Pupils in S1 to S3 had two fantastic days of Activities last Thursday and Friday. The range of activities we were able to offer this year was better than ever. It’s not possible to publish photos from all of our activities but there is a selection here and more may follow. More photos were on our Twitter feed, which can be seen HERE.
Our Athletics Finals were held last Friday, marking the culmination of a week of competitive heats. Well done to everyone who took part and to those competing in the finals. The final results are shown below. House Points are allocated for taking part, for getting into the final, and for school records.
Well done to the PE department and everyone else who made the day a brilliant success.
All 40 of us, motivated on Monday morning were eager to get to school. This was because we were leaving school at 9am to drive down to Edinburgh, for our flight to Italy. Hours passed us by wandering around Edinburgh airport, waiting to be able to board our plane. Our departure from Edinburgh Airport at 15:45 for Ciampino Airport finally came upon us. The flight was good apart from a rather bumpy landing and after we got off the plane we had to get a bus to our hotel, which took about an hour. We got dropped off a few blocks away as the bus was unable to drive down the narrow winding roads. Walking down the streets we passed a few restaurants and the streets didn’t look like they were going to lead us to hotel like we were hoping for. The hotel sign hung of the side of the hotel, lit up in bright colours. We got to the door…WOW! Marble white floors, a massive glass chandelier dangling from the middle of the hallway, the wide white staircase – going up three stories, the room keys shaped like bells… Everyone got their keys dumped their bags, refreshed themselves and headed out for dinner at a local restaurant. The food was so tasty. Everyone excited for what’s to come.
Even those who had not slept were eager to explore Rome. We had an early start. On the ground floor breakfast was served, there were chocolate rolls, fruit, cereals, yoghurt, orange and fruit juices and so much more. Once everyone was organised we headed out. It was getting hotter as we walked the streets of Rome. Up first was the Colosseum, it was visible from many streets away. It was massive! It was mind blowing, the defined carvings throughout all the walls, so detailed. It was amazing to think it was hand built, especially back then when there were no machines compared to the ones around today. After that we went to the Roman Forum, it was so beautiful and peaceful. It was like a secret garden. The last place we went with our tour guide – who was very helpful and kind – was Palatine Hill. That was also very attractive to the eye. After the attractions we went for lunch, yum yum in our tums. For the rest of the day we had another walking tour, with the best tour guide of all Mr Foster. What an informative trip we took seeing the Trevi Fountain, Panthean and so much more.
The next day we got to have a bit more of a lie in, but we were still pretty eager to explore. We were going to the Vatican city and the Sistine Chapel… breath taking! Everything was so detailed and alive. The colours of the paintings were blinding. During our visit to the Vatican we weren’t allowed to show any skin, apart from our faces and hands obviously. Ironically every room we went into there was a painting or sculpture of a naked person… we didn’t know where to look. We were only allowed to take pictures at certain times and of certain things. When we went to the Sistine Chapel we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside. Of course that didn’t stop some of us, brazen. We also went to Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was so beautiful. It took roughly 120 years to construct, which was mind boggling as all the mosaics there were stunning. Our amazingly helpful but enjoyable tour guide then took us to a place where we could have lunch… squisito!
The following day was Naples. Pompeii. Wow. Heart touching. Breathe taking. We set off early for Pompeii that morning, everyone half tired but excited. As soon as you walked into the grounds of Pompeii the first thing you see is the famous body casts. Seeing those just makes you want to cry and wish you could have done something, but of course we couldn’t have. The buildings were remarkable! Some of the (extremely detailed and eye bulging) paintings were intact, extraordinarily. We had another, helpful, tour guide for Pompeii the very Italian Mario. He took us around and told us about all the remaining buildings and told us what everything was, including the red light district which the boys were eager to see. By the end of the day in Pompeii our perspectives on things had changed. Everyone was a bit more respectful and appreciative. The night was rounded off with our new hotel and dinner… yum!
Day 5 was our longest day, but still great. We spent most of our day on the bus, but it was well worth it as we were driving down the narrow and windy roads of the Amalfi coast. Thankfully our bus driver was very skilled. The coast described in one word would have to be…WOW. However that still doesn’t come close to how beautiful it was. We drove through a town called Positano. This is where of course the one and only Erica Fowler bought her HUGE lemon that was bigger than her head, nothing was left unbought by Erica. Mr Foster and Miss Massey were also enjoying this day in particular with their very detailed calendars. We had a lot of free time on the Amalfi Coast but also completed some fieldwork by interviewing locals. Of course we had an amazing lunch and like 5 ice creams each, so we were all set for the remainder of the day. Cathedral of Sant’Andrea was next… beautiful. We had also gone on a boat trip along the coast. That was one of the highlights of the day. We continued our bus trip and went to the Pertosa Caves. Of course Sophie Forbes decided she wanted a close up of the stalactites. Poor Sophie. We went back to our hotel on a less scenic route but we didn’t mind as we were all asleep.
