Higher Geography Fieldtrip

Report by Ms Moir

The Higher Geography class visited Glasgow on Monday 20th March to conduct fieldwork for their assignment. The class visited the suburbs, the inner city area and the city centre to carry out their work. Pupils completed traffic surveys, recorded different land uses in the areas and conducted questionnaires to the public. Pupils are now working hard in class to process these reuslts and analyse them for their assignment. Every pupil did a fantastic job of representing the school and thoroughly enjoyed their day out!

Our Lady’s visit to Liberty Steel

Special Report by Ciaran Hendry S2

On the 25th of January 2017, two Our Lady’s High school Go4SET teams visited, “Liberty Steel”, a steel processing plant in Motherwell.  We walked from school to the site where we were greeted by our mentor, Chris Gourley. We listened to an interesting talk about the health and safety aspects of the workplace and then had a fun quiz. One of the best parts was when we played games that taught us the importance of organisation, efficiency and specification in the workplace. After all our briefings we enjoyed an excellent lunch provided by our hosts.  We then got ready to go on the highly anticipated tour of the plant.

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Team Elite

Wearing high visibility vests, hard hats and earplugs, we witnessed steel being heated to 1000°C.  Our guide showed us the famous water tower and of course inside the steelworks. He showed us the interesting process from when the steel is delivered by train to when it’s heated in gas pits, then flattened out between huge rollers before finally having water thrown over the steel plates, giving off a magnificent amount of water vapour. We saw red and even yellow hot slabs of steel carried by large cranes to different parts of the plant.  Even after cooling, the flattened metal plate was incredibly hot.   We also spent time in the control room where the operators made sure the plate was the right size with the help of computers.

Team Enigma

After a question and answer session it was time to return to school. We were all given memory cards encased in steel as a keepsake of our visit.  Overall the experience was informative and very enjoyable and, will aid our learning in so many ways.

Thanks go to Chris and all the staff at Liberty Steel for their help and advice.

Champions League Trip: Manchester City vs Celtic

48 pupils and 4 members of staff travelled to Manchester on Tuesday 6th December to watch the Celtic v Manchester City Champions League fixture at the Etihad Stadium.  We arrived an hour before kick- off; pupils and staff soaked up the atmosphere by listening to bands that were playing and buying souvenirs in the superstore. We were seated in the Colin Bell stand, brilliant seats which gave a full view of the Etihad. The game, which finished 1-1, was evenly matched with both teams having chances.

After having breakfast on Wednesday morning we filed onto the bus which took us to Old Trafford, home of Manchester United FC.  We were given a chance to wander round the museum where we learned about the history of the club and then we were given a guided tour of the stadium, including the Alex Ferguson stand, the press room, changing rooms, players’ tunnel and the dugout.  Both pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and the pupils, as always, were a credit to Our Lady’s High School.

Advanced Higher research

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Macfadyen

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A group of S6 Advanced Higher pupils from a variety of subjects visited Glasgow University Library yesterday, accompanied by Mrs Macfadyen and Mrs Millar. After a quick guide to facilities on offer students were let loose to explore this fantastic resource area for themselves. Some opted to rummage around on the History floor, others bathed in the beauty of Shakespeare on the English floor, others found out about resources for studying music, politics and even Italian.

Pupils were  impressed not just by the quantity of books available for perusal, but also by the various study and relaxation facilities on offer, and left the Library with lists of books that they wanted to investigate further.

These S6 students now have reference access to the university library for the rest of the academic year – we hope the surroundings will make their studying more enjoyable!

Our thanks to the staff at the Glasgow University Library for making their facilities available to our pupils.

Performing Arts / English London Trip

Report by Mrs Millar and Mrs Jeffrey

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The annual Performing Arts/English trip to London was an action packed weekend from start to finish. 29 pupils joined Mrs Smith, Miss McGhee, Mrs Jeffrey and Mr Bryans on Thursday at teatime and the fun didn’t stop until Sunday at midnight!

After collapsing exhausted on Thursday night from their journey, the group leapt into Friday action with visits to the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Covent Garden before enjoying a fantastic performance of Wicked. Saturday saw visits to Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye and the Christmas market- but nothing compared with the London Dungeon, which was so terrifying the group started saying the school prayer.

Sunday began with mass in Fulham, where the group was made very welcome by the Parish Priest and congregation before they hit the shops, including Harrods and Oxford Street. A tired but happy bunch returned to Motherwell at midnight on Sunday.

