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

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