Firing up a passion
BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
'What does it feel like when you’re dancing', the judge asks Billy Elliot at a last ditched effort to fire up some passion from an unlikely candidate for the Royal Ballet School at the end of a pretty disastrous audition.
'Dunno', replies Billy. For whilst dancing transports him to somewhere very special, he has never been asked to articulate this before, not least he has developed his passion and skill in a mining village in County Durham, a world away from the Royal Ballet School.
Finally, Billy elaborates: 'Dunno. It sort of feels good. It’s sort of safe and that… But, once I get going, I sort of forget everything. I sort of disappear. I can feel a change in my whole body. I’m just there… I have this fire in my whole body. I’m flying… like a bird. Like electricity… Yeah, like electricity.'
Do watch the clip, below. It is an incredibly powerful song and moment in such a moving show.
We all have passions in our lives, and it is wonderful to see the children truly engrossed in passions they have, whether this be on stage, performing in a concert, on the football or hockey pitch, playing tennis or indeed reading. There is nothing more exciting than engaging a young person in discussion about something that truly excites and enchants them. Indeed, just listening to that child getting more and more passionate about the subject, it really is one of the joys of working with young people, and you as parents must get a thrill when they develop a passion.
For me, Arthur is utterly passionate about tractors, and whilst this is a very common interest in three-year-olds living in a rural area, and not perhaps as deep as ballet or music, it still gives us great pleasure to see his excitement and genuine interest at the sight of a tractor. Indeed, at the Fife show on Saturday, Arthur, dressed in his Massey Ferguson overalls (he has worn these every day for two weeks), spent an hour and a half sitting in the driver’s seat of a Claus tractor (little did we know he had also found the owner’s supply of sweets and was happily munching away on these). I look forward also to Arthur developing this and other interests, and perhaps even taking after one of my own great passions: music.
Many of you will know that I have music, mainly choral, playing in my study for much of the day. The very long-suffering Alison puts up with this more than anyone, and has on many occasions had to rush through to listen to (what I find) an exciting moment of Tallis and pretend she is as excited as I am!
I have my father to thank for my passion in both orchestral and choral music. He encouraged me as soon as I showed the remotest interest, starting my pretty vast collection of classical music with the Sunday Times Music collection, a range of CDs on promotion in the early 1990s. I was perhaps a little unusual being a young boy with an interest in classical music, but my father celebrated this and my passion proudly grew as a result. Catherine and I have very different tastes in music, but have now developed a mutual interest in each other’s preferred genres, possibly Catherine more than me as she is slightly more open minded than I am. (I am often to be found in the study listening to something written in 1550, whilst she is sewing next door listening to Adele) I can’t wait to begin to nurture whatever our children have an interest in.
TECHNO CHALLENGE | On Thursday we welcomed visiting teams from 13 local schools for the 22nd annual Techno Challenge Day. The initiative was started in 1996 by Mrs Ann Massie, former Head of Maths at St Leonards, who created the event to bring teams from local schools together for a day of science and technology problem solving activities.
The visiting teams of Primary 6 pupils toured our beautiful campus, taking part in a range of challenges including using iPads to design animations, building working models and the highlight of the day, the Maths Relay in the Main School Hall.
In the final challenge, the teams set about solving a series of 30 Maths questions in a race against time, with pairs of pupils scribbling furiously to submit their sums to the invigilator before starting the next task.
With the correct answers counted, the results were in, the winners of this year’s Techno Challenge were announced. Craigclowan Preparatory School from Perth claimed the top spot in the “large schools” category, closely followed by St Leonards Junior School as runner-up. A fantastic effort from our team!
In the small schools category, the winning team was Strathkinness Primary School, with Crail Primary as runner-up.
All pupils demonstrated fantastic teamwork and problem-solving abilities throughout the different tasks and left with their St Leonards Techno Challenge goodie bags as a memento of the day.
YEAR 2 WEAVING
YEAR 2 WEAVING | Year 2 were busy weaving in the outdoor classroom on Tuesday afternoon, using brightly coloured wool and found objects such as leaves, shells, sticks and grass, to create individual woven boards and construct their own woven den in the trees.
INFORMAL CONCERTS | As is now a tradition, we finished the week before Half Term with two terrific Informal Concerts, with Years 4-7 performing in the Music School Auditorium on Thursday morning, and Years 1-3 taking their turn earlier today.
