Wayside Club Christmas Party for the Homeless

As a Caritas student, on an early 10 am December Sunday, I gave up my time to help with a Christmas party at St. John’s Church. This Christmas party wasn’t a typical one as it was organised for the homeless in our community. At this point, I hadn’t really put much thought into the Christmas party and didn’t know what to expect.

Around 15 other Caritas students and I arrived at St. John’s before the guests. We were put to work quite quickly – we spent quite some time sorting a huge bundle of clothes into piles of male and female. We then put the clothes in bags with other essentials such as toothpaste and deodorant. This wasn’t really the job I thought I would have been doing but we all worked as a team to have everything sorted in time.

5 other Caritas students and I then had the job of serving the food to everyone that had arrived. For the starter, we had given out bowls of soup. When I went from table to table, I noticed that there were always one or two people at each table who would pass their soup over to someone else. I realised that they were making sure that everyone else had theirs before they did. This was quite amazing to me despite it being such a small act of kindness. It just shows the selfishness of people who essentially have nothing to give. On top of that, I don’t think I’ve heard so many ‘thank you’s in such a short period of time. It was clear how grateful those in attendance were. Next, we served the main, then the desert; by the end of it, there was hardly anything left of it all.

We then had a karaoke and so many joined in, both the guests and Caritas students. Personally, I believe it was great for them to have had a social gathering. I’m sure many of them will tend to feel lonely, especially during the festive seasons. I noticed how much their days were brightened up and realised how much some homeless people would appreciate even a smile and a conversation if we were to see them on the streets. We then distributed all the bags of clothes and utilities we had made up earlier on in the day. I couldn’t help but think that their reactions were comparable to those of a 5-year-old on Christmas morning – a sight that broke my heart and mended it straight afterward.

With it being such a busy day, it was only when I was home and tucking into a Sunday roast that I began to reflect on the hours just passed. I tried to put myself in their position and attempted to comprehend the daily struggles they may face every day. I found it unbelievably impossible! However, I do know that on that day, along with many other great people, I helped make the day of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. And the price I paid? A few hours out of what would have been a day full of procrastination – nothing. Yet, I got back so much and I’m sure the other students who went would definitely agree. The people I was surrounded with that day were like you and me; the awful truth is that homelessness could happen to any of us. So, why wait to start caring when it’s you? Some of these people rely heavily on the community they’re in and have nobody else. Our school already does so much to help the homeless community out. We donate to foodbanks yet we never realize the impact this truly has. I’m so grateful to have been able to see the changes we can make.

I think it’s amazing that St. John’s Church in Stevenson organises this and I know everybody appreciated it. I encourage everyone to be more of an active role in their community and to help people who need it. You might not get anything materialistic from volunteering, but you gain so much insight and an appreciation for what you have and take for granted. Not to mention how much of a difference you’d be making in someone else’s life.

By Chloe Robertson

The Give Me 5 Campaign

What is it?

Give Me 5 is a campaign which aims to increase child benefit by £5 which could lift 30,000 children out of poverty. An additional £5 a week could cover 7 nutritious breakfasts of cereal, milk, fruit juice and a banana; or over two months, a good quality winter coat or enable to take part in school trips or an activity each week.

Why did we decide to help?

As a group, we decided to help the children who are in poverty to give them a better life so that they can have better opportunities. This could help enable them to get the grades that they deserve and lead to them being successful in their lives. Also, we wanted to show that children living in poverty are no different than any other human and is of no less value. As Christians, it is our duty to help those in need whenever possible. We learn this through the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus teaches us that anyone in need of help is our neighbour and we should strive to help them regardless of race, sexuality, gender or religion. Raising awareness for a campaign such as the Give Me 5 campaign is exactly what Christ calls us to do.

What did we do?

The Caritas students at St. Matthew’s Academy created multiple presentations and delivered them to all year groups through assemblies and presenting in classes. Some pupils also went out to different primary schools and parishes to talk about the Give Me 5 campaign and raise awareness. After all of the presentations, we collected signatures from those who wished to support the cause. We also encouraged people to email their local MPs to further raise awareness.