Politics Week at Summerlee

S3 Modern Studies pupils visited Summerlee on 18th December as part of UK Parliament Week. They were addressed by Phil Boswell MP, Elaine Smith MSP, Councillor Michael McPake and Professor Kirstie Blair from Strathclyde University, as well as exploring the exhibits throughout the museum, and taking part in a mock election for the Scottish Parliament and in the EU Referendum.

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Pupils pointed out to Mrs Macfadyen that cameras were not allowed in polling stations, but graciously agreed to allow shots without faces in view.

#pollitolhs

Fashion trip to London

The Home Economics and Art Department have a shared topic of fashion design and so they organised a joint trip to the Victoria and Albert museum in London to see two special exhibitions: Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear and You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970.

As part of their time in London pupils also had the opportunity to visit the London Eye and the restaurant Planet Hollywood.

Real Madrid

The proposed Porto Trip is moving to Madrid, which is a good bit cheaper and will allow pupils access to Real Madrid’s training Ground and the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

A £50 deposit to secure your place is due to Mrs McNeish by Friday 25th November. Payment cards will be issued then too. Payments will be taken at interval in the Nurture room. Thank you.

S1 Panto Visit

All first year pupils are invited to attend a trip to the pantomime in Glasgow on Tuesday 20th December during the school day. The show is in the SECC and stars Marti Pellow as Aladdin.  The cost will be £18 and this will cover both the cost of the ticket and return coach travel. Letters with further information will be distributed by your Pupil Support Teachers next week. Payment to be made by 22nd September to secure your place.

Champions League: Manchester City vs Celtic

Our Lady’s High School is planning an overnight trip on Tuesday 6th December to watch the Manchester City vs Celtic Champions League fixture and visit Old Trafford for a Stadium Tour.  The trip will be open to second to sixth year pupils. The cost will be £160.

Please note this is a school excursion and football strips may not be worn throughout the whole trip. The tickets are in the Colin Bell Stand which is where the Manchester City fans will be seated.

Edinburgh Book Festival 2016

A bus full of enthusiastic readers headed for the Edinburgh Internal Book Festival on Monday 29th August. Pupils came from S1-6, including the Advanced Higher English class who came along to pick up some tips for their creative writing.

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Our first session featured relatively new writers, Lisa Heathfield and Katherine Howe, who focused on how they had written their books and the research involved in getting the details correct. They had plenty of advice for aspiring writers and encouraged questions by giving away badges. Hands flew up from purple blazers!

Our second talk featured crime author, Anne Cassidy, who has published over forty books. She very quickly had the audience laughing as she explained all the ways that she had killed off her characters. Again OLHS pupils were keen to ask questions, including Conor who asked how Anne would kill him off if he appeared in one of her books. Anne made arrangements with him later on.

The Festival sponsors kindly provided book tokens for each pupil which were quickly snapped up to buy books and get them signed by the authors, providing further opportunities to ask yet more questions. We also  wandered around the gardens and book shop, ate ice-cream and generally chilled out in the beautiful sunshine.

Summer School 2016

Report from Mrs King

The annual summer school at Our Lady’s High School took place on August 8th with twenty new first year pupils and four senior pupils enjoying four days of activities. The summer school allows the young people to become more familiar with the secondary school setting and to meet some of the school staff before the new term begins. Being more confident and self-assured at the start of secondary school gives the S1 pupils a positive step towards a successful transition from primary school.

The S1 pupils took part in team building with the Partnership Staff on the first morning followed by a workshop of pottery with Ms Steinert where the pupils made clay hedgehogs in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, the pupils learned to play the ukulele with Mr McVeigh followed by a session on how to create scars and bruises using special effects make up with Kirsty McCabe.

On Wednesday, the pupils were treated to some Science experiments with Mr Law from Physics and after lunch, Mrs Smith from Performing Arts gave the pupils an opportunity to practice their voice and acting skills.

Each day, the pupils gathered to have lunch together and to make new friends and meet various teaching staff

On the final day, the entire group, Ms McDonald, Ms King and Mr Smith had a successful day trip to Blair Drummond Safari Park where they enjoyed seeing all the animals, especially the sea-lion show, and had some free time to explore the park.

Battlefields Trip

Adapted by Mrs Millar from pupil diaries.

For more information and photos from the 5th Our Lady’s Pals Battalion, please see Mr Smith’s website and Twitter @OLHSSocSubjects.

