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2014 Graduates

2014 Graduates

You might have mistaken Kingussie High School for a fun fair if you drove past on the 18th June. Water Balloons flew through the air, a Bouncy Castle filled the skyline and the smell of BBQ Burgers wafted across the school field. “We wanted to do something different,” explained Headteacher Ollie Bray, “in exchange for all of our leavers agreeing to respect the schools learning and physical environment. We agreed that we would have a bit of controlled nonsense after their SQA exams and before their formal graduation ceremony in the evening.”

Conor CleetonAll of the S6 leavers were invited back into the school for an afternoon of fun and over lunchtime there was a staff vs pupils football match which the rest of the school came out to watch. After lunch when the rest of the school was back in lessons Depute Head Mr Ian Adamson took over the school field with S6 leavers and organised a water fight and a number of other games. There was also a Bouncy Castle and music. “It was such an awesome way to finish school,” said former Headboy Harry Grant, “No one quite new what to expect – but you can’t go wrong with a bouncy castle!”.

At 3.30 when the rest of the school headed for their buses the outgoing S6 were joined by staff for a BBQ, cutting of their graduation cake and yearbook signing. “We were delighted with how the afternoon went,” said Mr Adamson, “they have been such a brilliant year group and it has been a real privilege to spend time with them during my first year in Kingussie.”

The Bouncy Castle

In the evening all of the graduates were invited back into school with their parents for the school’s annual prize giving and graduation ceremony. As part of the proceedings each graduate was presented with a Graduation Scroll from Mr Bray and their Guidance Teacher (Mrs Duthie or Mr Deans) shared with the assembled audience where they were transitioning to after school. There was a wide range of positive destinations with some young people entering employment; some starting an apprenticeship; some were heading to college and some moving away to university.

In his graduation speech (his first as headteacher) Mr Bray encouraged the graduates, “not to get bogged down with the small things in life,” and, “whatever happens and no matter how busy life becomes to always make time for a coffee, iron-bru or a beer with your friends.” In a powerful and pertinent closing remark he said, “Enjoy life while you can. Sure, parents might sometimes be a pain, and it might seem that we always nagged you at school. Indeed from time-to-time you might have even found life a little depressing. But someday you will smile at your memories and realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now. Good luck class of 2014.”

More photos on our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/kingussiehigh - many thanks to Tesco’s in Aviemore for their donation towards the BBQ.

Cutting the Graduation Cake

 

2013/2014 School Dux’s - Caitlin Holmes (Dux of S3), Ellie Tait (Dux of S4) and William Denman (Dux of the School).

2013/2014 School Dux’s – Caitlin Holmes (Dux of S3), Ellie Tait (Dux of S4) and William Denman (Dux of the School).

On Wednesday 18th June it was the turn of the Stath’s largest school to celebrate academic success and wider achievement during an action packed evening of entertainment, speeches, smiles and lots, and lots of clapping.

In his opening remarks Headteacher Ollie Bray welcomed an audience of over 350 people who had turned out and squeezed themselves into the school hall. But unlike other, more traditional prize giving’s, there was no formal head teachers address or guest speaker. “No one wants to listen to me drone on for 45 mins”, said Mr Bray, “I also refuse to use this sort of event as an education political soapbox – any prize giving should be about the kids and that is the way it will remain on my watch.” Indeed, it became very clear to those assembled that the evening was all about the young people of Kingussie High School and they were placed at the very centre of the proceedings right from the start.

The hosts for the evening (and stars of the show) - Katie Falconer and Eilidh Robinson

The hosts for the evening (and stars of the show) – Katie Falconer and Eilidh Robinson

Katie Falconer and Eilidh Robinson (who have just moved into S2 at the school) took on the task and did an excellent job of comparing the evening. While four members of staff (Mr Brian Dziennik, Mr Bert Mark, Miss Jane Wallace and Mrs Sue Thomas) who are all retiring in the summer, after collectively clocking up over 100 years of service at Kingussie High School had been asked to present the awards.

Between the difference categories of the awards Katie and Eilidh rattled off lists of the some of the many achievements that the school has accumulated in the past 12 months. Including the opening of the new building, partnership working, fundraising efforts, sporting achievements and some of the particular successes achieved by individual pupils both in school and out of school.

There were over 90 young people receiving either merit prizes, progress prizes, subject prizes or a special award. A particular mention should go to the school Dux’s Caitlin Holmes (Dux of S3), Ellie Tait (Dux of S4) and William Denman (Dux of the School). The full titles for each of these awards and a detailed list of all of the award winners are shown in the inset box.

The second half of the evening was dedicated to the young people who were graduating from the school. As part of the proceedings each graduate collected a scroll from Mr Bray while their Guidance teacher (Mr Kenny Deans or Mrs Sheena Duthie) outlined where they were transitioning too.