At the Year 4-7 concert, the String Club opened with Habanera, and Alina was our first soloist, playing the Sandman’s Lullaby on the piano. Second to take the stage was Jennifer, who performed Hot Chilli on the flue, then it was Nicholas, who played a super rendition of House of the Rising Sun on the guitar.
Maya delighted the audience with Foggy Dew on the flute, Lana played Ecossaise on the violin, and Polly played Lightly Row on the piano. Zachary’s performance of Wiegenlied by Schubert was wonderful, Finn added a touch of jazz with Funk It on the piano, then it was time for the Brass Ensemble to stand up and perform Kum ba Yah.
Alyssa’s piano piece was Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Riya was our second vocalist of the morning, singing A Million Dreams from the musical The Greatest Showman. The programme continued with XiuRong on the piano, Brendan’s performance of Mozart on the viola, Alastair on the piano playing La Donna e Mobile, and Eva on the bass guitar.
Angus played The Merry Peasant Returning from Work on the piano, Brodie performed Popcorn on the violin, and then Logan livened up proceedings with a 2/4 March on the snare drum. We were certainly all wide awake after that!
Two final performances from Luke on the piano and Charlotte on the violin rounded off a lovely morning of music.
This morning parents, pupils and staff took their seats for the Year 1-3 concert, which opened with a wonderful performance of the Arctic Monkeys song Brick by Brick, performed by Year 1.
A series of soloists follow, with Evie on the violin, and Nikolas, Mia, Ruben and Kamilah on the piano, before Evie was joined by Anona for a duet on the violin. Anona stayed on the stage for a solo performance of Cheeky Monkey, then it was time for some tunes on the recorder, started off by Anna, then Paula and James played their pieces.
Grace rounded off the solo acts with Chopsticks on the piano, the Year 2 violinists showed off their newly acquired skills, and two songs closed the programme, performed by all the children in Years 1-3. First we heard Watch Out, followed by a Jamaican folk song, sung as a round, and with that, we ended the first half of Summer Term on a high note!
FOOTBALL FUN | The St Leonards B team, aka the ‘Leos’, played away on Monday evening at the St Andrews Rotary Primary Schools Football Tournament. An admirable performance from the St Leonards side!
YEAR 5 BEACH SCHOOL
YEAR 5 BEACH SCHOOL | As part of their Unit of Inquiry on 'Diverse Scotland', Year 5P have been down on the beach recreating iconic landmarks in the sand. We had Edinburgh Castle, a map of Scotland complete with rivers, farms and fish farms, all sculpted on the East Sands! A great way to end a unit and start the Half Term break!
The following pupils received certificates at Celebration Assembly on Monday:
Grace for her work on endangered animals in the Unit of Inquiry, and for supporting WWF by adopting a dolphin.
Hari for creating an endangered animal quiz book.
Evie for researching and creating a magnificent poster on parrots.
Clara for writing a chapter book on the importance of brushing your teeth.
James for being motivated to write his own version of the next section of the class novel, and doing so with enthusiasm and real focus, and for leading a discussion group with maturity and sensitivity as the pupils shared their versions of the story with one another.
Harris was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for his excellent attitude towards independent tasks, and for super engagement and effort during an inquiry lesson to design a shelter of his own.
Paula was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for always putting others before herself and being a super role model to her peers.
Rachel was presented with her gymnastics medal during Celebration Assembly.
Nikolas was awarded a Spirit of St Leonards Award for displaying real kindness and thoughtfulness to others.
Silver Stars were awarded to George, Tyler and Angus.
A Gold Star was awarded to Harry.
The following pupils have collected 100 Good Marks: Adam, Rory, Oscar, Kabir, Francis, George, Angus, Anna, Emily, Grace, Harry and Nihal.
GEAR CUBE | Year 5 were tasked with solving the XL Gear Cube on Wednesday and after a fair amount of battling, success! Well done to our outstanding problem solvers!
BOARDERS' DINNER | The Year 7 boarders were treated to a special dinner at Dr Carslaw’s house on Tuesday evening. Mrs Carslaw very kindly hosted the pupils for a delicious meal, and it was a lovely opportunity for all our youngest boarders, including some relatively new to the school, to get to know each other.
GARDENING CLUB | Members of the Years 1, 2 & 3 Gardening Club have been very active this week, sowing seeds, potting on young plants, and creating liquid plant food using nettles. The children are running a plant stall in the Junior School in order to raise funds for future gardening projects – please do drop in for a browse!