International Education Award

Our Lady’s is proud to be one of only three secondary schools in North Lanarkshire to receive the North Lanarkshire International Education Award for promoting pupils’ knowledge of global issues and Scottish culture.

The Award recognises both classwork and extra-curricular initiatives such as the school’s continuing links with the Kamwokya Community in Uganda, our Citizens’ Cafe, the Sensory Garden and St Andrew’s Day celebrations, along with a variety of research tasks including Scottish mysteries, musical instruments worldwide and food culture in Italy.

Headteacher, Mrs Kathleen Sinclair and Depute Head, Mr John Crossan received the award on behalf of the school from Mrs Christine Pollock, Executive Director of Learning and Leisure Services for North Lanarkshire Council.

Helping Teachers in Uganda

Report by Mr Mulrooney

The staff of Our Lady’s High are sponsoring the training of a new teacher in Kampala, Uganda. For almost 10 years the school has been partnered with a school and community in Kamwokya and the pupils have been involved in many partnership activities with the people there.

Alex Bukenya’s father died and left him,as the eldest child, with responsibility to care for his sick Mum and the other 6 children.  Through his links with Our Lady’s, Alex was able to be educated at a secondary school and university.  In order to get employment he requires to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching. Hopefully, with the help of our staff, Alex will be a teacher this time next year and will be able to care for his family.


    Lenten Charities Results

    We are very proud to report that Lenten Charities fund-raising has so far this year raised £3670, with further money to be handed in. 50% of the total will be donated to SCIAF, and the remainder will be split between the various House charities.

    Ms Sneddon will be visiting our Ugandan partners in Kamwokya on a staff study trip over the summer and will present the raised funds to Francis Mbazira, Director of the Kamwokya Community.

    The funds will be used to help build a proper canteen for pupils who currently have to sit around on the ground for their lunch. Work has already started as can be seen from the photos below.

    Shrove Tuesday

    There were pancakes all over the school today, with most Home Economics classes making pancakes and a pancake based coffee morning for staff.

    All of the funds raised are being put towards our contribution to build a new cafeteria building for our partners in Kamwokya, Uganda.

    Visitors from Kamwokya

    Teddi Katusime and Robert Mulerwa spent a week at Our Lady’s, during which they taught us all some singing, some dancing, and a lot about Uganda and the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community. They also had fun joining in with some of our classes.

    These are just some of the things that took place.

    From Mrs Stemplis in Home Economics
    Teddi came along with a 3rd year class and enjoyed making shortbread.

    From Mrs Tulley in Support for Learning
    Robert and Teddi joined the ESOL (English for Speakers of another language ) class for a session to meet class members and work with small groups, as they work towards their Learning Outcomes in their SQA exams.

    The visitors were introduced to the variety of resources available in the Support Base for ESOL pupils and worked with IT packages to improve pupils’ conversational skills in English.

    For their part, pupils much enjoyed the opportunity to learn from Teddi and Robert how English is taught in Uganda and appreciated the opportunity to practise their English skills in conversation, learning more about the connections between Our Lady`s High School and Kamwokya.

    From Ms Newman in Geography
    Robert and Teddi came to the Higher/Int II Geography class talking about Uganda and the health problems in the country. In particular they told the class what it is like to get Malaria and how the epidemic effects the country.

    From Mrs Anderson in Maths
    Robert and Teddy were in my S1 Maths class. The pupils spent time before they arrived making up posters with some of the statistics we had about Kamwokya, so at the beginning the children presented their findings and asked a question they had thought of. Robert then showed them a video / presentation about life in Kamwokya and through this answered all their questions.

    The pupils really enjoyed it – especially the dance at the end.

    From Mrs Connor, Andrew House
    Robert had the Andrew House Pupil Council Meeting in stitches.He made us all stand up and do a song and dance which included swaying around and sticking our tongues out.It was a scream!

    Overview from Mr Mulrooney
    Our Lady’s High School established its partnership with the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community, Uganda in the year 2000. This relationship took another step forward when we welcomed Robert Mulerwa and Teddi Katusime to spend a week working with the pupils and staff. This offered a great opportunity for all the pupils to really get to know and appreciate what life is like in a developing world country. Of course, partnership is a 2 way street, and Robert and Teddi both left Scotland with a lot of insight into both Scottish education and Scottish culture.

    Robert and Teddi work with the youth of Kamwokya, many of whom are either orphans or have lost a parent due to HIV / AIDS. Robert is the coordinator of this project and Teddi is a young girl who works as a ‘peer educator’. Several classes at Our Lady’s experienced a taste of the educational sessions peer educators use in Kamwokya.

    Both visitors spent their week working in many departments enhancing their curriculum and strengthening the citizenship aspects of each subject. This ranged from discussing Primary Health Care in Africa with Higher Modern Studies pupils to transferring Ugandan poverty statistics to bar charts in the first year Mathematics class.

    Robert said ‘we have learned so much to take back home with us from working in the school and living with our host families. Close partnership with schools such as Our Lady’s makes a great difference to the young people at home in Kamwokya.’

    Our visitors were thrilled that the school Fairtrade group managed to sell over £500 worth of jewellery made in Kamwokya. This money will buy a computer for the young people they work with so that they can communicate with their partner schools on line. In addition the school gifted Robert and Teddi with medals and trophies that will be used to promote ‘education through sport’ among the youth of Kamwokya.

    Bernard Love, Head Teacher, commented ‘hosting young people from Uganda for a whole week has had a major impact on our partnership project. It was edifying to see how naturally Robert and Teddi moved among our pupils sharing not only their knowledge and understanding of Developing World issues but also their optimism and great sense of fun.’

