Perth High School PICTURE

December 2015 Perth High School PICTURE Dear Parents, At the core of the Christmas story is a journey made by a man and his wife, travelling in a ho...
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December 2015

Perth High School PICTURE

Dear Parents, At the core of the Christmas story is a journey made by a man and his wife, travelling in a hostile environment, guided by the stars. Reaching their destination, the fretting husband was dismayed to find that the accommodation that he had reserved for him and his heavily pregnant wife was no longer available. Fighting to hold back the thoughts going through his mind of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges that life was throwing at him, the young man reassured his exhausted wife that they would be safe and cosy in the stable attached to the inn. This is such a familiar story to all of us, one that we see in terms of glitter and tinsel and generally a warm glow. And so it should be. Mum and the baby were fine and dad calmed down. The Christmas traditions that we all enjoy so much involve that heady mix of bright lights, journeys and welcoming those we love and care for into our homes to share a meal and exchange gifts. My children insist that they take control of decorating the Christmas tree and the various other rituals surrounding that event: the blaring music, the wood burner at full blast, the passing around of mince pies. I know, it all sounds too good to be true. However, they also insist that I participate fully. Despite my futile protestations, I end up dangling from a ladder with a dog- eared fairy, being bombarded with instructions about how to place the said angel on the top of the tree without it looking like it had had too many sherries. Chance would be a fine thing. When we share the stories of our journeys with our children, of how we faced and overcame difficult times, of how we saw new horizons, we give them that precious gift of being able to walk in the shoes of the ones we love. I wish you a very happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year. Best wishes, Peter Flood

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Introducing the Head Team; from left Hannah, Angus, Head Girl Jennifer, Head Boy Tom, Ross and Emma. As a team our visibility and presence within the school is very important to us, and so we saw the opportunity to write a short article in the newsletter as a very helpful opportunity. Each day spent settling in to our new responsibilities is extremely exciting for the six of us, and allows us to learn more about each other and our group dynamic. With a new year comes new challenges and opportunities, and we are all definitely looking forward to leaving the best mark we can on our school. The new prefect team is 130 strong and we are so pleased they have taken up their duties with a speed and maturity that has amazed and impressed us greatly. Their willingness to help their school deserves appreciation, and lets us know we have an excellent year to come.

To kick off an exciting year, we held the annual training day for all prefects on Friday 4th September at Stanley Mills. The day was packed full of fun team building activities, designed to allow the members of each prefect group to engage with one another, and explore the team’s strengths and weaknesses. A lot of planning and preparation went into the event, and we are pleased to say it ran smoothly, even the weather played along! Of the many activities which were run throughout the day, the ‘Drama’ and ‘Protect the Egg’, exercises were highlighted as the favourites, a fact which was definitely reflected in the amount of noise produced.

This years team of S5 & S6 Prefects

We would like to give a big thank you to all of the staff members who came along to help run the various activities and who made the day such a success. This is the first of many for the sterling new prefect group, and we look forward to a productive, action-packed year!

S1 RESIDENTIALS COMRIE CROFT 2015 Once again our S1’s travelled out to Comrie Croft to take part in a residential aimed at settling them into their house year group; exposing them to different and varied learning opportunities and meeting some of the new staff, some of whom will be teaching them over the coming year. Feedback from pupils and staff was overwhelmingly positive, with many new friendships formed and some pupils’ fears allayed.

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We did flower paintings and we had to find flowers from the forest and come and stick them on a plastic sheet to make a symmetrical pattern with the flowers. We also did tree climbing. It was a great experience that day. It would be good to go back again. Paddy & Tony. 1E4

I enjoyed the tree climb at the S1 residential because we got to go up so high, it was great fun. I made friends with Alexander. I loved the swing up by the lake where everyone played in our spare time. I enjoyed it when we got free time to go up to the lake. Jordan, Joseph and Alexander. 1B

During the S1 residential my favourite part was during the evening we would have hot chocolate and biscuits and me and my dorm room mates had a mini party and jumped on our duvets from the beds. Hayley 1B


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What’s been going on in the Pupil Support Department?