As a result of all the hard work of the Caritas students, we have managed to spread the word and get nearly 1400 signatures which were then presented to Bishop Nolan.

By Rebecca Williamson and India Cairns

Malawi Trip 2017

A group of seniors from St. Matthew’s Academy were chosen to partake in a school exchange to Mzuzu, Malawi. The trip was amazing but seeing what happened afterwards in terms of fundraising, speeches and awards was unbelievable.

The pupils in Malawi

On the 23rd of November 2017, the Malawi partnership group organised a Bingo Night to help fund for the Malawian students to come to Scotland. The bingo night was a fantastic event with many prices being won, tickets being bought, and family and friends supporting the cause. In total, the Bingo Night raised over £300 which will help pay for them to visit Scotland as mentioned above.

We also found out that we won an award for our partnership with St. Peter’s Secondary in Mzuzu. This award was given to the school by the Scottish Malawi Partnership. The plague given can be seen in the prestigious award cabinet opposite the main office alongside many of the other awards the school has won.

Our hard-earned award!

As part-time of her leadership project, Zara Aird (S6), who went on the trip in July 2017, was responsible for the Christmas Parcel collection to send to out the two orphanages which we help fund- Mary Martha Orphanage and the Women’s Development Centre. We send in total 275 parcels- 200 were sent to Mary Martha and 75 to The Women’s Development Centre. This was an amazing success with pupils from S1 to S6 all donating pens, pencils, small toys and other gifts. This may sound very small to us but to the children in Malawi, this may be their only gift and it brings great joy and happiness. Seeing their smiling faces over the little things that we tend to take for granted, like a bouncy ball or a small plastic toy car, is a feeling no words can describe and for us as a school to do be doing such a thing is incredible.

The children at Mary Martha receiving their Christmas parcels

For me, personally, I’m so thankful that St. Matthew’s Academy has a partnership with St. Peter’s Secondary School. It not only helps those who do not have the same luxuries that we do but gives us a deeper and clearer understanding of what they face and how we can help. The children in Malawi are always smiling even if they have very little and I think their positivity for their Catholic Faith and life is something that is truly admirable.

By Chloe O’Neill

What did our school do in Malawi?

Shannon Fitzsimmons, a sixth year, has kindly given us an account of her week in Mzuzu.

On the first day in Malawi, we were all introduced to our buddies from our partner school, St. Peter’s. Among the buddies I was glad to find out that my yearlong pen pal Mary was there, we only got to chat briefly on the first day as I had to talk to some of the other buddies too before we went to the Mary Martha Orphan Centre. There we were treated to a song and a play put on by some of the girls and even though I don’t know the name of the song they sang, I know it was stuck in my head for the rest of the trip. We handed out toothbrushes and balloons to everyone as well as leaving some other gifts before we had to leave. It was a valuable experience and I enjoyed seeing the kids so happy. At the end of the day, we all sat down and talked about the day. I was awarded the title of being last out of bed that day which I thought was funny and a very me thing to do.

On day two we had to be up for 7 and it was understandably difficult for me to wake up as I don’t even get up at that time for school. After me practically being a zombie during breakfast, I woke up in time for the mass, unlike our usual half an hour masses this mass lasted a lot longer (2 hours longer) and was much more upbeat than ours as there was a lot of dancing and energetic singing. After it was over we followed the procession which was interesting, but I had been sure I’d get burnt during it as my sunscreen had been in my lost case, but alas no I did not get burnt nor did I get a tan during the whole trip. We then got to see our buddies again as we visited the Mzuzu coffee den. I got the chance to talk to Mary and she is just as nice as in our letters, I also got the opportunity to talk to another one of our buddies who was super friendly and outgoing. Overall the day was relaxed, and I really enjoyed getting to talk to the buddies as well as experience the mass.