    Berlie Doherty

    Berlie Doherty talking to 3rd year pupils in the LRC

    Berlie Doherty talking to 3rd year pupils in the LRC

    Berlie Doherty came to Our Lady’s on Wednesday morning to enthrall our 3rd years with stories of her month in Tanzania, her novels and how much she loves to write.

    Some of the scenes she saw in Africa have become the basis of her latest novel, Abela: the girl who saw lions, which is shortlisted for the Catalyst Teenage Book Awards (which are being held on Thursday morning). The story revolves around a child whose family have died from AIDS.

    We also shared with Berlie our links with Kamwokya, and how the pupils are fundraising to help build a cafeteria and set up and maintain a broadband connection.

    Our Lady’s Annual Awards Ceremony, 19th September 2008

    Our Lady’s annual Awards Ceremony took place on 19th September 2008, at which we honoured over 300 young people for their achievements over the past year, and the SQA exams.

    The full list of recipients is available on the school website.

    Pupils also presented cheques to four worthy causes from our Lenten Charities events:

    • £600 to the Motherwell Homeless Unit;
    • £950 for SCIAF;
    • £600 to ALMA;
    • £400 to St Andrew’s Hospice.

    The SCIAF cheque will be distributed to our partners at the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community in Uganda, to help establish a broadband link, to help with travel costs for peer educators coming from Kamwokya, and a donation towards our commitment to build an eating area for Kamwokya pupils.

    Our two current visitors from Kamwokya, Robert Mulerwa and Teddy Katusime, came directly from Glasgow Airport to see the Awards and will join us again after the October break for a week in Our Lady’s.

    The school choir sang a haunting version of “Hushabye Mountain” which raised the hairs on the back of everyone’s neck (absolutely gorgeous), while the saxophone quartet from the school band played “5’2″, Eyes of Blue” and “Has anybody seen my girl?

    Presenting the awards was our special guest, Paul Cooney, who delighted the audience of pupils, parents and staff with stories of his own school awards (for services to the tuck shop) and his achievements since, adding,

    “If you’re looking for success, it’s not a destination, it’s a journey”,

    and encouraged everyone to be ready to take opportunities as they arise.

    Invited guests included Bishop Devine, Fr Stephen Miller (School Chaplain), Suzanne Graham (Parent Council), Maureen Dunn (PTA), Provost Tom Curley, Paul Cooney, Robert Dazell (Quality Improvement Officer, North Lanarkshire Council), Councillor Michael Ross and the headteachers of our four associated primary schools.

    Visit from Kamwokya

    Our Lady’s was delighted to play host today to Mr Francis Mbazira, Director and Founder of the Kamwokya Christian Caring Community in Uganda.

    Mr Mbazira and a fellow worker from Kamwokya, were accompanied by Mr Ian Menzies, School Coordinator for SCIAF. They were in Scotland to visit the four schools which are partnered with Kamwokya: Our Lady’s, Taylor High, Braidhurst High and All Saints in Glasgow.

    During the day, our visitors took part in assemblies for 1st and 2nd year pupils. The assemblies featured European and Jambo music form the choir, a performance by the African drumming troupe and a slide show from Mr Mulrooney and Mrs Glover about their visit to Kamwokya. Mr Mbazira and Mr Menzies also took the opportunity to talk about Kamwokya and explain to pupils just how important their fundraising is for the community.

    They also had a chance to see Citizenship education in action through a 3rd year Geography class with Mr Krawczyk, and a Higher Modern Studies class with Mrs McManus.

    Patron’s Day Mass

    Report (mostly) by Kenneth MacDermid.

    Our annual mass for Patron’s Day took place today.

    The mass was presided over by the Right Reverend Bishop Joseph Devine and concelebrated by Fr. Chromy and our own Fr. Miller. The mass was celebrated as the Feast of the Annunciation in dedication to Our Lady – the school patron.

    The bishop spoke of the great history that our school is steeped in, encouraging both staff and pupils to follow in the light of Christ.

    Mr Love, in his vote of thanks, mentioned the school’s strong links with SCIAF and Kamwokya, and looked forward to two young people from the Kamwokya Community visiting the school for a week at the start of the new session.


    Many thanks to all the supporters of OLHS who came along to today’s ceremony:

    Executive Director of Learning and Leisure Services, Christine Pollock and Education Officer, Anne Donaldson;

    Headteachers from our associated primaries, Mrs Maureen McGhee, Mrs Maria Shields, Mrs Gwen Dickson, Mrs Sally Fraser and Mr Derek Hannan, Headteacher of Braidhurst High School;

    Provost Tom Curley, Councillor Gordon Stewart and Councillor Kate Harmon;

    Mrs Maureen Dunn and Mrs Suzanne Graham from the PTA and Parent Council;

    Mr Ian Menzies from SCIAF;

    former members of staff, Mrs Mary Boyle, Mr Brian McCrossan, Mr Brian Keown, Mr Jake Carlin, Mr John White, Mr John Boyle and Mr Raymond Lunny.

    Grateful thanks must go to all musicians, readers, offertory processors and Eucharistic ministers for their assistance, as well as to all the staff who ensured the day ran smoothly, in particular Mr. Crossan!

    African Drums

    As part of our Kamwokya initiative, Our Lady’s set up an African drumming group a couple of years ago. The drums used are djembes, which are also used in 1st and 2nd year Music classes.

    The group were invited to play at Cumbernauld Town Hall recently, and got stuck into some practice in the school theatre over lunchtime. When the bell went for period 5, a group of 1st year pupils heading for Drama stopped to listen and were fascinated by their expertise.

    I’m trying to get a video put here, but it’s proving awkward.

    Nil desperandum (and Mr Miller might say!)