Rector's Newsletter - December 2013
As I write, we are in the middle of the Christmas Dance season; these hugely enjoyable evenings are astonishingly well attended by cheerful girls in elegant gowns and by immaculately turned out boys who seem suddenly to have discovered that top buttons will do up after all. Dressing up can be fun. Some of our pupils are barely recognisable, with their new coiffures and jewellery, and many of the girls seem to have grown somewhat in height, although in most cases the heels are speedily removed after the dancing has started. I well remember attending such events myself as a boy and was surprised during my first year at Dollar that the “training” I had received in ceilidh dancing at Morrison’s had stuck with me so well. Of course, a huge amount of work goes into organising these evenings and this is undertaken by a wide variety of staff and senior pupils. They do so gladly, because the children enter into the spirit of the occasion so positively and strike the right balance between fun and courtesy. A great deal of learning at Dollar takes place outside the classroom.
The topic of immaculate appearance leads me nicely to the wonderful Christmas Concert at the Usher Hall. This is always a visual delight (and I know that for many of us the impressively synchronised standing-up and sitting-down is an integral part of the entertainment) but nothing really beats the wonderful music. The choirs, orchestra and jazz band all combined beautifully in a varied programme to ensure that the audience of over 1,500 had a night to remember. There were over 400 performers on stage, and everyone involved deserves our thanks and congratulations. Once again, an enormous amount of work goes on behind the scenes. I know everyone will agree that the result was more than worth the effort.
Our first ever Form IV Drama class set themselves a real challenge this term by choosing to attempt to perform Susan Hill’s Woman in Black, a play I have seen six times in the London West End - not always of my own volition but that’s another story. After much careful preparation, the class produced a truly excellent performance and I was hugely proud of their achievement, not that I had anything to do with it. Mr Russell was also delighted, which is more to the point. Following this, Form VI were also keen to demonstrate their prowess and their production of Tally’s Blood proved to be amusing, thought-provoking and moving. Drama is really thriving at Dollar and, again, much hard work is involved, but I don’t think I will risk another “behind the scenes” allusion here…
Finally, I have reported elsewhere on the success of the Sponsored Walk, particularly in my introduction to the newly-released Fortunas 32 which you should not miss (the magazine, not my introduction), but I am delighted to let you know that we have raised over £53,000 for our six nominated charities. This is a success that the whole school community can share in and is a further example of the way in which effort is not inseparable from having fun – or, as with our ceilidhs, from dressing up either.
I wish all pupils, parents, staff and friends of Dollar Academy a very happy Christmas and all the best for 2014.
Congratulations to Charlie Dineen (III) who has been selected to represent Scottish Schools in the International Pentathlon match against England, Ireland and Wales.
Kathryn Gillespie (VI) won three medals at the UK U-17 championships, including Gold in the 1,500 metres. In doing so, she became Central Scotland’s first UK champion in these competitions for seven years. In the Scottish Cross-Country Relay championships in October, Kathryn and Jenny Walls (II) were part of the Gold medal-winning Central team.
In early October, Dollar Academy sent a team of ten CCF cadets to the Scottish Military Skills Competition in Barry Buddon. The team consisted of Tim Torrance, Ben Ward, Robert Henson (all VI), David Kennedy, Duncan Smith, Gavin Roderick, Angus Clark, Christian Lau, Megan Montgomery (all V) and Sam Ward (IV). The team became National Champions for the fifth time in ten years.
The Top of the Bench event is an annual Chemistry competition between schools in Central Region. The Dollar team finished runners-up and it comprised: Sula Douglas (IV), Darwin Douglas, Charlie Worsley (both III) and Lucy Cameron (II).
Congratulations to Robert Tree (V) who finished third in the Scottish Cycling Youth A category for Best All-Rounder.
