Fifteen Charleston Academy pupils accompanied by Mrs Storey and Mr McKie have been in France at Les Menuires for a week long skiing trip. Great fun has been had by the entire Highland School Group, which represents five schools. More news to follow on their return. Meanwhile the group have made these videos of their first few days in France.
Default news category, unless another is used. Most news items will be an acknowledgement and celebration of our young peoples’ achievements.
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Our S6 Art students have been completing their final portfolio pieces. Each S6 pupil has chosen a theme and worked around this as part of their portfolio preparation.
The pupils have used the skills they acquired in Art and Fashion & Textiles (Home Economics) last year to work on their portfolio pieces. We are extremley fortunate that these two departments work collaboratively to ensure very successful outcomes for pupils. This cross-curricular working is essential to ensure that the pupils have the breadth of knowledge and skills required to produce both the preparatory work and the final outcomes within Fashion Design. The pupils worked confidently and independently of one another to produce their final projects.
Hazel Blackhall has used the “Orient” as her inspiration, and produced a variety of fashion items and accessories based on traditional Chinese dress.
Neillidh Sutherland initially looked at “Camouflage” in the natural environment. She has gone onto produce the mask, top hat and dress using the Peacock as her inspiration.
Zamira Rooks has based her work on Alice in Wonderland, creating a more modern slant on Alice’s traditional outfit.
Ms Macleod (PT Art)
Mrs Bremner (PT Home Economics)
Lifescan, the largest employer in Inverness, and part of the Johnson & Johnson Group, visited Charleston Academy this week.
The visit from LifeScan was related to the coursework in National 4/5 on genetic engineering focussing on how micro-organisms can be used to produce useful products. One of these products is the human hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. If your body has a problem producing or using insulin, this leads to a condition known as Diabetes Mellitus. LifeScan are an international company who produce, amongst other things, testing equipment for diabetes. This includes blood testing strips, which are manafactured at their facility in Inverness.
The staff from LifeScan took time to explain and discuss issues relating to diabetes to S3 pupils and the work that LifeScan did to assist people in monitoring and controlling their diabetes. The pupils were then given an opportunity to try two experiments. The first involved testing the enzyme which is used on the testing strips. Pupils were able to see that the enzyme reacts very rapidly with glucose, but not with other sugars. The second experiment invloved preparing a few testing strips, and attaching the different layers of the strips together. To check if they worked, a “blood” sample was put onto the strips and inserted into a testing machine. Needless to say, some worked and some didn’t……
This was an important opportunity for our pupils to understand and reflect on the important correlation with what they are learning in class with an issue affecting many people in Scotland and how a large company like LifeScan provides employment and career opportunities for people living in Inverness. It was very nice to hear LifeScan staff praise the behaviour, attitude and interest of all the S3 pupils who took part. They were particularly complimentary about the number of pupils who demonstrated their real interest in this area and who asked the most challenging questions! Pupils really enjoyed the lesson with one comment at the end summing up the experience: “Why can’t we do cool stuff like this every day in Biology?”
Thanks to Biology teacher Mrs Val MacRae who arranged and organised the visit for S3.
Mr MacLeod, Biology
From Inverness to Glasgow (by bus 4 hours); Glasgow to Dubai (9 hours); Dubai Airport (5 hours); Dubai to Johannesburg (9 hours); and finally by road to Camp Itumela in Palapye (9 hours) – it was a pretty intense but exciting 36 hours of travelling!
Arriving at the school on our first day, the welcome we received was overwhelming, no one could believe quite how enthralled the students were to finally meet us. One of the African girls that had been to stay with us in Scotland commented that we were like celebrities to them – and that‘s exactly how it felt. It was really humbling to see that our little contribution (to improve their toilets, paint a mural and visit their classrooms) could have such a lasting impact.
From there we travelled up through Botswana and on our way we were presented with some pretty outstanding sights. It‘s not every day you have to stop on the road to allow a herd of elephants to cross! We visited some impressive locations like the Rhino Sanctuary which held some of the endangered and hunted rhinos remaining in Africa. We also went on two other safaris where we got the opportunity to view some of “Africa’s Big Five” in their native habitat.
video by Michaela Kent (S6)
Some of the animals we saw were elephants, giraffes, hippos, zebras and thousands of monkeys! Visiting the salt pans was quite incredible; you could see nothing for hundreds of miles in every direction and got to witness a beautiful African sunset. Towards the end of the trip we crossed into Zimbabwe for a day to see one of the seven natural wonders of the world – Victoria Falls! We walked along the side of the falls and spent some time watching people bungee jump off the bridge. Those of us who didn‘t rent raincoats were soaked to the skin by the end of the day (it was almost like being back in Scotland!) After the Falls we went to a typical Zimbabwean market to barter and buy some African crafts… Some of us even traded clothes and shoes for gifts!
It was amazing to see so much of Africa in so little time. The journey flew by but at the same time it felt like we‘d been there for months! It‘s safe to say that everyone who experienced Botswana would jump at the chance to see more of Africa and would whole-heartedly encourage you to embrace this opportunity!
George Ashton, Mhairi Maclennan and Michaela Kent 6S
Read more about our Botswana International Exchange HERE.
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. It was an exciting and restless trip as all of us were ecstatic to finally be going down to London to experience the games.
On arrival in London all of us were tired but looking forward to the day ahead of us. The games kicked off before we arrived at St Pancras to catch the train to the Olympic Village. As we walked there were loads of world records painted on the pavement along our route to the station including Usain Bolt‘s 100m World record, needless to say all of us tried and failed to match his stride length.
As we handed over our tickets to get access to the Village we could see the massive Olympic Stadium on the horizon and our anticipation increased as we marched up the steps to get a glimpse of the track. We got to view four hours of competition and medal presentation including the amazing blind triple jump, T46 800m‘s and then at the end Oscar Pistorius receiving Gold for the 4x100m relay. It was an incredible experience; we saw loads of the Olympic venues including the Velodrome and aquatics centre in the incredible weather. We even got a chance to look in the massive 2012 Olympic store. The day was made by all the volunteer Games Makers that rallied the thousands of people that were bustling through the village to see the events.
After a long day of walking and cheering we settled into a dinner at Nandos to reminisce about the day’s events. It was a day to remember and a memory that we will all treasure. And on the train home although we wanted to stay up and carry on talking we were all too tired to comprehend the day we had just had.
Alexander Thorne (S6)
Platinum Young Ambassador for Charleston Academy
The Young Ambassador programme is a SportScotland initiative supported by Active Schools and school PE departments. Charleston Academy has two Platinum Ambassadors (Alexander Thorne and Yuka Gallagher) and two Gold Ambassadors (Callum White and Beth McDonald) whose role it is to inspire and motivate others through sport and volunteering.
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