The Voice of st leonards senior school

January 2018



ABRSM AWARDS | The Spring Term started with a string of successes as students in the Senior School and the Junior School were presented with certificates following their ABRSM exams.

Seven senior and five junior pupils received awards at assembly on Tuesday, 9 January, recognising talent in singing to trumpet, piano and viola. Emma Ylitalo achieved Grade 2 clarinet with merit, while Emma McBarron collected her certificate for Grade 4 piano with merit. Clova Angus achieved Grade 3 singing, Isla Thomson passed Grade 3 harp and Hugo Müller was presented with his certificate for Grade 5 trumpet, which he passed with distinction. Duncan Bouchard was successful in his Grade 4 saxophone exam and Emma Duckworth passed Grade 4 piano with merit.

Congratulations to all our musicians for a set of fantastic achievements!


TOUCH OF TARTAN | Burns Night was celebrated in style with the boys sporting colourful kilts and tartan trews and the girls adding a touch of tartan to their school uniform on Thursday, 25 January. A traditional and rather delicious Burns’ supper of haggis, neeps and tatties featured on the menu for lunch. Here are some of the boys looking particularly smart in their traditional Scottish dress!


STAR WRITER | Just this week, the English Department received the fantastic news that Eleanor Greenwood (Year 12) had been selected as a runner-up in the prestigious Scottish Schools’ Young Writer of the Year competition.

Eleanor’s entry, which was originally submitted as a written task for her IB Diploma Language & Literature course, looked at the trolling of the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg. The competition required writers aged between 15 and 18 to demonstrate a strong voice and express opinions and Eleanor’s stand-out piece of non-fiction writing did just that.

She received sparkling feedback from the judging panel, made up of eminent authors, journalists, actors and critics, including the writer and poet Donald S Murray, who described Eleanor’s work as ‘a remarkable piece of writing at any age. Stylish and lucid throughout. Builds well to its conclusion.’

Journalist and fellow judge Barbara Miller described it as ‘a very polished piece of crisp, authoritative writing, with an extremely powerful introduction and a succinct punchy pay-off’, adding that Eleanor’s submission constituted ‘an exceptionally mature piece of journalism’.

Mrs Samuel, who encouraged students in her IB Diploma class to enter the competition, said: ‘Eleanor is a very diligent and talented member of my class. It is wonderful that Eleanor is particularly interested in real-life, non-fiction writing and she can look towards a bright future as a journalist.’

Anyone who is interested in entering next year’s Scottish Schools’ Young Writer of the Year competition should speak to Mrs Samuel or another member of staff in the English Department. There is still plenty of time to conjure up ideas for entries, with the deadline set for December 2018.


FAMILIES FIRST | We were delighted to welcome Morag Coleman of local charity Families First to St Leonards on Monday, 15 January, for a special cheque presentation following the sale of our beautiful school Christmas cards.

The card, which featured a beautiful print of the iconic “Moongate” at St Leonards by St Andrews artist Frank Sproson, proved popular with parents, pupils and staff, selling out in the first batch and raising £100 for the artist’s chosen charity.

Morag Coleman, Manager at Families First, and the artist’s grandson Chris Sproson of A & M Sproson Picture Framers in St Andrews were met by Head Boy Jamie MacAulay and Head Girl Elizabeth Crockatt, who presented the donation on behalf of the school.

Thank you to everyone who bought and sent St Leonards Christmas cards. The funds raised will go towards covering the costs of the Families First New Year Party, which is a favourite event in the charity’s calendar for children and young people living throughout North-east Fife.


FIRSTS FOOTBALL | Our 1st XI boys kicked off the football season with a match against Strathallan on Tuesday, 23 January. A well-played game finished with a 3-1 victory for the Strathallan team, but some great defence and techniques from the St Leonards side certainly made it a match worth watching. Roll on the rest of the season!


BURNS ASSEMBLY | Pipes, drums and poetry turned Senior School Assembly into a wonderful celebration of the life and work of Robert Burns on Tuesday, 23 January. Led by our Head of English, Mr Alfonso Iannone, students took to the stage to recite traditional verse including ‘To a Mouse’ by Burns and ‘The Bus Queue’ by J. K. Annand.

Year 8 performed a gentle rendition of ‘Ye Banks and Braes’ before each year group processed out to music from Callum Cummings on the drums and Hector Long on the bagpipes. Thank you to everyone who took part and made Burns Assembly such an informative and memorable start to the school day!