The following debaters all did well in the Edinburgh University Junior competition: Charlie Worsley, Keir Fairley, Guy Stewart, Jonty Heywood, Anna Glasgow, Amy Pope (all III), Rachel Foy, Imogen Hubbard, Suzanne Green, Sophie Chandler, Lucy Cameron and Megan Stedman (all II).
Three Dollar pupils were part of the ensemble in a limelight production of Annie at the Alhambra Theatre in Dunfermline. All did well. Congratulations to Delaney Nicol (III), Elizabeth Stanton and Katrina Warnock (both J1).
Many congratulations to Hamish d’Ath (III) who was a key member of the Strathearn Pony Club team that won the Prince Philip Cup at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show, an event that is something of a national institution. Over 250 teams were in the original field.
Four Dollar teams took part in the Gleneagles Show Jumping competition in December. In the Open Class the Dollar team finished first (of thirteen teams) consisting of Beth Alexander (V), Trudie Marshall (III) and Pollyanna Smith (J2). In the Unrestricted Novice Class the Dollar team was again the winner (out of eighteen teams) and consisted of Elena Gibson (V), Rebecca Allan, Jemma d’Ath (both II) and Holly Marshall (I).
Congratulations to Ambreen Rasool (VI) for winning a much coveted place on the Euroscola programme, sponsored by Alloa Rotary Club. Ambreen will join other top linguists from across Scotland at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in February.
Congratulations to Jamie Fulton (J2) who finished in the top eight of the Stephen Gallacher Foundation U-14 Boys Order of Merit. He has also been selected for the Lothians Golf Association coaching programme.
Two Dollar pupils, Bevhan Trevis (IV) and Georgia Smith (II) have been selected for the Scotland U-16 Hockey Development Squad following some outstanding play in the Inter-District U-16 Championships. Ben Pearson (III) has been selected for the Scotland U-16 Boys Hockey Squad following his performances for the East U-16 Hockey team.
In October, Tom Macfadyen (J2) won a Gold and a Bronze medal in the JKA East of Scotland Championships as well as winning two Bronzes in the JKA England Tenth Anniversary Cup. Holly Martin (IV) was selected to represent Scotland at the Junior World Championships in Spain. She was also voted Young Sports Personality of the Year by Falkirk Sports Council.
At the annual Scottish Schools Quartet and Trio piping competition, Dollar groups won both categories. The winning Quartet comprised Pipe Major Lucy Ferguson, Sandy Cameron, Cameron Bennett (all V) and Sarah McCann (VI). The winning Trio comprised Ross McCrann (III), Finlay Cameron (I) and Andrew Ferguson (J2). The B Quartets and Trios finished third and sixth respectively.
The following boys were selected for U-17 Caledonia trials: Angus Hunter, Euan Connor, Patrick Laing, Jack McNicol and Alasdair Johnston (all V).
Congratulations to Aidan Humphrey (I) who has qualified for the national finals of the Big Bang National Science and Engineering Competition in Birmingham in March 2014.
Congratulations to Danny Dineen (VI) who has been selected for the 2014 British Cadet Rifle Team (the Athelings) for their tour of Canada in the summer.
At Kippen, Max Jeffrey (V) became Scottish Junior Clay Pigeon Shooting Champion and he also won an individual Bronze medal in the Senior category. He also won a Gold medal in the Mens Pairs at the Commonwealth Championships on the Isle of Man.
At the British Artificial Ski Slope Championships in Gloucester in November, the Dollar Academy Girls team achieved a top ten position. The team consisted of Jemma Hulbert (VI), Lucy Hulbert (IV), Alex Fleming and Abbie Douglas (both III). Abbie also finished ninth in Britain individually and was the top Scottish girl.
At the Robin Hood Gala in Sheffield, Keir Edgar (I) won six Gold medals and two Silver medals. He was placed sixth overall out of 237 swimmers. In the process, he broke new Scottish age group records in the 50 metre Backstroke and the 50 metre Freestyle.