We travelled in the bus again in the morning to a place called Temple of Serapi, Pozzuoli. It was near a little food market, where Erica wanted to go to get more big lemons, we successfully managed to hold her back. The Temple itself was a ruin. However it was still really eye capturing. From the temple we went to Solfatara. Phew! It stank. Regardless of that it was really fascinating. The craters were spurting steam out, at 1600c. By the time we left, we were all stinking of eggs. We spent the rest of the day at Ercolano (Herculaneum). Herculaneum was a smaller version of Pompeii. For this we didn’t have a tour guide, we got to wander and discover the place ourselves in groups. It was amazing to see how the majority of all the buildings were still standing and how they still had all their paintings. After Herculaneum we went back to the bus and drove back to the hotel.
We had to get up early on our last day, tidy our rooms and hand in our room keys. We got on the bus and drove to the airport. We went through security and then went to duty free. Finally we departed for Edinburgh. Most of us slept on the flight home. We arrived back at school for about 7 at night. We were home.
Very many thanks to Miss Massey, Mr Foster, Mrs MacRae, Mr Buchanan, Miss Whitelaw and everyone who made our Rome and Naples 2016 trip a memorable experience.
by Jade Perry, 3T1
The annual Scottish Gymfest took place at Perth on Saturday.
Our team put on an excellent display in Perth. Their performance was confident and captivating, enthralling their audience. Special thanks to Louise Humphreys for her coaching and choreography of the routine along with her able assistants, Coral Allan and Kayleigh Smith.
Mrs Aileen Thomson, PE Department
Good Luck to this group of S1 pupils who have been selected to present today at the final of the Blytheswood Enterprise Challenge 2016. They were involved in a team who organised a coffee morning and raffle stall and raised over £1100 towards the 999 Fire Engine Appeal. The team have put in a huge amount of work preparing for this and Charleston Academy is very proud to have them representing us.
Mrs Heather MacRae, Business Education Department
Preparations for our fourth Connecting Classrooms Global Exchange trip to Botswana are now underway. Over thirty students and five staff will be heading to Botswana at the end of June to visit our partner school, Lotsane Senior Secondary School, in Palapye in Central Botswana.
While there, students and staff will spend three days working in school as part of our cultural exchange. We will also be visiting the local Maternity Hospital with donations of knitting and other goods that are much needed and we will be taking over. We will visit, work and support an AIDS orphanage in Palapye and later will also visit a primary school in Kasane in the north of Botswana. Our itinerary is now final.
Today students and staff received their own “allowance” of knitting and other donations that we are bringing over. Students must share these and pack them into their own limited luggage allowance to take. Students also received their House T shirts that will be their school dress code in Lotsane Senior Secondary. Everyone is now really excited to be in the final stages of preparation after two years of planning.
The Charleston Academy Senior Boys BasketBall team (Roman Mackenzie – 6T1, Stuart Jenkins – 6L1, Alex McDougall – 6S1, David Robertson – 5T1, William Robertson – 5T1 and Ben Watson – 6K1) ended a very successful season this week with a convincing 83 -24 victory over Wick High School.
This victory sees the boys round off an impressive 7 win, 1 loss record for the season. Unfortunately, that one loss with an under strength squad resulted in them narrowly missing out on the Highland Schools Title. The squad, captained by Roman Mackenzie has been together since S1 and has developed into a very skilled outfit with fantastic work ethic, passion and sense of fair play.
Both Roman and Stuart Jenkins have been part of the Highland Squad and intend on continuing their basketball at University level. Well done to all the boys and good luck in the future!
Mr Michael Sharkey, Principal Teacher Physics
In the first week of the Easter Holidays 5 pupils, 3 Staff and 1 Highlife Highland volunteer embarked on a 3 day climbing trip to Torridon. This is the second ‘Transition to Rock’ trip run by Charleston Academy Climbing Club. The aim of the trip is to introduce climbers to outdoor climbing and teach them self-reliance and management of rope work. This year we visited 3 different crags and pupils were given the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.