Day three was the day of the graduation mass which was incredible as it was so lively. I thought it was interesting that everyone sitting their exams got their exam equipment blessed. We then went to the St Peter’s church hall where we got to see the students perform this was amazing because they were very talented and there were some good singers. We were then invited on the stage to perform ‘The Flower of Scotland’ and I was glad that I wasn’t near a mic because, unlike some of the Malawians, I am not a good singer. My favourite part of the day was either teaching the students ceilidh dancing or being able to participate in their disco for a while. We taught some of the students how to do the Gay Gordon’s for which we had to choose a partner. I had originally been nervous about it, but the students were happy to take part which I thought was amazing. We then did ‘Loch Lomond’ which I had seen people in Scotland doing before but like the Malawian’s I, myself, had never taken part until that moment which was fun. After that, it was time for their disco which was much more energetic than the ones in Scotland as everyone was up dancing and a few people even managed to get me to take part. The entire day was amazing and was one of my favourites.

Day four was another day I really enjoyed. We had to be up for the half six mass which, like the ones in Scotland, lasted only half an hour with much more energy. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would as it woke me up. We also got to experience classes in St Peter’s secondary school which I enjoyed as I got to talk to some of the students during the break while the teachers moved class. I appreciated that the students made both me and Chloe feel very welcomed in the class as it made it even more enjoyable. The lessons we sat through were English and science and it was interesting to see the differences between our lessons and theirs. We then were invited for a small lunch in the staff room where I discovered my love of Malawian tea – it was so nice! We then headed for a village where we were honoured to be invited into the chief’s house before they showed us how they make their food and where they used to get water from before having a water pump installed. I’m incredibly glad that they no longer must make the long walk down the steep hill where their previous source of water was as when we walked up and down it (without buckets of water to carry) I was terrified I was going to slip and fall. I was a good experience to see the village and I think it was an important thing to see. Plus, it was cool to have a shot of the water pump.

Day five was the day we got to visit the reserve with some of the students from St Peter’s. We all had to be ready for 6 am so we could prepare food before we went to the six thirty mass. The bus ride to the reserve was long and bumpy in places but I was just glad to be able to nap for a bit. When we arrived, we got to see elephants and hippos almost immediately and they were really close too. I’d never seen elephants or hippos in real life before, so I thought that it was cool. I also got to find out more about Mary which I enjoyed.

On day six we visited St Peter’s primary school where we all split into groups to teach the students about Scottish culture. I was in a group with Mr Cullinane and Chloe and we did a true or false quiz. We got a lot of questions about the Loch Ness Monster which was fun to talk about and the students seemed genuinely interested. We then split into two groups again while one group visited the local hospital and the other group – the one that I was a part of – visited St John of God’s psychiatric unit. We learned all about how they’ve made great progress in helping people with mental health problems and how substance abuse is common in Malawi. I thought the work they were doing to help the community was amazing.

For day seven we got to meet the Bishop of Mzuzu, Bishop John Ryan. He seemed very kind and I was glad to make his acquaintance. After that, we visited the primary schools, which I believe was very valuable to see. We split into two groups, with half going to the St Peter’s Primary and the other group – which I was a part of – going to the partner school of my old primary, Lunyangwa which is an all-girls school. I got the honour of handing over St Mark’s (my old primary school’s) pen pal letters as well as a few other things they had sent over which I was very happy to do. We then visited some classes and taught the kids how to sing ‘three craws’, ‘head shoulders knees and toes’ and ‘if you’re happy and you know it’. It was heart-warming to hear the children singing the songs as we left one of the classes. The experience was eye-opening as there were so many students in one class. We then visited Mary Martha’s where we got to give gifts and play with the children for a while which was fun. Some students also recited poems which I appreciated as it made the afternoon even better before we had to leave for Nakata Bay. I don’t know how much the other girls enjoyed the aesthetic of our dorm at Nakata, as you could see through the wooden floorboards and it was completely made of wood, but I loved it. I thought it was a wonderful experience and I won’t forget it. Plus, I was hyped to get the top bunk!

