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    This week it has been great to see the boys enjoy further relaxation of our restrictions around school, with our day boys enjoying being back in Houses with their friends; we really hope this progress will continue as we move throughout the term.

    Pupils in the Memorial Hall for the Senior Assembly at Merchiston Castle School

    In this morning’s Senior Assembly we finally had the opportunity to award this year’s Prefect team their ties, and in doing so we also took the opportunity to thank them for the incredible job that they have done across this year (and of course the job they will do in the final few months of their UVI)

    Our Prefect team did not get the chance this year to lead the School in the same way as their predecessors but that is not to say that they have not lead; they absolutely have. Despite the difficulties of not being able to do their roles in the traditional way, they have been imaginative, resourceful and dedicated. Most vitally, our Prefect team have done what we asked them to do; they have left a positive legacy.

    Michael Collins astronaut

    It would have been very easy for that effort to go unnoticed and I am reminded of the story of Michael Collins, the Apollo 11 astronaut who sadly passed away this week at the age of 91. He was the third man on the first successful mission to the moon, but he didn’t walk on the surface of the Moon. Instead, he orbited the Moon 30 times, patiently waiting to collect his colleagues from the lunar surface and deliver them safely home.

    Much of the limelight and focus was on Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the lunar surface astronauts, while Michael Collins (a vital part of the team) was not quite as well remembered.

    The famous aviator Charles Lindbergh wrote to Michael Collins on his return to Earth and suggested that Collins’ experience was much more profound than those who walked on the Moon. Lindbergh was fascinated to know what it was like to be, for a time, as remote as any human being had been in history.

    Michael Collins’ work was largely unseen and it was different, but it was no less vital to the success of the mission; it is hugely important that we remember and commend not just those in the limelight, but those who work away behind-the-scenes, and those who have done it differently in the face of challenge and change.

    28 July 1969

    Dear Colonel Collins,

    My congratulations to you on your fascinating, extraordinary, and beautifully executed mission; and my sincere thanks for the part you took in issuing the invitation that permitted me to watch your Apollo 11 launching from the location assigned to Astronauts. (There would have been constant distractions for me in the area with VIPs, among whom I refuse to class myself—what a terrible designation!)
    I managed to intercept on television the critical portion of your mission during this orbit of my own around the world. Of course after you began orbiting the moon, television attention was concentrated on the actual landing and walk-out. I watched every minute of the walk-out, and certainly it was of indescribable interest. But it seems to me you had an experience of in some ways greater profundity—the hours you spent orbiting the moon alone, and with more time for contemplation.
    What a fantastic experience it must have been—alone looking down on another celestial body, like a god of space! There is a quality of aloneness that those who have not experienced it cannot know—to be alone and then to return to one’s fellow men once more. You have experienced an aloneness unknown to man before. I believe you will find that it lets you think and sense with greater clarity. Sometime in the future, I would like to listen to your own conclusions in this respect.
    As for me, in some ways I felt closer to you in orbit than to your fellow astronauts I watched walking on the surface of the moon.
    We are about to start the descent for Manila, and I must end this letter.
    My admiration and my best wishes,

    Charles A. Lindbergh

    Of course I feel sure that your sense of aloneness was regularly broken into by Mission Control at Houston, but there must have been intervals in between—I hope enough of them. In my flying, years ago, I didn’t have the problem of coping with radio communications.

    CONGRATULATIONS

    Fudan University Logo

    Scholarship to Chinese University
    Read about Freddie's Confucius Institute Scholarship here.

    Scottish Hockey Logo

    Scotland U16 Hockey Trials
    Congratulations to Freddie J and Teo T who have been selected for the next phase of the U16 Hockey Squad development. It is an impressive achievement because they are both still 15 years old, so will also qualify for the trials next year.

    NEWS ROUNDUP

    Kiltwalk Fifth Form pupils walk drown school drive in their kilts

    Kiltwalk
    The Kiltwalk last weekend was a great success. Many thanks to all those who have contributed to our fundraising total of £2874 for Cyrenians; with the 50% top-up from the event sponsors, this effectively means we have raised £4311 in a single weekend! You can still make donations using the information here. Read a report by two Merchiston Junior pupils here, and an article by a Lower Sixth pupil will be shared on the website next week!

    New Polo Activity
    On Tuesday afternoons our boys now have the opportunity to play polo at the Stewarton Polo Club. Read Mrs Torrance's report here.

    PUPIL SUPPORT UPDATE

    Logo image for Merchiston COVID-19 Charter Summer Term 2021

    Merchiston COVID-19 Charter
    The new pupil charter for this term is available to view here. Our COVID safety measures are an important part of our Safe Steps Plan for this Summer Term, and all pupils have been asked to agree to this Charter to reduce the risk of any pupil, their family, staff and their families being infected and having to self-isolate. We are grateful to the boys, staff and parents for their ongoing positive support.

     

    Poster with the title Reducing Our Food Waste

    Stop Food Waste Day
    On Wednesday, our caterers (Chartwells) held a Stop Food Waste Day. This is an annual enterprise that aims to raise awareness around the issue of food waste and encouraging staff and pupils to reduce the amount that is needlessly discarded. This year, the focus was around:

    • Prevent – food going unsold or uneaten
    • Recover – surplus food to help feed people in need
    • Recycle – food waste

    Students’ Forum
    On Tuesday this week our Students’ Forum met for the first time this term. Ably chaired by our Leaders (Tristan L, Teddy T and Lachlan L), representatives from each of our Houses met with Mr Johnston to discuss issues raised by their peers. It was excellent to see pupil voice alive and well within in the school. The results of this Forum will be shared with the student body at section assemblies in the coming weeks.

    SPORTS ROUNDUP

    This week we will take part in our first set of cricket fixtures of the season, with the Juniors playing Sedbergh at the weekend.

    Merchiston Golf Academy pupil Ross

    Golf Academy
    Congratulations to Ross S (Fourth Form) who has been asked to represent his club, Peebles Golf Club in this weekend’s Junior Development League at Liberton Golf Club. This will be the first time Ross has been selected. Ross joined the Merchiston Golf Academy last term and has taken his golf handicap down from 18 to 12. We wish him all the best on Sunday.

    Tennis Academy
    The tennis programme is moving forward well and over the weekend we had lots of activity on court with 8 matches being played on Saturday with an excellent turn out from players across both our Elite and Development Academies. It is a very powerful learning experience for our boys to compete as well as train, and doing this side by side in the Tennis Dome has helped our awareness of the depth of talent and passion for the game that we have here at Merchiston. We look forward next week to our Y7/8 fixtures in the LTA Schools Youth Cup and the Road to Wimbledon event that will be held on Sunday 9 May.

    Jonathan Anderson, Headmaster