RUSSIAN CELEBRATIONS | The festive cheer lingered a little longer at St Leonards with the Russian New Year celebrations at Fingask Castle on Friday, 12 January. Our Year 11 and Sixth Form Russian students enjoyed a beautiful banquet complete with haggis and Christmas crackers, made resolutions for the year ahead and were treated to a tour of the 17th century castle's extensive grounds. A great way to celebrate in the first week of Spring Term!


JAMNESTY LIVE | Thanks to the hard work of organiser Bea Livesey Stephens (Year 13), parents, students and staff were treated to special Jamnesty concert on Friday, 19 January, to raise awareness and funds for Amnesty International. The event, which was Bea’s CAS project for the IB Diploma, was well supported, raising £65 for the global human rights charity.

In addition to musical performances, the audience heard rousing speeches focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the evening ended with a rendition of Queen’s ‘I want to break free’, which saw everyone in the room join in. Well done to Bea and the performers for hosting a great Friday evening of entertainment for a worthwhile cause.


LOTS OF LACROSSE | The girls have been getting stuck into lacrosse season with plenty of practice both on the field and in the sports hall. The snow and ice led to a number of fixture cancellations but our teams grasped the opportunities to squeeze in some extra training at home, ready for a busy term of matches against Loretto, Fettes and Glenalmond.

There’s lots to play for between now and the Spring Term Holiday, including the U13, U14 & U15 Scottish Junior Lacrosse Tournament at Fettes, the 1st and 2nd XII Scottish Senior Lacrosse Tournament at Glenalmond, and the Years 8, 9, 10 & Seniors Easter Lacrosse Festival in March!


COMMUNITY CONSCIENCE | When he’s not busy studying towards the IB Diploma at St Leonards, Year 12 student Albert Badia is looking for ways to give back to the community in his hometown of Barcelona. Albert spent last summer working with disadvantaged children and young people in one of the most deprived areas of the city after volunteering with the Spanish organisation Caritas, and he was happy to share some insights into his experiences of leading day trips and activities during a two-week summer camp in Ciudad Meridiana, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Barcelona.

‘I wanted to do a volunteering course over the summer but found initially it hard to find somewhere that would admit someone under 18,’ explains Albert.

He came across Caritas, which works with children between the ages of about six and 17 in an underprivileged neighbourhood in Barcelona and signed up to work there for two weeks.

Albert's role was to help organise a summer camp for these children so that they could have fun. He helped plan a programme of different activities, such as taking the train to the beach and cookery classes. Caritas aims to give young people the opportunity to do things that they wouldn't normally be able to do.

Albert thoroughly enjoyed his experience: ‘I would definitely like to do it again because I felt it was a really rewarding experience,’ he says. ‘It was rewarding because not only did I make friends but I left with the feeling that I had been able to help people who don’t have the same opportunities as us.’


COMPUTER CLUB | The new term has seen the start of a Computer Club as an after-school activity to allow students the opportunity to work on computing programming projects. The club members range from complete beginners to very experienced coders and the collaboration and discussion that is helpful for coders of any level is fostered.


CREATIVE CAKES | The girls in Bishopshall put their piping skills to the test with a cake decorating competition in the boarding house on Sunday, 21 January. What better activity for a frosty winter’s evening than getting creative in the cosy kitchen with icing butterflies, jelly sweets and marshmallows!

Prizes were awarded for the cutest cake, the best architecture and the most artistic design, with creations including a tortoise-shaped bake and a fabulous fairytale castle!


VISIT FROM PAMIS | It was wonderful to welcome representatives from Dundee-based charity PAMIS (Promoting a More Inclusive Society) to Sixth Form Assembly on Wednesday, 10 January.

Chief Executive Jenny Miller spoke to the students about the charity’s work across Scotland, giving plenty of inspiration for potential CAS projects as part of the IB Diploma Programme.

Students and staff were surprised to hear that St Andrews currently does not have any fully inclusive suitable changing or toilet facilities – a situation which PAMIS is campaigning to change. She explained how the biggest barrier to people with profound and multiple learning disabilities can be a lack of accessible facilities.

It was also a chance to find out more about the different opportunities to volunteer with PAMIS. The charity runs a volunteer-led friendship club in Fife, which brings people together to take part in art, drama and leisure activities.

Their 25th anniversary fundraising project was of particular interest to our Year 12 students: the PAMIS Challenge 25 will see 25 teams across Scotland work to turn £100 seed money into £1,000, which will go towards the cost of the Pamiloo. A great opportunity for some of our Sixth Form students to get creative with fundraising ideas!