Day eight in Nakata Bay was interesting, I had been looking forward to a long lie but instead, I ended up still getting up early. The girls were the first awake, so we got breakfast first. We got to relax for a bit until everyone else woke up and then we headed out to the market. There were lots of shops, possibly 15, and I made sure to buy from each one. I ended up with a bunch of random objects ranging from a bag, necklaces, paintings and carvings. I got everything for a fair price and by the end, I had spent most of my remaining money. I even got customised keyrings, so I was very happy. We had some more time to relax by the water and enjoy the view before we had to leave. I enjoyed Nakata Bay a lot because it was cool.

On day 9, we got a ‘long’ lie before going to the 7 o’clock, English mass. The mass was relaxed and the singing was great as always. After it, we got to go to the Tumbuka mass for another few hours. This mass was livelier and even though we didn’t have a clue what was being said, the energy of the choir and everyone dancing kept it interesting. Near the end, while the announcements were being read, we got the opportunity to tell the everyone how thankful we were to have been warmly welcomed. We then got to relax for a bit before we saw our buddies for the last time. Unfortunately, I had to use my relaxation time to pack – if you call cramming things in a case with no order packing. I received Mary’s final letter in response to my previous one and we exchanged contact information so I can still be in contact with her now. Then we went for lunch in town and I regret playing it safe and only getting chips because the pizza was delicious. Finally, we had a social with the priests and other people who help out in the community. I got the opportunity to talk to Joseph, who helps with the Saint John of God, and Dominic who helps with the Saint Vincent de Paul. I got to learn about their SVDP and it was good to hear about what they are doing for the community and to see the differences in their work and our own at home.

Everyone enjoying their dinner.

Volunteering at a Soup Kitchen

Heather, Rebecca, Maddison and Niamh at the Wayside Club

Shortly before Christmas, I was one of the Caritas students who visited Glasgow’s Wayside Club. Myself and three other girls travelled up on a Tuesday evening to help assist the dedicated volunteers, many of which have been helping at the club for many years. The club wouldn’t exist without these selfless individuals who have devoted themselves to helping others. We spent three hours at the club, helping to prepare and serve the dinner for the homeless frequenters and even helping to run their nightly bingo game, a much anticipated and intense game that is enjoyed by all.

When we were informed in our Caritas classes that this opportunity to volunteer at the Wayside Club would be available, I felt driven to sign up because it felt it was a more direct way to volunteer. It allows you to see first-hand how an act of charity impacts on the lives of others.

Although I had previously taken part in the Wayside Christmas dinner at St John’s Church, before we arrived there was a nervous feeling I couldn’t shake. Luckily, all the people who made use of the club’s services were so polite that this quickly disappeared.

All the volunteers were especially kind and welcoming, and the experience was quite eye-opening to the goodwill of the people of Glasgow. The club is entirely funded by donations, and we were informed that local hairdressers and barbers would visit and offer free haircuts. I was pleasantly surprised to see that a local Pret-A-Manger donated sandwiches and salads to the club.

It was an extremely worthwhile experience, and I would definitely consider returning to volunteer again.

By Niamh McLaughlin



P1030685The girls before the bake sale!

Who are they?

SCIAF are the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund. They are the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland. They are inspired by Gospel, guided by Catholic social teaching, reach out with love to global neighbours in need regardless of gender, class, race and religion. They are strongly driven by their values of dignity, empowerment, solidarity and hope.

Their vision 

A world without poverty, where the poorest of the poor can survive by equipping them with the tools and teach them the valuable skills they need in life. With their values they believe that in caring for the whole person, including emotional, spiritual wellbeing, political voice, culture and community life, as well as how they support themselves and their families. They want to help people to be in control of their life and be able to provide for themselves and their families, learn skills, live in peaceful communities with power over decision which may affect them so they know their full potential. SCIAF work with local organizations and charities overseas so people who need the help the most will get it first. And closer to home they inspire schools, public and parishes to all work together to build a better future for all, especially those who need it. They want to help the poorest of the poor to thrive.