As well as the presentation of awards the School Pipe Band greeted guests at the start of the evening and got the proceeding s off to a flying start with a Pipe Medley. Tabita Brown and Robyn Gunning performed the duet “Lost in your Eyes”, while Caitlin Holmes beautifully performed “Primavera” on the piano. Later in the evening during the leavers graduation ceremony Kirsty Mackintosh performed “Tambourin” in a flute solo and in what seemed like a grand finale to a spectacular evening the cast of the school show “Back to the 80s” performed “Man in the Mirror”, to which they received a deafening applause.

Parents and guests were invited for refreshments and more light entertainment (from the schools music students) after the main ceremony in the new social area.

Music students Sam Appleby and Caitlin Holmes entertain crowds over strawberry tarts in the social space after the main awards ceremony.

Music students Sam Appleby and Caitlin Holmes entertain crowds over strawberry tarts in the social space after the main awards ceremony.

 

KHS Parliment

On Friday members of our debating team were competing with other schools from across Scotland at the Scottish Parliament as part of the ‘Big Green Challenge’. After a fantastic opening debate they made it though to the second part of the semi finals. They then put on a tremendous effort in the afternoon but narrowly missed out on a place in the grand final (coming 3rd over all).

Over 20 teams entered the competition and to be narrowed down to the final 3 is an amazing achievement for their first ever competition. The whole thing was streamed live on Parliament TV and lots of classes tuned in from Kingussie to watch what was going on.

Well done guys!

Scottsih Parliment 2

 

 

20140618_092702
The results of this year’s election for Head Girl & Boy are:

Tabitha Brown – Elected as Girl Captain

Scott Fryatt – Elected as Boy Captain

108 Ballot Papers with none spoiled.

Congratulations to the two successful candidates and our thanks to all the candidates for participating in the election. Thanks also to the volunteers who helped with the count and to all who voted in the election.

Photo 1 - 80s - Huw and the cool girls

Last week Kingussie High School (in fact most of the Strath) was buzz following the student performance of ‘Back to the 80s – the totally awesome musical’. The last musical the school performed was well over a decade ago and it was clear that Kingussie High was back on the scene in spectacular style.

Back to the 80′s tells the story of the 1989 graduating class of William Ocean High as seen through the eyes of the narrator, Corey Palmer Sr (played by Geography Teacher Mr Chris McLagan), who is now living in the year 2001.

The 17-year-old Corey (played by Huw Mitchell) is madly in love with his next-door neighbour, Tiffany Houston (played by Tabitha Brown), one of the coolest girls in the school. However, she barely notices this, as she is too busy swooning over Michael Feldman, the hottest guy around. Michael (played by Craig Smillie) and his friends are athletic and good-looking – kind of guys that Corey and his two best friends dream of being. However, while they may not be the coolest guys in school, they are still one up on Farrah McFerrin III (played by Christina Sheffield), whose best friend is her computer, and who believes the crazy notion that one day CDs will replace cassette tapes. Follow these characters as they decide who should become student president and who they should take to the prom while enjoying classic 80’s song such as ‘Kids in America’, ‘Footloose’, ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’ and a full 80s megamix!

Photo 3 - 80s - the GeeksOther members of the main cast included Katie Macdonald, Caitlin Holmes, Megan Sinclair, Robyn Gunning, Daniel Brown, Julia Falconer, Kira Gordon-Atherton, Ethan Jack, Ruairidh McDonald, Eilidh Prescott and Iona Write. Member of staff, Ginny Fenton and Sharon Shaw, also played the role of high school teachers during the performance and had the audience in stitches. Lots of other students and staff from the school were involved in either the chorus, back stage, front of house, guest voice overs or in the live band. It really was a ‘whole school’ performance.

Julia Falconer (who played the role of Kourney Keaton) was amongst the cast who really wowed crowds with her vocal talent (including Kids in America) commented that, “the whole experience was a roller coaster by my favourite memory was dancing and singing to ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’.” Iona Write (who played Laura Wilde) agreed, “Even though the geeks didn’t get allowed to the party, I love ‘dancing on the ceiling’.”

The show was choreographed by Ms Heather Cooney (from Eden Court) and directed by the schools music teacher Miss Lucy Hodes who said, “I am so pleased with how the performance went, the kids were just brilliant. They have been rehearsing for months and all of that hard work paid off on opening night when the cast received a standing ovation. They are already asking what we might put on next year!”

Headteacher, Ollie Bray, was equally complimentary, “we are so proud of everyone who took part in the show. Kingussie High School has so much talent and it is our job as a school to show it off. The school show is just one of the ways that we do this. I personally want to thank all of the staff and the cast who made the performance such a success. I also want to thank the pupils, families and local community for supporting the school by coming to watch it and making it a ‘sell out’ on the Friday night.”

