Author Archive

A Date with the Dalai Lama

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Curriculum, Wider Curriculum

Dalai-Lama

Dalai-Lama

On Saturday 23rd June, a group of Charleston Academy S5/6 Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies (RMPS) students, accompanied by their RE teachers Mrs McConnachie and Mrs Mackenzie, set off to Eden Court for a once in a lifetime experience. They met up with over one hundred other students from Highland schools to spend a day with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, who addressed a packed Eden Court Theatre. His theme was “Be What You Want ……the World to Be.”

The young people were assembled on-stage, sitting at either side of the spiritual leader of millions of Mahayanan Buddhists worldwide. His Holiness spoke of the need for inner calm and compassion towards all living things. He also stressed the need to see each other as “blood of my blood, bone of my bone working in harmony to make the 21st Century less materialistic, less self-centred.”

The event started with a film collection of “Wind Horses” with sayings and drawings connected to the theme. These were prayer flags made by primary school pupils with sayings such as “A smile costs nothing”, “Stand up and be the change” and “One person can‘t do everything but everyone can do something.” There was also a film of younger pupils each saying “We are the future.” While the youth of to-day was clearly the focus, the Dalai Lama’s message was open to all.

After His Holiness had delivered his talk, the students were invited to ask him a range of questions. “Is it ever possible to find true happiness?”, which he answered with sincerity and humour.

Then the finale, and what a finale! Everyone, including the overspill theatres and with the Dalai Lama taking centre stage, gave great gusto to a splendid rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” lead by a tenor and accompanied by a pipe band. Finally there was an exchange of scarves with His Holiness giving out “Khatas” which are blessed scarves, and receiving one in the pale blue of world peace tartan. A fitting end to a special day!

Mrs Agnes McConnachie (PT Religious, Moral, and Philisophical Studies)

Albert Roux Dinner 2012

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum, Personal, Wider Curriculum

Our annual Albert Roux Gala Dinner was held on 30th October 2012. Mr Albert Roux and his expert staff from Le Gavroche in London and Rocpool in Inverness spent the day with Charleston Academy pupils. Our Hospitality pupils were put through their paces by the world’s top chef, who advised, assisted, and praised the work of our Hospitality pupils as they prepared and then served a three-course dinner for over 100 paying guests. This year our guests included Provost of Inverness Alex Graham and important representatives from the hospitality industry from across the Highlands. And of course our food critics, the parents of the pupils themselves.

The Video of the 2012 Gala Dinner is now available. CLICK HERE.

Mr Chris O’Neill, Rector

Rotary Youth Leadership Award 2012

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Personal, Wider Curriculum

Before the summer we were nominated and selected to participate in the Rotary Young Leadership Award (RYLA) course for a week in the summer holidays. We had to go through an interview process to get on but were both successful. The course was set up to develop the leadership and teamwork skills of the young people of today.

Participants are sponsored by their local Rotary Club who also select candidates following interviews. The course is designed for 14-18 years olds and emphasises leadership, citizenship and personal growth. The course aims to demonstrate Rotary‘s respect and concern for young people, provide an effective training experience for the selected young people and encourage leadership in young people. The programme also aims to recognise publicly recognise the young leaders  who are providing good service to their communities.

During the week there was a range of outdoor activities with talks in the morning dealing with different aspects of leadership. The talks included ‘A Happy Leadership‘ talk by Grant Wright and another talk on Leadership by Graham Clark. The activities included gorge walking, mountain biking, climbing and hill walking.

RYLA is a great opportunity to develop your leadership and teamwork skills, along with meeting other young people from all around Scotland. It is also a great time to try new things and have fun.

We both really enjoyed the week at RYLA and would recommend it to anyone offered the opportunity to participate.

Anna Duff (6S) and Rory Finlayson (6S)

13-09-2012-10-57 098804

Anna Duff

19-09-2011-11-39 098805

Rory Finlayson

Chess Club 2012

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Wider Curriculum

Mr Ian Cripps has hosted the Chess Club in his room at lunchtimes for many years. As he retires at the end of this session, the 2012 Chess Competition will be his last. Mr Cripps reports:

New entrant JC Jones Biagtan (S5) won every game he played to become Charleston Chess Champion for 2012. The race for runner-up was very close with seven players in contention up to the final round of games. Aaron Christie (3T1) just beat Michael Wilde (2S1) and Michael McFadden (4T1) for second place. They were followed closely by Russell Dobson, Blake Allan, Ewan Morrison and Fergus McIntyre.

There were sixteen contestants in total and for the first time in three years girls entered the competition. Awards were presented by Mr O‘Neill and the shields and medals were provided by the Charleston School Fund. All players received a memento of their participation.

Mr Ian Cripps, PT History

Golf Success

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Personal, Wider Curriculum

Golf Torvean

Well done to the Charleston Golfers who were placed 2nd in the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey competition at Torvean last week. Lovely weather and excellent sportsmanship made this a great day. Individually, the boys were placed:

Jamie Penwright & Liam MacLeod – Joint 4th, scoring 35

Jamie Fraser – 5th, scoring 36

Mrs Jeni Herbert, Active Schools Coordinator

Bushcraft – Fire Starters

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Curriculum, Wider Curriculum

The school made a successful bid for funding from Awards for All (part of the Big Lottery) over the summer holidays and is therefore again able to offer pupils a chance to experience life in the great outdoors.

