Headmaster’s Headlines

Headmaster’s Headlines

26th March, 2019

mcewan hallIt was only right that we began Tuesday morning’s assembly by recognising the huge commitment and effort of both pupils and staff for months of rehearsals resulting in a wonderful whole school event where we came together with the Merchiston and Colinton Choir in the magnificent surroundings of the McEwan Hall last Sunday evening.
I then handed over to Alec (III Form) to report on a recent museum visit.

VISIT TO THE WAR POETS’ MUSEUM (presented by Alec)
anthem for a doomed youthAt the beginning of March, the III and IV Form English classes visited the War Poets’ Museum that currently stands in the middle of Napier Business School on Colinton Road. Situated only 10 minutes’ walk from Merchiston, it is one of the most important land marks in war poetry history.
The building was once a hospital for officers recovering from shell shock during World War One and it was here that the most famous war poets of all – Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon met and composed some of their most famous poetry. The custodian of the Museum, Catherine Walker MBE, gave us a fascinating lecture about the history of the building and the treatments that Owen received. We were astonished to learn that the officers played cricket and rugby against Merchiston and that this was a way of keeping the men occupied as they underwent treatment. It was also where Owen composed “Anthem for Doomed Youth”. Original photos and artefacts were on display and real footage of the war was also shown to us.
We would like to thank the teachers who organised these trips – Ms Cunningham, Mr Douglas and Mr Lugton and we would encourage anyone to go along to this museum which offers such an intimate profile of the mental suffering of the war and the great poetry that was borne of such suffering.

SCIENCE SOCIETY TALKS (presented by Ethan)
The final Science Society talk of the year was held  on  Wednesday 13 March. Professor Marrenduzo spoke to us about the physics and maths of DNA. This is only one of the many Science Society talks that have been held throughout this year. Others include: 2 PhD students, Mr Hong and Mr Sarte who spoke about researching new magnetic materials and experimenting on magnets under extreme circumstances; and Dr Gauger and Dr Anderson of Heriot-Watt talk about Quantum Wonderland. This was personally my favourite talk of the year as they brought in special equipment that we as a school do not usually have access to. I really encourage pupils to attend these talks next year because (1) it is a great way to learn about modern advancements in science; (2) a brilliant opportunity to talk to leading researchers in their chosen fields and find out what studying science at university is like; and (3) you get free donuts and brownies, courtesy of Mrs Ryan. On that note, I would like to thank Mrs Ryan and the Science Department for organising these talks.

SPORTS REPORT (presented by Chris, Vice-Captain of School)
There are two weeks of Sporting activities to report and celebrate, so I will start with the events for the week ending 17 March.
Merchiston Ben and TomIn Fives, Tom and Ben won the U16 Edinburgh Schools Doubles in an all Merchiston Final, against Max and Marcus. This is the first time in the school’s history, that we have had  an all-Merchiston final in the U18 Singles, U18 Doubles and U16 Doubles. Next up it is the National Finals in London over the Easter break. Well done Douglas (U18 Singles), Tom and Ben.
In other results, the 1XI Hockey team lost against Stewart’s Melville, the U13s and U9s won against Belhaven Hill and the U11s lost.
In Fives, the Juniors lost against Edinburgh Academy.
In Football the U15s won against Clifton Hall.

For this past week, in Rugby, the 2XV won against the South African touring side, Trinity House. The U13As won and the U13Bs lost against St Mary’s. The B1s completed another unbeaten season, by winning the Newcastle Falcons 7s Tournament at Percy Park Rugby Club. They recorded wins against Kirkham, RGS Newcastle and Yarm School. They then went on to win 12-7 in the final against Sedbergh. Congratulations to all:
Merchiston  rugby at SedberghAlex, Freddie, Arran, Matthew, Robbie, Lachlan, Jonathan, Drew, Amaan, Andrew, Gregor, Rudi and Monty
In Basketball, the 1st V lost 65-63 in the final of the Scottish Schools Plate. This was a bitter pill to swallow after such an excellent cup run. Well done to the senior squad and coach, Mr Sanford on your excellent season. Congratulations Merchiston basketball teamto the team: Florian, Josiah, Oscar, Danny, Max, Axel, Asim, Joshua, Charlie, Eden and Max.
In Tennis, the U18s won against Earlston High School. In fives, the Juniors won against Loretto. In Golf, the U18s and U15s drew against Loretto. In football, the 1st XI finished off their season with a win against Stewart’s Melville B team. Finally, in Badminton the U18s lost against George Watson’s. We wish both our senior squad and our U13 squad every success in the Rosslyn Park Sevens this week.

Thank you to everyone for their commitment and enthusiasm in all of our sports this term.

So, we come to the end of another busy but fulfilling term and we look forward to a well-deserved rest, spent in the company of our family and friends. Each week we have been able to celebrate a wide variety of achievements; academic, dramatic, musical and sporting. We have celebrated individual success and success through teamwork, collaboration and cooperation. It makes me hugely proud that we have had so many to celebrate and you should be proud of what you have achieved this term. At this point in the year, it is important to pause and reflect on your efforts thus far: for some, the next few months represent a critical stage in your life and your efforts will potentially shape your future direction.
Those sitting external examinations in the Summer Term will know only too well what I am talking about. It is vital that those in Fifth Form and Upper Sixth use the Easter break wisely, ensuring that you get the blend of rest and work absolutely right. Have a plan for revision, stick to it and do not compromise it by shaving off the odd hour here or there. Of course it is important to rest and relax, but make sure that this is built into the plan you have made. In short; be disciplined in your approach and recognise that the sacrifice you make now will be worth it.
For everyone else, the break also allows the chance to consolidate learning from this term, or perhaps even look ahead to the next challenge, or explore some learning for the sake of it. Again, not long ago we spoke about World Book Day and I certainly intend to catch up on some reading over the holiday and I encourage you to do the same.
It all helps and goes towards the ultimate goal of being the very best that you can be. The third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, once said; “A mind employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity.”

Main School BuildingSo let us bear that in mind as we work towards our Easter holiday. For those of you away on school trips over the break, I do hope you have an enjoyable time and I thank in advance those members of staff who are giving up their time to allow such activities to happen.
I wish you all a very peaceful and relaxing break, but don’t forget to keep those minds employed.

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