WINTER BALL Enhancing Employability Course S4’s have been attending an enhancing employability course organised through SDS (Skills Development Scotland). The programme includes team building, identify and understand communication skills, planning and preparing for interviews and building CV’s, mock interviews and business awareness. They will also have the chance to visit Highland House, SDS headquarters.

Links with Perth College To help pupils in their transition to college, particularly those who require some additional support, to make the step from school to college we have developed good links with the transition team. Amy Lorimer the transition officer has been in school meeting and talking to pupils about their plans for the future and a trip to the college to meet the various departments has been arranged for December.

S1-3’s have been learning about where their food comes from and have been involved in a range of activities from gardening to farm visits! The S1-2 group have been using the produce from the school garden to do lots of baking and cooking including apple cake, pancakes, jams, chutneys and soup. The S3 group have been learning about how their food travels from Farm to fork and will be growing their own pizza!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT All the pupils gained a lot from a visit to Stewart Tower Dairy – including free ice cream! There will be more visits from RHET (Royal Highland Education Trust) in school and a trip at the end of the year to the Royal Highland Show. The pupils will be sharing what they’ve learned and selling some of the produce they’ve made at a sharing day on 15th Dec. They will be able to gain a Dynamic Youth Award or units for a Personal Achievement Award through their work.

The Motley Crew

ANNIE Page 5

Trip to the International Choral Festival — Derry 2015

The boys not only sang brilliantly but their excellent behaviour, enthusiasm and sense of humour was fabulous. Their tolerance for long crazy international concerts and tiring rehearsals was exemplary. We had an excellent time with hilarious memories of hearing amazingly strange choirs from Belarus, busking in the rain, swarms of girls following the boys around - not to mention the highlight of the trip, the Bowling Alley, where Mrs K scored a 'strike' for the first time. We gave popup concerts in the Central Library, the Giant's Causeway visitor centre, as well as singing for surprised and grateful Chinese tourists on the ferry (much bowing) plus a spontaneous flash mob for a group of Taiwanese guests in the hotel lobby (don't ask!).

Above: first competition in Derry.

Left: A visit to the Giant’s Causeway

Right: Busking in the rain—with groupies!

Mrs. Kinahan

The Director of the International Choral Festival/ Head of Music Services for Ulster, wrote a wonderful email which encapsulates The Motley Crew’s trip. On behalf of the City of Derry International Choral Festival, I just wish to pass on my thanks to you and your wonderful choir for the exceptional contribution you made to our third festival. You are an inspirational director, leading an exceptional group of young men. I was so impressed not only by your wonderful singing but, more importantly, by the manner in which you participated in all aspects of the festival, whether as audience members, workshop participants, choral or sacred trail choir, or competitors. On the few opportunities I had to talk to any of your choir members, I was impressed by their polite and friendly engagement, as well as their genuine enthusiasm for what they were doing; you, along with their whole school community, should be very proud. Looking forward to welcoming the Motley Crew back to Derry for future festivals. Best wishes, Dónal

The Sun will Come out on the 16th and 17th of December at 7:30pm when Perth High School showcase their edition of Annie Junior. This project has been completely organised, musically directed and directed by four sixth year pupils, Emma Martin, Sarah Wilson, Ellen Savage and Milly Reid. The project was set up as an opportunity for pupils to express themselves through acting, dancing and singing as well as making new friends. All the profits are going to the school’s link school in South Africa, Bongani High School. Tickets are £4 for under 18’s and £6 for adults and can be reserved at [email protected], or they will be available on the door on the evening.

BELGIUM 2015 31 pupils and 5 teachers have recently returned from a trip to Belgium. We left the school at 9:30am on Thursday the 19th of November and started our journey to Hull, where we would take the ferry to Zeebrugge, Belgium. We arrived in Zeebrugge early the next morning, and after a delicious breakfast we were back on the road on our way to Brussels. We were spending Friday in Brussels before heading south to the EuroSpace Centre. When we first saw the Atomium we were astonished at the size of it. It is a giant model of an iron crystal. When we got out of the bus we couldn’t wait to go inside but before going inside we had a small break which gave us loads of time to get some pictures. On the way in there was a security check and then we got some pictures with Tin Tin. We took the fastest lift in Europe up the middle of the Atomium. We travelled 90 meters in about 20 seconds. From the top we could see for miles and it looked amazing. We found it was built for Expo 58, the Brussels world fair.