Real gifts 

Real gifts are a great way of giving an ethical gift that makes a difference in the world for people, their lives and communities. When we buy a real gift we are providing something that is of vital importance to families that live in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The idea behind SCIAF’s real gifts is for people to support the charities work in poor countries around the world by making donations instead of buying a present for a relative or friend that may end up being unwanted. SCIAF real gifts provides lots of essential items from school books and farming tools to chickens and goats. They even provide a water lifeline to help farmers keep their crops alive.

What we are doing to help

We have held a bake sale in school to help raise funds so we can buy real gifts for those who need them most. As a school we can help buy smaller items like seeds, books, blankets, tools, farm animals and a shelter for a family. We could put the money all together and buy something bigger for a community or we could buy lots of little gifts to help those in need.

P1030689Barely anything left! What a successful bake sale!

How did we really help?

Through our bake sale we raised £106.20. A lot more than we had anticipated. Using the money that we raised, we purchased real gifts from SCIAF. This included chickens, warm blankets and emergency water supplies among many other things. It is important to remember that the bake sales we hold are not for nothing. Sure, it’s great to be able to purchase some home baked goods. However, your money is having a big impact on the lives of those less fortunate than us. We’d like to thank everyone for the donations given.


The letters received to confirm the purchases.

By Maddison Mayhew, Rebecca Crossan and Rebecca Williamson

Lourdes – The Experience of a Lifetime

The summer of 2017 was a big one for me. I went on my first trip abroad without my parents. Now, it’s not what you think. It wasn’t a big holiday with a group of friends clubbing somewhere sunny. Actually, it was quite the opposite…

1st photo The official Youth for Lourdes photo for 2017.

I first heard about Youth for Lourdes late 2016 when Fr Jim came to the school to talk about it. He told us that Youth for Lourdes was a Catholic organisation that sent youth (16 – 23) over to Lourdes to assist pilgrims and explore their faith every 2 years. It was a 10-day trip that would cost us £650. It sounds like a lot, I know. However, the money doesn’t come out of your own pocket. It comes from fundraising, whether that be a bake sale, sponsored walks or curry nights! It was hard work but we all managed it. Plus, if we ever had any problems with ideas, the team were always there to lend a helping hand.

I went with the Galloway and Dumfries Diocese. I had agreed to go with a friend but honestly, I was still terrified. Around 50 youth went this year and I was worried that maybe we’d clash or just simply not get along. However, you aren’t really going with strangers. The amazing Youth for Lourdes team organise multiple meetings throughout the year before you depart on your journey. This gives you a chance to get to know one another, to check on how you are doing with your fundraising and to learn more about where you’re going and why. I loved these meetings because it helped me to feel more at ease about going away without my parents and I met so many amazing people. The meetings were always lively and fun as there were ALWAYS some little ice breakers. At first, they felt very abnormal and awkward but towards the end, you were just having such a good time that you forgot you were completely embarrassing yourself. Also, it helped that halfway through the 3-hour meetings, we got some snacks. However, way faster than I expected, we reached the last meeting and finally our trip was in our sights.

photo 2Our blessing mass where we received our badges and uniform.

Before I go on to talk about the journey to Lourdes, I believe that it’s essential to talk about why Lourdes is such a special place. On 11 February 1858, a young girl by the name of Bernadette Soubirous was with her sister and her friend looking for wood. When the other two girls went through the cold river, Bernadette decided against following because of her persistent asthma. She reportedly heard “a noise like a gust of wind” but “none of the trees were moving”. She looked up to see a young lady in a hollow of the rock (where there is now a statue) who looked at her and smiled. At this time the Grotto was dirty and damp, known as the “pigs’ shelter” because the pigs feeding in the area. This is where the Virgin Mary (Immaculate Conception) appeared to Bernadette. In total there were eighteen apparitions, spanning from February to July. You learn more about these at the meetings you attend for Youth for Lourdes. You also get the chance to take an assisted pilgrim and yourself through the Grotto. You must remove any hats and be quietly respectful. You get the chance to run your hand along the wall which is incredibly smooth after many people doing exactly this. I feel the Grotto looks especially beautiful at night as there are candles lit and a light shone onto the statue of the Immaculate Conception.