We had an early start on the first day, leaving Charleston at 8 am to ensure there was enough time spent climbing. After the drive to Torridon we headed to Inveralligan sea cliffs. These are short sandstone sea cliffs which have a wide range of routes. We arrived at high tide which limited the choice of routes but we managed to find some routes to warm up on. Once the tide had gone out we moved to a different section of the cliffs and attempted a few harder routes.
For the 2 nights of our stay we based ourselves at Torridon campsite where pupils set up camp and cooked meals independently. For some pupils this was the first time they had uses camp stoves and learnt quickly how to cook a meal. That evening we learned a few new knots and techniques that would be useful for the second day.
On the second day we travelled a short distance towards Applecross to climb on a roadside crag at Ardheslaig. The guide book suggested the rock had good friction and could be climbed in the wet. We were about to prove this as it was very wet when we arrived. After sheltering for half an hour while the rain past, we walked to the top of the crag and set up ropes for the days climbing. Pupils were taught how to build and arrange anchor system to secure them at the top of the crag then got on with climbing lots of different routes. The weather cleared and we had an excellent day. At about 6pm we headed back to camp for dinner and a relaxing evening.
The last day of the trip started by packing up camp before heading to a crag up in the Torridon hills called Seana Mheallan west. This is one of many long terraces of rock that are synonymous with the Torridon mountains. Here we set up ropes, developing the skills from the second day and attempted a few easy and a few hard routes. We also introduced the pupils to abseiling and the skills required to be self-reliant and safe when doing it. We were lucky with the weather and managed to avoid the rain for all but the last hour of the day when we were packing up and walking out.
The trip was a huge success and pupils enjoyed the whole experience.
All the pupils were superb and coped really well with difficult conditions and the complexities of climbing outdoors. They really impressed us in everything they did.
A special thanks to Mr Nairn, Miss Massey and Harry Barker (Highlife Highland leadership programme volunteer) for coming on the trip and helping the pupils have such a wonderful time.
Charleston Academy Climbing Club aim to give pupils a wide and varied experience of climbing by organising events that will challenge, develop climbing skills and promote enjoyment. For more information about the climbing club, see Mr Richards.
Mr Jonathan Richards, Principal Teacher Technical
Well done to all the young people from Charleston Academy who took part in the Badaguish Youth Outdoor Challenge this weekend.
This is a charity event raising money for the Speyside Trust, a respite centre with specialised facilities that allows disabled people to experience the Cairngorms in its full glory. Pupils raise their own sponsorship and cover costs to compete in the event.
Well done to the following 16 pupils taking part this year. They represented the school marvellously and between them have raised nearly £1000 so far – a significant contribution overall.
Kishorn – Chloe Fraser (5K1), Paddy McEwen (6K1), Aaron Murphy (4K1), Marc Williamson (4K2)
Laggan – Euan MacDonald (4L1), Paige Maclellan (4L2), Sirena Rattray (5L1) Andrew Johnstone (6L1)
Shiel – Jenna Bisset (6S1), Anna Kinghorn (6S1), Danielle Liebnitz (6S1), Rowan White (5S2), Wiktoria Pniewska (4S1), Michael Wilde (6S1)
Torridon – Heather Sutherland (4T1), Sasha Brandon (4T1)
Mr Steven Tillman, Chemistry Department
Preparations for our fourth Connecting Classrooms Exchange trip to Botswana are almost final. Our first visit took place in 2010, and we’ve taken groups of over 30 pupils back to Botswana every two years since.
Our visits to Botswana are supported by the British Council Connecting Classrooms Programme. We camp in designated camp sites, go wild camping in the Kalahari, head out on numerous fascinating safaris, and visit Zimbabwe and the Victoria Falls. Our Cultural Exchange also involves work with our partner school, Lotsane Senior Secondary School. In 2010 we provided an electric wheelchair for a student whose scoliosis operation was unsuccessful. In 2012 we assisted with improving sanitary conditions in the girls dorms. In 2014 we worked to support the local maternity hospital, an AIDS orphanage, and a Primary School in Kasane. This year we will continue to support these.
Pupils pay for most of the visit themselves. Our fundraising supports the communities we help in Botswana and assists in funding reciprocal visits for students and staff from Palapye who visit Charleston every two years.
Our fundraising today has raised over £800 with more still to be counted. Students and staff aimed to cycle 500 miles today – the distance from the Botswana border into Palapye. Thank you to everyone who helped us out today. Your support is really appreciated. Read more about our Connecting Classrooms HERE.