Five 5th year boys who gained the NCFE Bushcraft Award before the summer will now be given the opportunity to work as Assistant Instructors, helping the charity Wild Things to deliver Bushcraft courses to pupils from Charleston Academy.

At the beginning of September, Ryan Rattray, Neil Moodie, Stuart Dingwall, Timothy Dicks and Ryan McClelland took part in a two day training camp near Findhorn and will now be employed as Assistants over the coming year. It is a great opportunity for the boys, one which will allow them to pass on the skills and knowledge they have gained over the years to younger pupils starting out on the Bushcraft path.

fire making taster day

Meanwhile, 10 second year pupils gained their first experience of Bushcraft on 10th September when they took part in a taster session in the woods at Craig Dunain. They found out about trees and plants, had a go at starting a fire without matches, and learned about conservation work. This taster morning will be followed quickly by a 2 day / one night residential camp under canvas, a 4 day winter Bushcraft course at the lodges in Badaguish, and a 4 day descent of the River Spey by canoe in the spring/early summer of 2013.

This is what some of them had to say about the taster morning:

 “I found it interesting to make a fire out of stuff found in the woods
and it was a great experience” Andrew Howieson (2S1)
 
 “The taster morning was fantastic” Caitlin Thomas (2L1)
 
 “I thought it was really interesting.
I found it amusing when I stepped in a pile of mud and lost my shoe!” Jade McCabe (2L1)
 
 “It was great fun and I really enjoyed it” Rahhan Islam (2K2)

The school is indebted to Awards for All for funding these two projects, and to Wild things for their continued involvement in delivering Bushcraft courses to the pupils.

Mr Dave Kemp, Support for Learning

Aladdin 2012

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements, Wider Curriculum

The school hall was an Aladdin’s Cave of delight and talent on 13th and 14th December 2012. A packed hall of Mums and Dads, Grandparents, Carers, teachers and guests served as an awe-inspired audience for our bi-annual pantomime production of Aladdin. The spectacular performances followed months of preparation and hard work by our talented pupils. Staff from a diverse range of departments including English, Art, Technical, Music and Science worked extremely hard to stage a production unsurpassed in its set design, sound and special effects (look out for the flying carpet), providing a suitable back-drop for the wonderful performances of our pupils. Whether working front of house, singing, dancing or acting, designing and making the sets, creating special effects, performing a musical soundtrack, designing programmes, or just being part of the prerequisite audience participation, all involved excelled in every way. Special thanks to Mrs Stuart, Mr Nairn, Mrs Storey, Mr Seymour, Mr Corrance, Ms MacLeod, Mrs Bremner, and Mr Tillman to name but a few, for their extraordinary hard-work, dedication and commitment, over quite a few months, late evenings and weekends assisting everyone in bringing the whole show together. A fantastic achievement and one everyone involved in can be immensely  proud of. Well done all.

Mr Chris O’Neill, Rector

Bridge to Employment

Written by Charleston Academy on . Posted in Achievements

On August 28th, five pupils from Charleston Academy‘s Bridge to Employment group travelled down to The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) centre in Oban to get an insight as to what it is like working in an industrial research facility.

The group – Catherine Howie, James Hogan, Ryan Leslie, Blake Allan, and Steven Macleod – were taken on a tour around the facilities and were able to see many of the experiments that were being carried out by the scientists there. These included research into; ocean dynamics (monitoring ocean currents and the effect they have on climate change), deep sea discovery (one of the guest speakers had recently discovered several new species of marine life in the Indian ocean), ocean acidification (the scientists involved in this will go to California to present their results to an international audience) and a study into how man-made objects (such as the legs of an oil-rig) can affect the marine life of the oceans. Although it was a rainy day, and the bus was delayed due to a landslide, spirits were not dampened as the pupils had the opportunity to get talk to the scientists at the facility and catch up with pupils from the other schools undertaking the programme. The pupils were also able to get “hands-on” with some of the equipment used in what was an enjoyable day for all those involved.

On Tuesday 4th September the Bridge to Employment group set off at 8am for the journey to Thurso. We were split in to three groups to tour round the three different aspects of the ERI and ETECH facilities.

The three sections were: Ecology, Analytical Chemistry, and Engineering

During the analytical chemistry lab we used chromatography, a technique used to analyse environmental toxicity. We separated the dye in inks to show that chemicals move at different rates due to their solubility and then we separated the photosynthetic pigments of spinach.
During the ecology lab we learned about how new species are named and then used a complex scientific key to identify 10 species of shell.

The ETECH building is newly opened and is used to train engineers, electricians and plumbers in the skills required to build marine renewable energy. We had the chance to build solar cells to power wind turbines.

Despite the long journey and the skylight of the bus coming off in a howling gale it was an enjoyable day and we had the chance to meet up with the other people from Bridge to Employment and ―get the banter‖!

Alan, Rhune, Peter, and Gillies, Bridge to Employment Pupils