Our rainy mass at the Grotto.

I feel I should also mention that Youth for Lourdes have a dress code. You can buy a polo shirt which comes with a Youth for Lourdes logo on it, or you can buy a hoodie (which is BRIGHT red) or a poncho sort of thing in case it rains. However, you get a free polo and are expected to wear a polo shirt whenever you are on duty. You can also bring plain white polo shirts, but I feel for picture day it looks better if you have a Youth for Lourdes polo shirt on. You also cannot wear jeans or leggings. It’s preferable that you wear dark trousers or a kilt if you so wish. Make sure that these trousers cover your knees because it’s frowned upon to have exposed knees in the domain. When they tell you it’s best to bring old trainers to wear on duty, listen! You will have an identity card and emergency numbers on a lanyard. You must always wear this on duty and when entering the domain. Personally, my favourite part of the uniform was the two badges we were given. They now have pride of place on my school blazer!

Now, I won’t lie. The journey to Lourdes is exhausting and endless but also fun. I was the first pick up point, lucky me! I had to be at St Matthew’s Academy at 5:45 AM at the latest! I am not a morning person and never will be, so you can imagine how horrified I was when I found out the news. After a couple hours of sleep, I was off in my onesie, armed with a blanket, a backpack and a suitcase. The word “excited” doesn’t even begin to capture what I was feeling when I first saw the bus. After getting on the bus, we had a few other stops until we eventually wound up in Dumfries. The journey there overall took around 2 hours, and can I just say, everyone in Dumfries is so lucky that they didn’t have to make the journey up there. I am still insanely jealous of the fact that they didn’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour. However, when we got to Dumfries, we were greeted with rolls and bacon. I think it’s safe to say that that right there was probably my favourite part of the 36-hour long journey. After our breakfast, we took a group photo and then we were truly off. It was happening, there was no turning back now.


Everyone bright eyed and bushytailed in Dumfries at 8am, ready to head off!

After a long drive, we boarded the ferry to France. This gave us a chance to socialise a bit more and stretch our legs. Also, we got to freshen up which was very needed. After around an hour and a half, it was back to the bus. I wasn’t unhappy per se, I just really wanted to get to our hotel. I know I said that this bus journey was fun, and I am well aware how bad I am making it sound at this point. However, the bus gave us a chance to watch movies, mainly musicals which included a lot of singing along. It also provided us with even more time together. Now, you’d think we’d all be sick of each other at this point, but I think we may all have been a bit too fed up and tired to really experience that. It also helped that everyone there was entirely unique in their own way and, as a result, there was never a dull moment. The bus journey, for me, was full of short lived naps, crazy sing-a-longs and cherished memories. After a day and a half, we were in Lourdes. This was it. We were here. Now the adventure was truly beginning.

Now, I won’t give you a play by play of our week there. I won’t lie, I can’t remember every single moment exactly. Instead, I’ll give you some of my highlights.

Now, meeting the pilgrims was an experience of its own. I was nervous about what the assisted pilgrims would be like. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that everyone was lovely. I really shouldn’t have been surprised. Everyone else I had met had been lovely, why wouldn’t the people we were helping be? I had a somewhat regular pilgrim that I would assist. She was hard of hearing and could see very little and was also a complete sweetheart. Despite wheelchair training, I was horrific at steering at the beginning of the trip. This woman tended to laugh about it and jokingly complain about how much I would run up peoples’ heels. Luckily, I eventually got better at it and it was smooth sailing from then on. Anyways, the pilgrim I usually assisted had come with her friend. They had been friends since school and they had such an amazing friendship. They helped each other if they had any problems throughout the day, they bought candles for each other and were always asking for each other. Everyone’s experience with the assisted pilgrims is different, however, I believe they are always positive. I consider the assisted pilgrims my Lourdes family, as well as the group I went with and all the other volunteers.


