21.11.13 Diocesan Youth Forum 26.11.13 S4 Parents’ Evening 30.11.13 Feast of St. Andrew

Home Room Weekly Reflection: UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child The following words are from the “United Nations’ Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which in its original form is 100 years old this year. We can think of our own background, and also that of young people in our country and across the world. Children and young people have the right: “- to affection, love and understanding; to adequate nutrition and medical care; to free education; to full opportunity for play and recreation; to a name and nationality; to special care, if handicapped; to be among the first to receive relief in times of disaster; to learn to be a useful member of society and to develop individual abilities; to be brought up in a spirit of peace and universal brotherhood. To enjoy these rights, regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, national or social origin.” Let us pray: In my own part of the world, Lord, I pray today and commit myself to be loving and understanding in all that I do, and to be generous in giving of myself without expecting anything in return. I pray and commit myself to have an attitude of respect for each and every person, treating everyone as the equals that they are. All that I am determined to be, Lord, I ask for the power of your Spirit to enable me to be. Amen. PARISH MASS TIMES St. Matthewʼs: 10.00 am, Fr. Chambers ! ! St. Michaelʼs: 12.00 noon, Fr. McGhee ! ! St. Paulʼs: 9.30 am, Fr. Lawson ! ! ! St. Sophiaʼs: 11.30 am Fr. Lawson ! ! Our Lady & St. John: 6.00 pm (vigil), Fr. Chambers

St. Josephʼs: 6.00 pm (vigil), 11.00 am Fr. Latham Our Lady of Mount Carmel: 9.00 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

October 11th parent news 2013  

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