In the OECS Caribbean Gala in St Lucia, Jasmin SenGupta (V) did Antigua proud, winning eleven medals and becoming the top scoring girl in her team.
The Central Schools Swimming Championships were held at Grangemouth and Dollar pupils won 26 medals in total. Callum Lawrie (IV) won three Gold medals, as did Keir Edgar (I). Zoe Mitchell (VI), Lucy Thomson (IV) and Kirsten Lawrie (I) also won Golds. Dollar Academy won the Secondary School Trophy. In addition, Aisla Gordon, Lucy Thomson (both IV), Sophie Ross, Deborah Meikle (both III), Cameron McCall, Lachlan Kelly, Rory Duncan (all II) and Kirsten Lawrie (I) won a mixture of Silvers and Bronzes. Ten of the senior swimmers have now been nominated by Central Region to go forward to the National finals in January.
This term’s excellent edition was brought together through the tireless efforts of the Editing and Design team: Bethan Scott, Ambreen Rasool, Anya Kaufman, Mihaela Popov, Dylan Redding, Simon Cook (all VI), Kelsey Clarke (V), Charlie Worsley, Tom Keely (both III), Rose Scott and Cameron Smart (both I).
It was with great sadness that we recently announced the death of Mr Sandy Dawson, our Building and Works Controller. His funeral was extremely well attended and Mrs Dawson and their son, Neil, would like to thank the Dollar community for the support they have received. She was pleased to let us know that the collection taken at Sandy’s funeral raised £2,000 for Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland. This will be donated in Sandy’s name.
Kay Adams (Database Administration) was selected to take part in the European Mixed Curling Championships at Murrayfield in September, finishing the round robin section with seven wins and just one loss from the team’s eight matches. After defeating Denmark and Hungary in the quarter and semi-finals respectively, the team finished as Silver medallists following a defeat by Germany in a match that was tied until the final end.
Mr Andy Johns (Physics) took part in the Glenmore twelve hour race near Aviemore, running from Noon until Midnight. The course covered a four mile loop through the woods, with a five hundred foot climb every lap (similar to the ascent from Dollar to Castle Campbell) and Mr Johns completed just over 72 miles in total to claim third place in the race.
Means-tested bursaries are available each year for all pupils entering Form I, including pupils currently in Junior 2. Further details are available on the school website or from the Bursar.
Joanna Morgan Jones Educational Trust
There will be a Dollar Ball in aid of the Trust on 1 March 2014 in the Dollar Academy Assembly Hall. Tickets are £45, which includes a champagne reception, a hot table-served buffet, dancing to Callanish and a live and silent auction. For tickets, contact Liz Taylor on 01259 742769 or 01259 750640.
Sixth Form Dinner
Catherine Stihler MEP proved an excellent speaker at this year’s Sixth Form Dinner. Her impassioned delivery impressed the pupils. Form VI, and a number of members of staff and Governors, very much enjoyed the evening.
Eight pupils from our partner school in Kunohe, Japan, visited Dollar Academy and were hosted by pupils in November. They attended lessons in a wide range of subject areas and Dollar pupils were delighted to receive demonstrations of calligraphy, origami and kendama. The week culminated with a strong and powerful traditional dance at Senior School Assembly. Dollar pupils are looking forward to visiting Kunohe in October 2014.
Congratulations to the Form III Hockey team which finished runners-up in the Midlands Cup tournament.
CCF Dining-In Night
Lt Col Craig Stewart and his fellow staff officers and cadets are to be warmly congratulated on an excellent Dining-In Night held in early December. The CCF has had an exceptionally successful year and there was much to celebrate. In particular, RSM Robert Henson (VI) gave an outstanding speech, as did special guest Jennifer McIntosh (FP). Tim Torrance (VI), in his role as Master of Ceremonies, managed the evening skilfully.
Boarders’ Christmas Dance
The winning production this year in the Best House devised piece was McNabb & Tait, their first win since 2010.