Our team leaders and some of the pilgrims at our goodbye party.

I believe the Lourdes experience is a very religious one, but you do not have to be religious to attend. You will have to go to church at least once a day every day whilst, however, they just become second nature whilst there. I strongly advise that if you get the chance to go to Lourdes, whether it be with Youth for Lourdes or another organisation, then go. You won’t regret it. They warn you of the impossible-to-shake Lourdes Blues. You don’t think much of it at the time, however, in the last six months since returning, I have found myself missing Lourdes time and time again. Just writing this article makes me wish I was right back there in Lourdes!

I have barely touched upon what happened at Lourdes so if you want to find out more, see more photos or get some information about the next pilgrimage, then head along to the Youth for Lourdes (Galloway) Facebook page. Whilst you do that, I’ll be counting down the days till the next pilgrimage. I can’t wait for the summer of 2019!

By Chloe Anderson

Books come to life with Enterprise sculptures.

In 2011 ten beautiful sculptures made from books mysteriously appeared at libraries and cultural institutions across Edinburgh. The sculptures came with a simple message: ‘a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words… in support of books, libraries, words, ideas’. To this day, no one knows how they arrived and the identity of the sculptor remains a secret.the-tiger-who-came-to-tea

The book sculptures traveled around the country in the Gifted exhibition. This was designed as a tribute to the presence and vitality of libraries and arts institutions in Edinburgh and across Scotland, and to the generosity of the anonymous artist’s gesture. The sculptures were also intended as a gift to the communities which supported such places.the-hobbit

In response to this 1st year Enterprise pupils created their own book sculptures based on a favourite childhood, or current book. Work began by deciding on key characters and events within their book and through initial research and creative thinking pupils began to create paper sculptures suing paper mache. They created a scene or character from the book and used text from their chosen book as the final layer. The book sculptures were displayed in the Enterprise exhibition and Tidelines book exhibition at the Harbour Arts Centre in Irvine.



Thank you to Mrs Bell and her enterprise pupils.

The Book sculptures are currently on display in the library for everyone to see.


Meet the Groups: Chess Club

Since beginning the Leadership course at the start of the year Megan Copeland has shared her enthusiasm for Chess by running a Chess club every Monday Lunchtime. Recently she has started a mini-tournament within the club to encourage the members to meet new people and improve their skills. Although she has not competed recently, Megan has been crowned U18 champion at both the girls and overall section of the Ayrshire wide competition. Her love of Chess began as she was taught to play chess by her dad when she was aged 7. When discussing the chess club she was shocked to realise that this means she has been playing chess for 10 years!While many people play chess to relax Megan enjoys the tactical side of the game as well as the competitive element and wishes to pass this down to other members of the club. From beginners just learning the rules of the game to the more experienced players the chess club provides a place to have fun and meet new people while developing your skills.

The chess club runs every Monday in the Library. All pupils aged 1st to 3rd year are welcome no matter their ability.

London Calling


This summer a group of pupils ventured off to London, for Rebecca McNicoll and Chloe Anderson the trip filled with sightseeing, music and magic was one to remember…


After a bright and early start at 6am we set off on a 5 hour train journey.Once at Euston we got a bus to our hotel then dumped our stuff before heading off, excitedly, to the magical world of Harry Potter. cxh


No one could have predicted the magic that was hidden inside the large and yellow building. As soon as we opened the doors we were immediately amazed; Ron’s classic blue car hung proudly in the air, pictures of all the cast were fixed on the walls and at the entrance was the well-known, “cupboard under the stairs”. This was just the beginning. Since it was Niamh’s birthday she got to open the magnificent doors to the Great Hall. It looked the exact same as in the movies; the two long tables were both laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. Behind each table stood the house uniforms; Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Outside the great hall were all the main sets of the movies. The main ones included; the Wizard’s common room, Hagrid’s house and The Grand Staircase. After many group selfies we went outside the main building to Privet Drive where we got to enter the Dudley household! Inside we saw the living room where there was many letters around the room suspended by strings. It looked the exact same as it did in the movies when Harry’s letters to Hogwarts were flying around the room. Next we actually go to go inside Ron’s car and ride Hagrid’s motorbike. The tour had made Harry Potter come alive! The most amazing part for me personally, was getting to go on Hogwarts express and see inside the carriages. I felt like I was reliving the first time Ron and Harry met Hermione!

