Easter School

The first Easter School held in in OLHS has been a great success with over 150 pupils From S4-S6 attending over three days.

Each day contained three classes / study periods lasting 1.5 hours, with breaks for interval and lunch. An Upper Crust delivery was organised each day for anyone who wanted to take part. Many thanks to Freddie and everyone at Upper Crust for managing such a huge order each day :-)

Feedback from pupils has been fantastic, with many appreciating the relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and the opportunity to study without the distractions of home. One or two have asked that next year’s Easter School lasts an entire week!

For a bit of fun on the last day, Mrs Sinclair held a hunt for lost chicks (awwww!) with what appeared to be a fair bit of cheating to get prizes!

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Christopher the Chick was photographed by Mrs Macfadyen, with Advanced Steinertisation courtesy of the Art Department.

Many thanks to all the staff who came in over the last three days, and to pupils for making the whole exercise worthwhile.

Fund-raising

Our Lenten Charities fund-raising campaign continued last week. Soak the 6th Year proved especially popular, as did our Non-uniform Day on 2nd April. Pupils are continuing to post money into the SCIAF boxes on a daily basis.

Bothwellpark High School also invited OLHS staff and pupils to participate in their fund-raising for World Autism Day, with Cake and Candy and the opportunity to name a fish!

The JFK Reports

2N3 and 2N4 have been studying the presidency and assassination of John F Kennedy in Social Subjects. They finished up this week in the Library with role-plays of news broadcasts following the shooting.

This is not an easy task: there is a massive amount of material available to sieve through, and a great deal of lateral thinking is required. In addition, pupils have to be sure their final work doesn’t include any information that wouldn’t be known at the time of their ‘broadcast’. And of course there are the usual nerves about performing in front of their peers and being assessed. Class teachers and the Librarian are on hand to guide pupils through the process, and provide advice when things aren’t going well.

Each pupil chose a group or person accused of the assassination and searched for evidence for or against that accusation before finally deciding what to say in their broadcast and above all else, who they would blame!

The groups also had to decide when their broadcast would be set: during the assassination itself, after Kennedy’s death, after Lee Harvey Oswald’s arrest, or after Oswald was hot by Jack Ruby. They also created their own characters – eye-witnesses, and experts – or played real people like Jacky Kennedy or the FBI bodyguards.

All of the role-plays were different and provided a fascinating range of ideas and speculation about Kennedy’s death, and also demonstrated some excellent acting!

Model cells

Miss McGinty asked her class to design a model of a cell using household items.

Most pupils chose to recreate a plant cell. Mrs Sinclair was asked to select the winners, who each received an Easter egg.

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Commonwealth Baton Bearer

Congratulations to Olivia McMahon, who has been confirmed as one of the Commonwealth Games’ Queen’s Baton Bearers.

Olivia has been heavily involved with sport since she started at Our Lady’s and is also one of our sports ambassadors. She was nominated by OLHS after staff reviewed a long list of worthy potential candidates.

The Queen’s Baton will travel through North Lanarkshire  on Monday 23rd June, including   Wishaw and Motherwell.

Consultation discussions

The Parent Forum, comprising all parents of schools associated with Our Lady’s, met on Tuesday 1st April to discuss the proposal to merge OLHS and Taylor High Schools on a site at Ravenscraig.

The Parent Councils of Our Lady’s, Taylor and Bothwellpark also met with Head of Resources, James McKinstrey on Wednesday 2nd April.

Spring Concert 2014

Congratulations to all the staff and pupils to gave wonderful performances at our Spring Concert on 28th March.

Groups playing on the night included the School Band, the Junior Band, the Choir, the Staff Choir, the Pipe drumming group, the brass ensemble, the string group and our Battle of the Bands group, Little White Truth.

Many thanks to everyone in the audience who came along to support the performers.

Motherwell Youth Voice

Report by Hua Cui 

Motherwell Youth Voice is looking for new members!!!

We are a group of young people who meet every second Tuesday in Our Lady’s High School. We discuss issues affecting young people and try to help the young people in our communities.

Although we are not meeting during the Spring Holidays, we have organised a trip to the Scottish Parliament. Young people are meeting at 9:30am at Our Lady’s High School on Thursday 10th April to travel in a mini bus to go to Edinburgh. We will get a guided tour by the Parliament Education Officer and will return about 3pm in the same day.

If you are interested in coming to the trip and find out more about the group, please ask for a consent form for the trip and return it before Friday 4th April.

We look forward to meeting you.

If you have any questions about the group or the trip, please come speak to Hua Cui (youth worker) based in the CLD youth work office in Our Lady’s High School.

U14 Football

Report from Mrs McNeish

Meanwhile Our Lady’s have been declared joint winners of Section 2 of the under-14 Lanarkshire Secondary Schools League along with St Andrew’s High School, Coatbridge and Larkhall Academy.

There will be play-offs between these three schools to decide the winners final decision. Matches will be played before 2nd May. The winners of section 2 will play St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School, East Kilbrode for the U14 trophy.

Girls’ football

Report from Mrs McNeish

S1-3 girls played a match against Coltness High on Monday. Despite an injury to Luisa McDonald and only being able to field the bare seven players, our girls played in a very one sided match, scoring ten plus goals. The girls were, as usual, a credit to themselves and the school.

Well done girls! We look forward to the full 11-a-side match against the same school after Easter.

Team: Niamh SImmonette, Sammi Marshall, Kara Reid, Lauren Whitehead, Olivia McGarry, Skye Elliot and Emmajai McCReaddie.

Public speaking competition

Report by Miss McGhee

Jordyn McNally (S4) and Grant Mackin (S3) participated in the Glasgow heats of the ESU Scotland Public Speaking Competition. They were held in Douglas Academy, Milngavie on Saturday 29th March and involved schools from all over Scotland.

Both speakers performed outstandingly and were highly praised by the judges for their passion and delivery.

Jordyn narrowly missed out on moving forwards, but Grant saw off competition from pupils from Bearsden Academy, The High School of Glasgow, Hutchesons’ Grammar and Douglas Academy – among others – to win himself a place in the national finals, which will be held in The Royal Society of Edinburgh in June.

Well done to both of our speakers. Jordyn’s speech appears elsewhere on the blog. Grant’s is being kept top secret for the present.

ESU Public Speaking Competition – Jordyn McNally

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire – Jordyn McNally

Good morning Ladies, Gentlemen and distinguished judges. I am delighted to be here to talk to you today: to talk to you about inspiration. Inspiration, invention, creativity and learning. I’m sure we’ve all been inventive or creative at some point in our lives, that we’ve all been inspired – by a person, place or event. It is these things that enable the progress of our world. For new inventions to be created, new songs to be written, new works of art painted or sculpted, new medical breakthroughs to be discovered…the list is endless. The question is, is school the place for developing the potential scientist, artist, musician, inventor, athlete or astronaut within each of us? Are our schools doing enough to seize our potential, nurture it, feed it and allow it to grow and develop? I don’t believe so. I believe there is a massive gulf between the learning we experience in schools and the inspiration we need to go out into the world to make a difference.

Even some of the most renowned inventors in the world experienced constraints in educational establishments. The education system would have had us believe that even the inventor of the lightbulb didn’t always have such (pause) bright ideas: Thomas Edison, co-inventor of this life-changing object was told by his teachers on a consistent basis that he was “too stupid to learn.” One of the men who gave such a vital discovery to our world was “too stupid”, as defined by the people who are supposed to nurture and develop our potential. It is teachers like Thomas Edison’s that have the ability to squash potential, stop it in its tracks. What would have happened if Thomas Edison had believed this and resigned himself to a life of mediocrity? It is teachers like this who make students believe that they are only capable of average, standard outcomes. An A, B or C and I refuse to accept that.

Personally, I adore learning. I love being taught new things, expanding my mind and broadening my horizons. But at what point do we stop gorging on random, curricular-led information and start to be inspired? In my opinion, there has never been such an abundance of staff within education and yet so few TEACHERS. This generation is systematically force-fed information like cattle, herded towards final examinations, with our minds ending up as hollow as the intentions of those within education. We need to be allowed to develop individuality within learning, to find a place within ourselves to love creating, changing and discovering. We need to kick over the bucket of mediocrity within our schools and spark the flames of an astronomical revolution – the age of refusal. A refusal to be less than extraordinary, a refusal to believe that we are not capable of making the impossible possible. Education needs to be much more than textbooks and assessments. It should be about the birth of hope, the hope that in our lives we can achieve anything we want to.

Some may question whether it is, in fact, a teacher’s role to inspire their students to follow their dreams. Teachers, after all, have a job to do and that is primarily to prepare us for the examinations on which so much importance is placed by everyone – schools, pupils, parents, universities, workplaces. Our society is results driven: if we do not leave school with a piece of paper saying we are proficient in Maths, have a good grasp of the nuances of the English language, can converse in another language, then what does the future hold for us? It is our teachers’ job to ensure that we do, so that as many possible opportunities are opened up for us. But is this really what they are doing? If it is not a teacher’s role to inspire us, then whose is it? Who is going to inspire the future generations to change the world we live in? When we die, our thoughts, our minds, our existence – and our exam results – die too. But the difference we have made lives on. Every photon of light that has bounced off every object on this earth is still hurtling through space, and every single ray of light that has touched each and every one of your faces has changed the universe in more ways than you can imagine. That’s what we do when we actually TEACH our children. We are capable of changing the world in more ways than we can imagine.

Nicholas Selby, a Georgia Tech University graduate, spoke out about achievement. About inspiration. He stated:

 Our mission as students is not to follow in the footsteps of the astronauts, Nobel Prize laureates or the presidents that graduated before us but to exceed their footsteps, crush the shoulders of the giants upon whom we stand!

This is what we need to be inspired to do. Not to be guided towards a pass in a subject that will have little bearing on your future life but to be told that you, I, we can change the world. We can be better than those considered the best.

I want to learn. I want to be told of the wonders of this world, worlds past, other worlds altogether and worlds yet to come. I want to BE one of those wonders. I want to know that I’m worth every single atom in my body and I want to be inspired. Maybe it’s time our education system focused less on what they want us to be able to do and more on what we want to be able to do. Maybe it’s time that our teachers were the ones doing the learning.

Classrooms for Malawi

Classrooms for Malawi came to talk to 4th year pupils about their work.

Charity Co-ordinator, Tony Begley, accompanied by OLHS former pupil, Daniel Canning, explained their beginnings from Mary’s Meals. Pupils watched a video, seeing the conditions of some Malawian schools: children trying to learn in blazing heat outdoors, or subsequently unable to attend school in the rainy season, and classrooms crammed with fifty or sixty children.

They also learned how the community is totally involved in the creation of new classrooms, raising some of the total cost, and providing skilled workers.

OLHS and Classrooms for Malawi are now investigating ways of working together.