The Prep School Macmillan Coffee Morning raised over £400.
The Staff versus Charities Committee Hockey match raised £112 for the Scottish charity, Air Ambulance. I have been asked to mention that the score was 2-1 to the Staff.
A total of £1,139 was collected by staff and pupils in aid of the Scottish Poppy appeal.
The 2013 Sponsored Walk has raised over £53,000 for our six nominated charities. Cheques were presented by pupils to representatives of the charities in the final Assembly of term.
Courtenay Morrison (2009) won a rugby Blue playing for Cambridge in the 2013 Varsity Match at Twickenham.
Lewis Vanstone (2008) has won the IMS Trainee Chartered Accountant of the Year Award after completing his ICAEW Advanced Stage exams in Corporate Reporting and Strategic Business Management. Currently working with PwC, he gained the highest marks in Scotland.
Catherine Reynolds (2008) recently graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with a BMus Honours and has just commenced her MA in Classical Voice at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
|University of Aberdeen
||Rural Surveying and Spatial Planning
||Geology – Petroleum Geology
||Geology – Petroleum Geology
|| MA IIii
|| BSc IIi
|University College Birmingham
Stephanie Dick (2011) recently participated in the BBC television programme Tractors and Trailers which covered the topic of the Scottish Young Farmers association.
Cameron Ferguson (2005) was selected for the Barbarians to play against the Combined Services recently. Cameron was the Captain of the Dollar Academy 1st XV when they won the Scottish Schools Cup in 2005.
Eleanor Taylor (2013) participated in the Cadet Leadership and Challenge Course at Rocky Mountain National Army Cadet Summer Training Centre in Canada in August. She was named Top Cadet in her platoon as well as Best Cadet during the canoe training programme. She was appointed Platoon Commander for the Final Graduation Parade where she was presented with the Sand Shield Award for Outstanding Leadership. She was placed second out of all the UK cadets on the exchange programme.
Dollar Academy’s Biennial Careers Convention will take place on the evening of Wednesday 12 March 2014. This is an event to which all Senior School pupils and their parents are invited, to hear talks on a variety of popular careers and meet professionals on a one-to-one basis who can answer questions about their experiences. Dollar parents are often involved in this event as professionals as well, sharing their expertise, and the Deputy Rector, Mr Geoff Daniel, would be delighted to hear from any who would be prepared to give up a couple of hours to help. Equally, he would be interested to hear of any career areas that parents would like to see covered.
For routine absences of children from school – for example, a dental or medical appointment, an illness, work experience or attendance at university open day – the dedicated e-mail address email@example.com is a convenient way of reporting the event to the school. Requests for planned absences should be sent directly to the Rector at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thrift Shop Opening – 2 30pm – 4 00pm (2nd and 4th Thursday of the month)
Thursday 12 December Thursday 9 January
Thursday 23 January Thursday 27 February
Thursday 13 March Thursday 24 April
Following a stock inventory at the recent stocktake we will no longer be taking the following items:
- Boys’ trousers (long and short)
- Ski wear and related equipment
- SQA revision guides/past papers for Standard Grade exams
- White rugby tops (replaced by new rugby and hockey team shirts Autumn 2011)
- Old style 3-in-1 winter coats (Prep and Junior School) (replaced Autumn 2011)
- Hockey skirts (replaced by skorts Autumn 2011)
- Old style tracksuits (new tracksuit introduced in 2010)
- Riding boots and associated items
- Golf and cricket shoes
We also have stocks of the new school umbrella – a vented version, ideal for our windy Dollar weather (£17).
The Thrift Shop is always happy to welcome new members to its friendly, committed team. If you feel that you are able to donate two afternoons a month to this important, parent-run service, please pop in next time the Thrift Shop is open and have a chat to the volunteers.
Further information about the Dollar Academy Thrift Shop can be found in the Parents section of the school website.