After the weird and wonderful tour of Harry Potter World we got on the London Eye. Luckily, the rain and cloud had cleared so we got an astonishing view of the city. We could see Buckingham palace from the top, and got amazing photos of Parliament, which we got to visit the next day!jfdj
The following day we visited Madame Tussauds, the worldwide famous wax museum. We got to meet the great Leonardo DiCaprio, who looked even better in person may I add, and other stars including Emma Watson, Usain Bolt, Beyoncé, Posh and Becks, the legend Muhammad Ali and so many more! All the wax figures were very realistic. Sometimes I even felt I was being watched! For lunch we had a delicious meal at The Hard Rock Café. Then next on our list was The Original Bus Tour which took us from Big Ben to the beautiful St. James’s Cathedral! The architecture of the cathedral was breath-taking! We also got to see the dragons that mark the boundaries of the city of London. Their backs face the city because they are guarding it. Personally, my favourite part of the tour was getting to see The Shard. It amazed me how tall it was, 310 metres!

Last stop, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory! The show was very similar to the classic tale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but it had some very interesting twists and original songs. The actors and actress’ played their parts excellently. Young Charlie was especially great!  I wasn’t sure that they would be able to pull off some scenes, due to the futuristic style in which Roald Dahl originally portrayed Wonka’s world, however the cast and crew definitely delivered. London was undoubtly a brilliant experience with the most amazing people!



Why Anti-Bullying matters.

What does the word bullying mean to you?

To some people it is their life. That is not even remotely acceptable in this day and age. People of all ages suffer from different types of bullying. For example there is cyber bullying which is on computers and social media. Social media is great for keeping in contact with people but when it is used wrongly it can damage people’s lives creating lasting mental trauma. Another type of bullying is physical bullying which can mean that a victim could be punched, kicked, slapped or even worse leave the victim with physical and emotional scars. In the future bullying victims can find it hard to trust people, especially in the unfortunate cases where a person has been bullied by one member of their friend group who has then convinced others to do the same. There are only a few main types of bullying but in this school we want to ensure that none of these actions are taking place to any pupil. That’s the what we want to achieve as Anti-Bullying ambassadors in this school. Our aim is to become a role model for other schools to follow.

Alfie Anderson S5, Anti-Bullying Ambassador 

Our Senior Anti-Bullying Ambassadors

After selecting our Anti-bullying ambassadors last year we embarked on expanding the programme by providing training to the volunteers. This included team building exercises and problem solving workshops as well as discussions about different types of bullying and its effects. One of the most hard hitting exercises required pupils to write a list of all that a child needed to grow up healthy, a list which normally included practical elements like clothing or eduction and then more subjective terms such as love, confidence and friendship, and then were prompted to acknowledge how bullying could damage, or in some cases completely remove these from a child’s life. The workshop concluded by watching a video presentation about what advice the Anti-Bullying ambassadors should give to those who approach them. After which the volunteers were ready to go out into the school and local community and spread the message about bullying!

This week at year group assemblies the work of the anti-bullying ambassadors was shared with the rest of the school community. In a short presentation from various teachers who make up the anti- bullying committee the effects of bullying and what you can do to counter-act this was explained. A video by Marcus Butler, a popular Youtuber, was used to highlight how bullying can effect everyone. Following this the Anti-Bullying ambassadors were presented with wristbands and badges so that they can be identified within the school as someone who can be approached should someone be struggling with bullying or wish to report an incident of bullying.


Some sites to visit for more information on Bullying:





Marcus Butler’s Experience with Bullying: