The Big Green Challenge is a series of debates about the environment and global warming. Secondary pupils, from S1 to S3, from all over Scotland take part. The finals are held in Edinburgh at the Scottish Parliament for teams winning their local heat.
On Thursday 21st June, along with Mrs Fraser and Mr Kemp, we travelled to Edinburgh by train and then caught a taxi out to Herriot Watt University where we were to stay for the night. After dinner in the student canteen, we spent the evening practising our speeches for the next day.
Early on Friday morning we got up, had breakfast and then were taken by coach to the Scottish Parliament with the other seven competing schools. When we arrived, we had a brief talk and then it was time for the Quarter Finals to start. Just before the debate began Lewis was sick but he bravely decided to continue.
After all the schools had completed the Quarter Finals, we were quite confident that we would get through to the Semi Finals. We did! We only had about ten minutes to prepare our speeches but that didn‘t phase us as we had speeches already prepared and were ready to go. Our opponents were Kirkwall Grammar School and it was a very lively and animated debate. After the other Semi it was a nervous and tense wait to see if we had made it to the Final. We didn‘t expect to get through but the judges told us that Kirkwall and Charleston were through. We were really pleased for ourselves (and for Kirkwall as we had got to know them quite well).
After about ten minutes of preparation it was time for the Final. We sat facing Kirkwall and the debate began. It was a strong debate and both sides performed very well – but the last speaker from Kirkwall was superb and blew us off our feet. The Judges put Kirkwall first and we got second place. We got an android tablet each and Kirkwall won a trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall.
The debates were all live on Scottish Parliament TV so pupils and teachers at Charleston were watching us and sending text messages of support. It was nice to know that they were cheering us on – even if they were far away!
After a lovely meal in Bella Italia it was time to catch the train home. We were delighted with our achievements and hope other pupils will get the same opportunity next year.
We would like to thank our Debating coaches, Mrs Fraser and Mrs Storey, who gave up so much of their time to help us and also the senior pupils in the Debating Club who provided us with so much encouragement.
Thanks to Mr Kemp for coming to Edinburgh with us and putting up with us on the train journeys!
Jemimah Morris (2L2), Lewis Hilditch (2K2), and Kieran Watts (2K2)
The City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band was officially launched at a concert on the 22nd of March 2012.
Many of you will know the band by its former name Charleston and Nairn Pipes & Drums. The name was changed to reflect the fact that the members are now coming from a wider number of schools.
The concert was held in the Inverness Royal British Legion, in Huntly Street. The event was well attended by parents and other guests who included the provost, Jimmy Gray. The Band, including Charleston Academy pupils: George Ashton, Liam Eaton, Bruce Gibson and Euan Morrison entertained everyone with an hour long concert.
The concert included two solo performances, a mini band and of course the full band of 11 pipers, 7 drummers and the two tutors.
As a token of appreciation for thier support over many years, a set of bagpipes was presented to each of the Rectors of Charleston Academy and Nairn Academy, Mr Chris O‘Neill and Mrs Julie MacDonald. These pipes, which will be held by the band, will be used to help new pipers and potential band members from Charleston Academy and Nairn Academy to make the transition from the chanter to the pipes before having to buy a set of their own.
In the few weeks before the concert the band had been working very hard to make it happen. This would have been possible without the hard work of the tutors, Lewis Barclay (pipes) and David Murray (drums).
We would like to thank McCallum Bagpipes, who made the pipes and all who attended the concert. We hope the band continues to keep up this standard and you get to hear us sometime.
Euan Morrison (3L1)
City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band – Charleston Academy’s Legacy
Since November Charleston Academy piping group has re-started it‘s weekly lunchtime rehearsals in the Music department. These rehearsals have been for pupils in S1 to S3 allowing the newer pipers to start playing in a group without feeling too overwhelmed.
This also helps them acquire the basic reportoire every piper should have and the chance to develop their group work skills. Once the SQA exams are over our pipers in S4-S6 will be joining the younger pipers, bringing a large mix of abilities together to play in and around the school, at school concerts and related events. We’ve already got a busy diary!
Charleston & Nairn Pipes & Drums was officially formed in 2002. Over the years highlights have included two very successful CDs (Debut and Off the Rails), a 2007 Tour of Belgium to learn about the WW1 tunes and a trip to the Piping Centre to do a course developed as part of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.
The Band have made numerous radio appearances, performed on TV twice, once with Fred MacAuley. They have performed for Caley Thistle’s Annual Ball as well as a wealth of other corporate and charity events. And at the same time the band have undertaken a series of regular community performances and the pipers still performed in their own school piping group at their school events.
In 2011 as part of cost cutting measures in Highland Council there was a re-structuring of the piping instructors and it was felt that the band should be opened up to cover schools in Inverness and the surrounding area.
With a wedding imminent and the many changes on my school timetable I felt it was time for me to pass the reigns on to a colleague, Mr Lewis Barclay, and the band’s name has been changed to the City of Inverness Youth Pipe Band which was launched in March this year.
Charleston & Nairn Pipes & Drums and everyone who was involved with the band have left a wonderful and very valuable legacy; the way the band was set up; gaining charitable status, the insistance on a band uniform, band drums, marching tom drums, the drum major‘s mace and healthy band funds. All of this will go on to benefit piping and drumming youngsters from all over Inverness and the surrounding areas. We wish them all the best.
Any young pipers in the school who would be interested in being involved in Charleston’s piping group should contact Mrs Louise McBain or a member of the music department staff.
Mrs Louise MacBain, Charleston Academy Piping Instructor
The video of our 2012 Sponsored Walk is now available. Well done to everyone for the fantastic atmosphere that day, the great fancy dress outfits and the terrific fundraising for the School Fund.
On the 6th of September four Young Ambassadors and two teachers took the sleeper train from Inverness to Euston on our way to the London 2012 Paralympic games.
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
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)
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
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
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.
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