Loads more photos over on our Facebook Page – www.facebook.com/kingussiehigh

Photo 2 - 80s - the cast

Check the school bag logo

Today a reminder letter has gone home from Mr Bray containing important information about our parent information evening  on the 26th June (between 18:30 – 19:30) where we will talk about access and pathways to Higher Education.

During the evening we will discuss the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and give advice on some of the things that young people and families need to be thinking about in the build up to applying for University. This will include the sort of things that are useful on a personal statement and the support that both Kingussie High School and Skills Development Scotland can offer.

The evening will also include information on other routes to degree level qualifications without the need for going to university (these are normally industry sponsored work placements).

The evening will consist of a number of short presentations from Kingussie High School Staff, Skills Development Scotland and the CITB. There will be lots of opportunities to ask questions.

Please note that this information evening is open to all parents in all year groups and not just those thinking about applying for University in 2015 (it is never too early to start thinking about this).

We look forward to welcoming you to the school at 18:30 on the 26th June.Digital School Bag

 
You can download the letter from the Digital School Bag.

Direct link to the letter here.

Malawi 2014 Leaving

Kingussie High School has a long standing international partnership with Muloza in Malawi. The project includes both pupil and teacher exchanges. Our 2014 team of pupils and staff left for the airport this morning to spend two weeks in Malawi working with our partners in Muloza – this year we have a particular focus on Science education. I’m sure we will get a few up-dates when they are away (as long as the wifi holds up) – have a great trip folks!

June Newsletter Banner

Kingussie High School Newsletters have gone digital.

There are a number of reasons for this.  One of the reasons is to cut down on expensive printing costs (we are quite sure that letters don’t always make it home!) and secondly we are trying to share our good news stories and information more regularly using our website (kingussiehigh.org.uk), our Facebook group (facebook.com/kingussiehigh) and our regular four weekly page in the Strathy newspaper (The Kingussie catch-up).

As and when a newsletter becomes available (we publish five times a year) we will let you know about it via our websiteFacebook groupStrathy page and Twitter stream.  We will also send you an email (as long as we have your email address).  If you want to add yourself to our email distribution list simply fill in the form at www.kingussiehigh.org.uk/newsletter.

You can view our April Digital Newsletter below – or you can download it from the digital schoolbag.

 

Photo 3 - Culloden Dressed Up

Our Social Subjects Department like to take as many opportunities as possible to get pupils from Kingussie High School out and about. Regular readers of the ‘catch-up’ will know all about the work they already do with the St. Andrews University Geo-Bus and the local Geography fieldwork projects to Aviemore and the River Gynack. Recently, in History, S2 have been studying the Jacobites – in particular the 1745 Rebellion that was led by none other than Bonnie Prince Charlie. As part of their Studies Mrs Kath Lothian (History and Modern Studies Teacher at KHS) organised a trip to Culloden for the whole year group and they had a great time. First of all there was an opportunity to learn more about the battle with one of the Historic Scotland Education Officers and then there was a chance for pupils to explore the many exhibits in the visitors centre. The last part of the day was another education workshop, but this one involved drama and some roleplay. Overall it was a fantastic day out with Historic Scotland Staff reporting excellent standards of behaviour and not bad acting ability from some KHS pupils!

Photo 1 - Jake Bell Zip Wire

The KHS S1 Badaguish Trip has been running for the last six years and although it is headed by our Guidance Team (Mr Ken Deans and Mrs Sheena Duthie) it involves lots and lots of staff from across the school. Some staff stay all week and some pop up for a day or just an evening. This year nearly 70 pupils opted to take part in the experience and while they were away they followed a very personal timetable of outdoor activities, self-discovery and reflection.

Indeed as a group, between them they zip lined, roller skied, hiked, climbed, paddled, ran, windsurfed, canoed, swam and cycled. On top of this they also baked, danced, steam trained, built shelters, cleaned (not always themselves!), met the reindeer, laughed, cried and sang! Apparently some of them even slept! Over the course of the week everyone took part in a whopping 96 hours of different activities.

One of the highlights of the week for many of the group was the expedition day. This involved cycling from Badaguish to Aviemore, rafting the River Spey to Boat-of-Garten, catching the steam train back to Aviemore and then cycling home for tea and cake (that had been prepared by other members of the group).

Mr Deans explains, “We see the Badaguish trip as being really important and a great end of S1 for KHS pupils. It is great to see the kids have a really deep learning experience in their local environment and find out what they can do on their doorstep before they progress through the school and have the opportunity to visit London, Barcelona and Malawi. For many this is the first part a longer journey of residential experiences with KHS.”

Photo 2 - Backwoods Skills