Then we went through the exhibition showing all the adverts and posters for the expo and the original blueprints for the Atomium as we moved through the connecting tunnels and the giant balls. The second attraction in Brussels was Mini Europe. Mini Europe is an amusement park; 80 European cities and 350 buildings are represented on a scale of 1:25. There were also numerous working models of boats, trains and planes as well as moving North Sea rig and even a working model of Mount Vesuvius. All of the installations had information about the country and a button, which when pressed, played the national anthem. The last attraction was a scale model of the Ariane rocket, the first rocket launched by the ESA (Europe’s NASA). This seemed a fitting start to the next stage of our trip.

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The main part of the trip was the EuroSpace Centre, 130 km south of Brussels. It had a Multi-Axis Chair, which spun you in all three planes at once, simulating a space craft in a spin. All of the pupils and some of the teachers and even the bus driver, Derek, had a go, with the general consensus being that it looked a lot more sickening than it was. There was also a moon gravity simulator, where you would stand over a chair as it held you up. It would compensate for the gravity acting on you when you jumped, making you feel just 1/6th of you normal body weight. You would then put on an Oculus Rift and it would simulate what you would see on the moon as you jumped along a designated route, making you feel like you were really on the moon. We had the chance to make and launch a rocket,

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propelled by a propulsive compound. Once the compound had burned out, black smoke was released to tell us it had reached its highest point, followed by a small explosive sending out a streamer as it landed. We were also given a tour around EuroSpace Centre, where we saw various items that were in space and we saw a life-size model of a Space Shuttle. We really enjoyed the day and learned a lot about the science of which helps us go to space. We finished off the day by watching the movie Apollo 13.

On the Sunday we departed EuroSpace Centre and once again filed onto the coach, slightly droopyeyed and tired, but nonetheless looking forward to the day ahead. After only half an hour of travelling, we arrived at Hans-surLesse and got on a small train taking us to the entrance of the underground cave, getting a lovely view of the Belgian countryside along the way.

Despite it being freezing outside, once we were inside with our lovely tour guide, it was warmer and we were amazed at the beautiful limestone creations formed over hundreds of thousands of years. There were stalactites and stalagmites, draperies and gorgeous caverns where the underground river used to run. We walked 2 km through the hill, taking in all the sights and learning about the formations, all while being careful not to slip. We exited at a resurgence point and had a short walk back to Derek’s party bus.

We had a two hour drive to stop off at the P&J Chocolate Factory. This was a great opportunity to buy souvenirs for friends and family and of course some treats for ourselves. We arrived at the ferry port at 5:30 pm. We boarded the ferry back to Hull and after our evening meal, some of played a few games of cards before settling into bed to recover from our busy weekend. The next morning we arrived safely back in the UK and began our long journey home to Perth.

Fergus Doogan, Rhiannon Nash, Euan Mortimer, Kate Mitchell, Adam Schelbert.


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Well done to all pupils who entered the Creative Writing Competition. And congratulations to our story writing winners! 1st prize: £20 Victoria Mathieson (S1) 2nd prize: 10 Bethan Morton (S3) 3rd prize: £5 Amelia Franchi (S1)