The 5th Our Lady’s High School Pals Battalion, led by Mr Smith and Kat Brogan of Mercat Tours, and accompanied by Mr Donnachie, Miss McGhee and Mrs Millar, set off for Belgium and France on Monday 20th June. We travelled by ferry from Hull and had a comfortable crossing to Zeebrugge – great food and accommodation onboard! Our first stop in Belgium was at the Pool of Peace, followed by Messines Church, then Hooge Crater museum where we had lunch, then onwards to Sanctuary wood where we donned wellies in order to experience life in the trenches. We reached Munchenhof around 5 and checked in to our very welcoming hotel where we were again well fed!

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On Tuesday we set off to France.  Our first visit was to Newfoundland Park, a beautiful, tranquil place dedicated to the Canadian soldiers who fought in the war.  We were privileged to walk across the battlefield and witness where the soldiers fought the Battle of the Somme: tragically, 91% of them did not make it back home. They are also remembered at Vimy Ridge, with an awe inspiring monument showing Mother Canada weeping for her lost children. We also visited Poiziers cemetery, where 14000 soldiers “Known Unto God” are remembered. This is the inscription carved on the memorial stones when soldiers who died could not be identified – or in some cases, even found. We were also proud to share a special moment with Robyn Leach, as she laid a wreath at the grave of her great great grandfather.2016_0622_093954

Thursday began at Essex Farm to visit the advanced dressing station where Lieutenant John McCrae wrote his famous poem “In Flanders Fields”. Next stop was Polkapelle Cemetery, where over 6000 of the 7400 men who lie there are only “Known Unto God”. We then visited Passchaendale, where half a million men died in 1917. We visited Tyne Cot Cemetery, the biggest Commonwealth cemetery in the world with 12,000 graves. Here, too, the lost men are remembered:  35,000 men – whose bodies were never found – are commemorated on the walls. Our next stop was at one of only four German cemeteries at Langemarck, resting place of over 40,000 German soldiers. After lunch we set foot in the Sacred City of Ypres for the first time, to visit the graves of two British soldiers shot at dawn by their own side. Lastly, we attended the Menin Gate ceremony in Ypres, where once again we were able to share the experience of finding a relative’s resting place with Lauren McCann. Our last official duty of the trip was when we then went on to Poelkapelle Cemetery to conduct our own memorial service.

Each evening, before dinner, Kat Brogan, our Tour Guide with Mercat International Tours, worked with the young people as they reflected on their experiences, writing in their daily diaries. Later, everyone enjoyed some down time, playing pool, bowling, watching TV or just chatting.

Our last day in Brugge saw a raiding of the chocolate shops and a scoffing of ice cream and delicious Belgian waffles before heading back to Scotland from Rotterdam on our second ferry – which was even more luxurious than the first one! After a fantastic meal,  everyone took to the floor – even the oldies – and danced the night away, finishing the night with a rendition of “It’s A Long Way to Tipperary” which brought the house down and made us many new friends!

The trip was both a lot of fun and very thought provoking – a real life changing experience for staff and pupils. Thanks to Mr Smith for organising a truly memorable time for us!

Ben Nevis Challenge 2016

Some information from Lucy Kiilean from St Andrew’s Hospice

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  • Connor from Atlas Mountaineering has informed me that we are hoping to reach the summit this year! There is however snow at the top of the Ben and consequently there is a hidden gully covered in snow. There will be a guide stationed at this point but thought it was worth mentioning.
  • The weather is also due to be HOT. .. Bring plenty of water and salty snacks to avoid being dehydrated and undernourished.
  • Be dressed and ready to go (boots included!) as soon as the bus comes into the car park.  With twelve schools attending this year it can get a little crazy with all of the buses in such a small area so be prepared as humanly possible.

Titanic Project 2016: Rothesay!

The Titanic Project crew headed for Rothesay and the beautiful Mount Stuart on a glorious day bursting with sunshine. For most pupils it was their first time on a ferry and they headed outside right away to watch the ship leaving Wemyss Bay.

After the essential photocalls and exploring the ship, they settled down to watch the scenery go past and ask how this would compare with their upcoming trip to Belfast.

Mount Stuart is a stunning mansion which gives an excellent impression of how opulent the interiors would have been on the Titanic. The group were enthusiastic about the grounds, but the luxury of the house really grabbed their attention, with carvings and beautiful details everywhere. Education Officer, Morven, kindly acted as our guide through the chapel, dining room, drawing room, bedrooms and bathrooms. Despite pupil concerns, Mrs Macfadyen was able to tear herself away from the Library (with its first folio Shakespeare, and its ladder!) and Mrs Zambonini stopped sighing over the chandeliers, so that they were able to see the balcony and the swimming pool! Back in Rothesay we had time for ice-cream and a quick peak at the marina before the ferry returned us to the mainland with a rather sleepy crew.