ESCAPE ROOMS | Some of our boarders took on the Escape Rooms challenge during a recent Sunday afternoon outing to Dundee. Splitting into three teams, the pupils solved puzzles and looked for clues to unlock the doors from the Black Pearl, Gold Rush and C.A.R.A rooms. At the end of the activity, each group was presented with a certificate stating how quickly - or slowly - they had managed to escape!


SPECTACULAR STYLES | Pupils in the Senior School were sporting some very cool hats and hairdos today to raise money for national children’s mental health charity Place2Be. Organised by some of our Sixth Form students for their IB Diploma CAS project, there were some super styles spotted around the grounds. A towering tartan top hat and a bright red wig were just some of the hat and hair highlights!

Thank you to everyone who participated and donated, raising a total of £155.72 for Place2Be.


BYRE FILM TRIP | Geography and ESS students settled into their seats at the Byre Theatre on Wednesday, 31 January, for an educational screening of Piotr Cieplak's documentary 'The Faces We Lost'. The film follows nine Rwandans (survivors, relatives of victims and professional memory-makers), who guide viewers through their stories and share their experiences of what, tragically, was the most rapid genocide ever recorded.

We are fortunate that our close relationship with St Andrews University and, in turn, the Byre Theatre, enables our students to participate in events that will benefit their learning as part of the IB Diploma Programme.


BOOK LAUNCH | It was wonderful to hear in January that former St Leonards English teacher Mick Kitson has been named by The Guardian as one of their ‘new faces of fiction’ for 2018! His novel ‘Sal’ is set to be independent publisher Canongate’s lead debut for this year.

Mr Kitson will be at Topping & Company Booksellers of St Andrews on Thursday, 8 March for a special book launch. Doors open at 7.40pm for an 8pm start. Members of staff and pupils in Years 10-13 are invited to attend. Anyone wishing to go to the Scottish launch should contact Mr Kitson by email (mickkitson@aol.com) at least 4 days before the event.

Click here for more information about the event.


EXTENDED ESSAY FAIR | This week, Year 12 students attended our Extended Essay Fair in the Main School Hall. This was the perfect chance to speak to staff in different departments about their essay topics and options for next year. Students had the opportunity to look at examples of Extended Essays for inspiration before they choose their final topic for Year 13.


SUPER SWIMMERS | Congratulations to our U11 and U13 swimmers who competed at the Kilgraston Gala on Thursday, 1 February. The girls finished in second place in both age groups - a super result for St Leonards!


DATE FOR THE DIARY | Organised by Ben Clark and Hector Long for their CAS project, we will be celebrating International Day in school on Friday, 16 March with stalls and colourful costumes.

Students and staff are encouraged to dress up with flags and national colours and we are hoping for a vibrant sea of different shades around the grounds to represent the 25 different nationalities represented within our school community.

There is a cost of £2 to take part, with all funds raised going towards the Eyes of Africa project in Malawi, which aims to provide glasses and eye care in a country where the population is disproportionately affected by blindness.

In addition, Ben and Hector are looking for students to run stalls in St Katherine’s Hall between 10am and 12pm on the day, also with an international flavour. Anyone who would like to run a stand representing their nationality should contact Ben or Hector. Stalls can be counted as a CAS experience as part of the IB Diploma.


NHS FIFE TALK | Students in Years 12 and 13, and their parents, attended a talk on Mental Health Awareness in the Music School Auditorium on Tuesday, 16 January, led by Mr Eugene Adams who is NHS Fife’s Team Leader for Primary & Secondary Mental Health.

Mr Adams has been working closely with St Leonards to promote pupils’ emotional well-being and mental health, as well as offering support and training to members of staff. Students have also been introduced to topics such as building resilience, mindfulness and meditation.

The presentation was an opportunity to learn more about the different issues that can be experienced by young people, and provided both students and parents with useful information and guidance, should any of our Sixth Form students require additional support.


MAGIC MOVES | Year 8 have been showing off their moves in Parkour classes - the latest activity to be added to our Middle Years Programme (MYP) offering. Inspired by military obstacle course training, the boys and girls loved having a go at vaults, rolls and flips around the gym hall!

The IB Organization has produced a video explaining more about what's on offer with the MYP and how the curriculum encourages pupils to make practical connections between their studies and the real world. Click here to view the IBO MYP video in full.


CALL FOR ENTRIES | Entries are being sought for the Miss Leveson Plate and Bowl Creative Writing Competition 2018, which celebrates the best in poetry and prose from budding writers in the St Leonards community. Full details of the competition below. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, 20 February.

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