Brightest Star creative writing piece by Victoria Mathieson 1E11

As I looked out the window I could see it was a cold morning. The street pavement was glistening with frost and the air was crisp. It was officially another winter, another winter in pain. I’ve never really liked Christmas, I used to of course, I used to wake up really early and sneak down the stairs to see if Santa had come, he always had. When I was four I began to hate Christmas as I got the worst Christmas gift of all. I lost my mum. I can’t remember much from that day, I remember getting up very early to see if Santa had been and he had. I then went to get mum but she was gone. I remember sitting for hours in her bed to see if she would come out of somewhere or back from the shop but she never did. And from that day on I hated Christmas. *** We had been a normal family before, Mum, dad and I. Until my dad got sent abroad with the army, he was a soldier. That Christmas, my mum got a letter. It said my dad, Allan Murray had gone missing in action. That was the day my life turned into a living hell. Mum was always sleeping. She didn’t even talk to me. People said mum was just sad and I believed them. To me it seemed mum was getting better but then she passed away. I stayed with countless foster families but I was no use to any of them, no one wanted me. As I was walking home I felt soft flakes falling, in all shapes and sizes. They felt like paper falling on my head, I knew I had to face Christmas. I quite liked school. Although I had no friends it helped me take my mind off home. As Christmas came nearer and nearer I became worried and depressed. I didn’t feel like doing anything. I started to understand what mum was feeling when dad disappeared but it was no excuse to run away. That night I had a dream, but different from the usual dreams with me mum and dad when they disappear and leave me all alone in the dark. Tonight was different, I didn’t wake up screaming with sweat streaming down my face like a river. I had a peaceful night, I dreamt that mum, dad and I were all together.

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Days passed and Christmas neared. I felt as if a rubber band was wrapped around my body, I couldn’t move. I tried to ignore the fact that Christmas was here but I just couldn’t. Walking down town was a nightmare, people dressed up as Santa offering sweets and candy canes to me. The huge Christmas trees covered in lights sparkling and shimmering in the dark winter sky. Looking up at the stars I stopped. They were high up and strong, they didn’t have a worry in the world, unlike me. As I looked up into the sky there was one star that caught my attention, it was sparkling a little brighter. It was bigger and more beautiful than the rest. Then it dawned over me that it is mum. She’s up there and she’s in heaven. She would have come back but she was suffering , and she’s not anymore. A tear rolled down my left cheek. I didn’t know how I knew it was mum, but I just did. She’s been looking over me and will forever. Mum went to that beautiful place called heaven on the 26th December 2006, the day after Christmas. Although it was sad, it kind of eased my heart I knew where she was. After all the years I waited at my window for her to come home I now knew she would have if she could. On Christmas Eve I gazed into the sky for hours and mum eventually came out, the prettiest star you could ever imagine. That night I slept right through. I still would love to know where my dad is and if he will ever come home. That question whirled round and round my head for hours until I heard others getting up out of bed at the orphanage and I followed. As I went down the wooden stair case to see what presents I got from the care workers, I saw something; something that made me fall in love with Christmas again. There at the bottom of the stairs stood a tall handsome man. My dad. I pinched myself countless times wondering if I was still in a dream but I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. He found me. Now together, we gaze at the sky for the brightest star I’ve ever seen.

Art work by Helen Fleming S6. This painting was chosen as the PHS Christmas card 2015, with profits going to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

New staff joining us this term



Pupils return to school

English Department



S1/S4 Class Photographs

Mrs Audrey Simpson



Prefect Photographs

Miss Joanne Wilson



S5/S6 Prelims begin



Parent Council Meeting (7.00pm)

Maths Department Mr John Findlay

Chemistry Department Dr Fiona Lough Ms Gemma Lees

Biology Department Ms Hannah Mills

Modern Studies Department Miss Claire McKeown

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S2 Reports issued



S3 Course Choice Evening



S2 Parents’ Evening



In-Service Day 4

18.2.16,19.2.16 -

School holidays

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S5/S6 Reports



S1 Parents’ Evening



Parent Council Meeting (7.00pm)



School closed - Easter Friday



School closed – Easter Monday



School finishes – Easter holidays



In-Service Day 5



Pupils return to school

Modern Languages Department Mrs Lisa Wallace (starting Jan 2016)

Thanks to all staff and pupils who have contributed to this edition of the PHS Newsletter. This newsletter has been produced in colour and is designed to be viewed on-line. Most parents have received this newsletter by email and this allows the full benefits if the colour photographs to be seen. It will also appear on the school’s app and the Library blog.