Our thanks to all at Mount Stuart and to Halls Coaches for a wonderful visit at such short notice.

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Titanic Project Week 1

Our Titanic Project pupils spent a week investigating facts about the ship and ship-building. They worked with storyteller, Allison Galbraith, to learn what makes a decent story, and visited the Titan Crane at Clydebank and the Denny Tank at Dumbarton, part of the Scottish Maritime Museum. The Science Department demonstrated buoyancy and helped pupils investigate floating (see below) and then pupils built a copy of the Titanic with Social Subjects.

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From Mr Law

The Science Department asked pupils to design a ship so that it wouldn’t sink.

The Groups did very well.  There were some excellent designs and some nervous and excited participants during the second phase of the challenge when designers add mass to the boats to see when they sink.

Results :

  • Johann & Harry: 1,200g
  • Nicole & Natalie: 2,000g
  • Gary & Dean: 2,000g
  • Zac, Shannon & Sammi:  2,800g

Forfeit for the others is that they have to refer to the winners as Captain for the rest of the day.

Fashion at Kelvingrove

Report from Ms Steinert

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The S3 Fashion and Textile class in Home Economics and the S5/6 Higher Art and Design pupils went to see the Century of Style Exhibition at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery on Thursday December 3rd.

The girls got the chance to have a museum guided tour around the exhibition which features 19th century garments made in Glasgow. The exhibit is organised into themes based on coloured fabric and type of garment like military or mourning outfits and is well worth a visit.

After the tour the class went to Mandor’s fabrics and bought some materials for their Higher fashion garments. Each pupil received a canvas tote bag from Mandor’s and loved seeing all the types of fabric and patterns available.

Ghosts of War – Armistice Day Poetry 1

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On Monday 9th, S3 pupils and staff headed for Edinburgh Castle for a workshop entitled “Ghosts of War: Armistice Day Poetry

Our workshop leaders, Lorna and Ken, met us on the Esplanade to introduce themselves and explain the plan for today, before leading us round to the Scottish National War Memorial. Photography is not allowed in the memorial so no pictures.

The frieze in the Memorial is by Gertrude Alice Meredith Williams and was based on drawings by her husband in the trenches. Pupils noticed bagpipes, kilts, bunnets, snowshoes, animals, rope, shovel, boots, weapons and different uniforms. Lorna read a poem leading into in a minute’s silence, with pupils standing shoulder to shoulder. 

During our silence, a clock chimed 11 o’clock; according to Lorna and Ken, that hadn’t happened before. Very moving, and a little eerie.

We move through to the Education Room, formerly known as the Devil’s Elbow, previously used as a dungeon and barracks (not at the same time though). Most appropriate. This takes us out onto a wee walkway very high above Edinburgh

Ken and Lorna explain that we’re going to be writing poems in three parts, and the first stanza is based on the Memorial, so pupils are asked to write down who and what they saw in the frieze. After a little shyness, suggestions include cavalry; cold weather soldier with fur collar; someone with a camel; a pilot with a biplane; animals including dogs, camels, horses, pigeons; weapons including rifles, pistols, machine guns and shells; and the words on the memorial itself: their name liveth; God holds their souls in their hands. 

The first verse is based around pupils’ own experience of being in the memorial, sharing ideas and moving lines about to make the best impact.  

Now Lorna asks for some helpers, but everyone is feeling a bit shy so staff try to volunteer one or two bodies, and then some brave souls step up. Lorna asks why they volunteered and their answers are fascinating:

  • because I was being made to
  • because I thought it might be fun
  • because no-one else was.

Lorna points out that these three responses can sum up most soldiers’ reasons for enlisting. She also explains that there was a tradition for Scots to volunteer, and far larger ratios of Scots volunteered than other countries of the UK. Soldiers had to be at least 5’3″, with 34″ chest, and 18 years old, or 19 for moving out to France. However, the records show many, many recruits who did not match these criteria.  

Mark volunteers to get dressed in typical soldier gear including a jacket, greatcoat, goatskin, webbing pack with pockets, balaclava, helmet, gas mask. It was believed the helmet could stop bullets, but it didn’t. The goatskin smelled as it was smoked for preservation.